Sea of change: New band Del Mar makes Tahoe debut |

Sea of change: New band Del Mar makes Tahoe debut

Dan Thomas

Don’t be surprised if you hear a little of Bud Gaugh’s old band in Del Mar, but don’t expect to hear a lot of Sublime out of the new group.

“We don’t really do any Sublime songs,” Gaugh said. “We do one, but it’s surf-style instrumental, it’s like an homage.”

While fans might recognize the name from Sublime, Gaugh has moved on: Del Mar is a new project (not an outgrowth like Long Beach Dub Allstars or Long Beach Short Bus) with a new hometown (Reno) and a new album, “After the Quake,” likely for this summer. Del Mar will make its Tahoe debut at 9 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at the Tahoe Underground in Stateline.

Also new is the band’s sound. Del Mar formed in the winter of 2006 with the goal of keeping its members out of direct trouble with the law. The band combines surf and punk rock, but with a wide range of influences. Multi-instrumental guitarist Matt Bode likes the surf sounds of the Ventures and Dick Dale, while bassist Mike Martinez comes from the metal world, citing Pantera, Metallica and Slayer as influences. Guitarist Nicole Gaugh said she has a lot of classic rock influences, in the form of surf rock and Motown, and also mentioned Kanye West and Jay-Z.

“It kind of sounds like Dick Dale meets the Ramones, or Man or Astroman, or Rudimentery Peni,” Bud Gaugh said.

Bode put it this way: “I love the sound of guitar and we all love the sound of surf-style music, so we’re going to try to emphasize on that.”

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Del Mar did turn to an old friend, producer Michael “Miguel” Happoldt, to help unite all those disparate elements into a cohesive sound. The band released a five-song demo in January in advance of the full-length CD this summer.

“The demo is kinda helter-skelter,” Nicole Gaugh said. “We’ve only been playing together a few months, and we kind of just wanted to get something on tape.”

The demo notwithstanding, though, Del Mar isn’t playing the same old music-business games. The band sees the advent of digital music and being able to distribute songs via services such as MySpace as an opportunity.

“I’m so fed up with the industry side of things,” Bud Gaugh said. “It’s just a lot more refreshing just dealing with the music and doing it on our own.

“I’m kind of digging this new way of doing things, and I hope it does kill the industry part of the music.”

In that DIY, independent spirit, Nicole Gaugh serves as manager and plays guitar.

“It’s all indie, like we said, and we just hope kids can come out and support indie music,” she said. “That’s the kind of music, that kids, if you’re going to spend some money on a CD, go out and buy something like that.”

Even though Bud Gaugh has a little more experience on his bandmates – and is married to one – Del Mar insists that it’s more than just Gaugh’s new band. He described the process as almost communist and fun and decisionmaking as a group responsibility.

“I’m more like the great-grandfather – because I’m the greatest,” he said jokingly. “It’s kind of cool: I kind of feel like their mentor.”

And Del Mar has plenty to explore – not just music or the business that surrounds it but geography. The four musicians – maybe especially Bode, an avid snowboarder – see more Tahoe shows in their future.

“We just have a lot of fun,” Nicole Gaugh said. “We try to keep everybody entertained, and we’re all really good musicians and we try to write good songs, and it’s different from what’s out there on the radio too now.”

Who: Del Mar with Watson 349 and SexRat

Where: Tahoe Underground, 270 Kingsbury Grade, Stateline

When: 9 p.m. Saturday, April 26

Cost: $10

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