"Old Tiger came together in 2009,” according to Dustin Lothspeich. “I’d been working at a local racquetball manufacturer [E-Force Racquetball] for a while when a new guy named Eric Boone started. A couple weeks later, I noticed he was tapping on his desk with a couple of pencils. Which is no big deal, but then I also noticed he was tapping his feet, in time, at the same time. I knew instantly he was a drummer, because normal people don’t tap like that. But he was really quiet and new, so I wasn’t really sure how to ‘out’ him.”
A quick Google search revealed Boone’s secret stickman identity as the drummer for the High Rolling Loners. “So I cued up one of their songs on my computer and, the next time he walked by my desk, I blasted it over my speakers. He stopped dead in his tracks and turned beet-red. I ended up hanging out with him at their rehearsal studio one evening and played him some songs I’d written recently. He dug ’em, so we started playing together. Turns out the High Rolling Loners’ bassist Matt Phillips also heard us playing outside the garage one night, walked inside, and said he wanted in.”
Despite its sparse three-piece configuration, Old Tiger’s debut full-length, Love Have Mercy, features guest string arrangements, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B3, percussion, horns, and gospel vocals by the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Choir San Diego, several of whom performed at the October 12 record-release party at the Casbah. “At one point,” says Lothspeich, “there were over a dozen people onstage! Definitely one of the great moments in my life.”
Old Tiger appears at La Mesa’s Riviera Supper Club on November 2 and December 7 and at the Belly Up in Solana Beach on November 3.
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
- Ty Segall Band, Slaughterhouse. “Just raw, fuzzy, raunchy guitar rock. Great songs to thrash out to.”
- Flying Lotus, Until the Quiet Comes. “This just came out, and I’ve been kind of mesmerized by it. It’s got weird beats and strange song structures, almost avant-garde hip-hop jazz or something. Very hard to explain.”
- The Walkmen, Heaven. “Anything by this band is great, and this newest record is fantastic: great songwriting and brilliant guitar playing, although very minimal. I like how little the guitarists actually play.”
- George Harrison, All Things Must Pass. “I just bought this on vinyl, after wanting it for years. Every song is just a classic. He was sitting on all this stuff for years, while he was in that other stupid band. What were they called?”
- The Heavy Guilt, In the Blood. “One of the best bands in San Diego, making really great psych, blues, soul rock. Their live shows are phenomenal. Ever seen a dude playing a huge chain onstage?”
ANYTHING YOU WERE EMBARRASSED TO MENTION?
“‘Said I Loved You but I Lied,’ by Michael Bolton. So what?”
TRIVIA STUCK IN YOUR BRAIN?
“Mitt Romney made 13.6 million dollars last year but paid 14.1 percent in taxes.”
“U2 at the MGM Grand on their How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb tour. I went with my brother and my mom. It was the first show I had ever taken my mom to, and it was kind of a big deal. I can’t tell you how many countless times she listened to Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum as I was growing up and how she always wanted to see them in concert. But we never had any money for that kind of stuff. So, when I had the opportunity to get tickets and book hotel rooms, I jumped on it. It was also the first time we’d ever been in Vegas together, and the whole experience just made me so happy. Sometimes you gotta do nice things for the momma.”
“My army-green Sovtek Big Muff Pi Fuzz guitar pedal. It cost me 30 bucks when I was 14 in 1996, and they’re about $300 now on eBay. Dan Auerbach uses the same pedal in the Black Keys. Some dude stole it from me. I know who it was and I tried to get it back but never could. I just had to let it go. But, Harvey, if you’re reading this, I hope a bird craps in your mouth.”
FIRST TIME DRUNK?
“I was 15. Me and three of my friends shoulder-tapped a 24-pack of Budweiser off some old surfer dude at Safeway, went back to my bud’s house, and we pounded each and every one of those beers in about ten minutes. I think I had about six or seven. I remember attempting to play drums on a tiny child’s drum set and using the phone to call girls. Not much has changed.”
THREE THINGS WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
- “My last name is pronounced Lud-spike.”
- “I started liking mustard about four months ago.”
- “I have a cat named Yoda.” ■