Vegas band not thinking, just playing

A sausage-shaped boxer lays on its side, sleeping somehow, directly behind the drum stool.

Another happily plump pooch, a bossy Shar-Pei mix named Weezie, lies directly in front of the kit.

“I think they like the vibrations,” notes James Messina, bassist for The Gashers, who are about to conjure up the kind of rumble suggestive of the perilous sensation of standing too close to a passing freight train.

In a sudden burst of action, singer/drummer Sandy Moreno barks out anti-authoritarian barbs while guitarist/singer Jason Hansen grips his instrument hard, like he was wrapping his hands around the throat of someone who just pissed him off. Solidifying the bottom end, Messina comes with some seriously fast, wildly acrobatic bass lines suggestive of the all-over-the-place playing Rancid’s Matt Freeman (indeed, “Little Freeman” is Messina’s nickname, though the dude is far from diminutive).

It’s a big sound for a small room, a garage that has been converted into a practice space/punk rock lounge with Suicidal Tendencies, G.B.H and Clash LP covers lining the faux brick walls.

Those albums offer a decent starting point for The Gashers’ curled lip jams, which are rooted in a no-nonsense ’80s punk snarl.

The trio is new and familiar at once: All of them hail from the Peccadilloes, long one of Vegas’ finest and most fierce punk combos.

But with the Peccadilloes’ drummer splitting town for work in Colorado a while back, the band could only play shows a few times a year.

Hence, The Gashers were born late one night in January.

“We went to a show and saw a three piece and were like, ‘Let’s go try this,’ ” says Moreno, working on a bottle of Pabst. “It was probably 2 in the morning.”

“We were drunk off our asses,” adds Hansen, wearing a backward ball cap and a knowing smile. “And we wrote two songs that night. We were on fire, man. It was just coming out of us.”

The Gashers bring to mind the Peccadilloes’ duck and cover chaos, but their tunes are both more violent and varied, with all three members taking turns on the mic.

“I think it’s a little more hardcore, a little edgier,” Messina says.

The band has been finishing up the tracking of their first batch of tunes in their practice spot, recorded by Guilty By Association guitarist Tom Jones.

The songs sound raw, yet crisp, off-the-cuff and immediate.

There’s a welcome lack of polish to it all — not that there’s anything to pretty up here anyway.

“We’re not thinkin’ about it, we’re just playing it how we play it,” Hansen says of the band’s initial recordings. “We’re not trying too hard to be perfect.”


Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at or 702-383-0476.

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