Vincent Walker of Suburban LegendsEXPAND
Vincent Walker of Suburban Legends
Scott Feinblatt

Orange County Ska Bandmates Reunite to Help Produce Charity Album for Puerto Rico

Original Suburban Legends front man Tim Maurer recently reteamed with his fellow founding band member Vincent Walker for a special project. Recording under the name Walki-Talki, they're producing 15 new tunes to raise funds for the recently devastated Puerto Rico. Joining them in representing Orange County on Arecibo: Songs for Puerto Rico are Kiev and Wetwood Smokes. The album, which essentially consists of songs from SoCal-area bands, goes on sale today here, with all proceeds benefitting the Friends of Puerto Rico charity organization.

The project came about through the misadventures of singer Kaleb Davies and drummer Ryan Dawson of the Torrance-based band the 131ers. Davies and Dawson were on vacation in San Juan, Puerto Rico, when Hurricane Irma hit. The two joined up with locals and their roommates to ride out the storm at a hostel while assisting with preparation efforts. After they returned to California, Hurricane Maria descended upon the island. Davies and Dawson then returned to the island to survey the damage. One area, whose beauty the duo had previously relished, was Arecibo. It was in the wreckage of this northern-coastal municipality that they were inspired to help through their music.

The 131ers are part of a tightknit community of musicians and artists, many of whom have collaborated with one another at some point, Maurer explains. “From what I understand, the word of [the project] got out, and more and more people wanted to participate.” Bands started paying a visit to the 131ers’ turf, where they have a music space and recording studio, to lay down some tracks.

As for the reunion of the onetime Suburban Legends band mates, 131ers bassist Chris Graue says, “Vince was already helping us produce our record, so he was excited to hear [about the Puerto Rico project] and wanted to put something together. One day, Tim stopped by our warehouse to hang out, and we just sort of convinced them they should do a song together. . . . What came out was great, and we’re extremely proud of our friends and the piece they cooked up in our little Torrance studio. It really only took minimal peer pressure; those two have an electric chemistry that, both personally and professionally, appears to have taken no time off in 15 years.”

Walki-Talki’s contribution to the album, a song titled “Made for Living,” is not a ska tune. But it is a solid track that fits nicely into the album’s collection of eclectic indie-rock tunes. “It's definitely a different track than folks are used to [from us]," Maurer says. "It's definitely more of a mature song.”

Maurer revealed that there may be a future for Walki-Talki. “I've been writing music alongside Vince since 1997, and the fact that after all these years, we can come back and still have creative connections . . . It's nice," he says. "It's very refreshing. . . . This song came about so effortlessly, so organically, that it definitely gives us a reason to create much more music in the future.”

According to the album’s webpage (pledgemusic.com), following the release, there will be a concert featuring bands from the compilation.

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