The Dirty Clergy
The Dirty Clergy
New E.P. "Shake" now available on iTunes
The Dirty Clergy formed in 2009 by Brian Manasco and Tyler Evans as a folk duo and has since then has evolved into a rock & roll band who has toured from the east coast to west coast and places in between. The Dirty Clergy consist of five members - Brian Manasco (Guitar/Vox), Joshua Pope (Lead Guitar), Brad White (Vox), Kyle Estes (Drums), and Michael Pope (Bass).
The Dirty Clergy released their first “demo” album, “Truth Wars” in 2010 with original frontman Tyler Evans and original drummer Colin Webster. They also worked with The Strokes/Regina Spektor producer Gordon Raphael in the early months of 2011 on the digitally released only - Breakdown EP Pt. 1
After a couple of departures from the band the future was unclear. They traveled as a 3-piece for several months until the 2nd drummer exited. This left Brian and Josh to make a decision. That decision was to make an album. They ended up doing all instruments on the album and the music was completed in late Summer of ‘11. All intentions were to have Brian on vocals, but while on vacation in New York City Brian welcomed Brad White as the new front-man and upon return to Alabama Brad immediately went into the studio to lay vocal tracks for the now released album “Revival“.
The band introduced Michael Pope in early 2012 and welcomed back previous drummer Kyle Estes and hit the road. The band recently released the highly anticipated EP “Shake”. The future of this band is bright with new and broadening material being created everyday - they are poised for great success.
The Groggs from Santa Cruz, CA play an amalgam of reverb-soaked vintage rock in the tradition of their wide-ranging influences but tend to favor the early garage-punk spirit of bands such as The Seeds, The Stooges, Them, The Standells, Hasil Adkins and a healthy dose of late '70s street sensibility. A little bleary. They are commonly referred to as a Garage Rock band, but it is known to the band members' girlfriends that The Groggs are a tougher nut to crack. Always the social chameleon, this group adapts to its audience whether slumming it up in punk mayhem or masquerading in the parlors of high society. But at home the sound resembles a rollercoaster ride through the fading annals rock and roll, much like that Aerosmith attraction in Florida.
Embarking in 2007 on a quest for the purest experience possible in music, in the same ironic graffiti-laced bedroom where fellow Santa Cruz alumnus Camper Van Beethoven once ignited their meteoric ascension (yes we can qualify this), The Groggs named themselves after their corner liquor mart (Buy Beer At The Grog Shop in Santa Cruz!) and became more apt to settle for free drinks and gas money.
In 2008 the group self-recorded and released their seminal EP, Up To No Good, and followed up with a tour of the Northwest and Southern California. During this time it became evident that by doing right by rock and roll, rock and roll will do right by The Groggs and audiences on all fronts tend to agree. And when they don't, they aren't too bothered by it.
In their own home setting, The Groggs have shared their favored local stages (and have had foggy encounters) with groups from abroad, starting in no order with groups like The Black Lips, Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkeybirds, King Tuff, Starlite Desperation, The Mantles, Crocodiles, The Flakes, Sleepy Sun, Slang Chickens, The Mean Jeans, Shannon n The Clams, Clorox Girls King Lollipop, The Teutonics, Prima Donna, Pink Films, Glitter Wizard, and a whole bevy of other artists who are really quite relevant. Through these so many occasions the gang has distributed records across the pond and beyond Dirty Water Records in the UK and Green Cookie Records down there in Greece, not to mention and up and down the West Coast and across the great US via mailorder. Yes it's really humming along.
As the group's universal appeal became known and it was declared that The Groggs had taken on a life of its own as a spiritual entity, the group's members once again entered the studio, but this time in much nicer digs. Get this, lead guy Keith, still in the prime of his youth, had been slaving away as intern for a top notch recording facility deep in the Santa Cruz Mountains called Compound Recordings where a bevy of vintage and modern gear doth reside. What came out on the other end was drums recorded with ten microphones, squeezing the life out of many an old amp and much reverberal regeneration that resulted in a Wall Of Sound take on early 80's punk not dissimilar to the collision of The Ramones and Phil Spector.
At this time, real working class guy Keith was manning the paper cutter at a copy shop whose only available radio reception was inclined to the ubiquitious Soft Rock KWAV, and those same soft sensibilities undeniably informed the shimmering Wall Of Sound that sizzles a little too hotly off of their 7" record as it plays. Since those days, he'd be the first to tell you that a modest career in production has begun and as an engineer / producer he has delivered several albums for other groups now for sale such as The Wild Ones, Critic (Side Project to Blackbird Raum) and Up All Night. Many other projects lay shelved but the group anxiously eyes its coming studio full length, this time across the reels of analog tape.
The release of their "3D" EP comes packed with digital download and one pair of 3D glasses for the true enjoyment and total fulfillment of a keepsake level packaging experience that has them flying off the shelves worldwide. And all this came delivered on bowling-ball colored vinyl, it was really too good to be true. But it's a darn good spinner at any roller rink, petting party or teenaged doper scene.
