Band of the Week: The Del Rios

MEET THE BAND: Dean Cohen (guitar), Skylar Keffer (bass), Austin Latare (drums), Will Robinson (guitar)

DEAN'S LIST: The Del Rios were formed in 2013 from the Del Rio Bandits, an instrumental cover band that had come together in 2008. The Bandits came together as a band that would cover a wide range of late '50s and early '60s instrumentals. "We had a larger lineup at the time and would do stuff like [the Booker T. & the M.G.'s tune] 'Green Onions,'" says Cohen. "It was fun for a while. We would do four hour gigs in bars, but we discovered that doing instrumental rock covers wasn't that conducive to building an audience." After members drifted away, the band morphed into Del Rios, and the guys decided to write and record original music with a retro feel but with an updated sound. The band also decided to tour regionally.

SURF's UP: Band members share an affinity for the music that came out during rock's early days. "Since I'm the oldest one and I go back many years, that's the pre-Beatles stuff I started listening to," he says. "It piqued my interest in '61, '62 and '63. It's raw and rough and it's just rock 'n' roll boiled down to its purest form. There's no real tradition nowadays of popular instrumental music, but we want to tell a story without using words. That's always appealed to me." Cohen says he's tried, but he simply can't write lyrics. "I write lyrics and then show them to the guys, and they tell me they're gibberish," he says. "I'm lucky to have these three young guys who came out of heavy duty rock backgrounds. Their fathers were involved in the local rock 'n' roll scene."

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: The band recorded its new album, Baptized in Reverb, in a friend's basement with "really nice equipment." Band members helped him finish building the studio in exchange for recording time. Locally based Cauliflower Audio mastered the LP and Gotta Groove pressed the album. Album opener, "Dual Quads," features Ventures-like guitar riffs and a beefy bass riff. The disc's songs feature a decidedly retro vibe and showcase intricate guitar work. The tunes would make surf guitar king Dick Dale proud.


WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: The Del Rios perform at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 29, at Lakewood Public Library's Front Porch Concert series and with Beach Stav and Leroy's Frosted Rocks at 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, at the 5 O'Clock in Lakewood.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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