MEMBERS & INSTRUMENTS:
Ian Barraza (vocals, acoustic guitar); Philip Norton (bass, backing vocals); Nick Kramer (guitar, backing vocals); Gerald Rodriguez (lead guitar); Jeremy Rosenthal (drums).
CITY OF ORIGIN:
Atomic Cab Co. (2010)
It’s described as a cross between ’60s and ’70s protest music, ‘80s and ‘90s punk rock, ‘90s alternative rock and ‘00s indie rock, with artists like Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Bob Saget, NOFX (who have a song called “Bob”), Bad Religion (who had a drummer named Bob), Rancid, Millencolin, Green Day, Bouncing Souls, Beatles, Paul Simon, Emerson, Thoreau and Oprah all on the list.
At a time when many rock bands are occupying the soapbox at any available opportunity, forcing ideals down all possible angles and turning the braggadocio up to “11,” it’s quite the refreshing change of pace to hear what Ian Barraza’s band—Riverside’s Atomic Cab Co.—isn’t doing.
“We aren’t trying to be rock stars,” says vocalist/guitarist Barraza. “We aren’t trying to tell you how to live your life, we aren’t trying to save the world; we just believe in making honest music that speaks to the complex feelings and issues that we, and the common person, experiences. No bells and whistles, no hidden agenda.”
Now, it’s not that he doesn’t want to you to hear his efforts. Barraza says the fivesome have never sold a copy of their self-titled six-track EP, but that’s ’cause they’d rather give their CDs out for free, rotating the availability of certain songs at various live gigs.
“It’s a ‘collect-them-all’ sort of deal, so you have to come see us a few times to get the whole album,” he says. “We think music should be free. If T-shirts weren’t so expensive to make we’d give those out for free, too. We’d never survive in the real world, but there’s enough people out there worrying about that kind of nonsense already. This is a labor of love for us.”
Such labor stretches back over a decade, when three-fifths of the current Cab Co. (including guitarist Nick Kramer and bassist Philip Norton) were a part of Grounded, a local skate-punk act. In ’07, Gerald Rodriguez (previously of Ice-9) joined the Co., with Jeremy Rosenthal (also from Ice-9) finalizing the present ensemble a year later.
Since forming, Atomic Cab Co.—named from a scene in the documentary Atomic Café—has consistently performed locally, yet according to Norton, occasionally heads out to Orange County, L.A. and Vegas. Norton anticipates the release of another EP and a stint in Arizona by year’s end, with a full-length hoped for 2011 plus more shows (again, probably sans the unnecessary fanfare).
“We are not into hype,” says Barraza. “I think people should be moved by the music. Every show is basically a party.”
Atomic Cab Co. at the Mission Tobacco Lounge, 3630 University Ave., Riverside, (951) 682-4427; www.missiontobaccolounge.com. Fri, Oct. 29. 9PM.