Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Sep 02nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Kindred Spirits

muaic_TwoGallantsPunk-blues duo, Two Gallants, has been to hell and back
Numerous musicians paint an exaggerated or downright false picture of themselves, through their music, videos and on-stage antics. But when it comes to the romping, stomping, rambling tales of San Francisco drum-and-guitar duo Two Gallants, it would seem that the facts outweigh the fiction.

Though it is difficult to discern which came first—the ballads about hard living on the road, or the experiences themselves—one thing is clear: drummer Tyson Vogel, along with his musical partner in crime, guitarist, vocalist and lyricist, Adam Stephens, both know what it means to be a vagabond.

The duo toured the country multiple times on a shoestring budget before ever releasing a proper album—sleeping in city parks, vans, on strangers’ floors, relying on their wits and the kindness of musicians, club owners and other punk rock kids that they met along the way.

It is because of the group’s initial fast living that Vogel and Stephens took two years off from performing together, according to Vogel.

“As individuals, we both went through some trials over the last couple years,” says Vogel. During their time off, the two rarely talked. “It was very dark in some ways.”

At its peak, the band played close to 200 songs a year for a few years running—a schedule that broke them physically, mentally and spiritually, Vogel says. But now, after a hiatus that saw each band member pursue solo careers, the drummer assures that the two are back on good terms, writing music and gearing up for a tour that will roll through The Crepe Place on Wednesday.

“In the end, we are sort of kin,” Vogel says of the reunion. “I don’t think either of us have a full choice in the matter.”

Speaking in his cigarette-tinged gravel voice, while working the door at a club in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood last month, Vogel explains that he and his lifelong friend and band mate have always shared a lust for adventure.

Vogel and Stephens were born in the same San Francisco hospital, roughly six months apart, and have been playing music together since they were in the fifth grade. They formed Two Gallants after college in late 2001.

As a group, the two draw inspiration from literature—Two Gallants is the name of one of the short stories in James Joyce’s “Dubliners”—and from Appalachian music, American country blues and, going back even further, from the traditional folk songs of Scotland and the United Kingdom.

“All those old songs told a story,” Vogel says. “Those really spoke to us. Perhaps Adam and I can’t help but to pay attention to those stories.”

Two Gallants play a rough-around-the-edges, trail-hardened, raconteur brand of punk-blues. The band’s post-grunge, purposefully disheveled approach, with their clattering drums and drunken, overdriven guitar licks, has a way of tangling into a coherent cacophony. It’s the perfect foundation for Stephens’ warbling, sandpaper voice, which is sometimes broken and fragile, sometimes vengeful and righteous.

Vogel and Stephens are at their best when they are spinning woeful, weary or angry yarns about lost lovers, murder, days spent in jail, long stretches of highway or long nights wasting away “beneath the pool hall lights.”

The strength of the songs they craft, aside from the explosive energy of the instrumentation itself, lies in Stephens’ lyrics, which take great care with details—finding universal truths in nervous ticks and blades of wavering grass. Vogel, who calls Stephens a “very inspired writer,” also finds beauty and meaning in life’s minutia.

“One glance into someone’s face is an impression of many, many days and moments that built that person up to that one moment in time,” Vogel says. “You have to celebrate that.”


Two Gallants play with The Mumlers at 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 22, at The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $15. 429-6994.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

 

Foodie File: Beer Thirty

Cups runneth over at Soquel’s new beer garden

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.