Even decades after it was birthed, fuzzed-up, freaked-out garage punk is still enduring for those who like it loud. Longtime, perennial Reno resident Pete Menchetti has been at the forefront of bringing this style to the people as the head of Slovenly Records and the organizer of three Debauch-a-Reno events in the past decade or so, all featuring garage rock prominently on their bills.
The fourth Debauch-a-Reno is at our grubby little doorstep, with some newer acts to Reno as well as old faves. The main event is on the Fourth of July at the Sands Regency Casino Hotel, a different venue from events held in various local dives and bars. Menchetti said the Sands was “the hotel that everyone was staying at” during last year’s popular Debauch event.
“They encouraged me to try a pool party, and when I looked at the calendar and saw that the Fourth of July was on a Thursday before the [Burger] Boogaloo, it was too fun of an opportunity to pass up.”
Indeed, Debauch-a-Reno may be a pre-game for those going to Oakland’s annual Burger Boogaloo music festival, which has its share of loud punk. One band playing both events is The Chats, an Australian group that will have its first ever show on U.S. soil at Debauch-a-Reno.
“They’re a bunch of teenagers who have already toured around Europe, and they are sort of a YouTube viral sensation because they put out a couple of crazy and fun videos, one of which topped 7 million views,” Menchetti said.
Another band playing Reno that’s flirting with the mainstream in odd ways is Surfbort. The NYC band’s lead singer, Dani Miller, is featured as a model in a campaign for Gucci. Menchetti described them as “just a great band, trashy fun punk rock. She just goes bonkers onstage.”
The Sands show also features the Spits, a Michigan band that has released albums on Slovenly and whom Menchetti called “the best punk band on planet Earth.” It’s headlined by the Dickies, the stalwart L.A. punk group known for its insane cover versions and upbeat melodic punk tunes. It’s their first time playing in Reno that anyone involved can remember.
“They are one of the longest and hardest working bands in punk rock,” Menchetti said. “They have been doing it for over 40 years and they are one of my favorite bands, period.”
Debauch-a-Reno actually starts on July 3, with a show in the courtyard of Plaza Maya on Wells Avenue. It features Oregon band Arctic Flowers along with locals Skew Ring, Spitting Image and Dissidence. The fest moves over to Shea’s Tavern that night with Spanish group Hollywood Sinners, Bay area band Control Freaks, and locals Eddie and the Subtitles.
The July 4 event also includes a Vinyl Record Fair from noon to 5 p.m., featuring vinyl from indie labels and a record swap, plus music starting at 2 p.m. from San Francisco band Greasy Gills and Reno’s Slow Wow. There’s also an afterparty on July 4 at “a secret location” with L.A. band Night Times and locals The Saturday Knights, plus DJs, including Menchetti, likely until dawn.
The tie that binds the bands is simple: unabashed good times. “They may not all sound alike, but they are alike in spirit,” Menchetti said. “If I try to throw a party, I want to make sure all the bands are fun.”