Primal Jaimal rocks hard for happiness.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
While servers at The Fish Hopper Restaurant rush about, Jaimal Lovitt, frontman for the Santa Cruz rock trio Primal Jaimal, sings the lyrics to a handful of his band’s songs, including “Shit” and “Hole in My Head,” over lunch. At times he adds a little air guitar.
A middle-aged tourist couple wanders over and asks what’s going on at our table. We reply that Lovitt is a musician, and I am interviewing him for an article.
“We just had to ask,” the man says.
“He’s very enthusiastic,” the lady says, before the two walk off with big smiles on their faces.
While onstage, Lovitt is very enthusiastic too. At a recent Lava Lounge gig, where his band was competing in the Monterey Battle of the Bands, he played a Hendrix-style “Star Spangled Banner” before launching into an original called “She’s My Baby.” Most of the people in the club were present to support local rockers Plaster and Bullettooth. Lovitt seemed oblivious to this fact and played his guitar with his teeth.
Wearing an orange vest over his bare chest and sporting a large, metal cross, Lovitt played an impressive guitar solo while his bandmates—drummer Jake McCuen and bassist Sean Thyer—kept their heads down and the song on track.
Lovitt casually introduces a tune by saying “this is a song about drugs.” Later, at the Fish Hopper, he explains that it’s an anti-drug song. Lovitt says that at one time a handful of his friends were caught in the downward spiral of drug abuse. Lovitt, also a classical pianist, says that he was an alcoholic when he started to play guitar in 1998.
To illustrate, Lovitt pulls out his driver’s license, where he looks like a stocky jock with a shaved head. The talented musician, currently a skinny, tall bundle of upbeat energy with long, dark hair, describes the bad times when his group formed. “The chick left me,” he says. “The dog died. The truck broke down.”
But now Lovitt is clean and sober and focused on his music. He says Primal Jaimal is about steering people from negative influences towards happiness. “If people are meant to have a good time, then we should be famous,” he says.
Primal Jaimal will soon release its debut CD, Kick ‘Em in the Nuts. A rough mix shows a promising combination of Misfits-style primitive punk and virtuoso guitar work.
After lunch, Lovitt drops me off in front of the Weekly’s office. Before leaving he has some advice for me. “Screw the negativity,” he says with a big smile on his face. “Kick ‘em in the nuts, man.” While he pulls away, it is impossible not to smile.
Primal Jaimal plays with Plaster at the Lava Lounge in Club Octane at 321 Alvarado St. in Monterey, Friday night at 10pm. No cover. 646-9244.