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.
[pullquote quote=”I think it was less about the music we played; it was more the music we listened to. We finally started making music that we actually liked.” credit=”Ruiz”]On the other hand, Cullen was prodded his whole life to become a doctor from his mother. Once he rebelled against classical piano, he satisfied his rock ‘n roll urges with an oft out-of-tune Spanish guitar:
“I think I was probably eight or ten. I’m Asian so my mom’s crazy about piano.” Cullen elucidated. “I remember playing Beethoven and appreciating it, but at the same time not really giving a sh*t because I was only eight or ten and thinking, ‘I want to play rock ‘n roll music. What the hell is this? I don’t want to play this sh*t.'”
To this day, Cullen’s mother still says things like “Don’t bring your guitar in the house. I hate rock music.”
Ruiz explained that instead of meeting in the middle with their musical tastes, Jeramiah Red essentially met on common ground: “I think it was less about the music we played; it was more the music we listened to. We finally started making music that we actually liked.”
The band’s shared musical tastes combined with their respective experience as musicians helped them create a “cool mixture” of what Cullen described as “catchy chorus melodies set to heavier rock ‘n roll music.”
Jeramiah Red’s combination of “catchy choruses,” “camaraderie,” and cutting wit create a genre-bending sonic concoction of ’70s classic rock chord structures with the bluesy, boozey braggadocio of garage rock revivalists like Jack White.
Indeed, even with the dusty swagger of their sound, the band was humble enough to admit the undoubted effects of their influences like White’s “style of heavy riffing.”
In Ruiz’s words, it’s a good day when “people come up to us and say “You bring me back to that ’70s era of Stones. Things are working out the way we want them to work out.”
[pullquote quote=”But right now, I think that we do separate ourselves in the sense that we can write a really poppy song which is not that poppy. And it’s still rock ‘n roll and it’s got blues influences and it’s got classic rock.” credit=”Dickson “]According to the band, what sets them apart is not their uniqueness as musicians, but the diversity of their sound, the “heaviness” of their breakdowns, and their ability to appeal to wide range of people between “12-years-old or 60” through nostalgia or fresh discovery of a new sound in the heavily indie or hard rock scene.
“I would not consider us an extremely unique band in the sense that it’s not been done before. I think most music has been played before,” elaborated Dickson. “But right now, I think that we do separate ourselves in the sense that we can write a really poppy song which is not that poppy. And it’s still rock ‘n roll and it’s got blues influences and it’s got classic rock.”
When asked about the message in their music, someone in the band said, “We sing a lot about drinking,” while another chimed in, “Or maybe we just drink and sing.” Apropos considering the band named themselves after the ale at BJ’s called Jeremiah Red–with a slightly different spelling for search engine purposes of course.
In terms of how their music would “taste” as an alcoholic beverage, the band agrees that they are actually less beer and more whiskey, probably Johnny Walker Black.
“Our music is very heavy; it has a bite,” explained Ruiz. “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.”
The 2012 Showcase Series runs every Tuesday night, January 3 –February 14 with stops at:
Jan 3 – Detroit Bar
Jan 10- The District at Tustin Legacy
Jan 17 - The Slide Bar
Jan 24 –Malones
Jan 31 – Tiki Bar
Feb 7 – The Continental Room
Feb 14 –Constellation Room
Five Showcase Series finalists in each live category will then move on to the Showcase Series Finals.
Feb 24 – Best Live Acoustic Finals
Feb 25 – Best Live band Finals
2012 Best Live Band winner will receive a performance slot on the four Southern Califonia Vans Warped Tour stops!
You have the power to send one Showcase artist to the Best Live Acoustic Finals and Best Live Band Finals.
Cast your vote and enter to win a massive prize pack from the OC Music Awards partners (To be Announced). Voting will begin on December 27 and will be open through the last Showcase on February 14. The votes will be tallied and the band with highest score will automatically move on to their Series Finals! Click here to vote
LEARN MORE AT: OCMUSICAWARDS.COM