It's live and in the ring where The Groggs really pay off - past press has remarked upon the prowess and stature, physical ability, almost fearsome nature and utter omnipotence of the group's bemuscled foreperson, Keith "Jeffrey" Thompson who delights fans of all age groups with high-flying guitar pageantry and only the most careful of crooning to accompany.
Generally while this happens, bassist and think-tank Ryan "The Snake" Allbaugh gazes in approval, assuring any uninitiates that everything is "going to be fine". Known for a big, round and fuzzed out sound, he's just as well equipped in bedside manner and provides a soothing male presence. In his own right, Ryan is a seasoned performer in past outfits such as Glitter Wizard, and currently as front person for Up All Night, delivers a low down Detroit hustle.
Drummer Dom Gullo has a beard and is the same relative height as his cohorts. This gives the group a striking, proportionate image on stages of any size. And on the drums, he's no slouch. He can play the cymbal faster than a lambs tail. He maintains is mainstay as drummer / vocalist to the progressive two-piece outfit Smokin' Ponies, who are available for parties and functions of any size.
An early encounter between band members Ryan Allbaugh and Keith Thompson laid a hard rock stone in the foundry of the popular Bay Area Psych Rock Band Slash Cult that calls itself Glitter Wizard, fronted by longtime cohort Micah Warren. The band currently resides on in neighboring San Francisco and these old mates frequently reunite to toss one out.
Since those days, The Groggs have become a people's favorite in the Bay Area and beyond, commanding a wide swath of rock and roll lifer's from all corners and out of all woodworks. If you love rock and roll, you will love The Groggs. Or, you won't much dislike them if they are coming to play at your place of business.
When asked about their future, as they are so frequently pestered with their newfound favor in press outlets such as Shindig! UK, Performer Magazine, Maximum Rock N Roll, and an outcropping of esoteric online shanty rags, The Groggs mostly think about the next gig, what's wrong with the van and how to trick someone into releasing their upcoming 12" LP which stands to put a lot of smart record collecting people over the moon upon its inevitable release.
Yes, it's clearly no better time to give this group exactly what they are asking for, and to know that the promise of rock and roll will be fulfilled to you, and in person if you choose by The Groggs.
What the Critics Say :
"A very excellent band" - RVCA.com
"A return to good ol' dingy, hard hitting rock & roll for all the hungry purists" - Good Times Santa Cruz
"Scuzz Rock Luminaries" - Metro Santa Cruz
Formed in 2008, this shaggy local trio continues to electrify venues alongside the likes of the Black Lips and Kid Congo Powers; but don’t think for a second the Groggs are rock stars. “We have no false aspirations to ‘make it,’” says singer Keith Thompson, “‘Make it’ all the time, I say.” With this motto in hand, the Groggs deliver a staggering blast of new garage rock, with hints of punk and power-pop sing-alongs, all wrapped up in a gritty package for a classic sound that spans decades. With openers from Olympia, Western Hymn, Wednesday promises to be a true experience in the lost art of rock ’n’ roll with steady beats and audience interaction—giving anyone in earshot a sense that the show is less about the bands and more about everyone leaving with a good time; just as the gods intended.
Since its inception, the hard-hitting garage rock trio known as the Groggs has given new hope to the Santa Cruz music scene. Lead singer and guitarist Keith Thompson's slightly surfish licks blend beautifully with punch-packing power chords and grungy, soulful singing. All the while, he struts onstage with more swagger than a rooster in the hen house, backed up by the bountiful bass rifts of Ryan Allbaugh. Justin Ward rounds out the group, hammering away on the skins and keeping the beat for the infectiously catchy yet dingy tunes. Overall, the Groggs are a band to be reckoned with, and they put on a show not to be missed. Crepe Place; $5; 9pm. (Brian Harker)
It’s 6:30 p.m. and I feel out of place hitting up the Blue Lagoon so early. Its black walls and empty stage stand quiet as red lights pulsate overhead in the vacant band room, flickering hints of what will come alive later in the evening. I’m sitting at a table as Keith Thompson, the sound engineer, speedily preps the room for the night’s concert. Finally, irked by the quiet, he puts on The Seeds’ “Satisfy You” as background music for our chat about his own band that’s riled up the very room we’re in many times over, the Groggs.
“It’s working class,” Thompson says of the Groggs’ sound, after joining me with a can of Pabst nestled in his hand, his Golden Boots T-shirt peeking out from his denim jacket. “Most people can relate to it. If we showed up at a veterans’ VFW bar we could probably not get killed.” The singer adds, “It’s not about how intellectual we are, it’s about how we can connect, write kick-ass songs and get everyone pumped and moving.”
