Posted March 17, 2011 in Music


Brett McLaughlin (bass, vocals); Brian Pelletier (drums); Christina Reyes (lead vocals, keyboards); Adam Surdin (guitar).


Palm Desert.


Plotting a Murder (2011).


The Beatles, Radiohead, Queen, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Pixies, Missing Persons, Ella Fitzgerald, Heart, Patty Smyth & Scandal, Blondie, Transplants, Red Hot Chili Peppers, 311, Kasabian.



Ask a couple questions about Palm Desert-based Caxton’s name and musical origins, and you may find yourself receiving well-explained yet seemingly non-committal responses.


On the band moniker, drummer Brian Pelletier tells us it “really has no meaning, we wanted a name that you can’t put the music to any certain kind of label or scene. It’s left to the listener to decide that.”


And on listening, what about the band’s unique fusion of styles, which seems to span decades, pulling from ’70s pop rock, ’80s New Wave and ’90s alternative cuts?


“There is not a conscious decision to emulate anything specific,” guitarist Adam Surdin responds. “One goal for the band is not to be attached to the initial idea.”


That’s the thing: Caxton might maneuver around the pigeonhole whenever possible, but they are committed and focused folks, especially when it comes to playing music. Pelletier adds that the band’s all about putting 110 percent in their songwriting.


And those same hook-laden songs are fronted by the signature vocals of Christina Reyes, who helped start the band after moving from Hollywood, trying to escape the big city insanity.


“I have a totally obscure and endless list of vocal inspirations, both male and female,” says Reyes, citing artists such as Fiona Apple, Chaka Khan, Ella Fitzgerald, Annie Lennox, Queen’s Freddie Mercury and Missing Persons’ Dale Bozzio amongst the obscurity and perpetuity. Pick up the band’s latest effort, Plotting a Murder, and you’ll hear this aforementioned melodic puree in the foreground, with tight, competent musicianship from the supporting crew.


Speaking of support, Reyes notes Caxton’s target demographic is the minority in their hometown. “That being said, I feel as though the love for music is no less than anywhere else,” she adds.


With a live show described by Pelletier “like a tiger drinking Charlie Sheen blood,” Caxton’s played some memorable dates, including a bar gig featuring, well, a bar. 


“Nobody was there except the bartender and the taco guy outside. There was a strip[per] pole right in front of my drum set,” he says with a laugh. “Good stuff.” Now that’s commitment. (Waleed Rashidi)


Caxton at Roscoe’s Famous Deli, 14700 Pipeline Ave., Chino Hills, (909) 597-3304; Sat, March 26, 10PM.


(Band photo by Jon Perlo)


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