As Declan Halloran sees it, the all-age local band scene is easy to sum up. “The bands that play at Soma are either pop-punk, cookie monster [sreamo], or ska. They pretty much come in one of these three flavors.”
Halloran is the drummer/vocalist in Neveready, a seven-member group that is often lumped in with the local ska contingent.
“When we started two years ago my dad [radio veteran Mike] was the one who told us not to do the typical ska thing. He urged us to look at other styles and try to reach out to a wider audience.”
The young Halloran and his bandmates made sure they did not fall into a ska rut.
“We saw how repetitive the other bands could sound,” says guitarist/vocalist Christian Clark. “The trend nowadays is to take old-school ska and just speed it up, which is cool, but that is not the direction we wanted to go.... We realized we had to go into the roots of ’60s Jamaica dance halls. We throw in Motown, funk, soul, dub, hip-hop, and abstract swing.”
Most of the members of Neveready met at La Jolla High. Halloran, a senior, is the only member not in college. The band now schedules its gigs around the hometown visits of Clark, who attends UC Berkeley, and sax player Patrick Hallahan, a sophomore at Cal Poly.
“There is usually only one ska show a month in San Diego,” says Clark. “So there is like a competition between bands. The way we deal with it is we make our own shows by playing random places in the street. Our first one was at Mission Beach near the roller coaster. We also played in front of Mr. Frostie’s in Pacific Beach and near the Crystal Pier on the boardwalk. When we play Mission Beach, we bring a generator. Otherwise, it’s acoustic. The police are cool as long as there isn’t a crowd blocking the boardwalk. We’ve done dozens of street shows since the summer of 2010.”
Halloran says his dad will not give his band radio love on Loudspeaker, the Sunday-night local music show he hosts on 91X. “He played us once, and he gave full disclosure on the air that his son was in the band. We had already done an interview with [Halloran’s Loudspeaker predecessor] Andrew Rowley. Tim Pyles [94/9] played five of our songs, and we also got played on 102.1.”
But Dad’s connections can come in handy.
“We were practicing at Christian’s house and my dad came by with Steve Poltz to see how we were doing. We played ‘Screw It’ and we said we don’t have a second verse. After a few minutes, Steve is, like, ‘Here, try these.’ He showed us these lyrics he wrote in, like, five minutes and they fit perfectly. The next week we asked him if he wanted to sing on the song. He said, ‘Absolutely.’”
Neveready appears “near the rollercoaster” on November 26 and at Electric Ladyland (all ages) in O.B. on December 17.