Mourning in America

The Reagan Years

Ronald Reagan, Billy Gunn, Ronald Reagan, Aaron Sires, The Gipper, Casey “Dirty” Duggan, Ronald Reagan and Adam “Sac” Gorciak.

Ronald Reagan, Billy Gunn, Ronald Reagan, Aaron Sires, The Gipper, Casey “Dirty” Duggan, Ronald Reagan and Adam “Sac” Gorciak.

Photo By Nick Higman

Band members don’t seem to espouse family values, supply-side economics or toppling the “evil empire,” but the band is called The Reagan Years. You can stop reading if you’ve been secretly craving new Berlin Wall-themed hardcore.

But if the band isn’t a musically gifted cheerleader squad for Milton Friedman, what does it espouse? Mostly metal. The musicians play cool bass lines and gallop guitar picking (the technique of gallop picking is most often associated with Metallica). There is a touch of punk here, and a hint of hardcore there, and the band has mariachis for mascots. But more than anything else, The Reagan Years sounds like Megadeth. Not in the ridiculous-seven-hour-guitar-solo sense of Megadeth, not in the wannabe soprano antics of Dave Mustaine at his most strung out, but more the kick-your-ass, hard-driving sense. Think butt-rock with all the asshole taken out.

Funny though it sounds, the band might be described as “easy listening metal.” Nothing too jarring, no discordance and none of the awkward vocal holes many garage bands dig themselves into. That togetherness probably comes from three friendly years together.

The Reagan Years has a pretty wide range. With up to two hours of material they can pull out for each gig, they have acoustic songs, some old-school sounding punk and one or two covers. That said, bring your earplugs, ‘cause this band doesn’t play much under the 130 decibel mark.

The Reagan Years is also different from the typical rock band in that all the members are college-educated gentlemen of leisure. As such, when bassist Aaron Sires says The Reagan Years is a “band where you should definitely let your girlfriend go to see alone,” it’s apparent he refers only to the band’s desire to spread knowledge and not the fact that concerts often feature naked mammaries among the audience.

The band members claim to put a lot into their live shows, and considering how good their stage presence is in a living room, it’s not hard to believe. They don’t play much more than once a month, but when they do, they bring party tricks and Ronald Reagan masks and probably infant spider monkeys.

Sires, the redheaded bass player with a lip ring and the leopard print tattoo on his arm, can’t remember if he’s 18 or 23. Why is the bass player always the weirdest guy in every rock band?

Singer Billy Gunn, 24, pulls off the cool metalhead thing and the growling vocals. He also has a master’s degree in communication and journalism, which puts him in a position to threaten the career of anyone who writes a perfidious band profile.

The senior citizen of the band, 30-year-old drummer Casey “Dirty” Duggan is easily spotted thanks to his pile of broken drums and moderate emo-over hairstyle. He plays really, really hard.

Lastly, 23-year-old guitarist Adam “Sac” Gorciak is the laid-back guy who looks like what would happen if Ashton Kutcher and the psycho killer from No Country for Old Men somehow made a baby. In fact, it’s probably not a good idea to play heads-or-tails with him, just to be safe.

In summary, get thee to The Reagan Years’ May 31 show at The Underground. Even if you don’t like the music, there will be confetti.