Time for a ride on the Short Bus
VAIL – Even guys from Long Beach end up on the short bus sometimes. But, as short bus advocates know all too well, being on the short bus doesn’t always mean you’re from the shallow end of the talent pool. Long Beach Short Bus, the most recent manifestation of remnants of defunct Sublime and Long Beach Dub All-Stars, have a new album out and have decided to drive their distinctive reggae-punk wheels through the rock-n-roll car wash. Gurpreet Kanwal of fellow Long Beach, Cal., reggae-dance hall rockers, One Draw, has found himself in the unelicited role of band manager for Short Bus.
“I send them out on tours without me, but they always take me along while I can still go,” said Kanwal Monday, just before boarding the not-so-short tour bus in California. “When I first moved out to Long Beach, my band was opening for them. Hearing all of these trials they were having, I started sending stuff out and doing a few favors for them here and there. I was cleaning things up for them. Then, they fired their management and said I would do.”Long Beach Short Bus consists of guitarist/vocalist RAS1, formerly of Long Beach Dub All-Stars, guitarist Trey Pangborn, formerly of Falling Idols, bassist Eric Wilson, formerly of Sublime and Dub All-Stars, and drummer Damion Ramirez, previously of Capitol Eye. “A lot of people liken him to the Nirvana drummer or watching Animal from The Muppets,” Kanwal said of Ramirez. “He’s an incredible talent and a huge force. Eric and Trey are a little more subdued. We have a nice volcanic effect in the middle of the stage. It’s a huge intensity rush. Every time I go to a show, there’s always a moment through the night when I fixate on him. He’s like an octopus. He’ll be in the middle of a huge roll, and he’ll throw in a rest. It’s literally off-time stuff. Night after night, someone comes up to me and says, ‘Where’d he come from?'”Sublime still a tough act to followKanwal said it’s not uncommon in any given location throughout the United States for LBSB to take the stage and hear the crowd start shouting out requests for one of the hugely commercial hits from Sublime. Such behavior was also typical at Dub All-Stars shows from the moment the group began touring. Dub All-Stars formed after the untimely dissemination of Sublime when, in 1996, front man Brad Nowell died of a heroine overdose.Despite the fact that Wilson is the only member of LBSB who was part of Sublime, a thirst for the legend lives on.
“I think it was “Time” magazine that pointed out that, almost everyone in the country, between ’93 and ’98, was listening to (Sublime’s) “40 oz. to Freedom,” or Dave Matthews Band,” Kanwal said. “We were just in Honolulu for a week, and people were coming through the door yelling ‘Santoria.'”Short Bus will often acquiesce during its live gigs and play a few Sublime numbers and material from Dub All-Stars, most of which was written by RAS1. RAS and his cousin, Jason, are responsible for the track on MTV’s “Laguna Beach,” and RAS and Wilson wrote “Sunny Hours,” which is now the theme song on NBC’s “Joey.”Last June, Short Bus released its first full-length album, “Flying Ship of Fantasy,” on Skunk Records, and the band’s live gigs are evolving toward the new sound, much of which is generated while on tour.”We have a full pro tools rig and we’re constantly coming up with new riffs on the road,” Kanwal said. “We just use an M-Box; we’re either laying down a bass line or a guitar riff. The lyrics come (on the road) too. There are so many good stories – RAS getting left in Hawaii. He missed the flight and wrote ‘Constantly Changing’ while sitting in the airport. The sound’s been changed a little bit for the new record. Everyone’s influences came out a little more. There’s definitely that Sublime and Dub All-Stars vibe on some tracks. There’s definitely some reggae riffs and some straight-up punk songs. I wouldn’t know how to completely tag it. It’s definitely more rock-n-roll. We’re seeing a lot of people who are starting to be familiar with (Short Bus) tracks. It’s always nice when fans are singing back lyrics off the new album.”
Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 610, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado