Even punk music has to grow up some time.
“When you hear the name Bar Room Heroes, it sounds like there’s gonna be a fight,” said Roger Ramjet, lead guitarist for the Orange County based band The Heroes. When he joined the band five years ago, he advised the band to change the name.
Ramjet is a veteran of a slew of OC punk bands, including the Adz, the Humpers, and the Smut Peddlers. Now, at 48, the father of two young children has matured personally and musically, and he is more interested in the rock and roll roots of punk.
“I am trying to move the sound away from punk and more towards Americana,” Ramjet said.
Ramjet was introduced to the Bar Room Heroes in 2000 through his best friend, drummer Bryan “Lucky” Callan. He did some recording for the band and played with them for a few shows over the next couple of years. Now the Heroes is his main project.
The Heroes, as they are today, essentially came together out of old friends in the scene playing around. Bassist Jonny Rae Bartel was an especially important addition. Bartel used to play with the revered Red Devils and was a session musician for Mick Jagger and Johnny Cash. His precision and savvy create the backbone of the Heroes’ sound.
Vocalist Chris Jones is the baby of the group but has no trouble holding his own with the seasoned men on stage with him. And Bartel, Callan, and Ramjet have just as much energy and enthusiasm as their young front man.
The intersection of a young punk voice with experienced punk musicians creates a well matured sound that is grown up without being stale. It is a fresh face on a well-worn body. There is enough youth in the sound to make the Heroes feel relevant but enough age in it to warrant serious respect.
The Heroes are starting to work with a manager and producer to make some radio-friendly cuts. They are playing South Bay Customs on Saturday night and have a party bus rented to take friends and fans from OC to El Segundo.
“I thought the party bus idea was cheesy at first. But then I realized that, this way, everyone will stay for the whole set. I know myself, these days, and I get tired before the headliner even comes on,” Ramjet joked.
Come see Ramjet and the Heroes stay up past their bedtimes this Saturday, September 28 at 8pm at South Bay Customs, 115 Penn Street, El Segundo. LA blues band Trouble No More opens. Tickets are $6 and are available online at www.southbaycustoms.net.