Celebrating its 11th anniversary, the OC Music Awards kicks off on January 3rd with seven weeks of free showcases at different venues across the county. 35 local artists will compete for the titles of Best Live Band or Best Live Acoustic and a performance slot at the 2012 OC Music Awards, March 3 at the Grove of Anaheim. And, the voting is open now!
[pullquote quote=”Our music is very heavy; it has a bite…But also, we do songs and stuff where you can groove and sip on something nice, like smooth…I think we’d be closer to a whiskey.” credit=”Travis Ruiz about Jeramiah Red’s sound”]Much like one of their strongest musical influences, [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Raconteurs [/lastfm](who are self-described as a “new band made up of old friends”), Jeramiah Red define their artistic collaboration as a “camaraderie” that unofficially started at different times in their lives–whether that be through school, through work, or through other bands that weren’t satisfying their musical expression authentically.
After vocalist Wes Dickson and bassist Tim Miller spent time in a punk rock outfit, they bonded with drummer Matt Pleskacz, percussionist and harmonica player Travis Ruiz, and guitarist Ian Cullen over their mutual love for the sex-slathered, meaty guitar riff sounds of [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Dead Weather[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Raconteurs[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Led Zeppelin[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Rolling Stones[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Black Keys[/lastfm], older [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Kings of Leon[/lastfm], and gritty Americana blues.
A sound not only radically different from the punk rock sound Dickson and Miller were used to playing but the poppy “[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Jack Johnson[/lastfm]-like” surf rock with a “[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Shwayze[/lastfm] kind of thing” that Pleskacz, Ruiz, and Cullen were used to playing.
Although, for the record, the Shwayze reference is a point of contention amongst band mates.
[pullquote quote=”I started playing punk rock music and thought, ‘Yeah. I want to be a musician. I don’t care if I’m going to be poor…This is what I want to do.'” credit=”Dickson”]It is both these vastly different musical experiences and their individual moments of musical epiphany that have brought Jeramiah Red together to write songs about “relationships,” whether they be with a girl, a friend, a critical (or in Pleskacz’ case, encouraging) parent, an establishment, or strangers in the audience who know all the words to their songs.
Oh, and a teenage distaste for sports.
“I was like 16. And I said, ‘I hate sports. I don’t want to play sports anymore.’ I got sick of sports. I hated high school,” Dickson explained. “It was right when I became a punker. Anti-establishment came into me…I started playing punk rock music and thought, ‘Yeah. I want to be a musician. I don’t care if I’m going to be poor…This is what I want to do.'”
Both Cullen and Pleskacz followed a similar path; both were urged to play classical piano.
Pleskacz, who said he knew from when he was a “fetus” that he wanted to play music, showed a dislike for piano, his mother told him that she wanted him to stay in music and to pick any other instrument. Pleskacz chose the drums which, as an adult, he deems as a precious release from the mundanity of materialistic struggle.