Photo by James BunoanHuntington Beach: Four-bedroom, two-bathroom stucco house
Occupants: Dave Reul, Robert Bradley, Jeff the New Roommate and Tyrona the Dog
Square footage: They don't know
Paid: $1,750 per month in rent
Knock on a certain door on a certain street in a certain town—okay, okay, it's Constitution Street in Huntington Beach. Happy? You should be—and you'll go straight down the rabbit hole.
Which, technically speaking is more of a rat hole.
But it looks so nice outside. Only the name—Redneck Ranch, which is emblazoned in strategic places throughout—betrays a certain seediness. That and a forgotten sandwich or something out behind the garage that let's just say has seen better days. Find it and throw it out? Smells like a good idea.
Home to key players in local country/metal band the Skatanic Rednecks, this place was so Leave it to Beaverfour years ago—right before Dave Reul, Robert Bradley, Jeff the New Roommate and Tyrona the Dog moved in. A tranquil gray one-and-one-half story pad, it's still got that ornate gingerbready trim on the outside of the garage roof that so many '50s and '60s dwellings down here do.
Squint your eyes, and you can see the Duke hisself riding up to your front door on his horse at 11 p.m., waking up your croupy baby to ask could he borry a drink o' whiskey? You'd say yes, of course.
Inside, the retro vibe continues with Miss Wisconsin 1958, Kay Reul, nee Ross, whose offspring are Dave and Darren Reul, who's both Dave's brother and Rednecks member Dogboy Sasquatch. He's a frequent visitor.
"Sorry the place is a mess," my host, Dave Reul, a Redneck himself, says ominously. "But we took everything outside. We were hunting rats." Of which, it should be noted, I see no evidence. Sure, there are rattraps under the sink and couches outside, but there are couches inside, too. This is a house of many couches, at least four.
A true fan of his mom's work, Reul has her official portrait displayed prominently on the entry wall next to one of several Elvis portraits—and he sends me home with two of her official Miss Wisconsin promo brochures ("Fashion-minded Miss Wisconsin personally selected these beautiful Connie pumps from our store"). He also gives me a post card from when she was the Speed Queen Laundry Lady, and he even calls to confirm when she was actually Miss Wisconsin. Now I'm a fan, too.
"She said I was following the perfect wave, and she was following the perfect sun," Reul, a Texas-raised surfer and skater, says, explaining why he and mom live in California now.
The living room continues the theme of Things Hung on the Wall with a framed quartet of vintage LPs by Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, the Big E and Jerry Lee Lewis—the latter two being $500,000 of the Million Dollar Quartet. On one side of the records hangs an ancient banjo, "our country side," Dave Reul says, and on the other is a B.C. Rich Warlock guitar, representing "our speed metal side," in that famous "X" shape. One is yin, the other yang; ah, but which is which?
This house is about three things: music, girls and skateboarding, roughly in that order. Everything else is just ornamentation—and as I squeeze through a door that opens only about a foot into the garage, I see that. The reason I won't fit into the garage is 'cause the whole thing is taken up by a two-car-garage-sized skate ramp. Our photographer, Name Withheld, is already shredding, serenaded by the Norman Luboff Choir singing "Whoopie Ti Yi Yo" from an LP with absolutely no type on the cover, just some Western vista.
This garage is soundproof, Reul says proudly, and on one side, on a massive sheet of drywall, the boys have painted the biggest Redneck Ranch logo of all. Opposite it, someone has written, "I'm Rick James, bitch. . . . Cocaine is one hell of a drug." Sure is.
And this is one hell of a party pad.
"We finish our show and come back here," Reul explains, "and it starts out skating, and then the girls start dancing on the ramp, and then they're dancing with plastic [toy] horses, and we don't get to sleep until 5."
And that's just Thursday night.
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