By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
Nothin’ But a G Thang
Costa Mesa band Handsome G have matured nicely over the past year. Credit the lengthy process they went through to complete their debut full-length, Skin, Bones and Silicone, due out in February. The charm of their sound lies in its mix of good humor, sparkling soul and a pop simplicity that happily chases the colors of summer into the midnight bar scene. Most important, members Andrew Corradini (vocals/guitar), Jay Akins (guitar), Ali Zakka (bass/vocals) and Danielle Robitshek (drums) realize the only thing better than perfecting their recorded sound is transporting people to a place of euphoria with a sublime live show.
OC Weekly: You guys used to go by Handsome Grandpa. Why the name change?
Andrew Corradini: It’s kind of a way of not necessarily kicking the old name, just a shortened version.
How did you guys come up with “Handsome Grandpa” in the first place?
Jay Akins: I saw this buff old guy on some fitness-pill magazine spread, and my buddy Matt said, “That’s a handsome grandpa.” And I thought it was so funny at the time that I figured it would be a good band name.
How excited are you to finally release a debut album?
Corradini: We’ve been together for so long—just hitting clubs and venues and playing and trying to write—and finally, this is going to be, like, our debut Handsome G record. We have an EP [Love In the Afternoon] that we recorded a year and a half ago, and it’s going to debut around the same time we [release] the full-length.
Have you found a niche or particular fan base in Orange County?
Ali Zakka: I think, off and on, we find a group of people that do enjoy our music. I don’t think we’ve gotten to the point where we can get [music] in people’s hands when they leave. And that’s part of what we’re missing in terms of getting a steady live audience.
Corradini: We’re excited because the record that’s coming out is kind of split. Some of our songs tend to be folk with a little bit of a country element to them, which is fun for us to play. Other ones have synthesizers and a lot of electric stuff. Whether or not everybody likes it, I have no clue. But we like it.
Were there any particular highlights, or things you learned in recording the full-length?
Akins: We left imperfections on it in some parts just to make it sound more live.
Corradini: Like Jay was saying, the honesty of what we’re trying to do now is about leaving imperfections as long as they don’t hinder the song. If you can just learn to be the best that you can be, but also realize that you’re gonna change how you play from night to night and that when you lay it down on record, there’s not one perfect way to do it.
Which gigs in 2009 were the most memorable to you?
Corradini: We did a private show with Donavon Frankenreiter [at Emerald Bay in Laguna Beach], which was fun. And for him, being a more popular artist, they had set up really nice lighting and a really big stage that we got to take advantage of.
Zakka: All our Detroit Bar shows with the White Buffalo were great. And those were maybe were the most fun.
Are there any aspirations or goals for 2010?
Zakka: Just putting music in people’s hands, and we’re about to get out on the road for a little bit at some point and collect some more fans.
Corradini: I think that playing for the past few years, it’s hard because things will stand in our way sometimes that we don’t have too much control over, so instead of just shooting for the moon like used to, we just try to take small steps and be proud of what we have done.
Handsome G play with We Are the Pilots, Pawn Shop Kings, the Steelwells and Argyle Smile at the Continental Room, 115 W. Santa Fe Ave., Fullerton, (714) 526-4529; myspace.com/thecontinentalroom. Tues., 7:30 p.m. Free. 21+.
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