Local Buzz Band The Workday Release Play Troubadour


THE WORKDAY RELEASE play the Troubadour Sep. 4

Love guru musician David Ottestad has found his niche with his solo project, The Workday Release. As an alternative pop singer/songwriter, Ottestad has created a sound entirely his own, with beautiful acoustic melodies and an array of personal lyrics (often about love). As part of his current tour, following the release of 2015’s City Lights EP, The Workday Release will hit the Troubadour on Sep. 4.

His break into the music industry came when he released his hit “Love in a Box” from his album, To the Beginning. This acoustic gem is a collection of Ottestad’s breathy lyrics, and simplistic, catchy guitar riffs.

“My first record is all over the place if you listen to it,” he said. “Every song is a different style because I didn’t know what I wanted it to sound like. Then I had a love song called ‘Love in a Box’ that kind of took off on YouTube and Pandora. That gave me momentum with an audience.”

Breaking away from the love song quota, the latest EP reveals his transformation from a young, musically uncertain 18-year-old, to a strong musician with deep lyrics. The last track, “The Other Side” is the final mark of Ottestad’s success.

“I feel like it sums up seven years of doing music,” Ottestad said. “From being a kid who’s just a dreamer who wants to pursue music and become a rockstar, whatever that means, and then going through the reality of what that takes.”

Love song or not, Ottestad has a confidence about him that makes all of his songs, even the first releases he found so unorganized, to be something penned from a musical veteran.

“The Workday Release has been my baby since I was 18, since I started it alone,” he said. “I like to be very detail-oriented. I’m a songwriter, that’s what I am, and what I do.”

Baby In Vain Take On The Echo


BABY IN VAIN play The Echo Aug. 11 photo: James Christopher

It’s been a rather exciting year for the members of Baby in Vain, the Danish band comprised of Benedicte Pierleoni (drums), Lola Hammerich (guitar / vocals) and Andrea Thuesen (guitar / vocals). First, their heavy as lead, gain saturated guitar and melodic melancholy harmonies had them in the studio recording their debut full-length album. Then their blues-rooted, sludgy sound earned the trio a second invite to play a series of cross-country shows with critically adored band, The Kills. The two-week tour will culminate with Baby in Vain headlining their own crowd-worthy gig at The Echo in Los Angeles on Aug. 11.

En route to their next stop in Cincinnati, Ohio, just a short three-day drive from LA in a crammed SUV, Hammerich explains how the second tour with The Kills came about; “We played four shows with them last October. The first time we somehow came into the pile of bands that they could choose from, and they chose us .So they just invited us to come again because I think they liked us, ha-ha!”

With the young median age of 20 years old, the ladies of Baby In Vain are making a name for themselves, and picking up momentum with their reinvigorated take on 90’s stoner rock and grunge, a genre normally dominated by the middle-aged men of yore. They may be a welcomed addition to the reemergence of noise rock that’s found its home in the LA music scene, but in Copenhagen the group remains a musical outlier.

“There’s a lot of different stuff, we’re not really a part of anything,” Hammerich said. “We have some friends who play, but it’s not like a scene. There’s a lot of hip-hop and a lot of R&B, Danish R&B kind of thing. And then there’s a lot of electronic. There’s a lot of rock, but not the kind of rock that we play, it’s more like punk.”

Inspired by albums from artists like Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age, Baby in Vain found their sound after their formation in 2010, and evolved to become the enigma of the Danish music scene that they are today. Tunes like 2012’s “Sweetheart Dreams” drip with dangerously ominous guitar riffs. Slow and steady vocals float atop like witches singing while stirring a black cauldron’s thick brew. The effect is hypnotic, to say the least.

Though heavy sounds permeate the group’s performances, their music tastes outside of the band remain eclectic, even lighthearted.

“We just listened to Neil Young and I wanted to find this song ‘Traveling Soldier’ by the Dixie Chicks, but I don’t have it,” Hammerich said when asked about their music choices on the road. “I want to listen to it. If I had it, it would have been the first song we put on because it seems perfect for this desert drive.”

