Before they ever played a note together, Drinking Flowers had a bond–one fertilized by a shitty job.
“We all worked at a fuckin' restaurant that we hated,” says guitarist/lead vocalist Alex Galindo. “We wanted to make some loud music because we were disgruntled.”
The fondue joint in Mission Viejo where Galindo met the four other people in his band has since closed. But as long as Drinking Flowers–a psych-grunge outfit of twentysomething Costa Mesa natives–keep making music together, tales of the “cheesy, dumb, fake-nice restaurant” live on in their banter.
Lately, they are relying less on 9-to-5 jobs as they begin to make headway in L.A.'s DIY psych-rock scene, which is brimming with gigs for the OC-born scrappers. Tapping from a mutual love of fuzz bands such as the Black Angels (from Austin, Texas) and SoCal faves the Warlocks and the Growlers, Drinking Flowers spun out their own take on the genre with a debut EP, released this summer on Lolipop Records, an Echo Park label headed by Laguna Beach transplant Wyatt Blair (Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel, Feeding People).
Titled Sanity Restored In 1972, it is a reference to Texas psychedelic forerunners 13th Floor Elevators, “specifically when the singer Roky Erickson got arrested in the late-'60s for smoking reefer and was thrown into a mental ward,” Galindo explains. “He escaped a couple of times, but after awhile, he was declared 'sane' in 1972.”
The sound is what you'd expect given the band's stated influences: gauzy guitar awash in reverb and fuzz, lots of effects on the vocals–and the vibe can sound a little pissed off at times. It's something that stems from Galindo's perpetual annoyance with his environs. “We're an angry band because that hip nihilism shit is in vogue,” he says. “You know, just, like, being, like, ironic and having Internet humor and not caring about anything else.”
Six months ago, Galindo moved to L.A. with his girlfriend, bassist Jade Christensen; guitarist Nick Crays now lives nearby, too. The move was a response to the band getting more serious. “The amount of people going out for shows on a regular basis is drastically different,” Galindo says about the L.A. scene. “I mean, there are a lot of great bands and people who go out to shows in Orange County, but it's a lot harder to get yourself out there.”
He's stoked about how the band have progressed in the two years since they've begun writing music together. “When we were gigging around Santa Ana and Costa Mesa a few years ago, we were playing songs that were good but very exposed,” Galindo says. “Maybe I'm overanalyzing, but I think our approach now to music is much more open-ended and much more directionless–it's more of a feeling and less of a sound. I think we're actually expressing it in some of our newer material.”
Drinking Flowers are currently in the midst of writing their follow-up, which they expect out sometime this winter. The plan is to release it on cassette instead of vinyl. “It's an unconscious yearning for authenticity, simplicity and innocent times,” Galindo says, “before the world became overexposed and flattened into pixels.”
For more info on Drinking Flowers and to download Sanity Restored In 1972, visit their website.