We make no attempt to engage in cultural appropriation of the Dashiki to be fashionable or ironic; or, to promote/perpetuate a pop culture stereotype. Nor do we mean to undermine its status as a sign of Black identity or claim that we understand the black experience. To us, it is as deeply significant as a raised fist: something that was an emblem of the Civil Rights and Black Panther Movements of the 1960s and early 70s; and, today, is a universal, all-inclusive emblem that rejects white supremacy, systematic racism, and police brutality. To us, the 'Angelina print" also represents the untucked counter-culture and a rejection of some Western cultural norms that we see as negative-namely, imperialism, consumerism, and materialism. Moreover, we recognize it as a celebration of African and African-American culture; specifically, musical culture: Jazz, Blues, Gospel, Funk, Reggae… Whether we don blue for peace and love, or black for mourning, to us, the Dashiki is not a costume; it is a uniform that represents something we believe to be sacred.
With deep respect, we do not wear it lightly.
Now... the white shoes and polyester are irony.
John was born in the desert of South West Arizona, and raised in the lion’s den of Southern California. Mom, the church organist, and Dad, in a barbershop quartet, played him records like the Oklahoma and West Side Story soundtracks. John’s older brother played him records by The Beatles and Jethro Tull. Then, one day, his brother played him “Johnny B. Goode” and everything changed. John and his buddy Rudy Mejarado discovered Doctor Demento and John found his way to the Clash, David Bowie, The Kinks, The Ramones for “a penny.” All that was before his brother took him to see his first Dead show. Innumerous Dead shows later, he has played around California in a variety of bands for the last 30 years; from punk to jam band to Irish folk. He grows with every style of music he gets to play. The result of this musical inclusiveness is an approach to writing songs that evade any particular style. Either way, it's a good time... Honest.
Dave was born in Spain. In 1972, a hippie boarder who was staying at his Abuela’s house gave him a Mad Magazine and his first record: a heavily scratched copy of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. He also remembers how much he loved when his dad played Al Green’s Full of Fire and even better when dad put on his harmonica holder and played Jimmy Reed songs for Dave. When the family moved to the states and Dave started playing his dad’s guitar, dad finally let him have the 3 records he had wanted: Bobby Bland and B. B. King Together Again...Live, The Best of Muddy Waters, and Lightning Hopkins’ (Folkways Label). Those were his Mel Bay books. His dad also turned him onto the Ink Spots and Harry Belafonte. High School brought New Wave, Van Halen, The Stray Cats, X, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff and Two Tone into his life . The Vaughan Brothers shifted him off his whole musical axis; leading him back to the blues; and, eventually, to his sensei David Bernstein. Bernstein showed him Wynonie Harris, Little Willie John, Little Milton, et. al., Flint’s BBQ, and Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe meatball subs. But, everything changed when J. Sampietro gave him a copy of Ry Cooder’s Borderline. Everything. Ry remains Dave’s idol, his guitar teacher/guru, and his portal to the great underappreciated American songbook. Through almost all of this, John has been there for him. He really is his untucked soul brother.
David Sylvester was born in San Francisco in 1969. David came from a musical family. His dad, uncles and great uncles all played music. He remembers growing up on his family's ranch where they had a music room with a Leslie organ and a set of red sparkle Ludwig drums. He played drums in Jr..high and high school and by 15 was playing clubs up and down the valley. He has opened for many national acts and has performed with them as well. David's influences are Stewart Copeland, Dave Weckl, Dave Garibaldi, Vinnie Colaiuta just to name a few.
Tom’s family came to Tulare County on wagon trains and has been farming ever since. When he was just five years old, he was struck by an epiphany that there was nothing happening around him. At all. Every time he put on the radio there was nothin' goin' down at all, not at all. Then one fine morning, he read the f***ing book, and his life was changed by rock and roll. Since then, he spent his childhood battling sax addiction, slapping strange bass every night, and looking forward to running away on a Phish tour. Early projects included playing trumpet for jazz big bands and joining forces with blues legend Cole Fonseca. When he wasn’t listening to reggae and bowling in college, he was playing bass with Mycology and other jazz combos. His degree from Cal finally prepared him for his lifelong dream of becoming a ski bum. He is currently recording his debut album and praying the state doesn’t cut off his groundwater. #buycutiesnothalos.