Thee Swank Bastards
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Thee Swank Bastards

Band Rock Blues


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Matteo's Gets Wet"

Thee Swank Bastards quickly becoming one of my local favorites due to their solid, retro surf-rock and silly demeanors. Shaun threw his shoes into the audience and Szandora was so wasted on Jager she could barely swing her hula hoop by the end of their set. Fun times!
-Poizen Ivy 6/24/04
- Sin City Sounds

"Desert surf"

Local trio delivers elliptical surf music with uncommon style
From its inception to the modern day, surf music has always been about evoking a feeling of motion and style. Whether it be from the squeaky clean harmonies of the Beach Boys or the reverbed-out slurs of the Bel-Airs, surf's infectious energy is carried along in a wave of rolling bass lines, relentless drum solos and a careful adherence to an aesthetic on the fringe of rock 'n' roll.

But that's not to say the style doesn't lend itself to interpretation. After all, it was "King of Surf Guitar" Dick Dale who developed surf based on a potent mix of rock, Middle Eastern and Eastern European influences.
So it came as no surprise to find that the local surf combo Thee Swank Bastards also built their sound on an eclectic bag of influences. Guitarist Jesse DelQuadro says he chose surf specifically for its inherent charm and malleability

"Stylistically, I have pretty much played across the board," says DelQuadro. "Surf just hits me, and with instrumental music, I feel free to use more sounds."
Trained in classical, jazz and a touch of flamenco, DelQuadro spends his days as a guitar teacher and is easily bored with anything that remains too close to the expected when playing with Thee Swank Bastards.
Drummer Eric Schauer, who is also experienced in jazz, deviates from the standard surf formula, using polymeter and syncopation techniques to spice things up. He says it catches listeners off guard who are accustomed to the normal instrumental fare.
"We go beyond the standard beats, and Jesse's influences definitely come through," says bassist Shaun Coleman."I try to be the straight man."
While songs like "Getaway Car" and "Wetter Is Better" are what you may expect from a surf band, "Wet Man Blues" and "Just Stick the Tip In," meander into bluesy garage-rock territory.
And Thee Swank Bastards aren't real big on covers either, primarily because many of theses songs have been done to death.
"I've heard 'Tequila.' I don't need to ever hear it again," states DelQuadro.
But of course that doesn't mean there's no room for classics.
"If we do 'Surf Rider,' we're going to do it straight ahead. But then we'll follow it with a song that has a lot of improvisation," says DelQuadro. "We did 'Let's Go Trippin'' for a while. But there's not enough to it. I want more notes. So if we do that song, it's going to be part of a medley so we can flow right into another song."
If Thee Swank Bastards happen to be playing a long set, it's not unusual for them to play for 40 minutes straight without stopping. Their mostly original sets are strewn with solid surf numbers peppered with dalliances into jazzy drum solos and jam-like guitar lines that trail off. The nontraditional interludes work well against a canvas of surf grooves, storing up energy for the next break.
Perhaps more in keeping with the surf set is the band's delivery and stage presence. Often decked out in swanky, posh attire, DelQuadro, Coleman and Schauer inhabit the stage like rat pack crooners, ready with snappy quips and comedic patter.
Simply stated, Thee Swank Bastards put on an entertaining show. With their particular take on the surf style, it doesn't matter if you're the dance-all-night-type or just like to sit back and listen. Chances are, you will have a good time.
As for DelQuadro, he says, "This is all about having fun. The moment it stops being fun, I'll find something else to do."

- Las Vegas City Life

"Been Double Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me"

