Chuck Norris Only Listens to A Welcome Distraction
By Andy Cheng
The Bible on Kicking Ass, an album title still in-the-making for A Welcome Distraction, illustrates that the band is just that awesome. Hailing from El Monte, this alternative rock group is all about the nostalgia of our childhood rockers, or a “Byproduct of 90’s Rock” as its website asserts (alongside an unsightly yet humorous combination of miscellaneous band facts and Chuck Norris jokes). Like our generation, the guys of this rising rock band grew up with the musical graces of artists like Weezer, Pantera, Nirvana and 311. With lessons from childhood favorites in tow, the guys incorporate the sounds of those great rock bands into their own energetic musicality, and light up the stage with vivacious theatrics.
“It’s all about the energy of it. I like the positive crowd, and I like to joke around with them a lot,” says Javier Gonzalez, vocalist and rhythm guitarist. “I’ve been to shows where the lead singer is just sitting there singing and everyone’s into their own thing. Whenever you go to a show you should have a good time. We all get into it and throw our instruments around.”
For the band, it is that energy which defines its concerts, which are rising in popularity within the local music scene. “In one of our songs, Allison, Alex will head-bang his hair around. It’s freaking awesome to watch,” says Gonzalez. When you go see a concert, you don’t want the guys just sitting there. It’s the little things that you remember.”
It is precisely that liveliness that propels the group forward into its upcoming second album, which the boys deem “a little more in-your-face” and “more ambitious than our first record.” As it turns out, a heavier rock sound than the previous, self-titled album means it’s all over our countenances, and that’s just how they roll. “As long as you do what you feel like and everyone’s liking it. That’s what alternative is all about,” says Gonzalez.
Just as its assertiveness is conveyed in musical form, so too is the band’s fellowship, which is audaciously successful. The four members that constitute the band come from a diversity of musical genres, creating an unlikely congregation of rockers. “I come from [a] death metal background,” says Alex Rosas, lead guitarist and backing vocalist. “Javier comes from Green Day and Weezer; Cole from Soundgarden, Nirvana and Led Zeppelin; and Vince from 311, Incubus and Rage Against the Machine.” Basically, if you know these bands, you’ll understand the abnormality of it.
Those differences lead the guys to their band name, A Welcome Distraction. “Basically it’s about being diverse,” says Gonzalez. “You see Alex with his long hair and goatee, me, the lead singer in a dress shirt and jeans; we all look different, but when we play together, people are shocked because of that. It’s like a good distraction.”
To top it off, “We come from diverse backgrounds, we all hang out, and we have a lot of fun. That sort of brings us together,” says Rosas. “When we play together, it comes out like balls to the walls.” And that must be one hell-of-a concert.
The guys say that they hope to play at major venues like Coachella and Saturday Night Live one day (refer to their slightly humorous bucket list on their official website), but as it goes for all prospective musicians, starting out is quite the challenge. They’ve been playing to audiences in bars and clubs like The Slidebar in Fullerton and Doll Hut in Anaheim and are continuing to spread the band’s name.
“The most important thing is to get the music out there. Right now we’re doing shows all across Orange County, L.A., the whole SoCal area,” says Gonzalez. “We love our fans. We’ll take pictures with them, shake their hands, have a beer, anything.”
Rosas adds, “We’ll play in Arizona, New Mexico; we’re just going to play anywhere and have fun with it. It’s what we love to do.”
A Welcome Distraction at Friar Tucks, 540 E. Foothill Blvd., Pomona, (909) 625-7265; www.awelcomedistractionofficial.com. Sat, Sept. 3. 10pm.