Santa Barbara’s The Reignsmen play an EP release party at SOhO

The Reignsmen feel right at home on the SOhO stage. Courtesy photo
The Reignsmen feel right at home on the SOhO stage.
Courtesy photo

The Reignsmen may be the first rock band to be formed at a shoe store, specifically the Vans store on lower State Street. Seven years later, they’re no longer selling Chukka Boots, but are set to release their first, self-titled EP tonight at SOhO, with Dad’s Clothes and Yancellor Chang opening.

The band consists of Tommy Trujillo on bass guitar and vocals, Daniel Vasquez on lead guitar and vocals, Adam Duffin on rhythm guitar and vocals and Matthew Drake on drums. In their music you’ll hear the punk-country rumble of drunken brawls in the desert, nervous Bo Diddley beats, ’90s emo-rock, and even a bit of the Clash, Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters and the Strokes, among a hundred other shuffle-play hits colliding.

Before The Reignsmen, their first attempt at a band had a different singer and was “just unorganized, but we had a great time,” says Mr. Vasquez. On the other hand they were on bills – at Whiskey Richards, at Muddy Waters – where the other bands were tight and disciplined, and so The Reignsmen formed as a sister band with bassist Tommy taking over main vocals. And eventually, the other band just dissolved.

While the three were taking music classes at SBCC, they met their drummer Matt, who understood music composition and song structure. “To meet a drummer who wasn’t just a guy who hits things with sticks, we were very lucky,” Mr. Vasquez says.

The band name comes from Homer’s “Iliad,” after the guys found the name by pulling books off a shelf at random and opening them up. A reinsman is also known as a chariot driver, but after adding the letter “g” to give the name some pun-worthiness and checking the Internet to make sure it wasn’t already taken, The Reignsmen were born.

They officially premiered December 2010 at Whiskey Richards, when the owner told them if they were in a band, they were playing that following week. It was the deadline they needed.

“Then we made it a point to play every nook and cranny in town,” Mr. Vasquez says, not just the usual bars in town, but Goorin Hats, Indochine, Earth Day and more.

The band has 14 originals in their set as well as several covers. “We’re all perfectionists,” says Mr. Drake. “For a long time.”

That made choosing the three songs for the EP the hardest part of the recording process, which happened at Playback Studios – one of the prizes from winning New Noise’s Battle of the Bands in 2013.

“It’s a family there,” Mr. Drake says. “They bring out the best in you.”

Though all songs are credited to the band, Tommy Trujillo wrote the lyrics for the three chosen for the EP: “Animals,” “Heatwave” and “Nearest Star,” their near-seven-minute epic that closes the set.

Although Mr. Vasquez says of the band, “We’re pretty much as Santa Barbara as you can get,” they are looking to tour elsewhere now that the EP is out (with actual CDs – remember those? – sold at their SOhO gig). They are looking at a mini West Coast tour, realizing all the bands they’ve met along the way are now inviting them to their cities to play.

The Reign of the Reignsmen has just started.

The Reignsmen
When: 8:30 p.m. tonight
Where: SOhO Restaurant and Music Club, 1221 State St.
Cost: $10
Information: (805) 962-7776,

You can find them at

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