One of Orange County's most iconic bands needs your help preserving their legacy on film. And despite what legendary frontman and punk rock prankster Mike "Gabby" Gaborno may tell you, it's not some kind of weird porno starring members of the Cadillac Tramps. Although the new documentary about Gaborno and his band is being made with lots of lovin'.
The Cadillac Tramps: Life on the Edge, is the story of one of the most belovedly strange bands to ever come out of our local music scene. Over the next seven days, Director Jamie Sims Coakley and husband Brian Coakley (rhythm guitarist for the band) are wrapping up their Kickstarter campaign to help fund the project which requires almost $55,000 dollars to complete. The film is currenty in post production. The deadline to fund the project is October 7 at 6 p.m. To date, they've raised just about half of their goal and are in need of your help. At this point the Coakley's have financed the film entirely on their own. As long as they're able to fully fund their goal they will get the money, if they don't they get nothing. That means if you 've been fortunate enough to have Gaborno and the Tramps on stage at some point in your life, you need to get on this and start spending and spreading the word.
On Friday, the band is also celebrating Gaborno's 50th birthday with a show by the Cadillac Tramps and Joyride as well as a roast of the birthday boy himself at Alex's Bar. Who better to get his balls busted than one of the preeminent jokers of OC punk? You can be sure he'll be dishing out some crass rebuttals as well. We'd expect nothing less from the frontman of a band that created so much havoc in their heyday.
In a time when the music world was transitioning between hair metal and grunge, the Tramps came along and blew everyone away with their mix of punk rock, rockabilly, metal and humor that garnered them huge success. These OC wildmen became an unlikely sensation that influenced many of their contemporaries who went on to be mainstream stars: No Doubt, 311, Sugar Ray, Lit, The Offspring, Sublime, Korn, just to name a few.
Even for Sims Coakley, the impact of her husband's band didn't really hit her until she delved into making the documentary.
"I knew Brian's band was a big deal," Sims Coaklely says. "When I started shooting I was just blown away how deeply the Cadillac Tramps impacted people's lives. I knew, but I didn't know."
Next page: See the 6 minute trailer for the film and get details on the party at Alex's Bar and where to donate for the documentary.
Not many people really understand the struggles of band, both personally and financially, even before they met as twentysomethings fresh out of rehab, living in halfway houses and scrounging to get by as a bunch of young punks. What's more important is level of influence that the Tramps have had on punk culture far beyond when their band called it quits in 1994.
"In a way we were too real to make it in music," Brian Coakley says. "We never sold out, we never changed, we never allowed outside influences to affect what was going on inside our band, we wore our good stuff on our sleeves and our bad stuff on our sleeves, and maybe it was just a little too real."
The Coakley's first decided to tackle the documentary project around Christmas of 2013, during Gaborno's increasing number of visits to the hospital. He'd suffered a stroke in 2009 and more recently came down with serious liver and kidney issues (he currently does dialysis three times per week). Obviously the need to preserve the band's legacy became much more urgent.
Over 50 interviews were compiled for the film as well as a massive amount of archival footage from guitarist Jonny "Two Bags" Wickersham (who now plays in Social Distortion). The film gives you the band's story from Coakley, Gaborno, Wickersham, bassist Warren Renfrow and an array of musicians and friends involved with the band. Not to mention appearances from Steve Soto of the Adolescents, Adrian Young of No Doubt, Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, Nick Hexum of 311, Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam and many other well known faces.
"People are going out of their way to see this story get made because the Cadillac Tramps gave it their all," Sims Coakley says. "They did their very best and they transmitted this energy love for what they were doing in such a pure way that it really changed people. It stuck with them."
In addition to the film, the Tramps have also produced three newly recorded albums of classic Tramps songs. Various auction items are up for grabs on the documentary Kickstarter Page, including rare recording, meet and greets with the band, tickets to the premiere of the film, even one-of-a-kind performances and personalized songs for those willing to shell out enough to dough to make this project happen.
For more info on the documentary and to donate to the Coakley's Kickstarter, please click here. For more info on Friday's party for Gabby Gaborno at Alex's Bar, click here and be sure to get there early!