Like their taste in road trip playlists, the band’s character is not defined by their heavy recordings either. Though in music videos and performances they can present a mean mug and sinister glare, it is only one dimension of their image. In reality, though serious about their music, they are three friends enjoying the opportunity of touring and playing together with goofy moments and bizarre anecdotes following their every move.

“We kind of just try to have fun, but I mean we’re also aggressive on stage,” Hammerich said. “It’s not like we put on some character for the stage. I just think it’s more interesting to make music that’s not, you know, just all happy. That’s at least the music I listen to myself, but that’s only one part of who we are as people. So we can have a laugh even though our music is serious, but also our music can be humorous. It’s not all dark.”

With new songs to be released on their upcoming album, Baby in Vain continues to see their sound evolve and mature. “Old recordings, I can’t stand,” Hammerich said. “Like the old releases of ours I never listen to because I don’t think it’s good enough. But the new stuff we’re doing is a lot better.

“It’ll be our first full-length. It was the first time we’ve had more than five days in the studio! So we’ve taken our time with making it right and also for the first time we are working with a producer who we feel is taking songs where they are supposed to go.”

As with most artists, Baby in Vain can be their own harshest critic, but if past singles are any indication of what is to come with their 2015 album, listeners are in for a treat…and hopefully another (longer) U.S. tour.

Evil Maria Gives LA A Taste Of Dark Indie Pop/Rock

Evil Maria

EVIL MARIA play International Pop Overthrow Festival at Fais Do Do on Jul 31

Local LA Band Evil Maria brings you the dark side of Indie/Pop. With their spellbinding vocals, mesmerizing guitars, synth pop keyboard, solid bass and killer drums, Evil Maria is sure to leave your ears pleased. They are set to hit the stage at Fais Do Do on Jul. 31 for the annual International Pop Overthrow (IPO) Music Festival.

IPO Festival features over 180 of the best pop bands around the world in 16 different cities. Evil Maria’s line-up consist of Evren Göknar (vocals / guitar), Mike Avenaim (drums), Zach Ingram (bass) and Kevin Roberts (keyboard / backing vocals).

Evil Maria stemmed from the solo career of frontman Evren Göknar, who released two solo albums in 1998 and 2000.

“Its easier to get people more interested in what you are doing when you already have an established sound, that’s how I found my band. You start jamming with people and you can create something cool,” Göknar said.

Göknar’s Turkish roots are captured in the Evil Maria sound and reflect in his writing as well. “It’s fun to find yourself writing in more chromatic tones from the Turkish cultures,” he said. “I like to write songs that engage people and paints a picture and adds emotion — for me a lot of that emotion and imagining comes from my culture. A good example is our song “Along the Way,” we translated that into Turkish.”

Evil Maria currently has two music videos in which you can capture their sense of dark humor. Göknar tells us a bit more about how artistic he got with Evil Maria’s Rabbit Run video. “The idea behind Rabbit Run was creating a scenario where the bunny was doing things he normally wouldn’t. He was drinking, he was driving, he wasn’t really present or involved. We have a perception of how we think a bunny should actually act. That all gets taken away. There was a lot of symbolism in it.”

Check out the video here: https://youtu.be/xkJhN8SHAmw

Local L.A. Band Some Type Of Stereo Hits The Road


SOME TYPE OF STEREO hit the road

Local rockers Some Type of Stereo are heading out for their summer tour, hitting nine states that include Colorado, Kansas, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. and North Carolina, where they will reside to record an album for two weeks before heading back to play in California.

Some Type of Stereo is an L.A.-based band composed of John Garside (bass), Evan Matthews (guitar), Michael Szymczyk (drums) and Marco Toledo (vocals). The band plays a mixture of rock, funk, Latin and R&B with just enough flavor for everyone to enjoy. They track all their music live and on tape so they have to be well prepared before they head into the studio.

“We hope this tour gives us more experience and practice before we go to cut the full-length album,” Toledo said.

According to the band, they all play a role in the creation of the eclectic sound.

