Bang!!!, a new band formed by General Public's Dave Wakeling and twomembers of Standing Hawthorn, is seeking to make an onomatopoeic first impression as it plays its first round of concerts in the area, including a show Oct. 21 at Costa Mesa's Empire Ballroom, 640 W. 17th St.
Wakeling, the transplanted Briton who now lives in Dana Point, says Bang!!! is a side project to the still-going General Public, which is soldiering on despite the failure of its recent comeback album, "Rub It Better," to catch commercial fire.
General Public's future is a bit iffy, though, Wakeling adds, as its label, Epic, hasn't said whether it wants to exercise an option for another album. Bang!!! could turn into a full-time project if General Public, in which Wakeling shares the spotlight with his old mate Ranking Roger, goes on hold.
Bang!!! features Chris Karn, the Standing Hawthorn guitarist who jumped to General Public earlier this year. It plays a mixture of ska, punk and reggae, Wakeling says, with an approach that is "stripped down and punchy." Wakeling reports favorably on Karn's maiden round of touring with General Public: The talented young ax man from O.C. stuck mainly to tracing parts recorded by other players until the "last 10 days of shows [when] I said, 'Just play what's in your mind.' He started getting standing ovations at the ends of songs."
The other Bang!!!ers are drummer Stoner Peterson, who played behind Karn in Standing Hawthorn, and bassist Alan Christy, formerly of the local reggae band On Root.
The Chantays will make their first national TV appearance in more than 30 years today when they play "Pipeline" and other instrumental surf-rock nuggets on ABC's "The Mike and Maty Show" at 10 a.m. on Channel 7. The Orange County band's last big TV gig was on the "Lawrence Welk Show" in the early '60s.
After playing lower-profile gigs for the past year or so, former Dramarama singer-songwriter John Easdale has returned to the showcase club spotlight. He headlined Friday at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano and is due back within range of the record industry's gaze Oct. 25, when he plays the Troubadour in West Hollywood.
His new band features his old Dramarama sidekick Mark Englert on lead guitar, along with rhythm guitarist Craig Ballam, bassist Charles Bernao and drummer Tony Snow. Most of their set list consists of Easdale's new, post-Dramarama songs.
"It's still more of a hobby for me than a career thing these days," says Easdale, a La Habra resident who is busily engaged in raising his four small daughters. But he has taped demo versions of some of his new material, and he expects to be scouted at the Troubadour.
He also can be heard covering "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" on a long (19 tracks' worth) cool new Hollies tribute album, "Sing Hollies in Reverse," available on the local eggBERT label. The Posies, the Loud Family, Steve Wynn, Mitch Easter, E, Tommy Keene and Material Issue are among the others contributing to "Sing Hollies"--a higher-profile bunch than on eggBERT's excellent 1994 Bee Gees tribute "Melody Fair." The label's mailing address is P.O. Box 10022, Fullerton 92635.
Dramarama fans can also look to the Oct. 24 CD release of the band's first two albums, "Cinema Verite" and "Box Office Bomb," on Rhino Records. Each will come with a bonus selection of demo versions and rarities.
Aversion, one of Orange County's speediest and angriest thrash-metal bands, has broken up and its founding member is now setting his sights on more-amiable sounds.
Aversion "was done. We all wanted to do different things," says guitarist Dash, who launched the band in 1987. Its creative engine came to be Dash's partnership with singer Christian Fuhrer, who joined about a year later. Together, they released three albums on the Restless and Doctor Dream labels from 1990 to 1995.
Aversion was also hurt by changing tastes.
"The genre was done," Dash says. "The metal road's a dead end, and we got to where it didn't make any difference what we did."
In the two months since the band broke up, Dash has written an album's worth of material for his new band, New Day Rising (named after a Husker Du album that gave him a lift when he was feeling low, around the time of Aversion's breakup).
The songs on the Husker Du album "are aggressive, but [with] a hopeful type of inspiration," Dash says, noting that those are the qualities he aims to carry over into his new band.
"Instead of just showing the negative and the mean and the ugly part of my personality, I'm showing other parts of my personality that other people might find more amicable," he says with a laugh, adding that his new music alternates between various shadings of punk rock and instrumental surf music, played on acoustic and electric guitars.
Joining Dash, who lives in Huntington Beach, is Aversion's bassist, Jason Johnson; the two are auditioning drummers.
Fuhrer, also of Huntington Beach, says he is between bands and that like Dash he is eager for a change from Aversion's thrashing approach--something that will involve "a little less of the yelling-type stuff."