Monday, June 28, 2010

MUSIC: Deadbolt

Veering into the surf category.. We have San Diego's finest; Deadbolt.

The FIRST time I heard Deadbolt, I was playing guitar in a band called the Deadlines, and we had met up with our labels' A&R guy. He was shocked that we hadn't heard any of their records. At the time they had released 'Voodoo Trucker' a year prior, but I got stuck on the previous release 'Zulu Death Mask'. This is STILL my favorite album they've released and I can't ever get sick of it. From start to finish, it's just full of so much dread and slow paced, reverb drenched, terrifying surf songs. This record has the undertones of a Arthur Lyman or a Martin Denny record.. if he had been lost in the jungles, picked up a machete, and started carving up the locals. Okay, I know that's kinda horrible sounding, but it's definitely a very DARK vibe in these records.

Their first record was actually a split 7" with Rocket from the Crypt which is surprising because they're both pretty different sounding bands but both kin residents to San Diego. This release was pressed in 1000 increments and is probably very HARD to find. The following releases were Shrunken Head (93') and Tiki Man (94') were pretty amazing records as well. Alot of farfisa, alot of macabre subject matter, and the ever tradermark spoken vocals by Mr. Harley Davidson..

Quickly, I'll Explain that Deadbolt has had MANY members through their 20 years of existence. Founding members Harley Davidson, and R.A. MacClean, with current members, Gary 'Third Degree' Burns, and drummer Tank Johnson. Previous personnel has included; Les Vegas, Les Vegas, The Phantom, Badtime Charlie, Clay 'Moore' Mines, The Coroner, Coffin Boy, Moose Cutter, The Voodellas, and in some cases vocals from Diana Death.

Ok, back to releases.. after those first 2 full lengths, the released 'Tijuana Hit Squad' in 96 which is another favorite of mine. All themed around mexican, mafia, and spanish hit men themes, the band delivers a pretty amazing record that has some memorable tracks. One in particular called 'The Interview', is a 2 and a half minute instrumental featuring the band 'interrogating' a suspect and basically torturing him in some pretty awful ways. From getting slapped, to electrocuted, to burned, to drilled, and finally table sawed.. It's pretty fun to listen to...

So after that record there was ZDM, as noted above, then 'Voodoo Trucker' (99'), Hobo Babylon (02'), Haight Street Hippie Massacre: The best of.. (03'), I Should Have Killed You (05) some live records and the recent release, Voodoo Moonshine (2010). So, 12 releases a handful of singles, and Deadbolt continues to influence countless bands.

If you have the means to ever catch Deadbolt live, it's definitely a MUST. Their live show includes plenty of shit talking, jokes, power tools, in some cases aqua net, drinking, and of course Harley rearranging songs. I just caught them earlier this month in downtown and it was their anniversary gig / record release and it was AMAZING.


  1. Greetings! May tiki take over the blogosphere!

  2. I found your blog while I was hunting for alt-surf music, and "dark tiki" seemed to sound like something in a similar vein. Deadbolt isn't really in either category, but I really enjoyed discovering them from this post. I'm following up on some of your other suggestions.
    Someone else that's also perhaps not properly "dark tiki" , but close, with a "Twin Peaks" kind of feel, are Friends of Dean Martinez:

    And as for alt-surf: the Aqua-Velvets manage to combine surf twang with a bit of Martin Denny atmosphere in some of their tunes. Some of Miles Corbin's solo albums, as well.

  3. Glad you enjoyed "The Interview." I was the victim in that track (Moose Cutter) as well as the bass player on it (Gary "Third Degree" Burns played most of the bass tracks on the album but I played four of them: She's A Snake, Wichita, I Remember You and The Interview. All members did vocals). Hope you also check out a band we played with a lot being "Man Or Astroman" of whom I enjoyed listening to immensely! God bless and take care!