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Harley's hobby

The scariest band in the land, Deadbolt, getting busy again

Harley Davidson (left) says Deadbolt was never about the big payday: “We were happy to be a cult band like the Cramps.”
Harley Davidson (left) says Deadbolt was never about the big payday: “We were happy to be a cult band like the Cramps.”

I told Deadbolt frontman Harley Davidson that the funniest line I’d ever heard uttered by a rocker onstage was at Belly Up. His voodoobilly band was playing to a full house at the Solana Beach tavern, and Harley was reverse heckling.

“I haven’t seen so many gay surfers since Baywatch,” he’d blurted.

Video:

"Truck Driving S.O.B."

...by Deadbolt (live footage, 2009)

...by Deadbolt (live footage, 2009)

“I always customize my show to each occasion,” says Davidson. “[Our crowd has] come to expect abuse at a Deadbolt show.”

Davidson is the only original member of Deadbolt, which released a number of records on San Diego’s Cargo Records. Cargo flourished in the ’90s, releasing albums by Rocket from the Crypt, Pitchfork, Crankshaft, Fishwife, Driptank, Heavy Vegetable, and Olive Lawn.

Not all of those bands were happy with Cargo.

“We were the only band that ever made any money with Cargo.” Davidson says there were nine Deadbolt albums on Cargo between 1992 and 2008. “A lot of those other bands wanted $100,000 to record one album. We said we can do it for $1500. And then we toured a lot. We recorded each song in one or two takes. We never took a third take.”

Plus, Deadbolt was never part of the “next Seattle” scene.

“We were a little older than the guys in those other Cargo bands. We played a different type of music. With them it was more like record an album with Butch Vig, have one record with Interscope, and — boom — you’re gone. We were happy to be a cult band like the Cramps.”

Past Event

Party on Monster Island: Tiki Oasis 2016

  • Sunday, August 21, 2016, 10 a.m.
  • Crowne Plaza Hotel, 2270 Hotel Circle North, San Diego
  • Free

While Deadbolt plays only “10 to 15 shows a year,” Davidson says they are the only SD band from the early ’90s that still tours.

“We’ll go two or three years where we’re all washed up, then we come back and we tour again for two years.” Davidson says Deadbolt is currently on the upswing. “We played the So-Cal Hoedown [in Santa Ana last weekend].”

Deadbolt appears Saturday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the third of the four-night Tiki Oasis, billed as “the longest-running tiki gathering in the world.” Also appearing Saturday are Creepy Creeps and the Sonics.

“I always tell people to treat music as a hobby. Instead of buying that drone so you can look in your neighbor’s window, get some gear and play music. You get to meet chicks, drink free beer, and hit the road. Just don’t take yourself seriously and don’t do it expecting to make money. It’s a great hobby.”

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Harley Davidson (left) says Deadbolt was never about the big payday: “We were happy to be a cult band like the Cramps.”
Harley Davidson (left) says Deadbolt was never about the big payday: “We were happy to be a cult band like the Cramps.”

I told Deadbolt frontman Harley Davidson that the funniest line I’d ever heard uttered by a rocker onstage was at Belly Up. His voodoobilly band was playing to a full house at the Solana Beach tavern, and Harley was reverse heckling.

“I haven’t seen so many gay surfers since Baywatch,” he’d blurted.

Video:

"Truck Driving S.O.B."

...by Deadbolt (live footage, 2009)

...by Deadbolt (live footage, 2009)

“I always customize my show to each occasion,” says Davidson. “[Our crowd has] come to expect abuse at a Deadbolt show.”

Davidson is the only original member of Deadbolt, which released a number of records on San Diego’s Cargo Records. Cargo flourished in the ’90s, releasing albums by Rocket from the Crypt, Pitchfork, Crankshaft, Fishwife, Driptank, Heavy Vegetable, and Olive Lawn.

Not all of those bands were happy with Cargo.

“We were the only band that ever made any money with Cargo.” Davidson says there were nine Deadbolt albums on Cargo between 1992 and 2008. “A lot of those other bands wanted $100,000 to record one album. We said we can do it for $1500. And then we toured a lot. We recorded each song in one or two takes. We never took a third take.”

Plus, Deadbolt was never part of the “next Seattle” scene.

“We were a little older than the guys in those other Cargo bands. We played a different type of music. With them it was more like record an album with Butch Vig, have one record with Interscope, and — boom — you’re gone. We were happy to be a cult band like the Cramps.”

Past Event

Party on Monster Island: Tiki Oasis 2016

  • Sunday, August 21, 2016, 10 a.m.
  • Crowne Plaza Hotel, 2270 Hotel Circle North, San Diego
  • Free

While Deadbolt plays only “10 to 15 shows a year,” Davidson says they are the only SD band from the early ’90s that still tours.

“We’ll go two or three years where we’re all washed up, then we come back and we tour again for two years.” Davidson says Deadbolt is currently on the upswing. “We played the So-Cal Hoedown [in Santa Ana last weekend].”

Deadbolt appears Saturday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the third of the four-night Tiki Oasis, billed as “the longest-running tiki gathering in the world.” Also appearing Saturday are Creepy Creeps and the Sonics.

“I always tell people to treat music as a hobby. Instead of buying that drone so you can look in your neighbor’s window, get some gear and play music. You get to meet chicks, drink free beer, and hit the road. Just don’t take yourself seriously and don’t do it expecting to make money. It’s a great hobby.”

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