Dan Juan’s playful name embodies the band’s lighthearted approach—they set out to have fun, and it shows onstage. That’s why you won’t find any trace of them online; foregoing self-promotion was an intentional move.
“We’re not trying to market ourselves,” says guitarist and vocalist Dan Talamantes. “The object is not to make money, but to have as much fun as possible. We want our enjoyment of it to translate to the audience’s enjoyment of it.”
The lineup features Talamantes on guitar and lead vocals, Tyler Larson on lead guitar, Jeff Wilson on bass, and Alex Bice on drums—four friends in their mid-20s who are taking time out from more ambitious projects to “make the band we’ve always wanted.” The resulting sound is a mix of alt-country with indie-rock. Influences include Wilco, Neil Young, Dr. Dog, and Gram Parsons. They’re not attempting country revival, per se; according to Talamantes, the country aspect is “more of a texture than a template.”
The members of Dan Juan are active contributors to Santa Cruz’s creative community. When they’re not organizing Boulder Creek’s annual Do-It-Ourselves Festival, the four multi-instrumentalists are involved in various local pursuits, including Steep Ravine, Dos Osos, and the North Pacific String Band, to name a few. Dan Juan is a more of a hobby project, an intentionally stress-free creative outlet.
The band name is a cheeky reference to the literary Don Juan, inspired by a nickname for Talamantes, who moonlights as a journalist and a private investigator. “Dan’s kinda like this aging hipster type of dude,” Wilson explained. “We’re all getting older, but we’re still in the prime of our youth, so it was just a funny play on that mystique.”
9:00 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8/door. 429-6994.