For more than a decade, drummer Jaison Henderson hosted a seemingly never-ending jam session in a plywood shack erected on his family’s Ojai ranch. The ranch was a haven for the creative minds, hard strummers, rastaphonies and head bangers that made up Henderson’s network of high school friends who were drawn together by the common thread of music. Throughout the years of the shack’s use as a rehearsal venue and home recording studio, it housed an ongoing, musically incestuous mating frenzy, breeding litters of gigging bands that regularly swapped members and spawned new acts. One of the few, if not the only, remaining is Rubberneck Lions. In 2002, Henderson began collaborating with classmate Tyler Treves, a guitarist/vocalist/songwriter hailing from the Oxnard hard-core scene. Henderson was in a reggae band at the time, but became inclined to play harder, faster music. These two formed a short-lived metal band, before making a decision to change direction and play a more eclectic mix without classifying themselves under a specific genre. “We just played whatever style we wanted,” Henderson says. “We literally would call the songs the style. This is the funk song. This is the reggae song. This is the rock song.” Originally performing as Drugstore Cowboys, years have passed, and so have several names and lineups. Stronger than ever, Rubberneck Lions is Treves, Henderson and bassist Jason Ardissoni, an old friend and ranch jam participant.
All that is today comes from what once was
With a flavor reminiscent of post-acid Beatles and Doors-like psychedelia, delivered with grungy angst and occasional outbursts of aggression akin to early American hard-core, RL culminates a half-century’s worth of youth rebellion while somehow paying homage to rhythmic island grooves. As the boundaries of genre are broken down and each new song takes on a different persona, Treves describes his music as “a meat grinder skidding across asphalt with moments of soft, sweet poetic justice overlaid with encrypted lyrics resembling drug-simulated thought patterns gone awry.”
From off-the-cuff to calculated
As the group evolves, Treves continues to hone his craft of songwriting, taking it more seriously. Speaking of the past, Henderson says, “We wrote really cool riffs . . . and Tyler would improvise some vocals and make it work.” He says now, “Tyler takes a lot of time with every single song, writing out detailed lyrics . . . so now everything is a lot more serious in the respect that it has a focus, a purpose, a story or something that it’s reflecting.”
Right side of the tracks
The trio devoted weekends throughout September and October 2011 to recording 10 songs at Fourth Street Recording in Santa Monica. A full-length album release is anticipated by the close of 2012. To hold fans over, a four-song EP containing the record’s potential singles, appropriately titled Couple Singles, will be released Thursday, April 26, at Bombay Bar and Grill. “It’s all stepping stones because we’re 8-to-5, Monday-through-Friday working people,” says Treves, speaking of the band’s future. “Recording the record was a big step, and now it’s just going farther than that.”
Rubberneck Lions will perform at Bombay Bar and Grill on Thursday, April 26. The EP will be available at the show. Check them out at rubbernecklions.bandcamp.com.