Santa Cruz, California based reggae-rock band, The Expendables, with catchy hooks and ear-catching lyrics, bring their laid-back and breezy sound to Jannus Live. Their performance is one-stop in their major city annual Winter Blackout Tour, with their friends Stick Figure and Seedless. All four friends have been playing and performing together for over 17 years, and have released three full-length records independently. All three records have sold over 40,000 units without physical distribution or a record label. Their success lies in their avid fanbase, and energetic live performances. Read on to find out what their success together is, how they connect with their audience in each city, and what they do and don’t like about touring.
After more than 13 years together, what’s kept you guys going individually and together as a band?
The fact that we were friends first and genuinely get along with each other and enjoy each other’s company has kept us grounded through the highs and brought us closer together through the lows. We were all working crappy dead end jobs straight out of high school and music was our motivation. Now we can’t see ourselves doing anything else.
You guys are known for infectious and lively performances? How do you all connect with an audience?
There is a lot of energy at a live show, and each one is different, every crowd is different. The band feeds off of the crowd and vice versa. It’s hard to explain but a great crowd can just make a band play better. We feed off that energy and try and give the audience our best. It doesn’t always work out that way and there are always off nights but the live show is our job and we take it seriously but are always having a good time. And I think the crowds can see and feel that.
What do you all like the best about touring?
The groupies and the free drugs. Haha. Absolutely kidding. This isn’t the 80’s. Honestly my favorite part of touring is playing live shows. Also getting to see the country, checking out landmarks, trying cool regional food, going to quirky bars, meeting interesting people.
Is there anything you don’t like about touring?
Most everything else. Even though we’ve gone from a van to an RV to now a bus touring is never that easy. Finding a decent shower is next to impossible. Not being able to find a toilet, let alone a decent one is a scary daily proposition. Eating healthy is a joke. Being away from loved ones is incredibly hard at times. Living out of a suitcase. Most of the band is over six feet tall and sleeping in single bunk bed on a bus is tough. Listen to me complain. We actually have it pretty good. It could be worse.
Who, professionally and/or personally, has inspired you the most in music?
The first name that comes to mind is Slightly Stoopid. They inspired us musically when we were very young and then we were lucky enough to become friends with them. They gave us our first couple of national tours and signed us to their record label. We have watched them progress and look at their career as a guide map for ours. They’ve been like big brothers to us. It’s a personal and professional relationship that’s lasted for almost a decade which is especially rare in this business.
Check out The Expendables at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg, Florida on Thursday, February 20.