By Esther Sanchez
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of decades, you know good and well that our lovely desert is a virtual petri dish of musical talent, creativity & innovation that began with the raw, gritty, somewhat trippy & now world renowned sounds of desert/stoner rock. In recent years, the anointing of talents from the music gods have spread to almost every genre that is locally represented. Chill Magnet is no exception. With a savory blend of high-energy, pop-punk, peppered with a psychedelic twist in just the right spots, CM is doing a stellar job of blending a young, contemporary style with an old-school, far-out vibe. A vibe that is reminiscent of what the foundations of the Coachella Valley music scene are all about. Although the members of this quartet are somewhat recent transplants from other areas of So-Cal, it is becoming clear that Chill Magnet and the desert music scene are a match made in a rowdy and somewhat irreverent version of heaven.
I had my first Chill Magnet experience a few weeks back when they competed in the CV Music Showcase at The Hood Bar in Palm Desert. Tom Murray, AKA Tom Tom (lead vox, bass, lyrics), Randy Banis (guitar/keyboards), Caleb Householder (drums), and Noah Householder (lead guitar) put out a solid set that was unique enough to make a real impression while sparking enough curiosity to cause a girl to search for more of their music on my own.
The seminal origins of Chill Magnet began with TomTom and Randy who previously performed together with various musicians in LA. Together they created and recorded their first album, Gringo Mariachi, which was released in April, 2015.
TomTom: “At that point, I started looking for local musicians and I found Caleb and Noah a month later, sometime around the end of May. We started rehearsing and demoing new songs in June and played our first gigs together by the end of August 2015.”
Caleb and Noah Householder (the newbies) are a set of barely-legal brothers who happen to have a kickass dad named Tim. Papa Householder not only plays music with them from time to time when needed…rumor has it that he has a hell of a recording studio setup. One might think that a situation like that might attract just about any emerging musician to want to start a band with the Householder brothers, but that idea would be selling them entirely too short. As fresh-faced and green as Caleb and Noah are, their clear musicianship is concrete reality. Since I am pretty sure I own shoes that are older than either one of the Householder bros, I asked TomTom about what it’s like functioning in a band when half of the members are from a different generation than the other half.
TomTom: “It’s all pros. No cons. We share a love of new music so we are on the same page. You’ve hung with us, Esther……We really are not that mature!! We spend a lot of our time teasing each other and making adolescent jokes. The only time we are serious is when we rehearse for a show or record. We take our music very seriously. We feel if we are going to ask people to listen to us we should make music that is worthy of their time and support. That’s why it took 6 months to release the first single. We put a lot of heart and soul into that song. The young guys bring an enthusiastic hunger and energy while the older guys have perspective on business and the experience to know how to finish a project….whether it’s making Chill Magnet shot glasses and beer-coozies or just getting the next single mixed and off to distribution.”
TomTom continues: “Me and My Psychiatrist is the first recording with the new guys. It was attempted during the Gringo Mariachi sessions, but none of the drummers we were dealing with could nail it. Then comes Caleb…..although only 20 years old, he was able to nail it perfectly. And Noah, the second guitar player we didn’t know we needed, has been instrumental in helping us push the sonic boundaries of our new material. Randy and Noah get along great and Caleb is now helping me with my songwriting and recording so we also have that bond as well as a love of music. The age gap has never been an issue for us.”
The business and marketing experience that TomTom and Randy have accumulated over the years has done more for Chill Magnet than just accumulating cool swag for fans. They have tracks that are being played on community radio stations here in the US, and last week they were featured on a radio show in Scotland. As much as they love playing local shows, come springtime, CM is planning on hitting the road with tour dates scheduled in LA, San Diego and possibly the Bay Area. But, if you want to catch them live before they hit the I-10 you can check them out on March 12th at the “Rock For The Paws” event at our beloved, Schmidy’s Tavern.