Ken Leighton 4:11 p.m., Sept. 3
Sound description: Classic indie garage rock.
RIYL: The Ramones, the Calico Cartel, the Prayers, Vinyl Radio, Roses on Her Grave
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- Blurt · Dec. 15, 2005
- Blurt · July 21, 2005
Inception: San Diego, 2003
Current Status: Since disbanding, vocalist Andre Che formed the Calico Cartel. Guitarist Andrew Bernhardt and drummer Dustin Paul joined Vinyl Radio. Bassist Mark Wiskowski now plays with Roses on her Grave.
Influences: The Ramones, the Doors, the Clash, Small Faces, Cream, Tom Petty, Marc Bolan and T-Rex, the Swedish Models, Gadfly, the Prayers, the Calico Cartel, Vinyl Radio, Roses on Her Grave
Cape May was formed in Ocean Beach. Andres Goyenechea (aka Andre Che, vocals, guitar) moved to San Diego from Seattle in the winter of 2001 to pursue his musical interests. After playing out for about a year, he met Andrew Bernhardt (guitar, keys) through a classified ad, and the duo began writing music together during the summer of 2003.
The two played out with a rhythm section for a year and a half while refining their tunes and building a following. When their drummer pursued another gig, Dustin Paul (drums) was brought on to solidify the set. After playing several shows with the band, his heavy-handed simplistic style turned out to be a good fit, and bassist Mark Wiskowski was added to the lineup in March '04. Cape May was originally named Cilantro but, after realizing the name didn't suit their high-octane blues rock, they decided to name themselves after a street in their O.B. neighborhood.
The band played a steady string of shows between May '04 and November '06. They made several videos and wrote and recorded over 70 songs. They played the O.B. scene relentlessly and gained local notoriety from their Wednesday farmers' market performances. In a town laden with reggae and jam bands, folks couldn't help but become intrigued by the wreckless appearances from this street-rock band.
Soon after, live performances at the Casbah, 4th&B, and Key Club propelled them into the upper crust of the San Diego scene, while establishing a solid following for the band. Cape May was then featured on FOX 6's Fox Rox and completed a month-long west coast tour. By this point, the Reader was dishing out highly favorable reviews of their albums and their singles were gracing local airwaves.
They released two albums, the dark, rhythm-heavy, eponomous debut Cape May, and then their second effort Cape May II, a guitar-based record with a more distinct classic-rock sound. Their continued praises earned them a nomination for "Best Rock Band" at the 2006 San Diego Music Awards. Their single "This City Rolls" was featured on MTV's Room Raiders and was placed as the first song on the Best of San Diego compilation.
As the four members lived together for quite sometime, they became a band of brothers, which translated into them partying, working, and fighting like brothers. Their "Niagara House" in O.B. became a late-night hot spot for degenerates and partygoers alike for over two years. Musical differences have been cited as the reason for their break up. Singer Andre Che has gone on to form the Calico Cartel. Guitarist Andrew Bernhardt and drummer Dustin Paul have gone on to join Vinyl Radio. Bassist Mark Wiskowski now plays with Roses on her Grave.
-- MySpace profile
Cape May guitarist Andrew Bernhardt (also of Vinyl Radio) was featured on a 1995 episode of MTV's Room Raiders. Bernhardt was selected for the program after Dusty Paul, Cape May's drummer, submitted an application at the Fashion Valley mall. Bernhardt's bandmates felt the show would be an opportunity for free publicity. "They [production company Granada] explained to me that it is the third most televised show in the world," Bernhardt said.
The episode features three local female contestants competing to win a date with Bernhardt. The women watch footage of Bernhardt performing with his band, but Bernhardt is kept in the dark as to the identity of the girls. He examines the contestants' bedrooms, using their personal belongings and living habits to make his choice. The girls do the same at Bernhardt's living space, the house in O.B. where three of the four band members live, concentrating on the living room/rehearsal space, which is also the bedroom of lead singer/guitarist Andre Che, not Bernhardt. "The band room is more interesting than my room," Bernhardt said, "and it represents me better."
Once Bernhardt had chosen a winner, the Room Raiders camera crew filmed their "date." "Usually [Granada] don't even [send the contestants] on a date. That goes right along with the low budget. For our so-called date, we just sat in the back yard and I was teaching her how to play guitar. She was chunking through a G chord, and then I played her one of my songs," Bernhardt said.
Even though the two had similar lifestyles and tastes in music, the show fizzled, and Bernhardt hasn't spoken to her since the day of the taping. The future of the footage now lies in the hands of the show's director, "Trip," who, according to Che, "wouldn't make eye contact with anyone." Granada taped an entire performance of Cape May's song "Rock City."
-- "Blurt," 7-21-05
"They hijacked the name [UV Tigers]," says a music-scene insider who claims that Ocean Beach band Cape May registered the Internet domain name of the UV Tigers, another local band.
Cape May lead singer Andre Che, who says none of his bandmates were involved, had this explanation: "I went with some friends to the UV Tigers' debut performance at the Casbah in February..... We got really pissed [loaded] and watched a great show. Upon arriving home after the show, it was decided that we would frolic through the cyber digital land of Ultra Violet Tigers. When arriving at their website, it said, 'THIS DOMAIN IS AVAILABLE'!!! Now, in the land of site-domain squatters and cyber sharks, one never knows from minute to minute what will be available tomorrow.
"So, my friend and Web guru (who wishes to remain anonymous) says he wants to buy it in order to save it for the Tigers. He then suggests that he wants to contact them the next day and get to work on their website with them. As I was the only one on hand with [a credit card], I volunteered my Visa for what seemed like a good idea.... [My friend] ended up taking off a few days later, only to abandon the entire UV website project altogether.
"I forgot about it and paid no mind to it. I tried to contact the guys in the UV Tigers a couple times about different things, such as shows and recording, and never heard back from them until a week ago, when they inquired about me being the 'master of their domain.'
"They seemed upset that I had bought their domain name and wanted to know why I bought it. I told them the truth. We were not malicious or ill-natured in our acquisition of their domain name. Either way, I told them I had forgotten about it, and that they could have it.... It's all squared away now. It's back in their hands."
Gary Hankins, lead singer of UV Tigers, has no comment on the issue.
-- "Blurt," 6-15-06
"Hometown CD," 10-6-05
Album: Cape May (2005)
Four-piece alternative-rock outfit Cape May offers dreamy ballads, trippy psychedelia, and hard-driving rock with a Mazzy Star brand of submerged appeal. The band rages through the first half of the disc, paying homage to indie and punked-out emo along the way. The fourth cut, "Niagara Falls," is the album's highlight. The song captures something akin to the kind of coming-of-age sentiment found in the Who's "Baba O'Riley."
Ethereal guitar work is the most striking aspect of Cape May's sound. Electric guitars usher in a sense of surrender as each cut flows into the next. The influences of the Doors, the Clash, and the Beatles can be heard throughout. Occasionally the band veers off course, falling victim to aimless bass lines. The melody lines of lengthier cuts such as "Ticking Clock" and "The Wind Blows" also become convoluted. Still, the production quality of each track is flawless, and there is a good balance of ballads and rockers.
Hypnotic vocals from frontman Andres Goyenechea (aka Andre Che) are half-sung, half-spoken phrases that provide another facet to the sound. Pink Floyd-inspired guitar fills add needed complexity in the disc's final songs. Cape May's use of layered musical textures make for a memorable debut.