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Drummer Wade Youman’s multi-generational collaboration

“When you’re on fire, you start to hallucinate”

Wade Youman: out of the swamp of sadness and melting into the sun with Spray Allen
Wade Youman: out of the swamp of sadness and melting into the sun with Spray Allen

“I’ve been seriously, with all heart and soul, committed to my local community for over 30 years,” says drummer Wade Youman (Unwritten Law, Demasiado, North Korea), whose new band Spray Allen is an alternative rock group with a “new psychedelic” blend of ‘70s to ‘90s influences. Founded by Youman and bassist Eric Wilson (Sublime, Long Beach Dub Allstars), the group includes two much younger singer-guitarists formerly with Late Night Episode: Daniel Lonner and Eric Sherman.

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Youman credits skateboard icon Danny Way with bringing them together. “I had just finished writing and recording songs for the new Unwritten Law album, but my relationship with the band had been deteriorating, and I was living in a small rehearsal room without a band in it to practice with. So, instead of sinking further into the swamp of sadness, I said fuck this shit and went to Danny’s and met Lonner and Sherman and recorded a song with them. We connected spiritually and creatively, and became fast friends.” Youman brought them all to his friend Eric Wilson’s house in Bonsall to work on a song, eventually titled “Left For Dead.” “The next day, we packed up our band equipment and we drove out to the Mojave Desert, where we cast a circle of fire on the ground and spent the next three days on hallucinogenic drugs, disappearing and reappearing into the sun and attending meetings with the all-encompassing neteru [gods of divine energy]. At the end of those three days, our new band was born.”

The group spent pandemic shutdown time recording their self-titled debut at Sonic Ranch studio in El Paso, Texas with Paul Leary of the Butthole Surfers (“He came out of retirement to do it”), keyboardist and horn player Gabrial McNair (No Doubt), and bassist Stu Brooks (Dub Trio). Due July 15, the record is described as a “psyche-punk opera” with over two dozen songs.

Spray Allen’s recent Escondido video shoot for their track “Stay Clean” included reality show personality Bam Margera, another contact formed via Danny Way. “I got to pie the face of a Mormon on a bike, get my ass kicked by Bam Margera’s wife, pull off a breakdancing move I haven’t done in 35 years, and then run down Escondido Boulevard on fire as Satan! I covered my entire body with fire gel, then put my fire suit on over that, then finally my Satan costume. The director said ‘action’ and my bro from the fire department lit my ass on fire, and I took off running. I was supposed to drop to the ground after 20 feet or so but when you’re on fire, you start to hallucinate. It’s hard to explain, but you lose sense of time, so I accidentally ran much further than I was supposed to. Eventually, I hit the ground and was extinguished.”

For now, Youman lives in a trailer on Eric Wilson’s avocado farm in Bonsall, which has become Spray Allen’s headquarters. “There’s place down at the bottom [of the property] with huge ice-age rocks and what looks like a sacred Indian burial ground next to it. This is the place Eric calls the Oasis. We have full-blown shows down there, when we aren’t having concerts in the living room.” As a multi-generational band about to release an ambitious double-album debut, Youman acknowledges that he and Wilson need to adjust their expectations from booking large festival stages to gigging at small venues such as Ebullition brewery. “We’ve just been playing as many places as possible locally that want us to play. Eric Wilson and I have been touring and playing shows as long as Lonner and Sherman have been alive.”

Past Event

Unwritten Law and MouthGuard

  • Friday, April 29, 2022, 7:30 p.m.
  • Soma, 3350 Sports Arena Boulevard, San Diego
  • $25

Youman also still drums for Unwritten Law, a group he co-founded in Poway in 1990 and has been in and out of since the early 2000s. “We just had our first band practice in four years the other day. We went through, like, 30 songs.” Unwritten Law plays April 29 at Soma, a venue once located in a downtown dungeon but now operating in the Midway District. “We’ll be performing a few new songs, and we’ll also be playing songs off the older records too. There are a few songs that haven’t been played since the ‘90s. Unwritten Law was the first band to play at this Soma, which was around 20 years ago, I believe.”

