The Long and Short of It

Matt Strachota: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric) | Brian Barrabee: Bass guitar, Vocals | Ben Johnson: Vocals | Tim "Big Baby" Johnson: Drums

Genre: Alternative, Rock

Sound description: KGB Sky Shows circa the 1980s.

RIYL: Tarrakian, Utopia, Sleeping People, Gort, '70s-style hard rock

No shows scheduled | Post a show | View show history


Influences: Hot Snakes, Melt Banana, Big Business, the North Atlantic, Hostile Combover, the International Playboys, Sleeping People, Birds of Avalon, Made out of Babies, Party Time, RPG, Bob Logg III, National Sunday Law, the Ruby Doe, the Family Curse, Get Your Death On


The Long and Short of It say they play “a pastiche of aggressive rock forms including punk, prog, metal, and '70s hard rock.”

“We wanna be a fierce, in-your-face band,” says singer Ben Johnson, also plays drums for Hostile Comb-Over. Johnson was attending college in Santa Cruz with his brother Tim "Big Baby" Johnson when the siblings met bassist Brian Barrabee, who is paralyzed from the chest down, the result of a May 2004 accident.

Barrabee recruited Bartenders Bible guitarist Matt Strachota. Their debut album  Flight of the Mallard was released in 2007. Their next full-length CAW! An Unkindness of Ravens was released in 2009. In September, it won Best Hard Rock Album at the San Diego Music Awards.

"I can tell you for sure that our best local gig was our record release for CAW!V, says Barrabee. "That was at the Casbah in 2009, and it was our first sold out show there."

As for their worst show, "That was probably in Medford, OR on tour. I think there were two people there, and they both tried to come on stage numerous times, convinced they could sing and play our songs better than we could. Neither of them had ever heard a lick of our music, but that made no difference whatsoever."

Ben Johnson has also played with Wha?, is a goth-punk band he formed in 2012 alongside keyboardist Tracy Wooley (of Beehive & the Barracudas, formerly of Tourette's Lautrec and Tammy Faye), with Kaoss Pad and David Robles (the Marsupials). Also known as comedic rapper Grammatical B, he became a published novelist in 2014 with his book A Shadow Cast in Dust, an urban fantasy mostly set in Golden Hill.

As a bartender at the Casbah, Johnson has caught plenty of shows by established and up-and-coming national acts. He cites Chris Robinson from the Black Crowes as the coolest of the cool. “[Robinson] comes up to the bar and talks to you like you’re old friends. He just starts telling stories and he’s so funny, engaging, and rad. This guy just rules. I never listened to the Black Crowes, and the band he had that night was really like the Grateful Dead, and I don’t really like the Grateful Dead, but he was just amazing as a guy.”

2014 saw the release of EM>Burl, their first full-length since 2009. "Three out of the four of us have started families, and I just got engaged" said Brian Barrabee in summer 2014 of the delay in releasing Burl. "The album title has to do with our sound being burly, and the wonderful redwood carvings we would see on the side of the road every time we would tour the west coast. The artwork was done by Doug Thompson, who's done four out of our five releases over the years."


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