By Tracy Dietlin
Last Thursday night, punk rock band Grand Scovell came out of nowhere, San Jacinto actually, and blew everyone away with their unbridled, high-energy performance to win The Hood’s “Battle of the Bands”.
They are comprised of: Danny Gililland, 35, (bass, vocals); Gilbert Espinoza, 31, (rhythm guitar, vocals); Eddie Dyer, 28, (lead guitar) and Ricky Adame, 28, (drums).
Grand Scovell performed in the first round of the 3 week preliminary competition where they competed against Accidental Kings, Hive Minds and Sunday Funeral. The other bands were great but when Grand Scovell, who played last, took the stage you could hear everyone saying “who are they and where did they come from? They’re amazing!”
They came out swinging on their first song and never stopped. They were truly a breath of fresh air. Also impressive is that they brought about 20 people with them from the Hemet/San Jacinto area where they were all raised and still live, with the exception of Gililland, who now resides in Menifee. Their band name even comes from the two street signs of the corner in San Jacinto where Espinoza’s grandparents raised him.
“We have a great bunch of supporters who go with us to all our out of town shows,” shared Gililland during a recent interview.
They also won over many new desert fans that night with much buzz going on during the next couple weeks of competition regarding how great they were. The musicianship was extremely tight and cohesive, which Gililland says is a testament to the fact they have known each other forever and have been playing together for years.
“Ricky and Eddie have known each other since kindergarten,” stated Gililland, “and Gilbert and I have known each other since 1996. Back then I was in another band called Caddywampus and Gilbert used to walk by the practice pad and stick his head in and try to be cool. Then in 2006, we were in a band together called Four Anxious Minds.” When asked how to spell Caddywampus, Gililland said laughing, “Let me check the tattoo on my belly.”
“And back in 2003 Gilbert and I were in a punk band called No Way Out,” shared Ricky Adame.
Grand Scovell has been together since November of 2012. “It all came together after Four Anxious Minds fell apart because it seemed nobody was taking it serious and had lost their motivation except maybe Gilbert. Then a friend gave Ricky our number and here we are,” said Gililland.
They have recorded a 7 song demo and are currently recording a follow up that will have 8 songs. “We recorded at Eddie Casillas (Voodoo Glow Skulls) Dog Run Studio in Riverside,” said Dyer.
“For now they are just demos to hand out at our shows,” said Gililland. “We won’t do a record release party until we have a real CD with a label behind us.”
In less than 2 years the band has performed in numerous venues including; House of Blues in Anaheim, Mission Tobacco Lounge and Pixels both in Riverside, The Vault in Temecula, The Queen Mary in Long Beach and several locations in Hemet. They are now looking forward to doing more shows here in the desert.
“The punk scene is really dying in the Hemet area. It’s moved more towards metal bands,” shared Adame. “Back in the late 90s, early 2000s it was really popping with punk bands but somewhere metal seemed to take over,” added Espinoza.
“We really think it’s time to bring the punk scene back to Hemet/San Jacinto,” insists Gililland. “And we are really excited about doing shows down in the desert.”
The guys shared that before this competition they had never performed in the desert and weren’t familiar with any of the bands here. “We got a really warm reception while we were there for the Battle of the Bands,” shared Dyer.
I asked them how they found out about the competition and Espinoza, who is an employment counselor for the County of Riverside explained, “I used to work with Pat and Colin Hood’s sister, Abbey, and I gave her our demo almost 2 years ago and then she gave it to them. She went on to another job but about 6 months ago I thought of The Hood again and I emailed them and they contacted us about doing the competition.”
While the competition was fierce for the finals, with the other 2 preliminary week’s winners, Burning Bettie and Right On Right On, going full throttle for the win, it was Grand Scovell who the judges unanimously voted the overall “Battle of the Bands” winner of the $1000.00 check.
When I asked them what they thought about winning the competition their responses were:
“We couldn’t believe it!” stated Dyer.
Espinoza said “We didn’t think we had a chance in hell!”
Adame shared, “It was unknown territory for us and we never expected to win.”
“To be quite honest I felt like we were the outsiders and coming into the Coachella scene that there might be a concerted effort to make sure a local band won,” shared Gililland. “So when we won the first one I was so flabbergasted and thrilled it made us even more excited for the finals.”
I asked who their influences were growing up.
Dyer: Rancid, Metallica, Gwar, Nofx
Adame: Nofx, Rancid, Pennywise
Espinoza: Operation Ivy, Strung Out, Rancid, AFI, Caddywampus
Gililland: Beatles, Rancid, Nofx, Operation Ivy
I asked the guys what their future goals were for the band and if they were hoping to get a record label interested in them.
Espinoza replied: “We would love to have a good, honest label come along that would want to support us and be straight up that really loves punk music.”
“This is the first band that I’ve been in where I feel like everyone is really taking it serious and not just playing for fun. If we could end up making a living doing this I think we would all be happy about that,” insisted Gililland.
I see great things ahead for Grand Scovell. They have barely scratched the surface here in the Coachella Valley and they have the potential to be the next big punk band. Keep your ears open. Their next show will be at The Hood on Saturday, October 18.
You can check them out on facebook.com/GrandScovell.