And now a reading from the book of the Reverend Dave:“It was my first high school party so I of course got retardedly drunker than any one human being ever should. I'm puking in the front yard, and I'm just a terrible mess. I was raised by my grandparents so they were just kind of stumbling around the house and look at me like what the fuck ever, dude, go to bed. So I wake up the next day and run over to the kitchen to make myself something to eat. My pops comes in and goes, ‘Hey, go ahead and eat that sandwich then we need to have a talk, buddy.' That sandwich took forever to eat. Then he sat me down and was like, ‘You're going to get older and that's going to be part of having a good time—you're going to go out, have drinks with your friends, but the key thing is you need to know how to take care of yourself. You need to be aware of, you know, where you're at. So here's what you do: If you're out and you're drinking, and you're having a good time, periodically just take a look around the room and count the tits. If you come up with zero, or an odd number, you're done, go home.'”Amen.
Even though “Reverend” Dave Castaneda—singer and guitarist of local band The Death Eaters—has probably not been invited to many churches to deliver a sermon and his day job as a bartender at Bluefoot Bar & Lounge may be the closest he'll ever be to turning water into wine, you have to wish the above had been handed down from on high.Castaneda says his nickname is “not from anything good. When I drink, I get a little preachy, that's all.”
That may be how he got it, but a deeper listen to Castaneda, drummer Chris Jones and bassist Dave Lien proves the longtime moniker may have been an omen for the sound the band would create together. It's the same kind of raw rock 'n' roll that was originally based on gospel music.
“It's very much just like a stripped-down rock 'n' roll band,” Jones says of the strong blues base of the band's sound.The Death Eaters' influences can be found in Castaneda's vocals and lyrics. The message is mostly straightforward, which allows Castaneda to concentrate on storytelling.
“It is important to have something for the listener to identify with,” he says. “I think that's more important than actually having a beginning-to-end story in the long run, but I definitely want to say something about whatever it is I'm writing about—which is mostly girls that have pissed me off.”
Ah yes, the ever-present, ever-unattainable sultry vixen that even the slyest and smoothest of blues legends couldn't help but sing about.
“Who doesn't like that?” Castaneda asks. “What girl doesn't want to be a sultry vixen?”
He sings the songs in a way that makes any woman within earshot feel empowered by being bad and breaking hearts. But when asked what he would do if he finally caught one, he replies, “Oh, good lord, I don't know. I don't know that that would be that much fun. I would probably run for my life.”
The Death Eaters pull off lady-killing music for people who love to dance, which is no easy feat.
“I prefer live music with more energy, that's more involved,” says Castaneda, who hopes to channel that energy into the band's record, which he believes will be done by year's end. “It gets at you and invites you in to come dance, come jump around, come push your friends around—whatever you want to do to be part of the show. So that's how we try to approach it, with as much energy and as wide-open arms as possible.”The Death Eaters play with The Dirtbombs and The Sermon at The Casbah on Wednesday, Aug. 26, and with Archways at Beauty Bar on Saturday, Sept. 5. www.myspace.com/deatheaterssd.
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