For those of you who like your rock ‘n’ roll hard and edgy and are a bit tired of the “Temecula set list” of classic rock and Johnny Cash covers that most local bands furnish, then there’s a group from Idyllwild that deserves your attention — the brain-melting “mountain metal” of Throw the Goat.
Comprised of longtime friends Michael “Barba Rojo” Schnalzer (bass/lead vocals), Brian “Puke” Parnell (lead guitar/vocals), “Johnny Trash” Wilson (rhythm guitar) and Tim “Senor Queso” Olivier (drums), Throw The Goat is a self-described “nu grunge stoner punk” band that is a “wrecking crew of heavy rock madness.”
Intrigued? You should be.
Style and sound-wise, think energetic hardcore punk of the early 80s Misfits, add a little bottom power of Motorhead, a healthy dose of Kyuss’ dusty stoner rock, and the aggressive, angst-ridden metal of Pantera.
That’s the Throw The Goat “rock stew.”
So how does a heavy rock band come out of the sleepy, artsy, jazz/folk/blues-loving San Jacinto Mountain community of Idyllwild?
Besides the band’s love for all things punk, metal, and grunge, there’s a certain sound that emanates from one’s remote surroundings. They’re a bit…sequestered.
“There’s nothing to do,” says lead guitarist and co-vocalist Brian Parnell. “We’re isolated from everyone and down the hill is the desert.”
Which brings up a bigger question: How does a rock band find the support it needs to grow when there is, for all intents and purposes, no rock scene? For a band that’s steeped in the music of the Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, the Melvins, and Nirvana, how does it find its local audience amongst jazz purists?
“Obviously, Idyllwild is a very small town and not the type of place where our kind of music is played at all, but we’ve managed to progress from playing local dive bars off “the hill” to playing 1,000+ capacity venues,” said Parnell.
And they’re doing everything on their own. The band has no management or any type of representation. At least for now.
“I created my own record label to release our album (“Black Mountain” — available Sept. 11) which we are also publishing, distributing and marketing ourselves,” Parnell added.
“We’re not trust fund kids,” he continued. “We don’t have any friends or family in the music industry pulling strings for us, we do it all on our own. We work day jobs as dishwashers, cooks, bartenders and construction workers.”
In fact, the three songwriters — Parnell, Schanlzer, and Wilson — are also roommates. Sure, it saves on rent, but having all three writers under one roof also equals a house full of focused musical creativity. Think the Rolling Stones circa 1962 when Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Brian Jones all shared a London flat, before their first hit. Living and breathing music — that’s the key.
But the love of music and writing great songs doesn’t always equal an audience. In today’s fractured and difficult music industry, it takes a promotional effort on all fronts just to be heard by a club crowd.
“We’d obviously love to reach people on a larger scale,” Parnell said of Throw The Goat’s goals. “We want to make it work somehow, and if we can — if we’ve figured out how to get off “the hill” — then we’ve figured it out for everyone.”
Throw The Goat’s debut release “Black Mountain” drops Sept. 11 and is available via their website.
Chris Baptiste is a local writer and a regular contributor to SWRNN.