Thicker Than Thieves is a horn-driven rock band heavily influenced by Sublime. Frontman Jamin Hazelaar grew up in a musical family and started performing at the age of nine. Not so unusual — that seems to be about the age when parents begin sticking clarinets or trumpets or violins in their kids’ hands. Hazelaar did recitals and musicals and plays as a child, and that’s where he worked out all of the mistakes that new singers must make.
Guitarist Brian Sykes is from Humboldt County. Cutting their teeth while playing high profile events like Reggae on the River and the Warped tour, the band turned up often at local venues.
Hazelaar knows perhaps better than anyone the uphill battle of being early on any sort of trend. Other than Buck-O-Nine, he says, “There really wasn’t anyone else in San Diego at that time who was doing what we were doing,” meaning the sounds that come from blending reggae and ska with punk rock.
In 2002, the band released their first full-length CD, Smuggler’s Run, said to have been inspired by a surfing trip, followed by their Respect EP in 2004. It follows that the Thieves’ music and surf/skater aesthetic made them favorites on such festival stages as the Van’s Warped Tour and the Costa Rica Caricaco Festival. Their music was also featured on the movie Hard Breakers, which featured Tia Carrera and Tom Arnold.
However, in summer 2006, “My girlfriend and I were still in bed when around twenty cops came busting in full-force with guns and a search warrant,” says Hazelaar of the 7:00 a.m. raid on his Alpine home. “They didn’t knock.”
“I was read my rights in my boxer shorts...It was pretty scary. They took me to the Vista jail and charged me with cultivation, possession, and intent to sell [marijuana]. Because they put a bail-hold on me, I ended up spending five days in jail.”
“I had a lot of time to reflect on the things that should never have distracted me from my music,” says Hazelaar, who was 33 years old at the time. “My parents put up my bail money and got me out. Now, I’m just trying to save my house and my property and my life.”
Several band members subsequently relocated from San Diego to Costa Rica and Hawaii. Their next release was 2007's Thru Thick and Thin, followed by 2012's Storm Will Pass EP.