Gabe Serbian is in the center of San Diego’s hardcore punk scene. The Golden Hill denizen drums for post-punk experimentalists the Locust, screams for Black Flag–inspired hardcore roots enthusiasts Rats Eyes, and works the bar at Casbah. But Serbian’s time in San Diego is limited. He is often touring with the Locust or Rats Eyes or, as he was for the past three weeks, playing drums for Miami breakcore DJ (and former contributor for industrial-metal band Skinny Puppy) Otto von Schirach on a tour through Europe.
“The tour began on April 23 at this crummy holiday resort in the United Kingdom called Camber Sands,” Serbian wrote in a May 8 email midway through the tour. “Our first show was at five in the morning at this crazy three-day rave called Bang Face. My favorite part was walking around all the crazy ravers’ rooms and watching all the bullshit.”
Bang Face was the first time that the two appeared on the same stage together since 2006, when von Schirach opened for the Locust during a European tour. While on tour, von Schirach asked Serbian if he would play live drums for his freaktronic tracks. Serbian agreed.
“It was pretty awesome, I would play brutal drums to tweaked versions of ’80s sitcom theme songs,” recalled Serbian.
Earlier this year, four years removed from that 2006 invite, Serbian received an email from von Schirach, who asked if he wanted to join him for a three-week trek overseas. A few weeks later, the two took the stage at Camber Sands Resort without any rehearsals.
“We just went for it. It’s been a challenge to pull it off, especially when he plays songs I’ve never heard. I’m not straying from my drum style at all, so it’s a good mashup; busy drums to Otto’s diverse, strange dance music.”
After Bang Face, Serbian and von Shirach toured across the U.K. and Europe. And despite missing his dog Lady and favored hometown burritos, the drummer managed to let loose for what he considered his favorite show of the tour.
“We played a pretty big show in Brussels for my birthday with some friends from San Diego called Narrows. It ruled. They brought a cake out to me onstage, and the entire club of 700 people sang happy birthday to me.”
Serbian is now back in San Diego and will be onstage with Rats Eyes when they open for the Melvins at the Casbah on June 1.