Probably one of the most prolific punk bands ever to emerge from the gritty beachside barrios of Carlsbad is New American Mob. The band has captured the hearts and minds of those who dwell within its rabid underground punk scene — where liberty spikes and safety pin fashion reigned supreme. New American Mob has redefined punk music as a whole and called it trashy rock in roll. First exploding on the scene in 1996, when I was a mere freshman in high school, the Mob took all conceptions of punk and turned them on their head.
They had the look of a 1970’s punk band — tight animal print pants, safety pins and bodies covered in tattoos, along with every color of hair imaginable. To an impressionable young high school kid, these guys were rock stars living in my own backyard. But their music certainly wasn’t your typical four-chord thrash. They incorporated 1950s rock ‘n’ roll into their songs, as well as blues and a little glam from bands like New York Dolls. Their influences ranged to 1970s punk legends like the Dead Boys, the Sex Pistols, and New York Dolls. Their sound came fast, gritty, and if you weren’t careful, it’d knock you on the floor if you weren’t ready for it.
Most of the shows they played I didn’t get to see because they mostly played in bars and clubs, all of which were 21 and up. My best friend Armando lived on Roosevelt Street in Carlsbad at the time and knew their drummer Kate pretty well since he was a drummer himself and they lived on the same street. So it was through her that we first got our first introduction to The Mob, as they are also known, by getting handed a demo. Eventually, Armando and I started our own dirty rock ‘n’ roll band, and when I was 16, we booked one of our first shows opening up for The Mob at a bar in Oceanside. The details are a little foggy now but I can remember listening to them playing their set through the doors outside the venue (since underage musicians always get escorted out immediately following your set) and thinking how great this band really was and felt lucky to be a part of it. New American Mob went on to tour with bands like the US Bombs and the Missing Persons, gaining notoriety wherever they went.
Unfortunately, like most really good rock bands, the group disbanded in 1998, just two years after forming. But before they left, they did leave with us one great, unbelievable record called “Liberty” that had anthems like “Shoot Me” and “Mirror Man,” on it — all songs that make you want dance, thrash and drink all night.
Singer Gabey has kept busy by playing with Duane Peters Gunfight, a super band of sorts that boasted former members of US Bombs, Spent Idols (another legendary Carlsbad punk band some of whose members also formed The Mob after a hiatus), as well as New American Mob.
But a new and great thing has happened: The band is back as lead singer Gabey “Goatman” Schiavone, Henry “The Preacher” Trejo on bass, Mordy on drums (who is borrowed from the Whiskey Dicks) and Aaron “Rainman” Meyer on guitar get ready to reclaim what is theirs in the Southern California music scene. The band has a handful of shows coming up in 2009 and I couldn’t be more ready for them. I got a chance to talk with Gabey on the phone as he was heading to a show to play with the Duane Peters Gunfight, where he told me that the Mob reunited about 7 months ago. “Really just for the reason that the time feels right and things are heading into the direction that we were going after back then,” he said.
Their first show will be at the Viper Room in Hollywood on Jan. 5. Following that will be a hometown show that I expect a lot of people will attend Jan. 16 at Hensley’s Flying Elephant in Carlsbad on Tamarack.
The band is also working on a new record, set to be released sometime in 2009. The band has already named a few tracks off the new album — “Amera Go-Go,” “Ten Years Later,” and “What Love?” on their MySpace page. They’ve also rereleased “Liberty” in its entirety, on Diskoid Records.
“We’re shooting for a March release,” Gabey said of the new album. “Our guitarist and bass player are just trimming some of the fat right now on it, getting ready to go in and record the new stuff. It’s going to be a lot like our old stuff but this time a little more rock ‘n’ roll and butt shaking; sort of a Rolling Stones meets Skid Row.”
Look for more to come from New American Mob boys and be sure to catch their Carlsbad show in January. Swing into Spin or Lou’s Records too and pick up a copy of “Liberty.” Trust me, it’s a record any fan of rock ‘n’ roll and legitimate punk has to have.
For more information on New American Mob, visit their MySpace page at www.myspace.com/newamericanmob. For booking info, contact Disaster Artists and Booking.
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Filed Under: Scene and Heard