Singer/guitarist Elias Avila of Groms learned about 1960s-style garage rock at the border.
“For about two years, me and my dad lived in Tijuana. It was a good two hours to get across the border each morning. That’s when I learned about the Sonics and the Kinks.”
Groms is among a wave young bands that are reprogramming the local scene.
“I noticed at a Frights show that it’s all about the energy of a live show,” Avila tells the Reader. “I’m over indie. I don’t want to play to a bunch of kids nodding their heads.”
At age 19, Avila is the oldest member of Groms. Bassist Joey Johnson and drummer Wesley Harding, both 18, and guitarist Ween, 16, are still in high school.
But aren’t most of the kids now into EDM...and radio-pop?
“I noticed a lot of 15- and 16-year-old kids in the Clairemont and University City area who are obsessed with Jimi Hendrix and Ty Segall.” Avila says, for teens, the music mindset is changing. “When I was in high school it was all about pop. If you were into rock you didn’t talk about it.”
But where to play when you’re under 21?
“With the Ché Café gone, we’ve been seeing a lot of house shows going on. We just played a show in an empty pool.... As long as we’re done by 10:15 and they don’t have a warrant, we can tell the cops to fuck off.”
Avila says Groms were happy to gig at the all-ages Dial in Temecula until it went away last year. “It was a collective that got evicted from its space.”
He says Groms will not be going back to the all-ages Epicentre, which he says relies on a pay-to-play business model.
“I know bands who were told that unless they sell all 30 advance tickets and turn in $300, they aren’t playing. Pay-to-pay is complete bullshit. It is an ingenuine way for bands to meet other bands. It’s like you are a Shady Francos fan or a Groms fan but not both. Sometimes when one band is done playing, their 30 or 40 fans leave and won’t stay for the other bands. I like meeting new fans through shows and develop a genuine fan base rather than heckling our friends to pay for presale tickets. Bands and their fans need to interact with each other and stand up for themselves and not feel like they are dominated by the venue.”
Groms, Beach Goons, Sandy Cheeks, and Wild Palms appear Friday the 13th at the Lavender House in Vista.