California, from scratch - Page 3

A new band from Bay Area punk veterans — with members of Green Day and Jawbreaker — wants to earn your fandom on its own terms

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Adam Pfahler, Dustin Clark, and Jason White are CALIFORNIA, and they play the Rickshaw Stop Thu/24.

"This is very much a new band, in the garage band sense of the word — I'm happy to pester people with texts and emails to get them to come see our shows, because I'm really proud of this one," says Pfahler. It's an especially collaborative band, he says, which tend to be the kind he enjoys — as opposed to "just being the guy back there, being told to count to four." They have plans to record in the next few months, but right now is the best part, says Pfahler: seeing what works and what doesn't after hours of practicing, seeing how people react at live shows, when the songs are still malleable. "It's a little like the early, fun part of a relationship," is how White puts it. Pfahler: "If you're fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play them out this early on in the process, once you record it's almost like the death of those songs."

Pfahler does feel fortunate, in a number of ways. As a longtime Mission District resident and business owner, he's had a front-row seat for the neighborhood's drastic changes over the past two decades. Is he tired of the conversation about gentrification?

"I am a little tired of it, but I'm no less passionate about how I feel," he says. "It's harsh. It limits things. We're feeling that in the shop in a very real way, and certainly people are buying fewer records — but they're paying for high cuisine, organic wine, you know. There's no shortage of new bands screaming about this stuff, and they definitely have something to be mad about. It's good fodder for angry music. When Jawbreaker settled here it was a pretty fertile time; you could get things going back then. I mean, the practice space I use now is shared between 13 people, and it costs more than my first apartment did. And there's no bathroom! It would definitely be tough to be a kid trying to make music here."

"At the same time, I think my kids are lucky to be here," he says, as he beckons one of them to the stove to test the pasta. "Even with this craziness going on. They get around on public transportation, they go to shows. They're going to be the backlash. They're smart kids and they have really good bullshit detectors.

"That generation, I have a lot of hope for."

CALIFORNIA
With El Terrible and Vela Eyes
Thu/24, 8pm, $10
Rickshaw Stop
155 Fell, SF
www.rickshawstop.com

Also: We'd be remiss to not mention the musical offerings the SFIFF has planned this year: Thao and the Get Down Stay Down and Stephen Merritt of the Magnetic Fields will each be performing live original scores during film festival offerings, on Tue/29 and Tue/6, respectively, at the Castro Theatre. Cross-media creative pollination never sounded so sweet. For tickets: http://tinyurl.com/l8srz9j

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