“The cool thing about this band is that we all take part in helping develop a song,” drummer Syzmczyk said. “A lot of us are multi-instrumentalists so we switch to different instruments sometimes.”

Some Type of Stereo seems to be keen on the fact that music is a universal language and can bring people together.

“We know we aren’t going to please everyone, but it’s about a common connection that people share with the music,” Garside said.

Aside from music, the band has different hobbies that they enjoy, such as sports, reading, being environmentalists and cooking Peruvian Dishes. Just ask Marco when he is available to make you dinner.

As for Matthews, he enjoys breaking couches — the quiet ones are usually the most trouble!

Be sure to catch Some Type of Stereo in a city near you. For a list of dates, music, videos and to connect with them on social media go to: www.sometypeofstereo.com.

Talk In Tongues Fantasy Life Continues With 3 So Cal Shows

Talk In Tongues

TALK IN TONGUES play Soda Bar Apr 30, Bootleg May 1, and Wayfarer May 2.

Talk In Tongues circles through So Cal in the midst of a massive U.S. tour, stopping at Soda Bar on Apr. 30, Bootleg on May 1 and Wayfarer on May 2 then the tour will travel north.

“We just got the van packed and we’re about to head off right now,” guitarist/singer Garrett Zeile said. “Cleveland is our first stop. We’ve never been to Cleveland before but I’m sure they all rock out there.”

The Los Angeles group hasn’t been together very long but have managed to play a good amount of live shows.

“We’re still a young band so we’ve played maybe 50 shows at most,” Zeile said. “I’ve loved playing live. Especially when you have a record that you’ve just worked on, it’s fun to figure out how to play it live.

“When you’re playing in front of a crowd it’s kind of a good confirmation of whether you’re doing it right. Or like, some songs don’t work live and sometimes you’re surprised at what works live.”

The quartet’s debut album, “Alone With A Friend”, on Fairfax Recordings was produced by Kevin Augunas (Cold War Kids, Edward Sharpe) and comes out May 19.

Zeile and the rest of the band, Waylon Rector (bass/vocals), McCoy Kirgo (guitar/vocals), Bryan De Leon (drums), and Cassandra Jensen (Keyboards), were all acquaintances but were aware of each other’s bands.

“We knew everyone was a really good player and did cool stuff,” Zeile mentioned. “So when we joined we just had this sort of mutual admiration for each other and the friendship came afterwards.”

Talk In Tongues recorded their first single “Still Don’t Seem To Care,” in Zeile’s home using the gear that he had over the course of a week or two. Once they put it out, they started talking to Fairfax Recordings.

“It’s funny because we had planned to make this EP, well, it’s not really an EP, but just start making really good recordings and putting stuff online,” Zeile explained. “We were all like, ‘you know, maybe in two years somebody will catch on or something’. And then it turned out like a week and a half later we were all ready getting hit up. We made up our minds that we wanted to go with Fairfax.

“Then all of a sudden we had access to Fairfax Studios which took over Sound City Studios about a year or two ago. The old Sound City, the classic recording studio where “Rumors” and “Nevermind” were made.

“It became really different, and fun, and interesting. It was also good hanging there because some of the pressure was taken off us and we were working with an awesome engineer.

“I think when you make an album if anyone tells you they made something they set out to do they’re probably lying because there’s just so much stuff that comes up in the middle where directions change and you have new ideas. You know we set out to do something and I think what we ended up with was as good or better than what we set out to do.

“It started to feel like we were in Abbey Road or something. We had the nicest studio available to us and we could treat it like it was our own. It was fantasy life!”

Talk In Tongues

TALK IN TONGUES play Soda Bar Apr 30, Bootleg May 1, and Wayfarer May 2.

O.C.’s Favorite New Wave Band Take Red Leather To The Viper Room In L.A. Apr. 2

Flashback Heart Attack

FLASHBACK HEART ATTACK Play The Viper Room April 2.

Flashback Heart Attack is the red-leather-wearing ‘80s new wave band that has been energizing crowds across Orange County for the last five years. Starting at the beginning of March 2015, the hard-hitting cover band from the O.C. started expanding its audience into L.A., with shows at the legendary Viper Room.