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Wade Youman: out of the swamp of sadness and melting into the sun with Spray Allen
Wade Youman: out of the swamp of sadness and melting into the sun with Spray Allen

“I’ve been seriously, with all heart and soul, committed to my local community for over 30 years,” says drummer Wade Youman (Unwritten Law, Demasiado, North Korea), whose new band Spray Allen is an alternative rock group with a “new psychedelic” blend of ‘70s to ‘90s influences. Founded by Youman and bassist Eric Wilson (Sublime, Long Beach Dub Allstars), the group includes two much younger singer-guitarists formerly with Late Night Episode: Daniel Lonner and Eric Sherman.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Youman credits skateboard icon Danny Way with bringing them together. “I had just finished writing and recording songs for the new Unwritten Law album, but my relationship with the band had been deteriorating, and I was living in a small rehearsal room without a band in it to practice with. So, instead of sinking further into the swamp of sadness, I said fuck this shit and went to Danny’s and met Lonner and Sherman and recorded a song with them. We connected spiritually and creatively, and became fast friends.” Youman brought them all to his friend Eric Wilson’s house in Bonsall to work on a song, eventually titled “Left For Dead.” “The next day, we packed up our band equipment and we drove out to the Mojave Desert, where we cast a circle of fire on the ground and spent the next three days on hallucinogenic drugs, disappearing and reappearing into the sun and attending meetings with the all-encompassing neteru [gods of divine energy]. At the end of those three days, our new band was born.”

The group spent pandemic shutdown time recording their self-titled debut at Sonic Ranch studio in El Paso, Texas with Paul Leary of the Butthole Surfers (“He came out of retirement to do it”), keyboardist and horn player Gabrial McNair (No Doubt), and bassist Stu Brooks (Dub Trio). Due July 15, the record is described as a “psyche-punk opera” with over two dozen songs.

Spray Allen’s recent Escondido video shoot for their track “Stay Clean” included reality show personality Bam Margera, another contact formed via Danny Way. “I got to pie the face of a Mormon on a bike, get my ass kicked by Bam Margera’s wife, pull off a breakdancing move I haven’t done in 35 years, and then run down Escondido Boulevard on fire as Satan! I covered my entire body with fire gel, then put my fire suit on over that, then finally my Satan costume. The director said ‘action’ and my bro from the fire department lit my ass on fire, and I took off running. I was supposed to drop to the ground after 20 feet or so but when you’re on fire, you start to hallucinate. It’s hard to explain, but you lose sense of time, so I accidentally ran much further than I was supposed to. Eventually, I hit the ground and was extinguished.”

For now, Youman lives in a trailer on Eric Wilson’s avocado farm in Bonsall, which has become Spray Allen’s headquarters. “There’s place down at the bottom [of the property] with huge ice-age rocks and what looks like a sacred Indian burial ground next to it. This is the place Eric calls the Oasis. We have full-blown shows down there, when we aren’t having concerts in the living room.” As a multi-generational band about to release an ambitious double-album debut, Youman acknowledges that he and Wilson need to adjust their expectations from booking large festival stages to gigging at small venues such as Ebullition brewery. “We’ve just been playing as many places as possible locally that want us to play. Eric Wilson and I have been touring and playing shows as long as Lonner and Sherman have been alive.”

Past Event

Unwritten Law and MouthGuard

  • Friday, April 29, 2022, 7:30 p.m.
  • Soma, 3350 Sports Arena Boulevard, San Diego
  • $25

Youman also still drums for Unwritten Law, a group he co-founded in Poway in 1990 and has been in and out of since the early 2000s. “We just had our first band practice in four years the other day. We went through, like, 30 songs.” Unwritten Law plays April 29 at Soma, a venue once located in a downtown dungeon but now operating in the Midway District. “We’ll be performing a few new songs, and we’ll also be playing songs off the older records too. There are a few songs that haven’t been played since the ‘90s. Unwritten Law was the first band to play at this Soma, which was around 20 years ago, I believe.”

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