Los Dryheavers are, first and foremost, based on debaucherous friendship. Sitting in their practice studio as they ready themselves for their first shows in six years, they laugh while their singer, Hector Marquez, recounts the glory days. Like the time they played a show at the Blue Lagoon, then flew to Mexico for another gig.
“We were still drunk when the tour manager picked us up from the airport,” says Marquez. “He took us to a pulqueria—a tequila bar—and said we had an interview later for what we thought was just a small fanzine. Turns out that was one. Then there was a radio interview, and then there was a live T.V. spot! We were blitzed, and the tour manager was laughing the whole time. It was like Beavis and Butthead, and we’re just all trying to hold it together.”
The five-piece crew earned local punk-legend status over 13 years of constant playing, three full-length releases and, of course, tons of degeneracy. Even down to choosing their name.
“We were at a show at the Catalyst and not even ordering beers, but pitchers,” remembers guitarist Felix Lozano. “Our old bassist, Wes, started dry heaving and puking into the empty pitchers.”
“I remember saying, ‘Well, we’ve got to put a los in front of it, because we’re all beaners,’” Marquez chuckles. “It was a joke, but then we couldn’t get rid of it. Like a bad first tattoo.”
While the band never officially broke up, they took an indefinite hiatus in 2011. For the last year, their friend and former recording engineer Joe Clements, of Fury 66 and the Deathless fame, has been asking if they’d be interested in getting the band back together, with no luck. But, like the opening song on Los Dryheavers’ self-titled album said, sometimes no means maybe.
“Felix opened my bedroom door and was like, ‘Hey Cory, life partner, you into this?’” says bassist Cory Atkinson.
Clements’ persistence resulted in a punk holiday miracle, as Los Dryheavers are set to play shows at the Blue Lagoon and the Appleton Bar & Grille in Watsonville. While the first is free, all proceeds from the later show go to Haven of Hope, a nonprofit based out of Watsonville that offers therapeutic services to young women.
But don’t expect to see a new tour anytime in the future.
“I tell people we’re not back together so don’t get that misconception,” says Marquez, though he admits they are keeping their options open for other possible one-off shows in the unforeseeable future.
Los Dryheavers originally formed in 1998, after both Lozano’s and Marquez’s other bands ended. However, it wasn’t until 2004 that the best-known Dryheavers line-up solidified. It was this incarnation that constantly toured during the mid-2000s, doing two rounds with the Vans Warped Tour, playing throughout Spain and Mexico, along with their own grueling schedule of solo tours and opening up for larger bands like Rancid, Bad Brains, Bad Religion and others.
But with the responsibilities of adulthood creeping in, they played their final show at the Gene Hoularis and Waldo Rodriguez Youth Center in Watsonville on June 11, 2011. Those of us who were there remember it as a blur of community singing, elbows, and the occasional person trying to crowd surf—but instead hitting the ceiling—in a room so packed that the audience moved as one. Video footage of the insanity remains on YouTube, where fans can be seen pushed into the monitors, drums and band.
Los Dryheavers music was punk rock to the core. Songs like “You Fucked Up,” “Borracho y Agresivo” and “Tres Pecados,” are fast, angry, loud and exciting. Their melodic rhythms and singalong vocals quickly built them a large audience, drawing fanbases of all nationalities, races and creeds.
“It was always cool seeing white, black, Filipino kids singing along in Spanish,” Hector reflects. “They might not know what they were saying, but we were doing something right.”
Now that the dust has settled and families are grown, Los Dryheavers are thankful for this reunion, since nobody knows when the next chance will be.
“Not only do we get to see people we used to kick it with religiously, but friends from out of town and out of state are all showing up,” Atkinson says. “To play music on top of all that is just the icing on the cake.”
Los Dryheavers play the Blue Lagoon on Friday, Dec. 22, and the Appleton Grille in Watsonville on Saturday, Dec. 23; appletongrill.com.