Notable not only for their high-energy and spot-on renditions of the biggest hits of the ‘80s, the band has been able to capture a cult following. Their regular performances at local clubs are always packed wall-to-wall. The fun loving bunch has also scored gigs like Tre Cool’s wedding and the Green Day holiday party, performing with Billie Joe Armstrong.

As a backing band they’ve played with Terri Nunn from Berlin, A Flock of Seagulls, Bow Wow Wow, Missing Persons, Dramarama, Linda Perry, Tommy Tutone, Naked Eyes – a “who’s who” of ‘80s artists. They also come with an endorsement from Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, who has personally recommended the band for gigs.

“It’s a really cool thing that these guys are interested in us,” says Don Bronze – whose real name is Jason, “these are musicians that have been around the world and seen a lot, so we appreciate their support.” The band’s appeal reaches both the casual fan of ‘80s pop and rock, as well as the actual ‘80s rockers whose songs they cover.

Special guest appearances are part of the norm for the men in red. And they’ve brought this element of their performance with them to the Viper Room residency. Their first gig at the beginning of March was hosted by famed radio DJ Richard Blade, known for his flashback programs on stations like KROQ. John Easdale from Dramarama sat in and sang his timeless rock hit “Anything Anything” with the band at their second Viper Room gig. You never really know who will show up at a Flashback Heart Attack gig, and that’s part of the fun.

As for branching out of Orange County and hitting the Sunset Strip, Flashback is bringing some new elements to the stage. From the potential for special guest-star appearances, to a selection of the more edgy rock anthems of the ‘80s, the band is gearing their performance for an L.A. audience.

“We’re going to play all of the big new wave hits that everyone wants to hear, but we’re going to throw in that L.A. wrinkle. We’re going to play songs from some of the early L.A. bands that got their start playing the Viper Room – a lot of bands came through there and we’re going to pay homage to that,” says Don Bronze, “We’re also going to play more of the metal stuff since it’s the Sunset Strip. We’re going to play some Motley Crue, Whitesnake and AC/DC, so the show will have a little more of a rough edge to it.”

Why has the band just now decided to make a move into the L.A. market? Though they have played many private and corporate gigs around L.A., they haven’t really done many club gigs. Don Bronze explains, “We wanted to make sure we were doing the right thing and getting all the bugs worked out while playing in Orange County. We wanted to do something at the Viper Room about two years ago, but we finally felt the time was right to get up there and play.”

Though Flashback Heart Attack is just now opening the door to the behemoth that is L.A., they actually have a lot of experience playing the region. It goes back to the time before they were an unabashed ‘80s cover band in red leather.

It all started sometime between 2007 and 2008 with a band called The Damn Automatics. An original alternative/punk/rock band formed by Jason (Don Bronze) and a couple members of what is now Flashback Heart Attack. “We put some songs together and did the whole thing up in L.A. and were courted by all the record labels,” says Jason.

“They [record labels] loved the songs – a lot of the songs are on movie soundtracks and stuff like that to this day. Just this last football season, one of our songs “Loser” was picked up by the NFL Network and ran the whole season,” says Jason of their original work. “It’s cool that our original music still has legs, but the industry being what it is now, we decided to go our own way and do it ourselves. So we decided to do the cover band thing and use it as a Trojan Horse to get attention.”

As to why the band stopped being The Damn Automatics and became Flashback Heart Attack, “It was probably because we were at a crossroads with the music industry,” says Jason, “If you didn’t have the right amount of plays on Myspace they [industry execs] thought differently of you. People in the industry were telling us how much they loved our songs, but no one was taking chances. That’s around the same time I had the idea of the red leather suits. That’s how we transitioned.”

You have to credit the guys for taking a creative approach to making it in today’s turbulent music industry. And it seems to be working given the crowds they attract, the private events they book and the rock ‘n roll top brass who join in the fun.

