The Backup Razor was raised on Santa Cruz punk, and the band is working hard to keep it alive. The four-piece “extreme music, not punk” band grew up watching local punk-metal legends like Good Riddance and the Lonely Kings perform at $2 Tuesdays at The Catalyst and The 418 Project. Influenced by thriving ’90s music, Jesse Williams (vocals), Jonathan Mumma (drums), Jeff Badagliacca (bass), and Nick Hardesty (guitar) formed The Backup Razor in 2007, bringing their spontaneous brand of high-energy, up-tempo, eclectic rock into the scene.
“Everyone says we’re a punk band, but I think we’re a rock band,” says Williams. “We don’t just play four to the floor, and we change up the melodies.” The band started out playing in Reno with hardcore outfit Vampirates (who they will soon tour with), where they performed for strangers to get a genuine reaction to their music. Since Reno, The Backup Razor has played hundreds of gigs at money-making venues, but they maintain a “do what you love” mentality. And reviving the local scene is still a priority. “The bands are there,” Badgliacca says, “but Santa Cruz needs youth centers for bands to play at. The Teen Center closed down because of lack of funding! And bands mostly play at bars now.” He believes adults have to empower youth by providing resources. “They need to give their kids stuff to do besides watch TV,” Badgliacca continues. “We need what we had when we were kids, the punk rockers and metal heads that look scary to our parents but were like our older brothers.” Though many venues have come to favor profitable headliners over supporting local bands, Williams thinks change is on the horizon. “The people who grew up when Santa Cruz had a good music scene are having kids and realizing their kids won’t have that,” he says. “I think they’re starting to take notice and do something about it.”
INFO: 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 2. The Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Avenue., Santa Cruz. $5. 423-7117.