What do you get when you mix five seasoned musicians into one cover band? All-star group the Nagging Doubts. Comprising Chas Crowder (Shotgun Suitor), Ted Welty (Locomotive Breath), Spencer Ellison (Tom & Dave Show), Ryan “Darnell” Partington (Sometimes Jones), and Scott Polland (Shotgun Suitor), the Nagging Doubts are a whirlwind of energy and fun. Not only do they have their own bands, but each member also guest performs throughout the Bay Area with multiple musicians, resulting in jam-packed schedules that put most 20-something musicians to shame.
“Sometimes playing with other bands is more fun,” Ellison says. “When you play with your own band, it’s a lot of responsibility. But when you play with someone else’s band, it’s cool just to be the drummer.”
That’s how the Nagging Doubts formed last April, in a sense. Crowder and Polland already had a history of playing music together, jamming at gigs together and with Shotgun Suitor, when Crowder had an idea.
“One night I told Scott I was bringing in another guy who plays guitar,” he remembers “And when [Welty] came in, those two began playing the same notes.”
“It was one of those weird things where chemistry either happens or it doesn’t,” Polland agrees. “With Ted, it happens.”
Since then the band has grown to include Partington on bass and Ellison on drums, playing a number of gigs throughout Santa Cruz. Armed with an arsenal of tunes from Johnny Cash to Oasis, the Nagging Doubts know how to get the beer flowing, the feet dancing and the ladies laughing. However, keep in mind these guys are not just your average cover band, adding their own sense of style to the hits audiences love.
“One of the coolest compliments we’ve gotten is how well we draw and play off one another,” Welty says. “A lot of bands are so structured if someone messes up, it trainwrecks the whole group. I haven’t seen that with us.”
“We’re not just playing the songs,” Ellison agrees. “We’re playing together.”
Whether they’re jamming at Zelda’s, rocking out at the Crow’s Nest, or picking up the pace at Severino’s—as they will be this Saturday—it’s safe to say that one should expect the unexpected, even if the songs are all too familiar. And if you have any requests, feel free to make them, just don’t forget to tip.
“Scott and I played ‘Freebird’ one night and someone actually gave us 100 dollars,” Crowder laughs. “We felt that was worth it.”
INFO: 8 p.m. Severino’s, 7500 Old Dominion Ct., Aptos. Free. 688-8987.