Been Double Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me

My funny Valentine's Day
By Michael T. Toole
It's after midnight on Monday, which means it's technically Tuesday, which means it's officially Valentine's Day. Time to celebrate! A punkish duo is locking lips nearby when I see the guy pull his head away. "Babe," he exclaims, "you got your toungue pierced! Let me see!"
It's love, Double Down-style.
Me, I had no plans to go out that evening—I have no Valentine or anything. But I got an e-mail from my friend Jesse Del Quadro, a guitarist for the local band Thee Swank Bastards, that changed my non-plans:
... special Valentine's day show ... candlelight ... softer music ... we'll even have some guest vocalists ... it should be a lot of fun ... we play at the Double Down at 10 ...
The band isn't around when I get there at 10:10, so I down a bacon martini—complete with grease floating on top like a tragic oil slick mucking up an ocean—and scan the place.
It's a typical Double Down crowd: musicians, bikers, one lovely lady with a striking rose tattoo covering her sinewy—yes, sinewy!—calf muscle, students wearing Runnin' Rebel regalia, one well-dressed businessman. An effete gentleman in perfectly creased jeans carps on his cell phone about leaving his boyfriend at a gay bar down the road because he was being an "impossible bitch." Central Casting duly take note.
It's easy to dismiss the Double Down as slightly labored kitsch—the wildly colorful murals, the super-eclectic music on the jukebox (from reggae to zombie metal) and a television set that plays a loop of bad movie trailers, anime, outtakes from old sitcoms, you get it—but I've always liked its casual appeal. I find a seat on one of the pool tables (moved to the side them to make room for the stage), when a tall, gawky, hyperactive kid approaches. "Dude, I've got to go to the can—can you watch, it's one of those!"
Relax; he meant watch the door, not the act itself. Another charm of the DD is that their toilets don't have locks, so it's not uncommon to be approached by a patron for guard duty. It would be bad form not to agree.
"Sure," I tell him.
It's around 10:40 p.m., and Eric, the Bastards' drummer, walks in with his drum set. Outside, Jesse's unloading the van. He hands me some mike stands. "Could you take these in for me?" he asks.
Hey, ladies, I'm with the band!
I return to my spot on the pool table while the band sets up and fine-tunes. Then they sit on cocktail chairs and start playing some nice, slow-burning surf numbers that draw the crowd away from the bar and closer to the stage. I leave the pool table to get a better view. My attention is drawn to a cute redhead who's dancing to the bouncier numbers. We exchange smiles as friendly people do when they faintly recognize each other at a favorite watering hole. Maybe I'll introduce myself:
"Hi, I'm Michael"
"Hey, Nikki."
We shake hands.
"I've seen you here before, right?" Nikki asks.
"Yep, I like the band and the bar."
She nods quickly. "Oh, me too. This is my favorite bar to get drunk—even the bad bands sound okay after awhile in here when you're tanked."
"You're a spirited lass," I assure her.
For their second set, the Bastards are joined onstage by several more musicians and a trio of lady singers in form-fitting, black-satin dresses. The music proves to be a surprisingly winsome take on girl-group nostalgia, with numbers like the Marvelettes "Please Mr. Postman," Brenda Lee's "Sweet Nothins," and the Supremes "You Keep Me Hangin' On," complete with roller-rink organ and syncopated hand clapping.
Not everything goes smoothly, though. At one point, a singer's mike starts to slide down, but instead of breaking her routine, she simply keeps lowering herself, until finally an audience member runs up to readjust it. I'll take fun, unplanned moments like that over too-polished craftsmanship anyday.
During the second set, a few in the crowd noticed that it's after midnight—Valentine's Day, and a couple or two start to celebrate. I stay for a few numbers of the third set, which clearly rocks louder than anything before it, but—without a punked-up, tongue-pierced, rock 'n' roll Valentine to call my own—I decide to check out early.
It amazes me, the way this culture makes a crass spectacle out of what's essentially a Hallmark holiday. You know what I mean: the predictable media interviews with owners of wedding chapels, or hotel managers regarding the bridal suites; the "couples-on-the-street" Q & A. That's what made this evening so refreshing—it was a counterculture tonic to all that stuff. Only one question: Why didn't I get a number for the woman with the sinewy calf?
- Las Vegas Weekly


One EP "Get Intimate." The Bastards appeared in the 2005 movie siren and had one song on the soundtrack. One track on compilation put by the Double Down "A Very Punk Christmas." Two appearances on the travel channel in 2006. They also get regular airplay on a radio show known as Radio Free Bakersfield.



Rumor has it, or damned near insists that a music fan will rarely come across anything fresh or innovative anymore. So where does a surf trio from Las Vegas come in? Simple, by offering one of the most fervent, insistent live sets ever witnessed by a partygoer worth their weight in beer suds!
Now for those who thought the surf scene was bottoming out, Thee Swank Bastards have definitely been on hand to rev it back up again. With their distinctively retro look: mutton chops, narrow ties, black suits; countered with riveting instrumentals that combine danceable rhythms, Eric Schauer’s syncopated drum patterns, Shaun Coleman’s propulsive bass lines, and best of all – the serpentine guitar licks of Jesse Del Quadro, create a musical sensibility that is at once deft and daring. In the end, their genius speaks for itself. They manage to take the period fetishism of old-school surf music and distill it with a modern twist that makes them instantly melodic and highly memorable.
Now if you haven’t experienced the Bastards before – what are you waiting for? These lads just have so much musical suss, wit and magic for the asking – so whether you book them, watch them, or savor them. Thee Swank Bastards might be the only addiction you’ll ever need on a Saturday Night.
For photos, booking, interviews contact or Shaun at 702-324-3848.