In many rock circles it’s become fine sport to guess what kind of music an act plays just by the name they’ve chosen for themselves. Sometimes it’s easy. Even if you’d never heard the music of Bad Company or Black Sabbath, monikers like those could be harbingers of nothing less than volume, feedback and bar chords. And then there are the question marks such as Pablo Cruise.
The best I could come up with, prior to their not too long ago Santa Monica Civic concert, was a tanned islander laying down steel drum solos as prelude to some pagan ritual. Boy! Was I in for a surprise.
First of all Pablo Cruise is a plural band as opposed to a singular musician. Yes, there was some semblance of a tan but they could’ve picked that up anywhere. The only thing I’d guessed right about was the ritual proceedings, which in this case proved to be some mighty arresting music.
For openers the band (Cory Lerios, Bud Cockrell, Dave Jenkins and Steve Price) tied into a couple of rockers that effectively removed any doubt that they were home grown. P.C. next turned to some tasty soul; their jazz overtones brought to mind the better moments of Mark Almond and the now defunct Bailin’Jack. Showing off their ability to do it all, the band jumped into a laidback moment before finishing up with something that can best be described as razz (the mutation of rock and jazz).
Now warm-up fodder isn’t supposed to make any kind ‘of lasting impression beyond that of “I wonder how long the bathroom line is now.” But Pablo Cruise’s set did and as the days passed the memory lingered. it had been a melodic and unexpectedly exotic musical experience. But, above all, it had made me feel like I was some place other than in the normal sweat shop conditions of your big time rock show.
Secure in the knowledge that here was a band far above the ho-hum category, I investigated further and found that Pablo Cruise’s esoteric blend had some equally creative roots behind them.
Crockrell, whose vocals and taut bass lines anchor Cruise’s musical arsenal, grew up in your typical northern California music environment. And when you’re good, as Bud most certainly was, your rep gets around. A good rep,