Registered Offender might have one of the more controversial names in recent times, and they might only have formed about three months ago, but that hasn’t stopped them from landing a residency at the Whisky that starts on July 4 and takes in every Wednesday of the month.
Main man Dane DeLucchi moved to Los Angeles from Reno, Nevada, in 2014 and has put together a string of bands since then, but nothing stuck until now.
“I never really found the right guys. I went through a lot of different lineups, and now we finally have five dudes that are all on the same page for the sort of mission statement for Registered Offender,” DeLucchi says. “It’s just a band that’s for the people on the fringes of society, who want to see music that’s truthful and introspective. A look at oneself, a look at society, which I think is the responsibility of an artist to do. I’m a little fed up and frustrated with all the music that you hear, Top 40 stuff nowadays, about Chateau Marmont pool parties or Bruno Mars talking about girls being so pretty. We want to be the counterculture to that stuff.”
DeLucchi describes the band’s post-punk sound as like The Doors and David Bowie with the irreverence of Talking Heads, with the added benefit of a multicultural band (there are Mexican, Colombian and Brazilian musicians in the group). There’s no recorded output yet, but there’s a live album on the way. We have to ask, though — where does that band name come from?
“I got offstage and somebody said, ‘Man, I’ve never seen somebody expose themselves like you do,’” says DeLucchi. “I said, ‘If I keep it up in public, then I’m going to have to register as a sex offender.’ Then I said, ‘Wow, that’s a great name that will turn heads.’ I really want to push people’s buttons. I feel like people want to escape when they go to a show. I don’t want people to escape — I want to trap them right there and make them think about themselves. About society and what’s wrong with it. I feel like everywhere I look, I’m being lied to on a daily basis. I don’t think I’m alone, feeling a little fed up with the way things are right now. If you look at the Renaissance, what freed us from the Dark Ages? That was music, arts and culture. It’s a very dangerous thing, music. That’s why it’s being undermined and trivialized so much, because it really does have the power to completely change the world.”
That fundamental, compelling desire to wallow in very real darkness and despair in order to create authentic art is to be admired, and it’s something DeLucchi doesn’t feel is happening enough in L.A. — certainly not in rock & roll.
“I’ve worked at the Viper Room for years, the Rainbow, I’ve had residencies at the Roxy — I’ve been around the music scene,” he says. ‘I haven’t seen anything that really got my rocks off as far as, ‘Wow, fuck, man, these guys are saying something, they’re about something.’ I feel like it’s about getting drunk and getting laid. That’s cool, but that time has come and gone. At least in my mind. I think it’s time to do something revolutionary with music. It’s become an obsession. Sitting every night with a guitar and looking deep into oneself is not a fun thing to do. But it feels like it’s necessary work, something that has to be done right now. An obligation to rattle the cages.”
Though DeLucchi played in a number of bands around town, such as Dane DeLucchi & the Hit Makers and Reno DeLucchi, Registered Offender have so far only played a couple of shows. Both, the frontman says, went well.
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“The people were completely blown away,” he says. “Especially because, when we’re onstage, we don’t say anything. We play the whole set straight through, start to finish, and sort of punch them in the mouth. It’s gone over very well each time. I think people know that they’re looking at something that’s real and unique.”
Registered Offender have about 15 songs in the arsenal, so there’s only so much changing around that they can do. Still, they manage to keep things slightly unpredictable and avoid repeating themselves entirely every week.
“The first show we ever played was the Whisky,” DeLucchi says. “The band that opened for us was two 12-year-old kids playing Green Day covers. Then Ron Jeremy introduced us as Registered Offender. It was something to write home about.”
Registered Offender play at 7 p.m. every Wednesday in July, starting July 4, at the Whisky A Go-Go. Opening bands vary.