California Rocker

Award-Winning Online Music Magazine

Austin Shaw Releases New Album, ‘Felt,’ Gets Set For His Debut Performance at LA’s Viper Room Tuesday


Santa Cruz-rooted singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer Austin Shaw has always believed that everyone has a story to tell.

“You can look into people’s eyes and get a glimpse of where they have been, where they are, and even where they might be going,” he says.

Shaw catalogs his own stories and the in:depth feelings of other people in his life on his upcoming full-length debut, FELT, due out this fall.

Photo courtesy of Austin Shaw

Toured With Bromberg

Shaw recently completed a tour with the eclectic David Bromberg and will be playing his first ever LA show on July 11 at the legendary Viper Room with 80s jam band dada.

Shaw grew up in a home full of uplifting music. The joy and comfort of folk, pop and rock songs by artists like James Taylor, Elton John, Neil Diamond and Neil Young fully overtook him as a young boy. Their way with words and music became ingrained in him. He picked up the guitar in his early teens and started writing in a journal.

As he continued to explore his instrument and the writing craft, his words morphed into song lyrics. His songs are diaries glowing with warm, intricate layers. They feature catchy guitar hooks and soul-baring lyrics that offer up Shaw’s perspectives on love, loss, longing and self-discovery.

Photo courtesy of Austin Shaw. Shaw plays The Viper Room July 11.

Natural Improviser

A natural improviser and a born collaborator, Shaw has created handcrafted recordings and intimate performances that carry on the tradition of the rock poets and storytellers who have inspired him.

California Rock recently sat down with him the important questions…

CR: We really like the new EP and are excited to hear more from you. Can you give us the inside scoop on your upcoming full album Felt?

AS: Glad you liked it! The EP is a teaser to the full-length album I’m releasing in the fall. This is my first full length album and I’m really proud of it. It’s a fairly eclectic mix of songs with some talented musicians joining me. The songs are stories about love, heartbreak and emotions we all feel as we journey through life.

CR: So, you’ve been touring around the country and now you are back in CA and have a few dates with dada coming up. We hear this is your first time playing LA?

Austin Shaw has a new album, ‘Felt.’ – Photo courtesy of Austin Shaw

The Viper Room

AS: Yes, I’ve been touring with David Bromberg since January. It’s been an amazing experience.  I’ve never played in LA and am looking forward to playing at a legendary venue like the Viper Room. We’ve been touring as an acoustic Trio and the shows with dada are going to be a bigger band with electric guitars thrown in. I’m looking forward to upping the volume for these shows.

CR: When you visit LA is there a must go to spot for you?

AS: I used to frequent LA and always enjoyed grabbing a drink pool side at the Sky Bar at The Mondrian, the view is incredible. I also love Venice beach and all the sights to be seen there.

CR: We understand you started playing and writing in your teens and took a hiatus from music to start a career in the corporate world. We would love for you to tell us a bit about that journey and what brought you back to your art.

feature austin shaw viper room

AS: Yes, my teens were all about music. Then I did what most folks do out of college and joined the corporate world – cause that’s what ya do right? Well, each year on the corporate tread mill led to more work and less music until I had finally had it. A few years in, I was visiting my sister in San Francisco and called my boss in NY and said I was done. I picked up my guitar and started writing again and getting to know local musicians, started playing gigs etc. I was introduced to Robert Smith of Defy Recordings who got me started on my first EP.

CR:  You mentioned you had some talented people join you on the Felt recordings, can you fill us in?

AS: Of course, Felt was produced by Robert Smith (Defy Records), the album also features the talents of guitarist Larry Saltzman (Paul Simon), drummer Joe Bonadio (Sting), bassist Malcolm Gold and vocalist Clara Lofaro. I’m really looking forward to getting it out plan on touring as much as possible.

See Shaw on July 11 The Viper Room in Hollywood and July 12 at Slim’s in San Francisco.

Stay up to date at:


Cherie Currie, Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs and GayC-DC to Play a Benefit Concert at Viper Room Tonight

Highway to Help to benefit Orlando Victims

Highway to Help to benefit Orlando Victims by California Rocker

By DONNA BALANCIA – Cherie Currie, the lead singer from The Runaways, will headline a benefit for the victims of the Orlando shooting at the Viper Room tonight.

