Surf rock, “doom surf” and “nerd-thrash punk jazz” are coming to Laramie this weekend as a trio of locals share the stage with two bands from Denver.
De Gringos y Gremmies is set to play at 9 p.m. today at the Ruffed Up Duck Saloon, 310 S. Fifth St., along with Denver’s Gort vs. Goom and Vampire Squids from Hell. Admission is free, but $5 donations are encouraged.
Consisting of Shane Wallace on guitar, Dustin Richards on bass and Dan Walker on drums and percussion, De Gringos y Gremmies formed about three years ago. The musicians have been around Laramie a while, and they played together as the Custom Caravans in the late 1990s and early 2000s before life changes took them in different directions for 15 years.
“It was just blind luck that we said we should do this again,” Walker said.
Meanwhile, their original drummer, Byron Jacquot, moved to Denver and now plays drums for Gort vs. Goom. Jacquot’s bass-playing musical partner, Logan Rainard, is married to a Vampire Squids guitarist.
“These are friends of ours that we’ve had for a long time,” Wallace said.
Wallace said each member of De Gringos y Gremmies brings different influences to the group, with the major ones being Spaghetti Westerns and surf.
“We’ve been trying to meld all that stuff together, and that’s how we came up with the name,” he said.
Spaghetti Westerns were a sub-genre of Western movies directed by Italian filmmakers in the 1960s and ‘70s, usually with more violence than traditional Westerns. The gringos were the bystanders.
“None of us are the tough hombres from the Westerns,” Wallace said. “We’re the gringos.”
“Gremmies” is a slang word from the 1960s that refers to young, inexperienced surfers.
“Gremmies are the people on the beach who don’t surf. They just bother people,” Wallace said.
Wallace said they play the music influenced by these cinematic traditions, but they don’t quite match the leading-role stereotypes made famous by the genres.
“We’re the soundtrack to the movie that we’re the extras for,” Walker joked.
Richards said Gort vs. Goom’s Jacquot and Rainard, who describe their sound as “nerd-thrash punk jazz,” bring technical precision to their music.
“They’re both very smart, precise guys, and that’s what their music is — very smart and precise,” he said.
Vampire Squids from Hell has Ska LaFaa and Mol Mollusk both on guitar, Darren Capulong on bass and Jake Schubert on drums. They describe their music as “proletariat surf rock,” or “doom surf.” They’ll be playing their first show in Laramie.
“It seems darker, and it’s more fluid,” Walker said of their music.
Walker said the Laramie music scene has been growing recently, with audiences interested in all kinds of genres.
“You don’t have to fight anymore to find somewhere to play,” he said.
Richards said musicians are collaborating more as well.
“Everyone seems really cooperative,” he said.