Straddling the line between '80s NorCal thrash and '90s SoCal punk, Stuck Dickens play hard, fast, loud and technical, as evidenced by the band's face-forward single "Holden," which clocks upward of 190 beats per minute (think "Motorbreath" by Metallica) and is rife with pop/punk whoa-oa-oas, walloping snare fills and a guitar solo that showcases the band's trademark double-lead-guitar attack.
"Most punk bands don't have great guitar players," says guitarist Brad Zangwill, a disciple of the John Petrucci/Joe Satriani school of shred. "We're proud to have two guitarists who can alternate dueling guitar solos and blow people's minds."
Zangwill's six-string counterpart, lead vocalist Tim Tintari, takes a relatively subtler approach, favoring melodic phrases made famous by the likes of Dimebag Darrell and Marty Friedman. Tintari belts out lyrics with a pissed-off, nasal rigor, dampened by hints of apathy and resignation; their verses about wartime travesties, government fuck-ups and appeals for revolution are firmly rooted in the tradition of punk rock.
Zangwill and Tintari met at Huntington Beach's Marina High School, from which they graduated in 1998. But it wasn't until 10 years after graduation the two decided to put a band together. Tintari, also an accomplished drummer who had toured the world with the famous Blue Devils Drum Corps, tapped fellow corpsman and Hollywood session cat Tom Plumb to play drums for Stuck Dickens; Plumb, in turn, recruited Musician's Institute classmate Jazz Lim to play bass. Naturally, the band's musical pedigree is their best selling point.
"Each musician in the band is amazing in his own right," Zangwill says, "and we try to allow that to be seen and heard."
Their 2011 self-titled debut is a guitar-heavy scorcher whose theme loosely ties in with the band's eponymous superhero cartoon persona, brought to life by Hollywood visual artist Dan Kubat, that also appears in video-game form as PunkMan (playable at www.punkmangame.com). "Stuck Dickens was originally conceived to be a punk superhero," says Zangwill of the character. "He's normal until he is pissed off; then he transforms into the ripped, mohawked punk rocker who eats politicians."
At the moment, the band are focused on building a fan base through live performances, which, as with the cartoon, can get pretty rowdy in the pit depending on the venue and the bill. They're splitting time gigging and rehearsing in Huntington Beach (where Zangwill and Tintari live) and up in Hollywood (where Lim and Plum reside), a dual citizenship that, Zangwill says, serves the band well. "We find that spanning over two counties, we are able to expand our fan base easier," he says. "We have people promoting in more places." Stuck Dickens are currently writing and recording a sophomore album, for which Zangwill projects a 2014 release.
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In addition to a more deliberate pace, Zangwill says, Lim has more featured material on the new record. "We have started writing much more as a band, writing songs together," he says. "We made it a point to add more diversity to this album."
In the meantime, the Dickens will be busy melting faces throughout the SoCal rock club scene--and possibly devouring a few politicians along the way.
Stuck Dickens perform with Seven Year War, Chasom, Broken Heart Symphony and more at Gallagher's Pub and Grill, 300 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, (714) 536-2422; www.gallagherspub.com. Sun., 8 p.m. Free. 21+. For more info on Stuck Dickens, visit www.stuckdickens.com.