From mayhem comes madness
Aug. 9, 1969: Sharon Tate Polanski (actress and wife to Hollywood film maker Roman Polanski), Abigail Folger (heiress to the Folger Coffee fortune), Voytek Frykowski, Jay Sebring and Steven Parent are all found mutilated in the Polanskis’ Bel Air mansion. The word “pig” is found written in blood.
Aug. 10, 1969: Rosemary and husband, Leno La Bianca, are found murdered in their palatial Los Feliz home. The words “death to pigs,” “rise” and “helter skelter” written in blood.
Brought to fruition by the minds of the Manson family, these atrocities, commonly referred to as the Tate-La Bianca murders, gave way to a climate conducive to the rise of maddening music. It’s from these evils that Jawsh Hageman (guitar), Spencer Benavides (vocals), James Daris (bass) and Ty Fighter (drums) discovered the foundation for their own madness—aka band—Tate-La Bianca.
Tate-La Bianca is a well-rounded punk rock band. The guitar work is thick, loud and creative, although, it’s not so creative it loses the simplicity that has become the signature of great punk. The bass lines are rolling and continuously solid, always in step with the drummer, who hits even and hard. The vocals, oddly enough, are a serious sight to behold. Sure they sound pissed off, but it is Benavides’ stage presence that really grabs a person’s attention. He is a sometimes self-destructive, always exhaustingly animated front man.
“As soon as the band starts playing, it’s a celebration of anger,” he says. “I’m driven to let loose every feeling and let the music take over!”
Some people may know Benavides as a sponsored, amateur-competition skateboarder—"Always stuck in second place,” he says—and the one-time proprietor of 50/50 skate shop in Sparks. Musically speaking, he was also the reliably insane front man for Redrum and 601.
Most of the Tate-La Bianca band members have impressively extensive pre-Tate histories. Fighter has, for some time now, performed with Pink Black. Hageman (commonly credited, among local musicians, as one of Reno’s more talented guitar players) has played with The Shook-Ups, Dick, Bob and The Nob and This Computer Kills, and is also in Pink Black. Among this list of bands is an even longer list of CDs and vinyls.
Tate-La Bianca’s first release is a cassette demo titled Hella Weights. Their second release is a self-titled CD demo that was initially intended for record label distribution. According to Benavides, though, “We felt we could have accomplished a better recording.”
Both the CD and cassette demos are worth getting a hold of. The only place, at present, to purchase these little sonic monsters is at one of the band’s live shows.
Aside from having played throughout northern Nevada (including Fallon), Tate-La Bianca plays regularly in Reno. They prefer all-ages shows, but as Reno is lacking in all-ages venues, they occasionally play at bars like The Hideout, or any other joint willing to endure the band’s madness. Kill two birds with one Manson Family by attending a memorable live show and getting your hands on a couple of quality, local demos.