Asher Garber's Top 10 Room 710 Touring Bands
Asher Garber was born and mostly raised in the Valley. He saw "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" during its first weekend run at the Pacific 4 in the Sherman Oaks Galleria. An alum of Oakwood High in NoHo and UCSB, Asher eventually moved to Austin, TX where he owns and operates Room 710, one of the original Red River rock clubs, all while desperately trying hard to actually finish his first real live, no-shit-I’ve-got-one, book.
Because Asher sees hundreds of bands live each year in one of the best clubs of one of the best towns for new music, we asked him to give us his list of top ten touring bands that have come through his club and who LA should be checking out:
Asher Garber's Top 10 710 Touring Bands
1. Tia Carrera -- Really brings in a whole Band of Gypsies feel, but nobody here is strung out on heroin and mad at their label and only doing the gig because of a contract. Jason Morales (guitar) just had a baby, and now that he's discovering how much he wants to be a dad, the band has been doing some in town gigging after a self-imposed break. Their last tour led them to CMJ in NYC, where they make all of that processed salsa that everyone in San Antonio knows is full of shit.
2. Dixie Witch -- Unfortunately, this being Texas and all, sometimes it's hard for three longhaired guys driving in a van across the state. More unfortunately, the Dixie Witch crew were pulled over and had to spend the night in some shittown and missed the Southern California portion of their last tour. But they'll be back. Trinidad Leal (drums) works door for me, so don't you give him any crap.
3. Captured! By Robots -- Based in San Francisco, Captured! is one man-- J. Bot-- and a ragtag crew of animatronic robots who play death metal and give him lots of shit on stage. Because robots are better than people, OK? Last year, he performed for us twice. The Wedding Show, in which J. (which I think stands for Jew) dressed as a rabbi and wedded willing partners, and his Greatest Hits Extravaganza, which is His Greatest Hits. Not that he's a nerd, but J. and the fellas have recorded a tribute to Star Trek.
4. Pong -- These guys don't tour because they are all old, not good looking, have no real stamina, and one of them (Larry Strub) just had a baby. Still, they're playing at 710 tomorrow night, and so I'm putting on the voodoo juju vibe. The core of Pong made up the early-90s punk band Ed Hall, who used to do a lot of Midwest touring. Sounding a lot like the name of the game connotes, they are also deeply political and philosophical in a let's-sing-a-song-about-a-Big-Mac sort of way. Jason Craig (guitar, backup vocals) is my soundman and head of the 710 booking crew, and one of the finest guitarists in town.
5. Stinking Lizavetta -- I hate to say it, but 2006 is the last time Stinking Lizavetta will probably play at Room 710, and that really sucks, because they really kick ass. Out on the road most of the year, they're Greek, all in their 40s (I think) and their lady will kick your butt down the street and back. Too bad they're hooked up with Tone Deaf touring, because one of those guys sent me a coke induced letter deriding me for not paying a shitload of cash to a local band who most definitely need the services of a self-important touring manager.
6. The Suplecs -- Hailing from New Orleans, the trio had a real hard time over the past 15 months. Katrina ripped up their lives, took some family members, and put the three on hiatus. But they are now back, and had their first tour about 3 months ago. Considered stoner rock, they shake the house, and it's always a rebel rousing occurrence whenever they cut through town.
7. (the Lord Weird) Slough Feg -- Also based in San Francisco, Slough Feg is Metal for the D&D freak in your life. Folk Metal is what it's called bringing to mind a shire of headbanging hobbits. Mike Scalzi (lead guitar, vocals) is also the driving force behind Hammers of Misfortune, and is a real swell guy. They're touring coincided with the 2006 Room 710 Anniversary Weekend, and it could happen just like that again.
8. The Sword -- Easily Austin's most controversial band for being real good at ripping off Black Sabbath. Everybody does it, but nobody does it that well, and gets to go on tour with Nebula and Stinking Lizaveta. Also considered Pretty Boy Doom Rock, they are young, creative, and hopefully will play at my bar soon.
9 &10. And two other Room 710 bands that will hopefully hit the road at some point based on their actions of 2006. New Disaster are a bunch of snarly guys who time and again, no matter the Red River venue, put on a good, well attended show, and Blackholicus which has been called light metal who is fronted by a short girl and her big guitar. Both made great strides this year in Austin rock, and they might be coming to a town near the Pacific Ocean, north of San Diego and not quite the Central Coast sometime in the not too distant future.