CITY OF ORIGIN: La Verne
MEMBERS AND INSTRUMENTS: Dave Monaco (lead vocals, guitar); Eric "Dr. Wood" Woodruff (vocals, percussion, turntables); Rene Casas (bass guitar); Chad Junkin (keyboards); Anthony Logerfo (drums); Bryan "Trumpet Bryan" Watson (trumpet); Beeken (saxophone); Eddie Farmer (trombone). Rotating members: Ray Green (lead guitar); Lukas Nelson (lead guitar); Ed Collins (drums, vocals); Rudolpho "Kahz" Castillo (drums).
RECENT RELEASE: 6 Foot Shorty (Chackhouse Records, 2007)
KINDRED SPIRITS: The Clash, Ben Harper, Tippa Irie, Skatalites, Bob Marley and the Wailers, The Specials, The Grateful Dead, Sublime, Spearhead
It’s been said that people are the product of the company they keep. In Better Chemistry’s case, much of that company could be considered living legends. Crack open the reggae/rock hybrid’s latest release, 6 Foot Shorty, and you’ll see that this terrific troupe’s employed the skills of folks like Jurassic 5’s Chali 2na, plus reggae revolutionaries Tippa Irie and Pato Banton. Not an easy feat, to say the least.
“We’ve been lucky,” says BC’s Eric “Dr. Wood” Woodruff, about wrangling some of these aforementioned names for such guest appearances. “I think that our show has turned some heads that have helped us out along the road.”
And it’s a show that’s been brewing since Better Chemistry first launched in December 2001, playing their inaugural gig at the Black Watch Pub in Upland. Since then, the band’s opened for a host of reggae and rock greats, gained commercial airplay and placement on television programs, and of course, earned the respect of countless fans, both locally and outside the region. So, how did they get there?
“I think that most of us have gone and seen other acts that floored us and gave us a lot of insight,” says Woodruff, on developing that BC sound. “We really want to make people feel good and leave all of their worries and troubles at the door. Just being able to give that back is a blessing to us . . . Better Chemistry is kind of our answer to the boring programmed mainstream radio stations that force feed the kids music that just really isn’t all that exciting.”
Better Chemistry is currently in the middle of recording a fourth album of original material and a cover songs album, both of which should be out early next year. And with a successful seven-year run under their belts, these Chemists promise to keep at it “until the wheels fall off,” Woodruff says. After all, he notes, “we’ve all been at it for too long to turn back now.”
Better Chemistry at T Phillips Ale House, 2335 D St., La Verne, (909) 392-8653, Sat., 9PM