MEMBERS AND INSTRUMENTS:
Kim Haslam (vocals); Chad Cheezeburger Jones (trumpet); Steve Spooge Layon (trombone); Colt Rhoads (guitar); Bassin Jason Gardner (bass); Doug Kiphut (drums).
six-song demo (2008)
Break out your Riverside-based ska annals, folks! Names like Voodoo Glow Skulls, the Debonaires and the Skeletones should be just enough to sum this one up nicely. (Just insert the peppy female vocalist in the front.)
One of the most successful ska tours, Ska is Dead, is now in its fourth year and rackin’ up sales to a tune that’s far better than the genre’s implied life support. And there’s even a similar, localized concept, Ska in the Park 09, scheduled to hit Riverside this June. Upstrummed guitars and brass punches aren’t exiting anytime soon.
Granted, the third-wave ska-punk heyday of the ’90s might never re-enter with the fanfare it once trumpeted. But, if exciting new(er) bands like Riverside’s Buddha Bomb are around to carry the torch past the end of the current decade, ska will never find itself clinging to bedside rails.
Launched as an unorganized, goal-less group of kids four years ago, Buddha Bomb—fronted by sparkling vocalist Kim Haslam—is certainly playing a more solidified tune nowadays. Landing gigs with its idols (see “Kindred Spirits”), the sextet has already crossed off some lines from the goal list, yet others remain: touring, an album and plenty more fun.
The juxtaposition of the Buddha Bomb name (peace n unity meets, well, bombast) deftly summarizes the acts offerings, which, according to Haslam, reference politics, life experiences, jealousy, drugs, death—heck, one of BB’s newest songs is wholly inspired by the Inland Empire (aptly named “Dark Empire”).
Speaking of, Haslam notes repping the IE outta town does have its moments: “The rest of the West Coast has some pretty solid pre-conceived notions of the IE, which has both helped and hindered us. Occasionally a crowd will expect us to suck given our origins and, of course, that’s no fun. But it does feel nice to start the set and blow those pessimistic crowds away!”
And what about dealing with a male-dominated rock scene? “Well, some people in the music industry can be a bit creepy; most frontmen don’t get stuffed animals from their promoters. Of course, being female does have its advantages. The important thing is to make your shows memorable, and I think being a female-fronted band has helped us to stand out.”
Buddha Bomb at Q-Bonkers, 9364 Magnolia Ave., Riverside, 951.688.4866; www.myspace.com/paragonbookingagency; Thurs., April 30, 8PM.