Glug redux

Ryan Vaughn is a brave man—brave like a paratrooper or a skydiver. He’d have to be. After all, his band, Glug, holds the dubious honor of being the worst band this reviewer had ever seen, as evidenced by a review in this column [“A bad day for America”; April 10, 2003]. That review was followed up by an expletive-laden e-mail from one member of the band who slung angry epithets so interesting that I had to write some of them down.

It was surprising, then, to receive the first of many e-mails from Vaughn practically begging me to revisit Glug. It seems that the bad review was before his time in the band. According to his own assessment, Glug had improved greatly in the ensuing years, becoming, in his words, “a very powerfull [sic] live energetic band.” Asking for another review was a brave move. I told him that if something came up that fit my schedule I’d try to come out.

So it was last Thursday night when I found myself at the Hard Rock Cafe watching Glug run through its set—the end result of which was a major reassessment of the band and a vacant spot in this reviewer’s imaginary list of “worst Sacramento bands.” Simply put, Glug put on a damn good show.

It’s not that the band is different. It retains the pop-metal sound that I remember from two years ago. But where last time Glug was sloppy and visually boring, the current band is tight, polished and visually energetic—essentially covering the major bases in its genre. The energy put forth by frontman Colin Stambusky was matched by the headbanging of guitarist John Lawson and by Vaughn, the band’s bassist.

Although Glug still has a few limitations, they are now the limitations of a good band ready to move to the next level. Lawson’s guitar playing, for one, relies too often on a quick squealing sound that reminded me too much of Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora. (The squeal was effective once or twice, but it quickly became silly.)

Perhaps more problematic was drummer Randy Teresi, whose performance was enthusiastic but limited, particularly after the performance of opener Inruin ( Inruin features the expert drumming of Cack Quesada. In comparison, Teresi just couldn’t hold up, tending to play rudimentary fills and beats that failed to do much more than keep time. Although he did keep time well, a bit more subtlety and variation (even in the metal genre) can go a long way toward keeping the listener interested.

The band’s best songs utilized a slow, Black Sabbath-like grind and mixed this tempo with faster moments, creating a dynamic that provided listener interest. The technique bordered on being overused at times, but at least there was some dynamic range to the band’s music. This is something many local bands—metal or otherwise—could learn from.

Nice job this time around, gentlemen, and thanks for making me eat my words. Check out for further information.