Written by: Shawn Hallman
The Expendables are reggae/rock veterans who have used their hybrid fusion style blend of genres into a bridge for a diverse, yet passionate fanbase. Fans of metal, dub, reggae, surf, rock, ska, and punk can all find something to love about this Santa Cruz crew. Catching a live show of theirs is always a treat and the ever-touring band manages to keep up the energy every single night. Seeing them at Antone’s in Austin this past Thursday was a treat. From massive circle pits to slow-dance grooves, The Expendables turned Thirsty Thursday into a raging night. Fans of all ages filled the venue.
Openers Pacific Dub turned many heads with their pop reggae tunes and got the party started while local opener Don Chani worked the room as it filled. Pacific Dub appear to be a bright young group with great on stage chemistry, bound to go far. Bands like these guys show great hope for the future of the genre. Their set included songs such as “Tightrope”, “Wasted”, “Sundown”, “Dreaming”, and “Close to You”. They closed out their set with “Utica”.
By the time The Expendables took stage and started playing “Down, Down, Down”, the entire room was hyped and packed like a can of sardines. Favorites from old to new appeared throughout their set. Songs like “Tight Squeeze”, “Let Loose”, “Burning Up”, and “Get What I Need” all shared their time in their well put together set. “Sacrifice” closed the night with the perfect rollercoaster ride of dynamics leaving smiles on the face of every member of the captivated audience as they walked toward the door. The crew hung around the merchandise table after the show to spend time with their fans. It’s obvious these guys love what they do, and we love them for that.
We had a chance to speak to frontman Geoff Weers before their trip to Austin to ask him a few questions:
Yeah. He’s done with chemotherapy and he’s feeling a lot better.
We’ve been friends with their band for a while. It was an easy choice to have him come in because personality wise he fit our band very well.
I woke up one morning and it was all tweaked out. I thought ‘you know what? It’s time for me to shave it.’ There are too many mustaches all over the place now days. Too trendy, so it had to stop.
Gone soft was sort of an experiment to see if we can record some sort of album in our home studio. It worked pretty well so we’re thinking about moving on and possibly doing a lot of electric stuff. That’s definitely a possibility. We’ve definitely put that possibility out; creating a metal album, or a straight-up dub album. With our studio I think that will be more of a possibility because we’ll have all the time in the world to work on something like that. Let’s hope in the future we could do something like that. I’d be excited to do it. Nothing planned, but it’s definitely an idea that’s floated around our heads for sure.
We’re going to try. We’ve got a lot of songs already for the new album. We want to somehow record part of it in our home studio so we don’t have to spend a butt load of money in another studio to get same results. We’re working towards possibly being able to record full albums in our studio.
There have been a lot of really good ones, but there have also been a lot of really terrible ones. Someone suggested “My Mom Can’t Wrestle That Well, But You Should See Her Box”. There was one called “Milky Way” we kind of liked.
All the new ones are really fun to play. I always like playing new songs, but there are a couple new ones that people have already heard. We generally take our new songs out on the road and play one or two of them to get used to them and get comfortable playing them live. The ones we’ve been playing live have gotten a pretty good response. People already know the names of them now. There’s one called “Zombies” that people actually request. That one has got a lot of hype around it so we might put that one out before the rest of them. I feel like a lot of the other songs are really awesome. I’m excited for it.
This time around we practiced a lot before we got on this tour. We did a lot of writing. Pretty much from the first of the year until we started this tour we locked ourselves in our bedroom and just tried to pump out as many songs as possible. That’s where a lot of the drastic changes take place. This time around we haven’t made many drastic changes live. When we start recording them, things may change a little bit, but for the most part these songs are pretty much done.
Services like Pandora don’t really pay a lot of money to be honest. You have to get a lot of plays for a song in order to receive a substantial amount of money. It’s kind of a bummer for us to not see a lot of money from that. It’s also a great to promote your music and get more people to listen. I think now days songs themselves are more of marketing tools to get people to go to shows. In this day of age you aren’t going to make a crap ton of money selling records. It’s harder to sell millions of albums like the days of old. It’s more trying to get people to go to your shows, at least for our band, that’s where we make our living, touring and live shows. Albums are just a means to get people to shows, I think.
Our band is unique. We’ve been an independent style band for a long, long time. We’ve benefited a lot from using social media and social networking to our advantage because it’s cheap to promote. It’s cheap to put your name out there and it’s cheap to put your songs out there. The old ways of doing that was ordering thousands and thousands of CDs and put them in stores along with posters to put in the stores and all that kind of stuff. I think it’s defiantly putting more power into the musician’s hands as far as where they want to promote and how they want to promote, and the money they want to spend on promoting. The money they save can be put into equipment and keeping gas in the tour van.
Sleeping, golfing, some of us workout. Walk around the town we’re in, explore a little bit. Find some little shops or food places that are unique to the area.
I don’t really see me not having music in my life, I don’t see me stopping music altogether. I could see myself stopping touring and doing other things within music like recording other bands, or developing other artists, or doing something with a club or something. I could see that, but as far as music being completely out of my life and moving on to something else, that would be pretty hard for me. Music has been such a huge part of my life and I think it always will be. I don’t really think I’ll hang up the gloves so to speak, maybe I’ll just put the gloves in a box and take them out and use them every once in a while. I think music will always be a big part of my life. I’m always going to try to make a living off of it.
I don’t know if this is the weirdest, but I’ve signed a dude’s buttchecks before which was pretty weird.
Please come out to the shows! We’re having such a good time. We’re on the road with Pacific Dub, a sweet band from Hermosa Beach, California. Come check them out, check us out have a good time. Get really, really weird. As weird as possible. Keep in touch with us, we’re always on our twitter, Instagram, Facebook, we’re pretty accessible that way. If you ask questions, one of us will usually respond. Keep in touch and we’ll always be playing at a venue near you.
Oh yeah, definitely. If it’s a three band bill or two band bill or whatever. We’re obviously traveling to the same destinations every day. On our days off we try to connect with each other, go bowling, find a restaurant where we could all eat together. When bands are on the road together, we’re all in it together. Like a community, a little traveling circus. Our trailer broke down the yesterday so we called Pacific Dub to see if we could use their trailer to get our trailer to a repair shot so we wouldn’t miss the show today. They were very willing to help us out. We’re all a bunch of friends and bros out here on the road and if anything goes wrong we’re down to help each other out.
Probably Bob Marley or Jimi Hendrix. That would be amazing.
Written by Shawn Hallman