Flashback Heart Attack still has big goals as they continue to move forward in 2015. “We’re just going to keep going and doing our corporate gigs and private parties and club gigs, and eventually we’re looking to sneak our original stuff back in there. When that time comes we’ll have our package put together, where we’ve been able to bring a lot of people out to our shows and play good music, but also have the originals up our sleeve.”

Check out Flashback Heart Attack at the Viper Room Thurs., March 26 to catch all the ‘80s rock and new wave hits you love. You never know who will show up.

Doors open at 8 p.m.
The Viper Room is located at: 8852 West Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069 http://www.viperroom.com/

To find out more and stay up to date, visit http://www.flashbackheartattack.com/

David Rosales Of David & Olivia Takes New Solo EP On Tour

David Rosales

David Rosales plays Saint Rocke Oct. 8
Photo by: Dori Savino Lawrence

Singer-songwriter David Rosales, who is also known for being half of popular local Americana duo David and Olivia, will be playing his solo music with his own band at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach Oct. 8 opening for Dustbowl Revival.

Rosales is the youngest of eight children and recalls music always being played around his home from his father’s love of big band era hits, his mom’s love of country radio and his older siblings blasting rock when their friends were around. After college, he was the lead singer of an LA hard rock band called Silent Treatment, which came to end at the same time the band members were turning 30.

“When I was in Silent Treatment, I was writing songs about death, sex, partying and girls cause that is what you write about in your 20s,” explains Rosales. “But when the band broke up I couldn’t stop writing music, it was just about more mature topics like love and emotions I was not comfortable with before. So once I had some of these new songs, I went into the studio to record them and see where they would go.”

Fall seems to be Rosales’ creative season when he holes himself up at home in Huntington Beach, CA with his wife, Kendra, two year old daughter Amelie, a pen, notebook, and his guitar. After a month of writing and organizing, Rosales comes up for air and begins fine-tuning the songs by playing them in a live audience setting.

“I find that I get really creative and catch a writing bug around the Fall,” explains Rosales, “I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s that I was born around that time, but I just get into this writing groove and settle in with a good batch of songs.”

Rosales spent most of 2013 promoting David and Olivia’s EP, On the Sea, and last year he released his first solo recording, Smile.

“I had seen a girl at a bar in LA and I asked her to play on a few songs on my first solo album, her name was Olivia,” Rosales remarks. “I knew she was the voice I was looking for on one song I had written so I started bringing her along to do gigs and people really responded well to us together.

“I always start out writing songs for the duet, but once I had a few songs written I felt they were better suited for a solo album so I told Olivia I was going to keep the songs for my solo project went into the studio to record my second solo album.”

Rosales’ sophomore solo album was recorded with the help of Night Owl Recorders’ producing partners, musicians and friends, Matt Grundy & Paul Clark (Donavon Frankenreiter). This new EP begins with the first single, “Too Young to Know Better.” With a serene, dream-folk vibe and a touch of country, the track swings into the EP’s up-tempo second single “Slice of Heaven,” featuring an infectious, fun-loving pop hook.

“I write hard rock songs, punk songs, I love song writing,” Rosales says. “My solo works are 100 percent completely me and there are so many facets of me that on this album I have blues songs, rock songs, country tunes, folky tunes. This seven song EP spans a whole sonic spectrum of music and I am really proud of that.”

Rosales just completed a tour playing several shows throughout California, including a special charity benefit with Sea Wolf. After touring through his home state, Rosales will celebrate the official release date of Along The Way with a featured North By North East (NXNE) showcase and Northeastern tour starting in Toronto then Montreal, Quebec and ending in Philadelphia.

“This is my first time on Canadian soil for NXNE, and it is just me and a guitar promoting the new solo album,” said Rosales. “This trip gives my wife and daughter an opportunity to join me on tour, which I am also really excited about. Otherwise I would be sitting alone drinking at a bar before and after my shows.”

For updates on Rosales’ tour or to purchase any of his solo or duo releases visit his website at www.DavidRosalesMusic.com.

