“We’re Rumble Steelskin. We’re here to kick your ass!” exclaims guitar player and founding member Jimmy Cardarelli, with his hands in the symbolic metal horns pose.

And he’s not lying. The first time I saw them was roughly two years ago at the Blue Lagoon. It struck me as surprising that there weren’t many people in the audience for such a tight, rhythmic rock band. Turns out, it was one of their first gigs.

Although the five-piece power act draws from a list of influences such as Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Megadeth and other heavy hitters in the genre, each musician brings his own sense of experimentation to the table.

“I love anything by Matt Pike, Buckethead or Les Claypool,” says drummer Jasen Christensen.

“Personally, jazz has had a huge influence on me,” explains bassist Tim Mullen.

Within the last half year, the band has solidified into a lineup of Cardarelli and Kenneth Kaschalk on guitar, Christensen on drums, Mullen on bass, and Anna Carlson on vocals. Since then, they have embarked on an ambitious, 13 song full-length album—with the working title Thrawn—recorded at Carlson’s Ocean View Studios, to be released sometime early this year.

While Rumble Steelskin plays the Rock Bar in San Jose on Jan. 20, this Saturday they celebrate their Catalyst stage debut with some help from a few friends.

“We’ve got Heavy Hands [from Salinas] and Still Searching [from Santa Cruz]—two heavy bands from the area—opening up,” says Cardarelli.

As an added bonus, comedian El Pasty Guero—the “host of the most gross”—will emcee the event.

“I haven’t showered since their last gig at Bocci’s [in December],” El Pasty says. “So everyone will be in for a real treat.”


INFO: 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23. Catalyst Atrium, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-4135.

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