Dead Rock West

Frank Lee Drennen: Vocals | Cindy Wasserman : Vocals | Dave Carpenter: Bass guitar | Bryan Head: Drums | Phil Parlapiano: Keyboards

Genre: Bluegrass & Roots, Punk, Rock

Sound description: Punk Americana.

RIYL: Inch, Hot Snakes, X, Loam, Everly Brothers

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Inception: San Diego, 2002

Influences: Wirepony, Acetone, Inch, Merle Haggard, the Feelies, X, Gram Parsons, the Byrds, Hot Snakes, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Pentax Spotmatic F, Johnny Cash, Kodak E100vs, Charlie Mcree, Gregory Page, Jack Reynolds, Steve Poltz, Old 97's, Westerberg, Patrick Dennis, Christopher Hoffee, Stewboss, Bruce Cockburn, Skydiggers, LA's, the Who, Emmylou Harris, the Alarm, the Beat Farmers, Howlin' Wolf, Lone Justice, Ben Moore, the Brothers Figaro, Razorlight, Lefty Frizzell, the Plimsouls, Louvin Brothers, Vena Cava, the Wipers, Sugar, Rob Wasserman, Waterboys, Hank Williams, Lucinda Williams, Victoria Williams, Sonny Terry, 16 HP, R.E.M., Sammy Lambert, Lou the Dog, Folk Uke, Loam, Lou Reed, Bonnie Prince Billy, Joan Osborne, Sonny Terry, Razorlight, Bartenders Bible, Stone Ponys, Tacey Nelson, Willie Nelson, Songo Bongo, the Carter Family, Dead Meadow, Joe Henry, Patty Griffin, Patti Smith, Stooges, Uncle Tupelo, PJ Harvey, Bug Guts, Scud Mountain Boys, Loretta Lynn


"I was born August 19 at 6:20 a.m.," says Frank Lee Drennen on his website. "My dad was in the Marine Corps. He was in the EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal); he blew things up for a living. My mama lives in a silver-mining camp town esablished in the early 1860s called Chloride in Arizona. Her family is from Arkansas. Her dad, Homer Gunn, was a travelling preacher. Grampa Gunn's mother was named Roxy Gunn. Dad's parents are from West Virginia. Grandma Drennen's maiden name was Littlepage and she was born in a lumber camp. Lee Andrew Drennen, my Grandpa, was a factory worker and played the piano."

"I play a cream Fender Telecaster through a late 1960s all point-to-point tube driven Ampeg with one 12 inch Jensen speaker called a Rocket."

Drennen's band Dead Rock West formed in 1992, while the singer/songwriter/guitarist was still in Gregory Page's band the Hatchet Brothers and his own group Loam. Keyboardist Phil Parlapiano has played with Social Distortion, while drummer Bryan Head tours with Dick Dale. Co-singer Cindy Wasserman's brother is famed bass player Rob Wasserman.

The band recorded their album Honey and Salt in 2008, recorded (on analog tape) in Echo Park, and mixed in Nashville by Richard Dodd (Wilco, Tom Petty, George Harrison, Steve Earle, Roy Orbison, etc.). The record was released on local Populuxe Records label. An outtakes collection Orphans and Strays was released in 2009.

Drennen also plays with Songo Bongo and Stewboss. In early 2009, he announced that Peter Case (the Plimsouls) would produce the new Dead Rock West album, with special guests Exene Cervenka, John Doe and Mark Olson. The resulting album Bright Morning Stars, was released in April 2011.

A 2011 UK tour included keyboardist Phil Parlapiano, who helped Social Distortion sharpen its edge, San Diego Music Awards’ “best hard rock” designee Charlie McRee of Lord Howler, with his buddy Jack Reynolds and the Truckee Brothers’ Chris Hoffee.

“I was drumming and singing backing vocals," says McRee. “The road is usually amazingly great in England, in no small part due to the cask-conditioned ales. The difference between these suds and their American craft beer counterparts is their low alcohol content and lack of pasteurization. The beers taste of fresh ingredients and live yeast. The result is surprisingly intoxicating and delicious.”

Singer Cindy Wasserman appeared on the David Letterman show on September 8, 2011, singing with John Doe of X.

Their 2011 album Bright Morning Stars was re-released on 180 gram vinyl in January 2015. They spent that summer touring with X, and then Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin and the Guilty Ones, in support of their album It's Everly Time, a 13 song tribute produced by Grammy-winning producer Mark Linett (Brian Wilson, Los Lobos, Randy Newman). The album's lead single “I Used To Love You” was also produced as a video, as was the single “The Price of Love.”

Videos were released in late 2015 for “I Used To Love You” and “The Price of Love,” both from It's Everly Time.

Their late 2017 album More Love was produced by John Doe (X) and featured contributions from Elliot Easton (the Cars), Greg Leisz (Watkins Family Hour), and DJ Bonebrake. It was preceded by a single for “Boundless Fearless Love.”


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