Home Spun

Home Spun

 

Jam babies

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.

home spun

home spun

Real folk

When people hear the term “folk music” they’re often reminded of the watered-down Kingston Trio-ized version that was all the rage on college campuses in the early 1960s. Folk music, however, by definition, is much broader and more interesting than many people realize, encompassing traditional music from all around the world.  It’s that type of folk that the Ventucky String Band does all sorts of justice to. The VSB was initially a duo started by Matt Sayles, a recent transplant from Northern California who had previous success on the Midwestern bluegrass folk festival circuit where he grew up and lived, and fellow Midwesterner but longtime local mandolin/banjo player Dave White. When the two teamed up with bassist Rick Clemens and multi-instrumentalist David Roine last year, they completed the quartet; and they’ve been creating a truly original sound ever since. It’s not uncommon at a Ventucky String Band show to hear the following genres back-to-back in the set: swing jazz, Celtic, zydeco, bluegrass and even Mexican polka. If it can be played on a stringed instrument, and it is slightly off the beaten path, VSB will take it on.

What’s in a name?

One can’t discuss these middle-aged international folk enthusiasts without asking about the name. Ventucky  is either an insulting or endearing term — depending on who you ask — to describe the Ventura area, and the band is quick to insist it’s the latter. “Ventura is paradise to me,” says Sayles, who is no stranger to freezing winters. “I think Ventucky is just a loving ribbing on the town name. I got a kick out of it when I first heard it, when I moved out here and saw it on bumper stickers and trucker hats. Thought it’d be a great name for a band playing roots music. Ventura is undoubtedly a beautiful place to live, so we’re in no way using the name as a slam against its redneck roots.”

The sound of Oakview

Where the band really sowed its live seeds hasn’t been in Ventura proper. It’s been in the very unlikely but perhaps appropriate town of OakView at the Big Buddha Lounge. Very quietly, the bamboo-covered Big Buddha Lounge is fast becoming one of the coolest venues in the county. Some of Ojai’s finest players have made it their new home, and now even touring acts are starting to stop through. The Ventucky String Band has made it home every first Wednesday of the month, and the band credits its residency there with helping to fine-tune originals that will now see the light of day in recorded form.

In the vinyl tradition

With Sayles having his own label, Philville Records, and being a vinyl enthusiast who marvels at the number of actual record stores in Ventura, he decided that the group’s self-titled debut release should coincide with Record Store Day, Saturday, April 21. The group will be playing on the eve of Record Store Day at Salzer’s, and on the actual day at Big Buddha. The 12-song debut, which features historically themed tracks such as “Wreck of the Yankee Blade,” will be available not only digitally and on CD, but also on recycled vinyl.

Future pickings

Going forward, The Ventucky String Band, which recently put together an all-Celtic music set to play Garman’s in Santa Paula (leaving a few frat boy types shaking their heads), is mostly focused on releasing the record and building an area following. “Optimistically, we’d love to play more in California,” explains Sayles, “hopefully some more event-type performances, but really we’re just enjoying playing with each other and being able to release a record. Folk music, bluegrass, whatever you want to call it, is more about hanging out and playing together with your friends then being a featured performer on the main stage at a festival.” 

The Ventucky String Band celebrates its CD release with an in-store performance at Salzer’s Records, 5777 Valentine Road, Ventura, on Friday, April 20, at 8 p.m.; and a CD release party at the Big Buddha Lounge, 530 Ventura Ave., OakView, on Saturday, April 21, at 8 p.m. To preview tracks from the new album, visit www.philvillerecords.com.

THIS WEEK’S DIGITAL EDITION

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

SUBSCRIBE

COMMUNITY EVENTS

SUBMIT YOUR VENTURA COUNTY EVENT HERE.

You must be registered and logged in to post your events.

UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS

  1. Pyrometric: Earth and Ash in the Anthropocene

    October 19, 2018 @ 8:00 am - January 10, 2019 @ 8:00 pm
  2. Quiet Places and Icons and Archetypes

    November 14, 2018 - January 4, 2019
  3. Ojai Herbal Symposium

    November 16 @ 6:30 pm - November 18 @ 5:00 pm
  4. Photos with Santa

    November 17 - December 24
  5. Letters to Santa at the Annex Food Hall

    November 17 @ 8:00 am - December 24 @ 5:00 pm
  6. Agora Foundation Great Books Seminar – The Lady with the Dog by Anton Chekhov Short Story and Film

    November 18 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
  7. Mainstage Production “Columbinus”

    November 18 @ 2:00 pm
  8. Good Nothings at Hong Kong Inn

    November 18 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
  9. Santa Paws Pet Photo Nights

    November 21 @ 6:00 pm - December 19 @ 9:00 pm
  10. Conejo Valley YMCA’s 14th Annual “Turkey Day Dash”

    November 22 @ 7:30 am - 9:30 am

Get hooked up!

Get hooked up!

Join our mailing list and get updates and other cool stuff.

You're in! Thanks!

Share This