When it isn’t leap year, Rookie Card members Dylan Martinez and Adam Gimbel (first and second from left) play in Weezer tribute act Geezer.
“Since our last Leap Year show in 2016 at the Whistle Stop, we’ve only played a couple of sets in a Carlsbad park for a friend’s picnic,” says Adam Gimbel of Rookie Card’s tendency to only play public gigs once every four years, on February 29. “A few months before Leap Year, we start getting people asking about us playing.”
The alt-country, crunchy-pop quartet’s next Leap Year reunion happens at Vinyl Junkies on February 29. “A free afternoon show on a beautiful San Diego Saturday makes it easy for friends and their kids to come out. We’re not doing this for money, just the fun.”
Rookie Card’s What’s on Second? full-length was nominated Best Pop Album at the 2006 San Diego Music Awards, after which the band went mostly silent, other than occasional one-offs. Their musical ode to leap-year birthdays, “2/29,” was highlighted at LeapYearDay.com (“They called our song their anthem”) and mentioned in a syndicated news story that resulted in articles nationwide. A video of Gimbel and bandmate Dylan Martinez performing the tune hit 10,000 views within its first week online.
- Call me on March 1st if you’ve got the nerve
- I could stand the test of time if they graded on a curve
- And don’t go counting candles, that’s more than I can handle
- I might live long but won’t get to see 29
“I don’t remember how I first got the idea to write a song about being born on a Leap Year. I didn’t know of anyone who had and thought it might make a good subject. I scribbled notes on anything that I could use relating to Leap Years and came up with something that didn’t seem like as much of a novelty as I thought it would be. I hadn’t written a song in almost three years, but I started up again in 1999 and this was the first song I finished. It was easily the best thing I’d ever written and, for better or worse, I think it probably still is. A friend of mine told me it reminded him of the Seattle band the Posies, one of my big faves.”
“2/29” made its first official commercial appearance on a Rookie Card demo EP, and then on their debut album Near Mint, but there’s an earlier single-copy specially-recorded version out there somewhere. “Before the song was tracked for a record, my mom called me and asked me to make a tape of it for a co-worker who was born on February 29. The woman loved it and wrote me a very nice thank you note.”
Gimbel and Martinez have another band, Geezer, which began as a Weezer tribute with the members reimagining the tunes as costumed senior citizens, sometime mashing the arrangements with other acts like the Beastie Boys. Their new single is “OK Boomer.”
"With the kids suddenly declaring generational warfare with a little catchphrase like 'boomers,' we couldn't not weigh in. Of course, we're older than boomers, but we never miss an opportunity to make fun of everyone and everything. Because we wanted to put it out ASAP before people forgot about it, we asked our grandkids to help us put together a lyric video, so we didn't have to write everything out ourselves."
Hope I die before my generation gets olden, boombox in the freezer so my beats can stay snowmen
The customized “OK Boomer” lyric video can be streamed online. “Over fifty of our favorite grandchildren worldwide stepped up and sent us photos, graphic pieces, animation and video,” says Gimbel of the Geezer clip, which features local contributions from Marie Haddad, Cathryn Beeks, Pony Death Ride, Michael Buchmiller (Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra), Demetrius Antuña (Warsaw), Jeff Musser (the Resisters), Emily Connell (Babydoll Warriors), Gerry Saucedo (Red Pony Clock), DJs Robin Roth and Tim Pyles, and others. "It was a fun jigsaw puzzle that killed a laptop, or it would've been finished in just a matter of days."
“We have a real video that's already been shot and is on its way soon,” says Gimbel. “Just waiting for the Pony Express to deliver some of the footage shot at Boomers in Clairemont.”