'We just got back from a mini-tour up the coast," says Cheeky frontman Shant Salakian. "We went as far as San Louis Obispo. It was a new experience for us. It's the first time we've been on the road for more than a couple of days."
What's next for this local act? "Our next CD will be Live at Lestat's, " says Shant. We recorded it about a month ago. Right now it's in the mix-down stage."
Shant was born and raised in Zimbabwe, then joined San Diego natives Andy Jensen (bass), Chad Slaughter (lead guitar), and Gabriel Johnston (drums).
Cheeky performs Thursday, May 25, at Brick by Brick.
TRICKIEST PROBLEM PLAYING LIVE?
Shant "Most sound guys don't really care how well you sound onstage. It's the most frustrating thing: playing a whole gig and having someone come up to you at the end and say, 'Great show, but I couldn't hear the vocals. '"
Gabe "Poor sound reinforcement for vocals."
Andy "Keeping Shant's guitar in tune and his mind in a happy place."
Chad "Ideally, you'd like to hear onstage what the peeps in the audience are hearing."
FAVORITE AXE AND ITS HISTORY?
Shant "Taylor T5. It's an incredibly versatile guitar and lets me get both acoustic and electric sounds. I just bought it and don't know how I've lived without it up until this point."
Gabe "Yamaha 13-inch brass snare. I had been eyeballing it for months, then I went into the store and I didn't see it anywhere. I thought I had lost my chance, but a salesman pulled it out from behind the counter just as I was beginning to sulk. I bought it on the spot -- not that I had the money for it, but I knew I wouldn't get another shot."
Andy "Cort five-string bass. Bought it sight unseen on eBay, and I've loved it ever since."
Chad "'70s Les Paul XR1, bought in '93 or '94. It was my first 'real' guitar. I recently gutted and sanded the paint off of it so as to make a super-axe. It's still a work in progress."
Gabe "The Tiki Bar [gigs] are always the best. They always just 'feel' right. Worst: At the Jumping Turtle in San Marcos. It is a good place
to play, but the night we played there was so dead. San Marcos just isn't a hopping part of town."
Andy "Best gig was in Hollywood on Melrose. The place [Venus] was packed, fans were going nuts, and there was plenty of evil to be unleashed later that night."
BRUSH WITH THE FAMOUS?
Gabe "I met Ike Turner once while working at the Guitar Center in San Marcos, back in 1998."
Andy "A friend of mine is friends with Jessica Alba's boyfriend. That's only four degrees, I think, but that's four degrees closer to the hottest woman in the world than anyone else I know."
Chad "Got burned by Taylor Knox at Lowers."
WHERE DO YOU SEE MUSIC GOING IN THE 21st CENTURY?
Shant "I see all the genres melting into one and most music getting to a point where you can't really categorize it."
Gabe "I would hope to see a push for more live music being performed in the 500- to 1000-
occupancy venues, as opposed to the big 10,000-seat venues. If fans claim that the music they listen to is so personal to them, why would they prefer huge venues as opposed to smaller, more intimate ones?"
Shant "I have a recurrent dream/nightmare: We're playing to a 100,000-size crowd, and they're going crazy, and we're just about to start playing...but none of our equipment is working."
Gabe "I had a dream once about playing in a swing band on a cruise ship and everybody was dressed like in the movie Titanic. But not so stuffy and totally shaking a leg."
Andy "One time I dreamt that our singer was here illegally from Africa."
ENCOUNTERS WITH RECORD LABEL EXECS?
Shant "I don't really know if major record label is the way to go. I would never give up ownership of my music. When the time comes, we'll see what they have to offer."
Chad "Yeah, they keep trying to sign us, but we're, like, 'No way, man, you can't handle this. '"