California Redemption was born in the summer of 2001. At that time, I was in a band called Mute, a pop punk style garage band that experienced small success in my hometown. It was the end of my first semester in college and I was sitting with my friend Alon in his mom’s Yukon. We were waiting for our next classes, listening to Agnostic Front. While I was sitting there listening, I began to think “why isn’t my band this rad?” (Funny, cause I don’t even really like Agnostic Front very much.) Long story short, the music Mute was putting out definitely left something to be desired, so I departed to find something more fulfilling. Mute broke up right after I left.
After spending summer listening to Propagandhi and brainstorming lists of potential co-conspirators, I made up my mind. I called up two of my ex-mates from Mute, Keegan and Doug. I had been telling them I didn’t want to do anything musically for the past couple months, but now I asked them not to start a new band, but just hang out and jam Bad Religion songs. We didn’t have a singer, but I had someone in mind. I called up Alon, who despite lack of singing experience, was obsessed with Bad Religion and was super stoked on the idea of being in a band.
The whole time I knew I wanted to start a real band with these guys and eventually we just started doing things. Our first song, “Dor Shalem Doresh Shalom”, was actually written while I was still in Mute. Keegan and I started writing more material and Alon and I worked on lyrics in class. We played one show with our set consisting of nothing but Bad Religion covers. Shortly afterwards, we recorded an 8 song demo of our originals and started trying to plan a first show.
By then it was the summer of 2002 and Ill Repute was doing a small California Tour. Naturally, Alon, our friend Matt and I set out to follow them. Keegan stayed home and we got Chuck from Good Riddance on videotape telling Keegan he was a loser for doing so. We had never really met the guys from Ill Repute before, but they definitely saw something in us, if for no other reason than the fact that we were following them like idiots. We eventually let slip that we were in a new band and were looking for a show. Without even asking to hear our demo, Tony Cortez offered us a spot on a day-after-Christmas show with Ill Repute, Dr. Know, and the Nardcore All-stars. We immediately accepted and went to the bathroom to change our pants.
Before that first show we made a decision: that no matter how many people were there and no matter how the crowd was responding, to play like we had 30 minutes left to live and never stop making asses of ourselves. We’ve pretty much stuck to that ever since. That first show was good for us. I’m still not sure what anyone in the crowd thought of us, but the other bands seemed to dig us. That was the beginning of us getting into the Nardcore scene and our weird relationship with Ill Repute.
We played for about a year more before we were able to record an actual record. In the meantime, we demoed two more tracks on our own and threw them up online. Eventually we scraped our resources together and went into the “studio”. Unfortunately, by “studio” I mean a falling apart house that, while it had no air-conditioning or clean water, had piles of used porno and beer cans. The engineer there was very alternately friendly and just plain creepy, sharing stories of his escapades with “girls with fake titties” and collecting his tobacco spit in an Arizona Ice Tea bottle. We put ten of our demoed songs on there and one brand new tune. We titled it “This Time It’s For Money”, because…seriously, it was basically the same thing as our free demo, except this time, we were going to charge for it (Though, honestly we’ve never been very good about remembering to ask people for money after giving them our merch). We released that record in 2004, about a year after we recorded it.
This whole time we’d been playing shows all over. We played whatever we could get whenever we could. We made a lot of people happy in Ventura/Oxnard and Santa Clarita and those are still our favorite places to play. Eventually, we started playing in Simi Valley more and met a band called Start the Panic. Not a bad bunch of dudes. They operated in a different area of the punk rock spectrum than we did, so we thought it was cool when we played together. It mixed crowds and brought a lot of different types of people into one room. That’s something we’ve been trying to do for a while. Anyways, we eventually got the idea to do a split. If you ask me, the inspiration was probably the Good Riddance/Kill Your Idols split, cause that was pretty much the raddest split ever.
This time we went into our friend Will’s personal studio. We knew Will from way back in the Mute days and he was funnier than shit. We recorded five new and much more fluid songs. We thought the split rocked. We did a couple shows with the Start The Panic for the release. Then they broke up.
It had been probably five years since the band started and an idea I had been toying with for sometime finally ended up on the table. We were all happy with the band, but thought that we could use a fuller live sound. “Second guitarist?” Unfortunately, I don’t work well with others, so I’d been avoiding that question for a while. Then it hit me in the face. Our friend Joe, who’s ex-band POS had played with CaRe like crazy before their demise, was the perfect candidate. He hung out with us so much and came to so many of our shows that it was as if he was already in the band. It was a pretty painless addition which we haven’t regretted for a second.
At about that same time we returned to Will’s studio to record songs for a 7” record. While we had just added Joe to the fold, I decided to keep things simple and record all the guitars for that record on my own. Originally, the 7” was going to be put out by AWOL records, but after that label went under we were on our own for a bit until Deadlamb records hit us up and decided to release it for us.
However, before we could have an official release Keegan took off for Australia. By the time he got back six months later things were a lot different. Doug, who had finished school and started a career before Keegan left, was now ready to take his professional life seriously. He decided that he wouldn’t be able to both continue with California Redemption and pursue his career full-time. He left on good terms and we pretty much seamlessly inducted our friend Will into the CaRe family. Just like with Joe, this was extremely easy given how much we hung out with Will already.
Stay tuned for the official release shows for our new 7” “Do Not Resuscitate”. We look forward to seeing all our friends again.