Having quaked stages alongside Bob Log III, Kid Congo Powers and the Black Lips, the Groggs have stepped up as one of Santa Cruz’s premier rock acts, delivering on a promise of classic rock and big-hit songwriting based around basic chords. Thompson may claim an aversion to over-intellectualizing art rockers, but don’t be fooled: the Groggs don’t lack introspection. Along with gritty, high-adrenaline garage rock and plenty of nods to ’70s guitar punches and punk rock, the trio delves into country and soul influences (think Townes Van Zandt and the Byrds) and current crowd favorites include some nearly-shoegaze-infused pop rock ballads.
“We want to show that everyone should have a band in Santa Cruz—even the guy who cuts my hair can have a band. There’s no line or distinction between who can play.”
—Keith Thompson, The Groggs
Throughout our conversation, Thompson affectionately refers to his girlfriend and primary source of inspiration, Luxury Sweets bassist Rachael MacKenzie Chavez, as “my chick,” and Groggs bassist Ryan Allbaugh as “my bro,” and the 27-year-old talks about his songwriting intentions with the same unabashed candor and casual confidence.
“We’re trying to unite the reverb-drenched Wall of Sound with classic songwriting and punk energy,” the frontman says of the band’s upcoming debut album, recorded at Compound Recordings where Thompson labored as an intern in exchange for studio time. “I hope it’s a great rock record. Like one for the ages, to put on the shelf next to your Clash and Ramones records. You could put on the Ramones’ Rocket to Russia and then you could put on our album and draw a line to it.”
Twenty minutes into our talk, Allbaugh rushes in. Sporting long hair and a black Pestilence hoodie, the bassist’s death metal background is obvious. Apologizing for being late due to a water pipe bursting on River Street, Allbaugh’s darkness seems to end with his attire. Smiley and lighthearted, the Chico native chimes in to describe his rising band with Thompson and drummer Justin Ward as “unpretentious and enjoyable and a little in your face—old fashioned bar rock in the best sense of the term.” Then he laughs with an afterthought, “Well, maybe we don’t want to emphasize the beer too much!”
“We don’t play to any specific class or social group,” Thompson states. “It’s something to bring all those people together. We want to show that everyone should have a band in Santa Cruz—even the guy who cuts my hair can have a band. There’s no line or distinction between who can play.” Allbaugh agrees, “Yeah, why not? It’s just fun.”
So what’s next for the Groggs in their searing rock plight for the everyman?
“We’re going to attempt another West Coast tour
in the spring once we have the record out,” Thompson says. “That’s if we can get our van to smog—which is not looking good.”
For more information on The Groggs, check out myspace.com/thegroggs.
Written by Linda Koffman
Tuesday, 20 January 2009 - gtweekly.com
"The purists of the local rock scene"
Having a MySpace is a necessity for every band these days. Having a MySpace without any music on it will likely get a band nowhere. Unless you’re The Groggs. Peruse their site and you’ll find show dates, plenty of retro black and white photos, and a quirky little bio that so insightfully begins, “Many years ago, three men were born.” Music for a quick listen? Nope. “I’m kind of a purist,” explains singer and sound engineer Keith Thompson about the curious absence of tunes, “I want it to sound like the nuggets of the psychedelic ’60s. In the meantime, through the local network, we’ve been doing all right.” More than all right, the trio has found its niche playing heavy, wall-trembling shows for audiences of all kinds. Thompson, formerly of psych outfit El Sonido, started the band with visions of Gram Parsons and Townes Van Zandt in mind. That plan was soon ditched, and they’ve instead been procuring a set encompassing stoner rock, grinding punk, and the softened edges of power pop—with some Billy Bragg and Sam Cooke thrown in. They’re as accessible as that initial country rock, but as fiercely adrenaline-rousing as Raging Bull. “The origin was that we were going to be the sweethearts of the rodeo, but then we realized that might be a little limiting,” the singer reflects. “So far we get the hipsters diggin’ us, the old folks diggin’ us, and it’s pretty cool.” More like sweethearts of the corner store, the band’s hoping to cement a grassroots sponsorship from their infamous namesake—The Grog Shop, which he calls “a notoriously dingy liquor store that we’re so proud of.” Tacking on that extra ‘g’ as a nod to The Troggs, the threesome pays homage to its neighborhood beverage outlet, and may soon just sport the store’s T-shirts onstage in exchange for, yep, that DIY rock gold: beer. “We’re happy to pay for our beer in the meantime, but it’d definitely be nice to save a little money that way,” the frontman muses with hope. And, if we’re lucky, those savings will lead to some official recordings for the rest of us.
Underground Alt Indie
we play music and feel real good about it. maybe we are silly dreamers but we like to think we can help heal those who tune in to our vibration. we play conscious music while retaining the edge of the underground.
we are a collective of friends who play music for the love of it. we are a core who rehearse along with the others who cannot always attend but are still a part of the experience. the band has been evolving for the last five or so years. now that the line-up has solidified we are rolling.
923 Pacific Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95060