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Jul 31st
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Love Your Local Band

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Steven Graves

Steven Graves

Local singer-songwriter Steven Graves was a land management consultant in Southern California for almost 25 years before he retired in 2011 to pursue a full-time music career. The switch has been gratifying for him. “When you have a career doing something you’re passionate about that you feel has meaning, then that’s very satisfying,” Graves says. “Not everybody can do that, so I am grateful I’m able to.” And Graves is not the only one.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Sean Ryan Duo

Sean Ryan Duo

There are plenty of guitarists, bassists, keyboardists and singers who will tell you that music is the only thing they could ever see themselves doing. But for Sean Ryan, music is just about the only thing he has ever done—literally. At 25 years old, Ryan has more experience working as a professional musician than many of his contemporaries will have by their mid-30s. He began drumming for his father's smooth jazz trio when he was 11, squeezing in home-school lessons in between gigs at clubs, private parties, weddings and restaurants.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

The Subtle Tease

The Subtle Tease

Nothing stays the same, for better or for worse. It's something that Jon Banda, frontman for The Subtle Tease, thinks about often. Just before the alternative indie rock/electronica quartet from Watsonville formed in 2009, Banda was in a dark place. “I was totally secluded and really having a hard time getting through a couple things,” he says. Serendipitously, Banda bumped into an old friend from Watsonville High School, bassist Clay Alves, and the first thing Alves asked him was if he was still playing guitar.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Eliquate

Eliquate

When Elliot Wright was attending UC Santa Cruz in 2006, he would show up at parties, plug his iPod into a sound system and rock the microphone. “When I moved to Santa Cruz I found so many amazing musicians that I realized I had to step up my game,” says Wright. That solo act evolved into Eliquate, a five-member hip-hop outfit featuring Jamie Schnetzler (guitar), Cosmo Stevens (bass), Dan Wells (drums) and Tanner Christiansen (samples, keys, percussion).

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Requiem for the Dead

Requiem for the Dead

Combine the take-no-prisoners attitude of hardcore metal and the raw intensity of a symphony orchestra, and you’ve got Requiem for the Dead, a band that speaks to the macabre with a dark eeriness that would make Tim Burton squeal with glee. The band, led by Santa Cruz native Steve Juliano, the former frontman for the world-touring metal band I Am Ghost, emerged locally in 2011. Juliano walked away from I Am Ghost, despite the band’s immense popularity, because, he says, all of the fun was being sucked out of the project by the overwhelming demands of business and ceaseless touring schedule.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Head Casket

Head Casket

For the three members of local horror-punk group Head Casket, there's nothing to fear about zombies. In fact, singer and guitarist Rick Deschamp, bassist Brendan Brose, and drummer Nicole Hatchet all seem pretty comfortable with the idea of hanging out with the undead. "Zombies aren't scary," Deschamp says. "They're awesome." Elaborating on why he and his bandmates are drawn to the reanimated, the singer explains, "It's one of those things in pop culture that really never goes away. Zombies have been around for years—no matter what, they'll always be a part of our culture."

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Sista Monica

Sista Monica

For two decades, Santa Cruz soul, blues and gospel singer Sista Monica Parker has drawn musical inspiration from her experiences in love and lust, and the pains of leaving and letting go. Those are hard facts of life that passionate people can always relate to, Parker admits with a laugh. “And that's the kind of music that always seems to feed my soul,” she says. To celebrate her 20 years of performing, Parker will sing at a concert called “Acoustic Honey” on Saturday, along with a four-piece band at Kuumbwa Jazz.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Amee Chapman & The Velvet Tumbleweeds

Amee Chapman & The Velvet Tumbleweeds

Raising a family, working multiple jobs and making music isn't an easy lifestyle—some days it has Amee Chapman feeling worn down. But expressing that struggle in her music helps her pull everything back to center. On the title track of her new album, Grace is Hell to Keep, which she recorded with her band, The Velvet Tumbleweeds, Chapman conveys some of those feelings through a slow ballad about a musician who tries to present a positive, manicured appearance, but actually feels torn to pieces. “It tells the story of how you can push through something and try to be polished all the time, but it's just not possible,” she says.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Pure Roots

Pure Roots

With a booming three-piece horn section and positive vibes, Santa Cruz-based roots reggae outfit Pure Roots strives to bring audiences to higher levels of positive consciousness and to the dance floor. Though the band formed in 2007, 23-year-old founder Jeff Allgrove admits that 2012 was a breakthrough year for Pure Roots. Over the course of the year, the band completed a seven-city tour with Daniel "Bambaata" Marley—the grandson of Bob Marley—and shared the stage with artists such as Black Uhuru and Don Carlos, in addition to performing at the annual Monterey Bay Reggaefest.

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Music - Love Your Local Band

Something Collective

Something Collective

Strip away the religious ramifications of reggae music and it comes down to love and respect for all things. This is the starting block for Luke Kinney, guitarist, lead vocalist and founder of Something Collective, a 10-piece roots reggae band, featuring three horns, keyboards, percussionists, a drummer, bassist and guitarists, that has been performing since 2011. “We have multiple musicians if somebody cannot make a show; I have people on standby that know all the songs,” Kinney exclaims.

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