The Darvon Complex screams to be heard.
Thursday, October 24, 2002
Photo: Ricky Chasteen and Ryan Lotz (right) look mean and sound meaner. It''s a hard world to be nice guys.
Ricky Chasteen doesn''t look like a nice guy. He could probably do a pretty good job of causing little old grannies to clutch their purses a little tighter. He''s got three-quarter-inch metal plugs in his ears, multiple other piercings and an astonishing array of tattoos. As part of the band The Darvon Complex, he gets up on stage with his guitar and plays complicated and intricate melodies, screams his throat bloody and, well, expresses himself.
This is how nice Ricky is: When I called him requesting an interview, he was on his way to Disneyland with his girlfriend. He promised to call me back that evening around eight or nine, and he called from the Super-8 on Disneyland Drive at 8:38. During our conversation, he bombarded me with his odd, expletive-laden eloquence about the group, the music and the metal scene in our area.
When I asked Ricky what brought The Darvon Complex together, he replied "We couldn''t stand the same people. We kept seeing one another at shows, and we all wanted to be in a band."
Ricky and the other members, guitarist and singer Ryun Elder and drummer Ryan Lotz (who frequently wears cat ears on and off the stage) are all under 20, but their music has an adult, if not mature, sound. Going from sweet melodic intros and interludes to screaming more intensely than anything that ever hits the radio in Monterey, the music manages to be oddly balanced, strangely charming in its well-expressed anguish and anger.
Singer/guitarists Elder and Chasteen look alike, sound alike (it''s hard to tell the screams apart) and complement each other in performance. Drummer Lotz''s furious playing more than backs them up, it boosts the music to a new level. A weak drummer can make an otherwise good band suck. No danger of that here.
"We don''t play shit like other bands do," explains Chasteen. "We''re sincere. We give a fuck about what we do. We''re doing it so we can vent. We write about what we''re passionate about."
All the members, in fact, write; all three sing, and they all have a way of attracting attention. Screaming generally does that.
The band formed on Valentines day, 2001 and quickly put together a self-produced demo, which was well-reviewed and respected as a promising start. They went on to record the 8-song LP, Spit On Rock Stars, in May of this year. Chockfull of catchy guitar riffs and furious yowling, the songs lure the listener with skillful introductions before launching into a three-or-so minute emotional outburst.
Angry or not, these are boys who know how to play their instruments. Darvon''s sound is a great deal harder than the somewhat (recently, at least) radio-friendly Metallica; while I know for a fact that Chasteen can sing, all you''ll get is screaming. At the most recent gig at Jim Dandy''s, Chasteen, who was a bit out of practice, screamed himself sick.
The Darvon Complex is already familiar to those who know and love Monterey''s somewhat limited metal scene. One could say the band''s success comes down to Darvon''s impeccable taste for what does and does not suck. They don''t suck.
Take two well-played guitars, some screaming and remarkably skillful drum licks, and you''ve got a sound that will scare the neighbors, all from three boys so sweet you could take them home for dinner (as long as Momma don''t mind cat ears and piercings.)
The Darvon Complex plays Jim Dandy''s, 1031 El Camino Real, Prunedale, this Friday and Saturday at 8pm, along with other Peninsula and Bay Area groups. Admission is $6.