Back to reality

Bionic Guerilla Project addresses real-life issues with a unique voice

Bionic Guerilla Project is composed of Tahoe music veterans.

Bionic Guerilla Project is composed of Tahoe music veterans.

Photo By David Robert

Bionic Guerilla Project will perform in Reno at the Stock Exchange Jan. 8 and 15 and at the Little Waldorf Saloon Jan. 18. The band will perform in South Lake Tahoe at Hoss Hogg’s Jan. 4 and Feb. 15.

The members of Bionic Guerilla Project appear demur and relaxed during our interview. But onstage, they go through a rock ‘n’ roll transition, wielding raw guttural growls and lashing heavy metal guitar. Even their facial expressions go through a metamorphosis, as if the electricity powering their instruments is flowing directly from their veins.

The band is Ian Baca (vocals), Carlos Kelley (bass), Chris Zavala (guitar), Mario Zavala, aka DJ Zee (turntables and sound effects), and E.J. Lucero-Hixenbaugh (drums).

“We are just a thunder-power of energy,” Lucero-Hixenbaugh said about the band’s live performances, which induce mosh pits that resemble the pistons of an Indianapolis 500 racecar.

Formed a year ago, the band is composed of longtime Tahoe music scene veterans, who all found themselves without a band at the same time. Like scattered pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, they linked together to form BGP.

“Everything happens for a reason, and that’s why this band came together,” Lucero-Hixenbaugh said.

The South Lake Tahoe band has just recorded its first demo. Recorded on 2-inch analog tape at Harmonics in Sacramento, the five-piece is proud of the recording, a raw snapshot of the band. BGP is hoping the demo can be used to gain more attention, but through word-of-mouth the band has prospered without one. (BGP has a forthcoming interview on the KDOT 104.5 show What’s in My Ear. The band also recently played a Christmas party for KRZQ 100.9 and an all-ages show for KWOD in Sacramento.)

“What you’re hearing on this album is straight-up Bionic Guerilla Project,” Baca said of the demo, which was recorded and mixed in two days. “We’re all about representing South Lake Tahoe’s music scene—and I mean in a very hardcore way. And when I say ‘hardcore,’ I mean we do what we do to its fullest extent.”

Zavala said BGP’s music appeals to a wide audience.

“The chicks can kind of dance to our music, and the guys can still thrash and head rock,” Zavala said. “Our music is heavy, but it’s still melodic in a way, because it’s got groove to it.”

When listening to BGP, don’t expect to hear love songs or any bubble gum sap. Baca said the band is about conveying a reality and expounding on real-life issues.

“It’s a reality, man,” Baca said. “We’re influenced by every genre of music, from punk rock, heavy metal and hip-hop. And if you watch our live show, you can see that, and that is what we are trying to get across. The most important thing is this band is unique, because there are no barriers. There is nothing holding us back.”

Strangely enough, our interview took place exactly three months after the Sept. 11 attacks, giving a timed perspective to one of the band’s latest songs, “WWIII.”

“It’s about how I felt when I sat there and watched the news that morning,” Baca said.

In addition to the music is a comic book character: the Bionic Guerilla. The character is part of a government project gone bad. The artwork has been done by Lou Law, and with the groundwork laid for the character, more Bionic Guerilla artwork is expected. The band hopes that in the future, fans will not only anticipate new music, but new story lines as well.