Keep Tahoe Green

South Lake band Lavish Green has a new line-up and a more mature sound

Lavish Green, once known for playing “musical chairs” with their instruments, has settled down into a more traditional line-up.

Lavish Green, once known for playing “musical chairs” with their instruments, has settled down into a more traditional line-up.

Lavish Green will play at 10 p.m. Nov. 28 and Dec. 19 at the Hacienda Restaurant & Bar, 10580 N. McCarran Blvd. The cover is $5, and both shows will feature a live remote by Pure Rock104.5 and a raffle for prizes.

Lavish Green gathers at the “Sanch Ranch,” named because it is the South Lake Tahoe home of front man Chris Sanchez. On this day, Sanchez announces that Shaun Palmer, South Lake Tahoe snowboard and extreme sport legend, has donated his white 1988 Cadillac limousine to the band.

The news is good. With a gig at the Paradise Lounge in San Francisco in the next few days, Lavish Green has secured reliable transportation, historically a challenge for the band that has two broken-down RVs in the front yard.

With loyal followings at Lake Tahoe and the Bay Area and gigs in Reno and Southern California, Lavish Green has done what few South Lake Tahoe Bands do: They’ve successfully expanded beyond the sphere of the Lake Tahoe Basin. Furthermore, the band has reached worldwide audiences with its 1997 hit single “Huck-Spin,” distributed in the snowboard video Simple Pleasures, and with music featured on extreme sports shows on ESPN, ESPN2 and Fox Sports Network.

The hardcore, funk-punk, metal band that cites influences such as Papa Roach (friends of the band), Incubus and Ozzy Osbourne describes its music simply as rock ‘n’ roll.

“I’m into music that people can relate to,” Sanchez says. “I’m not trying to make people figure it out. I’m pretty easy to figure out.”

Formed in July of 1995, Lavish Green prides itself on its resilience, fortitude and an incurable urge to rock—no matter what. In its most recent incarnation, the band has a new crop of songs that are more cohesive and fluid than in previous efforts.

“Everything we have done is awesome,” Sanchez said. “But this is the more mature Lavish Green.”

In the wake of departures by two long-time members in the last nine months—Jeremy Ussher (vocals, drums and bass) and Seth Hall (saxophone and back-up vocals)—the once five-piece band has scaled its roster to four. Lavish Green, once known for its musical-chairs ethic of switching instruments, has settled into position: Sanchez (vocals and trumpet), Joel Gruneich (guitar), Rob Wheeler (bass) and Chris Lovering (drums).

Sanchez, who was the primary drummer, has taken over full-time singing duties. Lovering, who played drums with Gruneich in the South Lake Tahoe band Killjoy seven years ago, was recruited from Ashland, Ore., joining what has proved a fraternal relationship.

“It’s nice to be with a group of musicians intent on their goals,” Lovering said.

On the departure of his former band mates, Sanchez says:

“Some people were meant to climb mountains, and that’s how we feel [about the band] now.”

Because of the new formation and vision, the band has discontinued promotion of its prior independent releases: Warning (1997), Lavish Green (1998) and Te-Cush-Ne-La-Wa (1999). With Reno producer Tom Gordon, Lavish Green plans to record a three-song demo to shop around to labels, and then follow up with another full-length CD.

In the meantime, however, Lavish Green has not deprived its fans of recorded music. At CD release parties this August and September in South Lake Tahoe and Concord, Calif., Lavish Green gave away 300 copies of a four-song demo, produced by former Anxiety guitarist Carl Barrett. Sanchez says the disc was not for promotion or for sale, but simply a gift to Lavish Green fans.

“We wanted to do something for the fans," Sanchez says.