Chula Vista’s Tim Riley, attorney for San Diego’s office of the public defender, didn’t pick up guitar until age 36 (he’s 47 now), but maybe that helped him not waste time. “Up until recently, it was all cowboy chords,” he confesses of his technique. “I know enough to form chord progressions that are the beds for the melodies and hooks in my head,” he allows, but he sticks to “strictly rhythm — I don’t want to make it cry or sing.”
Like many fortysomethings, Riley started in on the Bee Gees and a few helpful hints from “a much cooler friend.... We would take breaks from sessions of Dungeons and Dragons and he would put on the Eagles, Cat Stevens, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Beatles.
“In ’80, ’81, we were chasing girls, drinking beer, and skipping school to ‘Don’t Stand So Close to Me,’ ‘I Love Rock ’n’ Roll,’ and ‘Red Barchetta’ and anything by AC/DC. While my parents were away, I actually hosted an Angus Young party, where there were 30 dudes dressed in Young’s classic schoolboy regalia and one nervous-looking chick.”
He never stopped loving the Bee Gees, but his songs for his band the Sinners remind him of John Fogerty, Johnny Cash, and Sting. “Ninety percent of the CD,” he recalls, “was recorded in a shabby, run-down, nameless recording studio on El Cajon Boulevard close to San Diego State University. Sketchy-looking folks slept in the other studios that were adjacent to ours.”
Riley logs a lot of time at Mueller College’s Across the Street venue. And various Sinners may be found nearby at Lancers or the Small Bar. Their next gig is on June 6 at Bar Eleven on El Cajon Boulevard. “We want to start gigging at least four times a month,” says Riley, “and we’re looking at venues that feature showcase bands, like the Tower Bar, Ruby Room, and Winston’s and the Harp in Ocean Beach, just to name a few.”
For more on the Sinners and their music, check out thesinners.bandcamp.com.