Interview and concert review by JD Alvarez
Last year I started working on an assignment that had me covering bands from the 80’s and 90’s as part of a series on the re-birth of “New Wave” and “Ska.” Needless to say it was like stepping in a time machine, clearly one of my more entertaining assignments.
Fast forward to 2012, I was covering the OC Music Awards, while there I started talking to a dude I swore to myself I knew from back in the 80’s, I just couldn’t place him at first. He was wearing a black leather jacket, black Ray Bans and some very cool black Doc Marten boots. He was very well spoken and seemed to be genuinely happy to be at the event. Turns out it was John Easdale from Dramarama. I had a very good conversation with him, he was very cordial, much more than I would have thought from a lead singer of a power-pop-alternative band like Dramarama. At the end of the show, I caught up with him as he was walking out and I said I would check out one of their shows when they were making the rounds in SoCal. He just responded “looking forward to it” as he disappeared into the night.
A few weeks ago I was checking my assignments and local concert calendars, I noticed Dramarama was playing at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach. So I shot an email to the bands media rep, before I knew it, John responded personally and said he would be more than happy to give us an interview at the show.
The day of the show we sat down and had a nice long chat. We started off talking about their appearance on the 2003′ VH-1 Special (“Bands Reunited”) as well as their appearance that same year at the KROQ Inland Invasion and the huge response they received from both gigs. We went on to discuss their last release in 2005, and where they’re headed. Although Dramarama has been very low key the past few years, they play showcases here and there and they are looking to do some bigger events in 2012 and beyond.
Although they may not be a daily fixture on mainstream broadcasting outlets these days, you can still catch them on rotation on most alternative radio stations with their staple of hits. What is most impressive, their fan base remains very strong. John was humbled when I told him what kind of fan support Dramarama has with some of the alternative fans we chat with. He said he is amazed that people still love their music as much as they do and he is very thankful he can still do music for a living after all these years.
We discussed the staying power of some of their songs like Anything Anything. John was simply gracious to all the stations that play their music and their fans that keep their sound alive. We went on to talk about some of their new music. He mentioned that some of the tunes are done and there are some still in development. Unfortunately, there is no release date just yet for new tunes. We ended the interview with a discussion about the resurgence of older bands as a result of the internet. John conceded he was just getting involved with social media, but again he was very humble and thankful to all the fans that come to their shows, young and older as a result of social media.
That being said, we finished up the interview and walked down to the stage area. Inasmuch as I was expecting to see a much older crowd, there was a good variety of multi-generational fans waiting to cheer on the kids from L.A. / New Jersey.
Walking onstage with a Tab soda and his trademark black cowboy hat and Ray Bans, Easdale and crew came out to a very warm reception from the Hermosa crowd. The band was sharp and energetic, Easdale was pumped for a great performance. The current incarnation of Dramarama consists of Mark Englert (Lead / Rhythm Guitar), Peter Wood (Lead / Rhythm Guitar), Mike Davis (Bass), Tony Snow (Drums) and John Easdale (lead vocals and cowbell).
In the end, the crowd saw a great performance and got to hear the songs they came for. Songs like Anything Anything, What Are We Gonna Do, Last Cigarette and Haven’t Got a Clue. It was like they pressed the button and sent us all back into time, everyone in the crowd knew every single word to each song. It was a very good night to be a fan of music. These cats may be a little older these days, but they proved they can definitely still bring it. One thing was clear, life is good in Dramaramaland!
A word to the wise, these cats are a very good band, and even better people. They are kind to the media, even better to their friends and fans. If you want to catch a class act, I highly recommend you catch them when they come to your neck of the woods.
Dramarama will be playing the Bamboozle Festival in Asbury Park, NJ. The festival features bands like the Foo Fighters, Blink 182, Incubus, Skrillex, Buckcherry, All-American Rejects and Spacehog.
You can read up on these cats on their social media pages on Facebook and MySpace. You can pick-up their music on iTunes.