When Culver City Dub Collective heads onto what should be (hopefully) a sunshine-covered Les Schwab Amphitheater stage on Sunday, it will be a homecoming of sorts. This is confusing, obviously, given the band's explicitly Southern California name, but not once you realize that the dude on guitar is Franchot Tone.
That name probably sounds familiar to local music fans who know him as not only Reed Thomas Lawrence's collaborator and producer but also as a composer for Rage Films. Tone has a second life of sorts, however, down in Los Angeles where he's deeply immersed in the music industry and also captains Culver City Dub Collective, a reggae-infused jammy rock outfit, along with Adam Topol, best known for his work as Jack Johnson's drummer.
Tone, who lives in Bend with his wife and kids, is a busy guy, to put it mildly, but he's found time to place CCDC near the top of his priority list. Although the band is only able to tour in moderation given the other musical engagements if its members, CCDC has found time to, for example, open a tour last summer for Jack Johnson which put them in front of crowds numbering 20,000 or more. But this week, the band is on its own headlining jaunt, playing smaller venues in mountain towns, which is why when I catch up with Tone, he's eating at a taco truck in Twin Falls, Idaho. He and the rest of the band are there for the start of a weeklong tour that drops them in Bend on Sunday - something Tone is more than pumped about.
"You have no idea how stoked I am to have my hometown see this band and have them meet my friends in Bend," says Tone.
The band's first full-length album, Dos, featured a long list of high-profile collaborators including Johnson, Ben Harper, Money Mark and several others Topol had met while touring with Johnson. The result was a crisp summery album that truly encapsulated the "collective" aspect present in the band's name - but that collaborative approach to the album didn't exactly transfer easily to the stage.
"On our record, we have all these songs we can't really perform because there's an old Jamaican dude singing it. How are we supposed to do that?" asks Tone. "We can't produce some of those songs live without thirty musicians and samples and all that stuff.
When the band hits the studio soon for its sophomore effort, Tone and company hope to move more in the direction of laying down the live sound on the album with the actual five-piece CCDC touring band. The record might be shy on the guest appearances, but Tone says it will better transpose to the stage, focusing more on CCDC's "super talented guys."
Even if from time to time Tone's career brings him back to LA every week (as it did last month) Tone makes clear he's a Bend guy, so if he's got a little extra kick in his step (or strum) on Sunday, you'll know why.