Anxiety spreading across nation |

Anxiety spreading across nation

Mary Thompson

One of South Shore’s underground bands is making a break for the surface – and spreading its sound all over the country.

Anxiety, a South Lake Tahoe band that has been packing in fans at bars such as Rojo’s and Hoss Hoggs for four years, has been invited to join the 1999 Vans Warped Tour.

With its own all-expenses-paid tour bus, the band will travel to cities throughout the United States and Canada, from Vancouver, B.C. to Miami to New York.

Band members Ian Baca, Carl Barrett, Jon Lewis and E.J. Hixenbaugh, all 20-year-olds who grew upon in South Lake Tahoe, said they’re looking forward to the business opportunity.

“This tour is not going to be a big Anxiety party,” said guitar player Barrett. “It’s to make an impression on our future. This is all about business for us.”

“The thing we’re looking forward to most on this tour is getting signed (by a record company),” said lead singer Baca.

Up until now, the band has operated independently: booking their own gigs and recording their own CDs. The newest of which, called “… And You Know This,” is due out in stores by the end of the month.

The group will leave South Shore on June 20 and head for Texas, where they’ll kick off their national debut, sharing the stage with Ice T, Suicidal Tendencies, Blink 182 and Cypress Hill. Before the band returns to its small, garage studio on Tahoe Keys Boulevard in August, Anxiety and the Warped Tour will stop at Boreal Ski Area on July 4.

So how does a local group squeeze its way onto the roster of a nationwide tour?

“They’re really good musicians,” said Boyde Wenger who works at a music store called Mad About Music. “The facts speak for themselves: Their music is popular in town, their CDs are selling and they’re going on the Warped Tour – obviously they’re doing something right.

“It’s a style of music that appeals to pop culture,” he said. “It’s a hard-rock sound with metal tendencies and hip hop vocals over the top.”

Their driving rhythms and rappy lyrics may have scored with the younger crowd in South Shore but the band said it hasn’t been easy.

“When we first started, it was hard to find a place to play because people were afraid their bars would get trashed,” Baca said. “But then they realized that we were packin’ the place and it didn’t matter.”

And bar owners had a reason to be worried. Their music, which they call modern metal, calls for a mosh pit – complete with crowd surfing and slamming.

But the band came up with a solution.

“They used to make us quit playing when it got too crazy,” Baca said. “But then we started arranging our music differently, putting some slower songs in between, so that the crowd wouldn’t get too riled up.

“Now they just have to worry about a few spilled beers.”

Musical influences for Anxiety range from Black Sabbath to NWA they said.

The band members all have daytime jobs at various businesses in town, working in everything from construction to snowboard instruction to waiting tables.

Also, Barrett and Baca are both fathers. In fact, that’s how they got their name.

“We were trying to come up with a name and then Carl’s daughter was born with colic,” Baca said. “And anxiety just summed up our general state of being at the time.”

And they all agreed that Tahoe would remain their home – even if they make it big.

“We’re proud of where we live,” Barrett said.

“We’re all about the community and bringing back to it,” said Lewis, Anxiety’s bass player.

“Where else are we going to live, Malibu?” Baca asked.

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