Texas funkadelic

Cuda Shaver brings a Lone Star sound to Reno

Pop quiz: What is the single most bizarre band name that comes to mind? Me, I’d have to go with Toad the Wet Sprocket or The Screaming Headless Torsos. Well, how about a band called Cuda Shaver? While you’re considering this, I’d like to talk a bit about four guys, their instruments and the bold Austin-meets-West Coast-style boogie they deliver when they take the stage right here in Reno.

The members of Cuda Shaver include Gilbert Trujillo on lead guitar, Dave Clark (cousin to the blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughn) on bass, Steve Hatley on keyboards and David Lee contributing what he calls “subsonic frequencies.”

The band members’ longtime involvement in the professional music scene combined with a jambalaya of backgrounds makes for an extraordinary musical presence. Cuda Shaver actually does justice to the music they cover—a list that runs the gamut from Johnny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepard and Coco Montoya to, of course, Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Now, purity is a word we rarely associate with rock music, but Cuda Shaver embodies this idea at its roots. As much as they revel in performing live, they play foremost for enjoyment and for themselves.

“This is definitely for fun,” Lee said. “It’s to do all the stuff we never got to do when we were working for somebody else or had our [other] bands. It’s kind of self-indulgent, and we’re hoping to take some people on a ride with us.”

Because, after all, you have to consider what’s really important in life.

“Every one of us has that ‘missed it by that much’ story … but found something much more rewarding here in town, with families,” he said. “When you look back on that tapestry, the stuff that really lasts is the stuff we have now.”

Clark added that, because the band isn’t depending on making a living from its music right now, members can enjoy growing their music on their own terms.

“We just want to play stuff that’s fun, that fits our band,” Clark said. “We don’t want to impose our music on people that don’t want to hear it.”

Regardless, Cuda Shaver is making its mark with the polished, guitar-based, powerhouse sound they deliver. Their professional backgrounds shine with the precision and intricacy of their playing, and their experience provides a show sure to keep your hips in line with that Texas swang.

After much ado, Trujillo, who’s an oral surgeon by day, explained the etymology behind the mysterious name: “I was doing some surgery in a hospital, and I was bored between cases and reading a thing up on the wall for orthopedic surgery. They had a thing called a cuda shaver blade. I asked, ‘What’s that?’ The nurse said, ‘It’s [an instrument used] to plane knees during surgery.’ I said, ‘Wow, sounds like a band.’ The minute that wives or girlfriends heard it, they immediately got repulsed—and we were like, it really isn’t dirt. We just like the sound of it.”

Although there are no plans for a studio project soon, Cuda Shaver is already making its presence known with shows at the Great Basin Brewing Co. and more in the works. Until then, keep your ears tuned and your eyes open for what Trujillo describes as Cuda Shaver’s "Texas funkadelic" sound.