When I saw the Bad Light last April, Edu Cerro’s metalish band had been searching for the right drummer for several months. It was their second show with drummer Dana Shepard, and as Cerro dug his fingers into his guitar strings, bending them into dizzying blues licks as his long brown hair swayed side to side, he would periodically look over at Shepard as if he couldn’t believe his ears.
“That dude was a godsend. I couldn’t believe it,” Cerro says. “Having gone through a few drummers in a short amount of time, I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel, but I was definitely running out of steam.”
Shepard and Cerro found one another via Craigslist—Shepard had posted that he wanted to play Tom Waits-esque music, and the two bonded over old-school punk rock and the East Coast hardcore scene. During practice sessions, Cerro suddenly had to get used to turning his amp’s volume up, instead of down.
“He plays drums like his personality,” Cerro says. “He comes in, and he’s loud, and he’s aggressive, and he plays that way. I’ve never seen anyone snap the lugs on their snare drum, but he has to change his every week.”
The three-piece is filled out by backup vocalist Emily Pegado, who brings a “spooky R&B” sound to the band, says Cerro.
The Bad Light, which plays the Blue Lagoon on Friday, Jan. 23, is difficult to categorize. When releasing their first album, the band called its vibe “delta sludge”—just to see if it would catch on. (It didn’t.) Doom and sludge metal also come to mind. But if Cerro had to pick one style, he says “stoner rock” would be close enough.
Buried under all the heavy effects is Cerro’s love for passionate blues guitarists like Charley Patton and Bukka White.
“It’s definitely more country and blues, with a bunch of fuzz, and then go,” Cerro says. “Whatever comes out.”
INFO: 9 pm. Jan. 23. Blue Lagoon. 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz CA. $5. 21+.