Their Turn

By Andrew Gilhooley / 411

Things are looking good for Santa Cruz band The Expendables.  Voted favorite local band of the year by readers of Metro Santa Cruz, the Expendables have a show coming up at the Catalyst on Saturday that will, if their past record is anything to go by, be a sell-out.  Their new CD, “Gettin’ Filthy,” sold over 1000 copies in its first week of release and major labels are starting to show interest. 

The Expendables have been together since 1999, and were all friends at high school.  For singer and guitarist Geoff Weers, his interest in music started even earlier.  “My sister’s boyfriend got me started playing the guitar when I was in 7th or 8th grade,” he said.  “I started singing at school in the choir and so when we started the band I kinda became the singer by default.”  Weers and his friends Adam Patterson (drums, vocals), Raul Bianchi (lead guitar), and Ryan DeMars (bass, vocals) used to get together and jam for fun, and gradually a band began to take shape.  They played their first ever gig at First Night Santa Cruz at the Boys and Girls Club, and encouraged by the response moved on to bigger and better venues.  By the time they reached the Catalyst for the first time, they were playing to a packed house.

The new CD, the band’s third self-produced release, was recorded during a two-month period at Sy Klopps Studios in San Francisco, the recording home of bands such as Journey and Tower of Power.  “For this album, we really wanted to differentiate ourselves and show our diversity,” said drummer Patterson.  “‘Gettin’ Filthy’ represents the far reaches of our musical styles and influences.”

The Expendables’ music is an enjoyable blend of surf-rock, reggae and punk, and ranges from mid-tempo, melodic numbers to high-speed, thrashing songs that conjure up images of mosh-pits and stage diving.  The band’s members claim blues, jazz metal and punk bands among their influences and, as all the songs are jointly written, it’s easy to see not only where the band’s sound comes from, but the secret of the band’s appeal.  “I think everyone hears something they can relate to,” said Weers.  “That’s why we get all kinds of people at our shows, from young kids to older people.  They all enjoy the music.” 

The band has recently been on tour with top reggae act Eek-A-Mouse, visiting “Every state west of Colorado, minus Nevada.”  It was quite an amazing experience, said Weers, to spend three weeks playing to different audiences in different cities each night and finding out that “every hotel room has the same kind of soap, the same plastic cups and the same ice cubes!”  The band followed its stint with Eek-A-Mouse with four dates with Slightly Stoopid, and in January of 2005 will head off to Arizona and Nevada with Long Beach based band Bargain Music.

The Expendables also know how to rock for a good cause – at Saturday’s show there will be a toy drive benefiting the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.  Concert goers are encouraged to bring an unwrapped children’s holiday gift to the Catalyst.  The gifts will be presented to Toys for Tots after the show.  Said bassist Ryan DeMars, “We hope fans will join us to help kids in our community and everywhere have a rockin’ Christmas this year.”

First published in "411", The Salinas Californian, December 16, 2004

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