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By Gabriel San Roman
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Büddha, Can You Spare a Rhyme?
San Clemente's Büddhafinger just wanna be heard
Sean Quinn of surfy hard rock/punk band Büddhafinger knows the rest of the world is just swinging on Southern California's nuts.
What's the Büddhafinger story?
I do all the parts myself. I recorded the music myself, and then I got the members together. As a band, we've been playing since February. We're fairly new. I write all the music and record it, and then I present it to them, and they learn it.
So the music was done before there was anyone else in the band?
Yeah, exactly. It's faster that way. I can get the songs down without distractions. I lay it down, and they either like it or they don't. Sometimes they'll say, "No, don't like the song." Then I'll go, "Okay, how about this one?" So I'm prepared for that. I do welcome criticism and input. If they don't like the song, I don't expect them to play it.
Do you only write songs with Büddhafinger in mind?
I'm all over the map. I have all kinds of styles of music. What we're focusing on now is rock any way you look at it. It's what would work for audiences. It's upbeat music and easy to dance to.
Even though you don't play what would be called surf music, there seems to be a strong surf-guitar element in what you do.
You haven't heard anything yet. I've got a song I'm working on that really goes off on a Dick Dale vibe. I definitely try to capture some of that in the songs. I think we cater to people who surf and like to skate. They can relate to our music. It's got that vibe to it.
Does that make Orange County a good home for Büddhafinger?
I get responses from all over the world. I think a lot of the world looks up to what we do in Southern California. They'd like to surf. A lot of people trip on our way of life. People are intrigued by that. But it's tough being a band here. You've got so much to choose from and so much to do as a potential audience member. "Why should I come see this band Büddhafinger when I can go see a national act down the street?" It's tough for an unknown band. It's the entertainment capital of the world. "Why should I spend my hard-earned money on a band I'm taking a chance on?"
How about having a band specifically in San Clemente?
Being in San Clemente has its pluses. We can go to LA, or we can go to San Diego. I like being centrally located, but it's tough. For the same price, people can see a well-known artist. You go to other states, and smaller towns are more appreciative because they don't get the types of acts we do. It's a different vibe here. We're new, and we've just got to get out there and play. Marketing is everything. The best band in the world could play out in the desert, and if no one knows about it, no one will be there. You need a little bit of backing to get that. Fans will come; it's a matter of being heard.
Does that also make it tough finding places to play?
It's difficult. You can play the Whisky in LA, but it's a pay-to-play deal. Everyone has a budget, and I understand that. If you think you're going to get paid as an up-and-coming band, you're dreaming. You've got to do so much work, and you'd better have a real job. There are so many great bands that are not getting paid, and they're willing to take your spot. I wish there were more venues willing to take you in and eat it, but everyone's got to make money.
For more information, go to www.myspace.com/squinnart.