Over the years, Tater Famine has played on hundreds of punk rock bills in Santa Cruz with bands like The Chop Tops, Los Dryheavers, and The Crutch—so it may come as a surprise that the band specializes in acoustic, neo-cowboy thrash/folk songs. Matteo Brunozzi picks away on a mandolin, John Dodds strums guitar, and Lauren Berman plucks a stand-up bass. Drummers have come and gone, but this trio—known for its three-part harmonies—is lean, mean and ready to hit the road.
Brunozzi is a lanky lad with a debonair mustache, who credits his and Dodds’ trip to Europe as a turning point for the band. “We busked on the street every night,” says Brunozzi. “People who didn’t even know what we were saying still liked it. It’s a more universal sound than we thought.” Out of this trans-Atlantic sojourn came all the songs for the band’s first album, An Untimely Fashion. In recent years, Tater Famine has become a staple in the Bay Area music scene with Larry and His Flask (who recently played Van’s Warped Tour), and is currently booking a seven-week tour of South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, in August. Though from 9 to 5, Dodds paints, Brunozzi provides room service at a hotel, and Berman is an esthetician, the trio hopes to become full-time musicians in the near future. “We always thought we were a funky folk band, and then found out there was a bunch of other bands doing basically the same thing, and that there was a scene called Americana,” says Brunozzi. “When we travel the country we find similar minds—kids who were into punk rock and then picked up acoustic instruments.” But for Tater Famine, it’s all about attitude—three chords and the truth.
INFO: Tater Famine will perform at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 3, as part of the Redwood Mountain Faire at Roaring Camp, 5401 Graham Hill Road, Felton. For tickets and event schedule, visit slvrmf.com.