They’re transplants from D.C., bringing still more heat to the desert with their eclectic, smashmouth punk rock. The Originators mean business, just ask bassist/singer David Ridgeway.
What do The Originators sound like?
"The Originators don’t sound like any other band that’s out there at the moment. With a mixture of D.C. punk, ska, funk and Cuban jazz, the sound that has been created is quite different. If we had to put ourselves in a category, it would most likely be alternative punk funk."
You guys initially formed in D.C. What brought you out to Vegas?
"After playing for four years in D.C. and doing very well we came to the realization that if we wanted to make a living doing music, we would have to move to an entertainment town. The problem with D.C. was that even though we could pull out large crowds when we played we could only do it once a month, because due to the political nature of the town, the people would not come back to see you two days in a row. This forced us to play outside of D.C. in Baltimore, New York City and Richmond, but again we could only do one show a month in all these places. We checked out several entertainment hot spots, one being New Orleans, but in New Orleans the music scene is inundated with jazz, blues and zydeco, leaving very little space for an alt band. After looking into Las Vegas, we liked the idea of moving here more and more. Las Vegas is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., if not the fastest. You can play here any day of the week, and there are always new people to come see you — a tremendous amount of young people. Also Nevada is surrounded by five states. From Las Vegas, the band is able to tour to pretty much anywhere along the West Coast. This is what brought us to Vegas."
D.C. has a legendary punk and hard-core scene. How does Vegas compare?
"D.C. does have a legendary punk scene. The punk scene in Vegas is tremendous as well. Just offhand, I can think of at least 40 punk bands that are excellent and residing in the city. Actually, one of the things that I have noticed while living in Las Vegas is that, obviously, it’s a tourist town. But so is D.C. And living in a tourist town tends to make the local bands fiercely loyal to the town and to the locals. I have found that the musicians here tend to help each other out with ideas and shows. This did not happen that much in D.C. Being a new band in Vegas, we have experienced a ton of support from many of the Las Vegas bands and the clubs. Vegas actually appreciates good music."
A reader e-mailed us recently arguing passionately that punk rock died in the ’80s. Care to respond?
"Absolutely. A lot of times people lament the fact that the scene is dead. I hear it all the time. But then, what is punk? Is it the music? A mindset? Both? I think so. The scene may have changed a bit over the years, but the ideals are the same. With this being the case, I’d say that punk is alive and well."
See The Originators at 10:30 p.m. today at the Thunderbird Lounge at the Aruba, 1215 Las Vegas Blvd. South. Call 383-3100.
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at email@example.com or 702-383-0476.