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Fartbarf, David and The Curse, and Tres, Synthesize Music Down to Its Purest Form at El Cid Friday Night

Mmmm microphone good - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Mmmm microphone good – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia


We never considered seeing Fartbarf for the last few years, mainly because of the name of the band. Too sophomoric. After all, could a band named Fartbarf actually have any redeeming value in the music world?

The answer is an astounding and resounding affirmative.

There are lessons here. Never judge a band by its name, no matter how ridiculous it might be.

First-time Fartbarf show-goers are in for a wild surprise of excellent proportions. Instead of a bunch of goofy neophytes, what we discovered instead was a sophisticated synthesizer-utilizing trio of top notch guys  — we think — who clearly have found a niche in the world of recycled synth.  It is extremely satisfying that this young band appreciates the value of the Moog and the vintage analog sythesizers that played an important role in so many influential bands, including Emerson Lake and Palmer, Yes, and DEVO and the slew of 1980s bands that would follow.

But Fartbarf puts its own modern spin on what would normally be pretty cool songs, and takes their work to a galaxy far far away.

The El Cid crowd digs Fartbarf - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The El Cid crowd digs Fartbarf – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

It’s apparent that Fartbarf has taken a page out of the Residents’ book.  But Fartbarf not only does not sound anything like The Residents, but does them one better in the “mystery” department — in addition to covering their identities with masks, their voices are rendered unidentifiable courtesy of cool Moog enhancements.

The Fartbarf songs get the crowd jumping, as at El Cid there were only two people we could see who were standing without tapping their feet or nodding their heads. The bulk of the crowd was semi-moshing, jumping around, and doing some very unusual and retroactively disposed of dance moves, including The Robot.

The Neanderthal masks and imitation NASA jumpsuits  — heaven forbid NASA’s famous “Meatball” logo should be used in such a facetious manner — give pause for thought. What is Fartbarf’s statement and are they trying to give us a warning?  Has man advanced despite his earthly and regressive ignorance? Are we as a culture doomed unless we explore other worlds? Are the guys under the masks cute?

Only the excellent, dentally challenged post-Neanderthal musicians known as Josh, Dave and Brian know those answers.

Apparently it's always a good time for Fartbarf - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Apparently, life’s a perpetual smile for Fartbarf – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

In the meantime, the fans — many of whom have been with the band since before the band’s debut 2014 album, Dirty Power, were having a blast.  Of course some of the favorites off Dirty Power were played including our new favorite “All Systems Go.”

“I’ve seen them at least five times and El Cid is the best place to see them,” said one concert-goer with his girlfriend. “I don’t know if there are any philosophical statements or questions for us to think about. I think they’re just fun.”

It’s so great to see the Moog being used so well. You’re not hammered over the head with the classic analog instrument.  But it’s clear Fartbarf deserves a page on the Moog website for most innovative use of the company’s prized invention.

The best part about Fartbarf — costumes and marketing ploys aside — is the music.  The band takes some cool sounds from the 1970s and catapults them forward to capture the love of both the millennial and pre-millennial demographics.


David Stucken of David and The Curse is a grateful sort – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The connecting link between the three bands at El Cid Friday night was that they each gave a nod to synthesizer and keyboard sound.

David and The Curse preceded Fartbarf. Kyle Hamood, known for his keyboard and synth sound with several bands, most notably Them Guns, sits in with David and brings his talent across the tracks to true rock and roll.

While seemingly a disparate matching, David and The Curse, a rock and roll band with a punk edge, certainly stood out, as lead singer David Stucken brought his best show to date to El Cid.

“I’ve been watching David’s career and he’s been in a few bands, but this band is excellent,” said one concert-goer. “He’s a great performer and he’s a really nice guy.  You should talk to him.” did talk to David, last week.  Read the interview here

David and The Curse - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

David and The Curse – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

And he truly is a nice guy with big aspirations.  There’s the sense with David that there’s nothing this rocker can’t play.  David’s enthusiastic and it’s obvious he loves what he does.

As for the opener, Tres, it’s an interesting band with a great sense of humor comprised of three fun people who admit their music may not be to everyone’s taste.  But the point is, they’re trying, they’re up there,  and the sound may be unusual but it’s fun.  And that’s the only answer we need.

David and The Curse Releases Single ‘She Loves The Night’ a Tribute to Antics of the Evening

David and The Curse Plays El Cid on Nov. 18

David and The Curse releases 'She Loves the Night,' to perform at El Cid

David and The Curse releases ‘She Loves the Night,’ to perform at El Cid


David and the Curse is putting out some major new sounds. The group just released  “She Loves the Night,” a raunchy tune that’s a tribute to true rock n roll.

It’s the lead single off the band’s debut album, An Epitaph For Love, which is due out from David and The Curse in early 2017. This is a rockin’ album and the influence is a combination of retro sounds and new-era psychedelic tech.  But it’s David’s performance and voice that put him up at the top.

David Stücken has a good deal of talent and he’s drawn upon his influences John Lennon and Mike Campbell in putting together his latest album. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he’s seen his share of great bands and has learned a lot over the years.


“Mike Campbell is a huge influence as a composer in general,” David said. “All the music he wrote with Don Henley is excellent, like ‘Boys of Summer’ and ‘New Kid in Town,’ I think he’s got the best tone.”

Sonically Spanning the Years

David said while his music is appropriate for listeners of today, he invokes some of the classics.

Retro sound and modern sensibilities for David and The Curse - Photo courtesy David Stucken for

Retro sound and modern sensibilities for David and The Curse – Photo courtesy David Stucken

“Sonically my music has a modern twist, with ‘She Loves The Night,’ in particular, at its base it’s a rock and roll song,” David said. “That’s the underlying tone of electronic and there are elements but underneath it’s classic rock.”

David wrote and produced the new album, An Epitaph for Love, which is autobiographical album of gritty rock tales told through the lens of an anti-hero. And while he is seeing some solid success, David lives by the rule of keeping his ego in check.

“I think the entertainment industry it’s easy to become a jerk,” he said. “You need balance. You’re nothing without the people who support you.

“If you truly want to be successful, resonating with the audience you have to have humility or you will fail. Mike Campbell is humble, that’s why he’s successful.”

Retro Sound

On his album, David uses a lot of sounds that are retro. That sound comes with the help of bandmates Gene Louis on drums, Chris Null on bass and Kyle Hamood on keyboards.

“The fuzz dates back to the 1960s, and the digital element is moog synthesizer,” he said. “I can’t tell you if the retro sounds were part of writing, but they were part of the recording process.”

David and The Curse - Rocker tough with tender songwriting - Photo courtesy David Stucken

David and The Curse – Rocker tough with tender songwriting – Photo courtesy David Stucken

“‘She Loves The Night’ is psychedelic disco rock and roll. It’s my Rolling Stones Miss You. The single captures the tone of the record. You can put it on on a Saturday night. It’s an empowering song. It takes on topics of excess and the sound is fun.”

The recording process is quick and with this album, the songs are being recorded quickly. I ddint’ want to get tunnel vision. Everything on the record is organic.

“It’s a struggle any way you look at it in the digital era,” he said. “The music business is very unstable. I think the music business reflects our times.

Are most of the bands created these days?

“There are bands that are made to sound like something else,” he said. “It’s as if they were manufactured. I hope when you hear us you realize we’re not like that.”

Check out David and The Curse on their Facebook Page


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