Local Band Roah Summit Play First Show In Costa Mesa

Roah Summit

Roah Summit play the Shop Sept 19

Roah Summit is a local band from Costa Mesa formed from a group of friends who shared a passion for music. Catch the group for their first performance at The Shop in Costa Mesa on Fri, Sept. 19.

After a year in the studio producing their first EP Deep Bloom they are ready to take on the Orange County Music scene. OC Concert Guide caught up with the guys from the band to get to some inside on the band.

OCCG: Tell me a little bit about the band and how you met?
RS: Roah Summit is the product of a couple of friends collaborating. Jake had written music with Drew in the past, and had also been the art director for Kevin’s films, so the idea of starting a band made sense as a creative endeavor. After that, everybody else just naturally fell into place. The whole band formed very seamlessly.

OCCG: You are having your record release party this Friday, what are you most excited for?
RS: We’re mostly just excited about having our content out. It’s been such a long process. It will be rewarding to have a finished product and to let people experience the music live.

OCCG: Is there anything you guys do before the show to prep for it?
RS: For this particular show, there has been an enormous amount of preparation; mainly because we want our first show to set the bar for who we are as a band.

OCCG: What was the recording process like for Deep Bloom?
RS: Very long! We’ve spent over a year establishing our musical identity and adjusting the material. One song in particular we decided to re-record completely… Fortunately, we had a lot of talent alongside us the entire way. The great musicians and producers that worked with us on the record made the process a cathartic and rewarding experience.

OCCG: Being a local OC band how do you feel about the current music scene out here?
RS: It’s pretty great. A wealth of interesting and creative music has come out of the Orange County area, and we’re friends with some incredibly talented artists around here. We’re definitely proud to be a part of it all.

OCCG: What’s your favorite local spot to catch a good show?
RS: There are some radical venues around town, especially in the Costa Mesa area. For a well-produced concert close to home, there is The Observatory/Constellation Room. But for more intimate spaces with a cool atmosphere, Wayfarer and Casa are favorites.

OCCG: How often does the band get together to practice or write?
RS: We get together formally a few times a week. But half of us live together, so we’re always hanging out.

OCCG: Now that you are releasing your newest record, what’s next for you guys?
RS: You can expect to see Roah Summit playing live across Southern California throughout the fall. On top of that, we’re shooting a music video for “Secrets” in January, and have already started writing and getting ready for the full length that is coming out summer 2015.

Annie McQueen Glams Up Country At Bluff Park

Annie McQueen

Annie McQueen plays Dana Point’s Music In The Park series at Bluff Park Aug. 21

Annie McQueen is a local OC country girl with a spunky sense of fashion and an angelic voice to go with it. You can catch McQueen’s country act with Summer Watson on Thurs, Aug. 21 at Bluff Park in Dana Point from 6 to 8 p.m.

No stranger to the local music scene Annie plays shows all over Orange County with fellow local musicians. McQueen’s participation in the Orange County Music awards and KROQ concert series proves her love and dedication to her local music.

McQueen’s back up band has a country feel like no other, that blends so well with her soft angelic voice that gives McQueen her distinct sound. McQueen is a showstopper to say the least. McQueen has the whole package with a great sense of style and awe to go with her vibrant upbeat shows.

OC Concert Guide caught up with Annie to see how she got started and her musical connections to other local OC artist.

OCCG: When did you decide music was your calling?
AM: I’ve done some type of musical activity for as long as I can remember. I started in musical theatre when I was around 5 then eventually realized later how much I hated acting. I was completely annoyed by it. I started writing songs and learned to play drums and formed a chick band in high school with some friends. I played drums and sang lead and did that for about 5 years. After some time away from music I bought an Autoharp and began writing again. I met Jonathan O’Brien through a friend by chance one day and ended up sending him some songs and started recording with him shortly after that.

OCCG: You have a beautiful voice, that is a bit different for Country but you manage to make it sound great. How do you think your music stands out from your typical Country band?
AM: I think while my passion has kinda always been country music, I work with a lot of people that come from a more Americana/Indie background, so I am a product of that combination of styles. Vocally, I tend to go back and forth from wanting to scream my head off or making people cry. I love the power and the softness. I could never pick one.

