Hall of Fame
If it seems like the members of ¡Bucho! (Gerald Pease on guitars and vocals, Ben Schwier on keyboards, Derek Taylor on drums, Josh Lippi on bass, Roger Cox on saxophone, and Anthony Coleman and Leon Moore on trumpets) are always performing, it’s because they are. “For me, it’s being in the here and now, the truth, the raw, honed energy that can only be attained with live music,” Pease explained in a recent interview.
In 2000, the group released its self-titled debut album, and before long they were opening up for the likes of Michelle Branch, the Donnas, Save Ferris and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. In June, the band performed at Pops in the Park, where nearly 2,000 gathered to get down to the band’s dance-inducing Latin grooves. “It renewed my faith in Sacramento culture,” explained Pease. “Not because so many were there to see us, but because they were listening and truly enjoying friends, family and music.”
Still, the band has had it’s share of bad experiences. For example, there was the time they played at a junior-high school. “These scary, tough 7th and 8th graders were walking around us saying things like, ‘You guys suck!’,” Pease recalled. “I told one of them I was going to call his mom and he threw a bag of tater tots at me and ran.”
Hurled tater tots aside, it’s obvious that ¡Bucho! has something good going on. SN&R is proud to induct the band into the Sammies Hall of Fame. Look for the band’s third album, Omit The Harsh, which is slated for release on DIG Records in late August.
Brotha Lynch Hung
Brotha Lynch Hung is known as the creator of horrorcore rap. What could be more extreme than gangsta rap, a genre that has been pushing limits with hardcore violence, blatant misogyny, and unapologetic racism for decades? Lynch Hung answered the call by getting more specific. His lyrics will tell you just how he plans to take out a victim (and no, a 9mm to the head will not suffice). With painfully explicit descriptions of massacres and dismemberment, the average Brotha Lynch Hung recording would make the music ratings folks’ heads spin around and explode. This is not music you’d try to keep from children; this is the music that even a passionate free-speech advocate would have a hard time defending.
In doing so, perhaps such an advocate would point out that Lynch is the real deal and not a rich suburbanite cashing in on a trend. Lynch came up from the streets of Sacramento with fellow rappers C-Bo and X-Raided. He’s been shot at and he’s been involved in gang warfare, but perhaps the best defense for his music is that Brotha Lynch Hung is damned good at what he does.
Brotha Lynch Hung draws from the real-life horrors he’s witnessed and he does it well. He delivers his rhymes quickly but smooth as silk, and his records from a decade ago still sound fresh today. If he ever chose to tone down his subject matter, his amazing vocal style would likely reach far beyond the cult of gangsta-rap fans.
Drummer Zach Hill is garnering love from indie-music journalists around the globe. Big, sloppy wet kisses of love. Not only has he earned a reputation as one of the most skilled drummers playing today, but he is equally respected for his endless, wild experimentation.
Hill is at his experimental best with the band that started his ascent into financial independence, Hella, a Sacramento-based duo with Hill on drums and Spencer Seim on guitar. One could call Hella minimalist, based on the band’s instrumentation, but that would paint an inaccurate picture of the hectic sound it produces. While Hill surely enjoys the freedom that the appreciation of critics and fans has afforded him, he has little time to bask in the glory of it all. Hella tours nonstop and when not playing live, the duo is in the studio. The band has at least nine separate releases (on multiple labels) to its credit since 2002.
What little free time Hill has is dedicated to working with Team Sleep (featuring Chino Moreno of the Deftones), as well as the pope of low-brow experimental music, Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas) who recently signed Hella to his Ipecac label. Hill has many other side projects—too many to list here, or even to keep track of.
Oustide of his work on stage, Hill is well regarded for his loyalty to the independent labels he works with and for being a down-to-earth approachable person—surprising to fans who expect only an alien would be capable of wearing through drumheads at such an superhuman rate.
Exhilarating and dynamic: no two words more aptly describe the musical genius of Mike Farrell. A prominent figure in the Sacramento music scene since the early 1980s, Farrell has lent his guitar-playing skills to numerous bands over the years, including the now-defunct Fat Molly’s Kitchen and Sex 66. Nowadays, Farrell is a regular member of local acts like Daisy Spot (which helped him earn the title of “best alternative artist” at the 1994 Sammies) and the Sammie-nominated Alkali Flats (a country band in which he plays the acoustic guitar). Perhaps the most prominent of Farrell’s current acts is Th’ Losin Streaks, the garage-rock band where Farrell is free to shred to his heart’s delight.
Do his musical contributions end there? Hell, no. Farrell has also been known to sit in with Dave Gleason’s Wasted Days, an Oakland-based honky-tonk outfit that frequently plays in Sacramento.
While Farrell has grown accustomed to performing in modest venues like Old Ironsides, his stage presence is certainly stadium-worthy. Known as much for his stylish vintage clothes (think the Beatles circa 1966) as for his frenetic guitar playing, Farrell has always been a pro when it comes to leaving the audience feeling satiated. SN&R contributing writer Keith Lowell Jensen had this to say about the guitar god: “Amazing he’s not Hall of Famed by now. This guy just tears it up in the rock arena, and then shows up at a country gig and makes you drop a tear in your beer.” Well, after three Critics’ Choice awards for best guitarist, Farrell has finally earned his spot in the Sammies Hall of Fame.
Here’s to twins and here’s to CD covers that show twins clothed only in their guitars. That’s what Mama’s Pride gave us last year on the cover of their CD Rebirth, along with 14 delightfully listenable pop songs that seemed to take the band to a new level of polish and professionalism. As the name might suggest, Mama’s Pride is a family band, fronted by twin sisters Kimberly and Tiffany Reis (again, dressed only in guitars—guys, have you seen this?), and augmented by their big brother Vince Scola. Add in a relatively new member, drummer Eric Everett, and you have a solid pop-rock band.
Though Mama’s Pride has taken home the Sammie for best funk/R&B act for the last three years, their sound has evolved to sound more like Bananarama and 10,000 Maniacs than Parliament. The lead singing goes to Tiffany, but the harmonies created by Kimberly are in many ways what differentiates the band from other pop-rockers in town. Add to that Vince’s “snake charmer” stage persona and Eric’s in-the-pocket drumming and you have a solid blend of pop music with a decidedly mid-1980s feel.