You may remember Gold Rey from the last-hoorah weekend at Spoken Moto in early February, or at the Volcanic Theatre Pub in April, but if you haven't heard of them, don't fret — they're new on everyone's radar for the right reasons and coming in hot at one of Bend's best stages at Silver Moon Brewing June 30. They'll also be sharing the stage with local band, Amargoso. Only after a handful of gigs around town, the new, year-old (ish) band rehearses every week together off of the Little Deschutes to make sure their set is tight and dynamite — which also might include tequila and talking to the river.
"We want to come out ready," said lead singer and guitarist Stephen Schreffler. "We have a 60-minute sweet spot set."
Schreffler writes the words and is backed by Steve Reinhardt on guitar (who also plays with local rock band The Color Study), Mark Burnham on bass and local sound engineer from the old VTP days, Phil McIntire — who was allegedly scouted by his bandmates. I sat with the entire band outside at The Commons while they drank brewskis and seemed like kids in a candy shop just to be in each other's company talkin' music. It felt like really good practice for me when I time travel back to the old MTV era where regular full band interviews were such a large part of early music journalism. Half the entertainment is indeed catching the band's aura and humor together.
Schreffler was repping The Cramps merch and I got the full scoop on the band's history. Burnham, Reinhardt and Schreffler grew up in the Bay Area together and have been playing together 10+ years.
"You guys connected over teen angst," McIntire joked to the guys. Now, after writing and rehearsing, the four-man quartet has its first four-track EP, "Everybody Knows But Me" on Spotify. Released in October '22 at the late Parkway Sounds (off of NW Franklin), the EP was recorded in three days on a 2-inch tape machine. You can also listen to it on YouTube, in addition to hearing some of the songs live at their show.
"With writing and developing chemistry as a band, we feel like we're always ready. There are no nerves about knowing the parts and we have lots of trust in each other," Schreffler continued. With past experience in band production hang-ups, and living in more competitive areas to play live, coming to Bend to start a band gave the band even more focus to work toward producing a good live experience and making sure they're having a great time so the audience has a great time.
"We're pumped we're shocking people," Reinhardt chimed in. We also chatted about how important the venue experience is for the band. "We don't want to be someone's learning experience," Schreffler shared. I then shared to them I want to write about the PA system crisis we seem to be having in town.
"Venues need to be invested in the band. Playing the wrong place damages your image," he added.
With heavy vocal influences from the croons of Elvis, Josh Homme, Father John Misty and Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys, Schreffler's voice mirrors his idols by also incorporating a "Zombie Rock" aesthetic — a genre the band may have coined. I even hear a little Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) in there. By day, he [Schreffler] is a horror novelist and encourages the band to watch horror films together. Their sound definitely has an Arctic Monkey-esque, '60s surf rock creepiness to it. Lots of wordplay and sensitive poignancy come through in the timing of the lyrics.
"We like emphasis on specific lyrics to allow them to come through. Ones that are relevant to the sound of the song," said Reinhardt. Think Queens of the Stone Age — desert rock energy with a touch of '90s grunge (Soundgarden/Pearl Jam) and an approachable pop structure.
"I [Schreffler] write songs about typical bullshit — relationships ending, life circumstances changing — the reject or embrace of yourself in isolation. Once you can only turn the lens on yourself. Every song has a different character to it and we're always playing new songs."
When I asked them what's next, they said they're just ready to keep moving forward.