“I’ll play anywhere. I’ll play your fucking bathroom, if I have to,” says Andrew Solis, guitarist and founding member of L.A. hardcore quartet Deadbeat, who open for Eyehategod, Power Trip, and Iron Reagan at Los Globos tonight.
That attitude has garnered Deadbeat a lot of success in a relatively short period of time. Since the band’s inception last year, things have moved at lightning speed for Deadbeat, in no small part due to the release of their masterfully crafted self-titled demo, which landed them on L.A. Weekly’s Best of L.A. list.
“I recorded the whole thing,” says drummer Nick Townsend, who works as an assistant vinyl-mastering engineer at Infrasonic Sound in Echo Park. “Punk or not, there’s no point in recording anything if you’re not invested in how it sounds. Our demo is brutal as hell, but you can still hear everything going on.”
Deadbeat — guitarist Solis, bassist Daniel Bowen and brothers Nick and Josh Townsend on drums and vocals, respectively — has a sound that sets them apart from their Southern California peers on the DIY hardcore scene. Instead of producing the West Coast's more typical velocity-focused, powerviolence-inspired tunes, Deadbeat’s sound is continentally inflected, trading in frenetic bursts of distortion for grimy, Discharge-fueled brutal hardcore with riffs that smack of heavy metallic fury.
The Townsend brothers are veterans of the Southern California punk and hardcore scene. Nick has played with Knife Fight as well as Ventura death rockers Catholic Spit, touring Europe, Japan, and Australia in the past. Josh most recently played bass in now-defunct Long Beach hardcore act Stoic Violence, but his transition to frontman has been seamless.
When Deadbeat plays live, Josh is the tip of the spear. A lot of vocalists stand back or to the side during floor shows, where the boundaries between audience and band cease to exist, but Josh thrives in the midst of that tornado of fists and flailing limbs. In sharp contrast to his quiet demeanor in conversation, when performing he’s a vicious pit bull fronting a brutal machine.
The members agree that living in 21st century Southern California has shaped the band’s aggressive vibe; the struggle to make ends meet is a serious influence on their music. All four pay rent to live at home with their families and work full-time jobs in addition to the demands of the band. Often, it's a struggle.
“They’re about daily life, things that upset me, things that get on my nerves. It’s mostly about hate, because that’s what really drives me, I guess,” Josh muses about his lyrics. “It’s kind of a really hateful demo, if you read the lyrics.”
“It’s hate from the side of where we’re at in life,” Nick explains. “Being in your early twenties, making no money. Not being able to do what you want, and hating it.”
Despite the challenges, Deadbeat plans to record a full-length album within the next year. There’s also talk of doing a tour of Northern California, Nevada, and Arizona.
“The amount of shows that we get offered is actually pretty overwhelming,” says Nick. “We can’t do them all, but it’s really cool. It’s weird being in a band where you go from not being able to get any shows to getting so many shows.”
“People don’t really know what box to put us in, but I love that,” says Daniel. “It means we can play with anyone. That’s what we’re going for. We want to play as many different shows with as many different bands as we can.”
Nick agrees: “As long as there’s five kids there and they’re stoked, I’m down.”