OCCG: What is one song that you have written that has been most meaningful to you and what was it about?
AM: I tend to go back and forth depending on the mood I’m in at the time and what I really feel excited to sing, but “Burned” and “Take Me Home” probably mean the most to me. Two completely different style songs that deal with the same issue of self-destructiveness and making the same mistakes over and over. Like, the “what the hell am I doing and what is wrong with me” moments of my life. Those songs are almost embarrassingly honest, but definitely my favorite.

OCCG: As a musician, how do you build your fan base?
AM: At this point when you’re not really sure if you have fans or not, I think it’s just important to genuinely connect with anyone who even listens to you. More like buds than fans. I’ll get emails from a girl I don’t know who find some kind of comfort in one of my songs and that just kills me. That’s the whole point and I’m just so grateful whenever that connection is made.

OCCG: You have an amazing backing band, how did you meet them?
AM: I’ve had nothing but amazing backing bands over the last few years. Literally the best of the best I’m very very lucky. My current band is kinda a combination of two of my personal favorite local bands. I started playing with Steve Maggiora, Nicky Phakpiseth and Andrew Espantman from Robert Jon & The Wreck when they played for me last year at SXSW in Austin, TX. It was so last minute we never even rehearsed and they just nailed it. They are the most incredible musicians I thank my lucky stars daily for them. I met Ian Cullen from Jeramiah Red shortly after and we became really fast friends and eventually started writing together. We wrote my last EP “This Is What I Wore Last Night” together and I just made him start playing with us. I love my super band so much.

OCCG: What is your favorite place to play in the local area?
AM: House of Blues and Constellation Room @ The Observatory. Great sound and dressing rooms. I like to glam it up and it’s really hard when I have to do it in the bathroom of the bar I’m playing in. But man, I do miss Detroit Bar.

OCCG: Who has been your biggest influence in your musical career?
AM: I’ve been mostly inspired by babes with a voice that just cuts right through you; Dolly, Alison Krauss, Janis, Stevie. I grew up wanting to be in the Dixie Chicks so bad. Natalie Maines is my spirit animal. However now I feel like I’m way more influenced by the people around me, people I meet or write with. My band is so great I just wanna be better for them. I see my friends in other bands killing it and I wanna work harder. There is so much talent around here that you have to take advantage of the drive it gives you.

OCCG: What inspires you to write the most?
AM: Everyone has their own style or method, but I write best in the heat of the moment. Usually moments involving me being real pissed off or over everything. I just can’t write when I’m happy. I’ve tried, it’s awkward. The songs I’m working on right now are kinda brutal I almost feel bad for the people they are about.

OCCG: What’s next for Annie McQueen?
AM: Right now I just wanna focus on writing really good songs, collaborating with new people and playing shows I’ve never played before. It’s been a pretty low key summer so I’m really excited to record with Jon in the fall, throw on some fur and get back at it.

Daniel Bonte and the Bona Fide Hits The OC Fairgrounds

Daniel Bonte

Daniel Bonte and the Bona Fide play the Hanger Stage at the OC Fair July 12

Daniel Bonte and the Bona Fide is a local OC country band from Costa Mesa, made up of six members who have the heart and rhythm for country and remain loyal to its roots. Get your best boots ready for the group to take over the Hanger stage at the OC Fairgrounds 11:30 a.m. this Sat, July 12.

The Bona Fide are emerging from the local country music scene, working hard to bring original Country back to California. Their newest project, California Country Nights proves to be successful taking place at Big’s Bar and Grill in Fullerton every Friday night.

Daniel Bonte and The Bona Fide have just what it takes to satisfy your country needs. With Daniel’s raspy smooth voice, Steven’s subtle baritone guitar, Billy’s guitar hooks, and Chris’s slide guitar riffs placed just right in the mix, Jeff’s drumming and Mark’s bass playing falls right into place keeping this country bands sound loose yet fulfilling.

OC Concert Guide got to talk to Daniel Bonte to see what he’s doing to help bring country back into Orange County.

