Between songwriting and performing, Lava Moon’s Jonathan Siebrandt tunes up Sheet readers with his music column. (Photo courtesy Siebrandt)
By Jonathan Siebrandt
Music has always played a big role in the Mammoth experience and until recently it was “imported” by and large.
Over the past few years, Mammoth’s local music scene has developed into exactly that – “a scene.”
I have had the pleasure of living and performing in Mammoth since 2003 and in that time I have seen an explosion of talent in our humble ski town.
For the first time since I have lived here, I have seen us eclipse the Lake Tahoe scene – no easy feat. Bryan Levy, owner of The Divided Sky in South Lake Tahoe, recently expressed to me that he was slightly envious of Mammoth’s great original musical acts (whom he books regularly).
“I wish we had some bands here that rival the bands we book out of Mammoth.”
Musicians in Mammoth have not always received a lot of respect from local booking agents and venues.
In fact, we have often been marginalized as “local.” (what is it about being “local,” in any profession, which is somehow stigmatizing?)
We do live here but we bring our influences and sound from the many different places and backgrounds where we came from.
I hope in the future we can relinquish the “local band” stigma/moniker.
First off, mountain towns have always had pretty good music scenes.Asheville, Knoxville and Telluride come to mind. Ever heard the term “Epic Winter?” Plenty of time to “woodshed” up here.
Second, Mammoth attracts some pretty fringy artistic types.
When I first came to Mammoth, I performed at one of our more prestigious festivals. The promoter asked me if I was “running from the law.” Fringy indeed.
I believe we are “the chosen” and I don’t mean that in a culty Cali kinda way.
We have “chosen” to be here and draw from the inspiration that is so abundant … that yields great art and music.
Here are a list of some of the “local” bands that seem to be making our “local” scene one of the hottest in California.
Hurricane Hoover’s Blues Party: Led by harmonicat Mike “Hurricane” Hoover,some of Mammoth’s most respected musicians perform in this revolving line-up laying down Blues,jazz and classic rock covers.
Old Coyote Moon: Cello and Didjeridoo inflected jam band, Psychedelic and relative at the same time.
The Sweetwater String Band: Gotta have a bluegrass band in a mountain town and these guys represent well.
The Peacoats:Mammoth’s indie rock darlings.
Jeffrey James and the Wanted Gang: A Honky-Tonk slice of heaven here in the High Sierra.
22 Tons (of impending doom): Nirvahnaesque DIY rockers who “play for beer.”
Lava Moon: One of Mammoth’s more “established” bands Genre smashing would sum it up.
The Core Shots: A group that has a unique and original sound and members who perform barefoot.
East Side Fade: Classic and quirky covers and their drummer is Hizzoner!
The Rusty Nuts: Mammoth’s newest entry in the field. Think Eagles meet Clapton.
There are other bands that could qualify as “local” such as the Tungsten City Band, the June Lake Loopers, Smear Tactics and others I am sure … but I chose to cover the bands in this article because they are distinctly from Mammoth.
The music community in Mammoth is burgeoning if not slightly incestuous with performers sharing different line-ups.
Hopefully our scene will grow and be yet another reason people come here for inspiration.