Wasted Noise, a progressive reggae/hip-hop band from Salinas, is bringing together the young and the old with its activism, socially conscious lyricism and dynamic beats. Family is at the heart of the band as Hank Macias lays down the bass and his brother, Ruben Macias, keeps the rock steady on lead guitar. Alex Cortez pounds the drums while Hector Hurtado jams on rhythm guitar and Kyle Dunn sings, raps and plays the keyboard. Though the band formed in 2004, the current line-up has been active for four years. What keeps Wasted Noise fresh and interesting over the years is the diverse musical background of its members.
As a teenager, Cortez listened to and played in hardcore punk and metal bands and learned reggae from the ground up. Hank Macias has always loved hard rock bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And Hurtado was fond of mariachi as a child growing up in Mexico and still listens to bands like Bando Machos. Together, the band mates have taken their various musical influences, Salinas culture, and music from their first CD, Barn Sessions—recorded in a converted barn on Old Stage Road in Salinas and mastered at Indigital Studios in Santa Cruz—on the road from Livermore to Chula Vista to the California Roots Festival. Giving back to the community and supporting a new generation of musicians are both important to the band, which recently played a benefit concert for the victims of the fire in Big Sur, and is featured on a new compilation album, called Music Unites: Reggae Around the World Vol. 2, the proceeds of which benefit underprivileged children’s music programs. With some music videos in the works and a new CD due out this summer, the band couldn’t be more excited about its future. “We’re living the dream,” says Hank Macias. “We never thought it would be this great.”
INFO: Find out more about Wasted Noise at wastednoisemusic.com. The band will play in a benefit show for the family of Thrive’s Scott Schipper on Feb. 1 at The Reef Bar and Restaurant, 120 Union St., Santa Cruz. 459-9876.