OCCG: You are having a residency at BIGS in Fullerton, who are some bands that will be playing with you?
DB: We’re essentially having a long term, good ol’ fashioned barn raisin’ to build a stronger platform for California Country music. In order to do that we’ve teamed up with Ry Bradley, Alice Wallace, Bo Renaud Band, Lazy Brad Lewis, The Freight Shakers, and a bunch of other local rednecks to put on a killer concert series. BIGS is going to be the cozy home for original, quality country music.

OCCG: What is your opinion on mainstream country music?
DB: The title of my EP comes to mind when I listen to mainstream country, Enough! I think it’s lost its true identity. I’m disappointed in the songwriters mostly for wondering too far down the path of pop music, and not staying true to the foundation of country music, which is telling stories and tradition. I understand the artists have to make money, but there are only so many scenarios you can shove down people’s throats about dirt roads, Dixie cups, tan legs, and trucks. Bottom line, I expect more than what we’re getting.

OCCG: What are some local country bands we should be looking out for?
DB: We’re making great friends with lots hell raisers like The Outriders, Just Dave Band, Annie McQueen, and all the bands featured in our California Country nights. Just like the reggae, indie, punk and metal genres all have their scene, we have our own community, which we want to amplify and support.

OCCG: What inspired you to start play country music?
DB: The stories I grew up listening to which played loudly on Saturday nights at The American Legion in Fishers, IN. I learned how to dance to a country song. I had my first kiss to a country song. The first song I cranked up in my $900 87’ Lincoln Town car cruising around was a damn country song. It’s real, tangible music that taught me about life, inspired me to have pride in where I come from, and shaped who I am today. You don’t have to grow up in the heartland to relate to country music, you just have to slow down and listen.

OCCG: Being a local OC musician, what has been your favorite venue to play at?
DB: We had a kickass time at House of Blues, and we’re looking forward to the Honda Center.

OCCG: How would you say your style of Country music is different?
DB: Well, it’s Bona Fide! There is a battle in country music between Traditional vs. New Country, and we fit right in between. We’re proud to have our own sound, and that’s inspired by our love for country, blues, rock, soul, and music that makes you feel something. Each member of the Bona Fide has his or her own influences, and it’s made the writing process a blast. We love when someone tells us after hearing/watching us perform, “I don’t normally listen to country music but really like you guys!” We’ve got something for everyone who’s willing to listen.

OCCG: Where was your EP/latest song recorded?
DB: We recorded at Station House Studios in Echo Park with the talented Mark Rains, and his dog “Darkness.”

OCCG: How does the band write their music?
DB: With the help of Jack Daniels, crazy women and the heartfelt ideas we come up with. Our songs will usually stem from a hook, riff, phrase or melody one of us has been unable to get out of our head. Chris (guitar) always comes up with tasty riff’s to work with, and Billy (guitar) has a firm grasp on catchy hooks. Mark (bass) helps organize thoughts and prevent fisticuffs, whereas Daniel (vocals) will test everyone’s patience and rewrite until its right. It always helps having a talented drummer and backing vocalist to share thoughts and give feedback too! We start off with a vision for the song, and then let go of the wheel till we get where we want to be.

OCCG: What is the ultimate goal of the band? Are you planning on attending SXSW next year or any Nashville plans?
DB: To keep writing quality music that inspires people to connect with us, open for some national acts, and play a hell of a lot more shows. We’re definitely going to submit for SXSW 2015, and we plan on making our way to Nashville in August to turn some heads. We’ve got a big summer ahead of us including studio time and a music video. We’ll be headlining a country cruise in October through the Panama Canal, and we’re only moving up from there.

OCCG: What can we expect from the Band at a show?
DB: A declaration of recklessness, and an invitation to let loose and get Bona Fide. The only thing you CAN expect is to get slightly intoxicated, and whether that is on whiskey or our tunes, we’ll be right there with you.

Keep posted on all of Daniel Bonte and the Bona Fide up coming shows and California country nights visit http://www.danielbonte.com.