Take some good ol’ boys, over-expose them to spaghetti western sound tracks, add alcohol, give them instruments, add more alcohol, dress them in Village People/cowboy chic, blend well, pour over San Jose, and this fail-proof recipe is sure to produce The Dangaleros, or something quite like them.
So the question, after seeing their outfits and watching their YouTube video “Drink Dinner 2nite,” isn’t whether this is a joke band, but whether the joke is sustainable. There is, after all, a difference between having a laugh with country music and having a laugh at it — think Johnny Cash‘s “Boy Named Sue” vs. Weird Al‘s “Achy Breaky Heart” send-up.
Costuming a band says “Hey, look at us,” as apposed to the more sensible, “Hey, listen to us,” as is evident in their “Drink Dinner 2night” video.
This video, from the song’s title, to its inane we-wrote-this-in-ten-minutes lyrics, to the band’s performance screams “quit now” because this band is just a joke, and a lame one. But Hicks with Sticks is nothing if not intrepid when unearthing a new Bay Area band’s soul. It’s worth noticing that while the video, with its ersatz Trump, its dancing nun and diapered and leopard-clad bit players, speaks directly to their goofiness, the music is surprisingly good.
Curiosity then led us to Soundcloud where the Dangaleros’ debut CD, Cuidado! Here Comes [sic] the Dangaleros! can be heard in its entirety, and it is here that the band’s elusive soul is to be found. The first surprise was to find Kid Andersen credited on two of the tracks. He’s one of the best musicians and producers in the Bay Area. He recently produced Mitch Polzak and the Royal Deuces‘ forthcoming double CD, and though he’s as inclined toward fun as anybody, he’s unlikely to associate himself with a one-joke band.
We clicked on “Middle Age Lobotomy,” which Andersen co-wrote, and found that it’s the Ramones‘ “I Want to Be Sedated” repurposed for geezers-in-waiting, again with good music and a tad more cleverness than “Drink Dinner 2nite.” Next up was the other Kid Andersen co-written track, “Baja Noche No Luna,” and instrumental, and a good one — one that a band that could be taken seriously might have arranged.
Next click was on “Bipolar Love Song,” which starts innocently enough as a melodic love ballad that sets the listener up for a hilarious refrain: “I want you to get out, no/I need you to come back, yeah/I want you to leave me/No, I want you to stay.” And so the fun continues through the apocalyptic “Runaway Tractor,” the delightfully trashy “Buck Me!” and the ultimate wisdom of “Ride Life (on a Loose Rein).”
Hicks with Sticks encourages you, dear reader, to get with the Dangaleros’ program by downing a couple of shots, firing up a fatty and getting to know them by their music on Soundcloud. The Dangalero brain trust of Brian O’Hara and Colby Potter knows how to walk the walk, put a smile on your face and back it with good music. The Dangaleros won’t save the world, but to their credit, they have saved the torpor capitol of California, San Jose. Find more on FB.
Those who remember San Francisco’s late, great Buck Naked and the Bare Bottom Boys will know exactly where this band is coming from.