Shake Before Us

Kevin "Cuz" Donahue: Bass guitar | Jesse Pryor: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Vocals | Fonda: Drums, Vocals | Will A. Lerner: Keyboards, Vocals

Genre: Rock

RIYL: The Animals, the Strokes, the Raconteurs, the Doors, King Kahn and the Shrines, the Black Keys, Queens of the Stone Age

Upcoming Local Shows

Song Downloads


Inception: Carlsbad, 2010

Influences: The Animals, the Doors, the Who, the Kinks, the Sonics


Sixties-inspired sci-fi garage rockers Shake Before Us formed in June 2010, when Jesse Pryor, Fonda, Will A. Lerner, and Kevin “Cuz” Donahue found they shared a common love for vintage organs, hollow body guitars, Theremins, cool ties, and a red sparkle drum kit. Over a couple of drinks, a pack of smokes, and a few handshakes, the band was launched.

Says bass player Donahue, “You need to have a good song to start with, a riff that just takes off and a vocal melody that can keep up with it. We try to take the listener into a different head space. If we feel a song doesn't have those qualities, we drop it.”

According to guitarist Jesse Pryor, quite a number of songs had to be laid to rest early on. “Around November of 2010, before we had even played a show, we dropped five out of the ten songs we had written. It’s tough to drop half your set because it just isn’t good enough. For me, that was the day we became a real band.”

In their first eight months of playing live, they shared the stage with Supersuckers, the Blasters,
King Khan, Holly Golightly, Kid Congo, and the Jacuzzi Boys.

Their debut full-length was recorded in 2011 with John “Swami” Reis (Hot Snakes, etc.) producing and local engineering master Ben Moore on the controls. Recorded directly to a vintage 8-track reel-to-reel, Fonda explains “John’s approach to capturing our vibe on record was to go after those classic old sounds. He was determined to record us in the fashion of the 1960s. That meant not only recording in dress shirts and ties, but having to get the song right in one full take. Straight to
8-tracks, baby!”

Their get-buzzed-and-turn-up-the-fuzz attitude yields true tales of lost faith, booze, drugs, sin, and self-doubt on the record. The sound, a maniacal mix of organ, guitar, dual howling vocals, deep drums, and even deeper bass, pairs the past with the future, vintage with modern. “Sure, the guitar has a ton of reverb,” says producer Reis, “but it’s the sound of the band, and it’s a sound that needs to be embraced.”

In June 2012, the band played the Ink-N-Iron Festival in Long Beach (as did fellow locals Stephen Rey & the Slicks and Low Volts). “The only member without body art is bassist Cuz,” said keyboardist Will A. Lerner shortly before the tattoo-themed event.

“I have our ‘SBU in a Flash’ logo tattooed on my chest, with a tweaked version of the old Elvis TCB logo,” says Lerner. “I also have some of the more arty tattoos you’ll ever see, like a grand piano, a portrait of Beethoven, and a raven sitting atop a bust of Pallas Athena, among others.” Heavily tattooed singer/guitarist Jesse Pryor doesn’t rely only on inked needles for satisfaction: in 2012, he underwent acupuncture to relieve soreness and tightness in his hands.


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