By Victoria Banegas
Members: Chris Swanson (guitar/lead vocals), Angel Aldana (bass/vocals) and George Pantoja (drums).
Cities of Origin: Baldwin Park, Covina and Pomona.
Kindred Spirits: Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Bob Marley.
Frequents: Local skate parks and backyards in the IE.
With a name inspired by a stoner flick, Bodegas has embodied Southern Californian spirit by creating a rhythmic sound with influences of punk rock, reggae and soul. As a self-sufficient band, Bodegas has been going strong since 2009 with a demo released in 2010 followed by their first full-length album, Down for Whateverz, in 2012. With anticipation to record a third album in 2014, the band has been working hard playing “DIY” gigs in back yards and skate parks throughout the Inland Empire. With word of mouth as its only means of promotion, it is impressive to see how far this band has gone and how much it has evolved. For updates and current shows be sure to check out their Facebook page and website.
What is the story behind the name of your band?
We named the band Bodegas, if you watch a film called Half Baked, there is a scene where Dave Chappelle walks into a liquor store called Bodegas where the clerks at the counter sell marijuana. They use the store as a front. It just stuck with us and we never looked back. It was original enough to hang and stick in people’s minds. Bodegas is a lot more popular on the east coast though, so some people still don’t understand the pronunciation [boh-dey-guhs]. There isn’t a “The”—just BODEGAS.
What can fans expect from a live performance?
Our live performances can get pretty rowdy and our fans usually come ready to have a good time. We try to make every show its own experience. Sometimes we bring in rappers, or horn players or a percussion player, etc. Each show has its own vibe. Sometimes we bring props or signs to hang that we made. There usually is a pit during the faster songs and when we slow it down the girls are able to dance. Crowd surfing happens sometimes if the venue is relaxed enough.
Where in the IE do you frequently perform?
Usually anywhere we can that doesn’t scam the bands. We notice around this area especially there are promoters who force bands to sell tickets to play at their venues. We don’t agree with any of that so we go the DIY route usually and contact the venue owners directly to book our own shows with our friends and it works out like a community type situation where the bands look after each other. We are focused on playing some local backyards/house shows around La Puente, Baldwin Park [and] LA after we finish recording. Our draw is decent these days if we have enough time to promote the show online and pass out flyers we can pack the house. That can be a challenge if it’s a backyard party though because the cops will shut us down. We try to play all ages 18+ venues as much as we can like Art Galleries in Pomona. We play a lot of bar gigs too. Our favorite places to play are outdoor areas like skate parks or festivals. We have only been fortunate enough to play at one festival last year called Eclectic Roots in Irvine Lakes but they didn’t do it again this year so hopefully next year we can hop on some other festivals after our album is released.