All proceeds from the event, called Highway to Help, are expected to go to Equality Florida. The Streetwalkin Cheetahs and GayC/DC will also play to help raise funds.

Currie fronted The Runaways with Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Sandy West, Jackie Fox and Vicki Blue.  Her book, Neon Angel, is available through HarperCollins.

GayCDC, the well-known, all-gay ACDC cover band, and Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, a nationally renowned, local punk rock band, will play.

For more information go to the Highway to Help Facebook page.

Them Guns Hit Bullseye with Attaloss, What-A-Funk, at Hollywood’s Viper Room

LOS ANGELES – The musicians in the band Them Guns may each have a different focus, but when they play together, their sound hits the target.

Them Guns performed to a packed crowd at The Viper Room Friday. They supported headliner Attaloss at the Sunset Strip venue.  Italian band What-A-Funk opened and The Passenger closed.

The synth-rock band from Los Angeles is a tight group of friends who each have a unique musical background. And soon they’ll be so big you’re not going to be able to get in to see them.

Them Guns - © Donna Balancia

Them Guns – ©

Them Guns is Chuck Holiday on bass, Chris Hudson on drums, Nava Rone on lead vocals, and Kyle Hamood on keyboard. Their musical paths have all been different, but their talent and work ethic has brought them together.

With a good-looking frontman who can really sing, a wild-style bassist who gets down, a keyboardist who plays better than many veterans in the business, and a drummer who brings passion to his craft every time, Them Guns rock the house.

The gang of four native Californians have played all types of venues across California and outside of their home state as well.

A few accomplishments of Them Guns:

– Recently they played the at the premiere party for the film “Shut Up and Drive,” which screened at Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Their music was used in the movie.

— They’ve played several music festivals and independent gigs

— They have a couple of cool videos

— There’s a full-length CD called From The Shadows, that blows doors.

Them Guns © California Rocker

Them Guns – Photo © California Rocker

“We love what we do so we’re happy with the way things are coming along,” said bassist Chuck. “We love to play and we love our fans.”

And there are loyal fans who follow the guys, which as anyone will tell you, is the most important thing for a young band.

It was a roundabout bit of good fortune that brought the group together.

Drummer Chris, and frontman, Nav, met in high school. They went their separate ways. Kyle and Nav met in northern California at a club and were working on music there together. Chris and Chuck were playing together in LA. Chris filled in on occasion as the drummer of choice for Kyle and Nav, and when the time was right, Them Guns was formed.

Them Guns is a little different than other bands in several respects. For one thing, they have a unique sound that’s almost a throwback synth rock-dance rock style. They pay homage to good ol’ fashioned rock n roll.

“We didn’t want our albums to sound over-produced so that when you come to the show it sounds different than on the album,” said Kyle. “And we discussed that with our producer, Bill Gaal, and he agreed.”

Gaal has produced a range of artists and worked with the guys to create a super album, From The Shadows, a must for any lover of Rock ‘N’ Roll.

Them Guns Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Them Guns Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

“The music comes first,” said Nav, who added that the band enjoys the process of writing and recording music. “We’ll find a riff or something we like and build on it.”

“But we don’t jam,” said Kyle. “We come to the table with an idea or something that we’ve already been working on.”

And while the recording may be part of the drill it’s the interaction with the audience that turns the guys on.

“We definitely have fun when we tour,” said Nav. “The fans are really great and we thank them for coming out.”

What’s appealing, fans say, is the comeraderie and the resulting music. The four musicians are quite different but they complement one another.

“If you were to sum it up, Chuck is like a spikey punk guy with his bass, Chris is this rad, tatted blonde guy who kills it on drums, Nav is the sexy frontman with an amazing voice and Kyle is the smart keyboardist,” said one female concert-goer. “They’re different from each other but they are all buds and they have respect for each other.”

Them Guns rock the house - photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Them Guns rock the house – photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

The guys are working on a new EP with a few songs tracked already. But the album From The Shadows is something that should be purchased, and it’s highly encouraged that lovers of music see their show because that’s where the heart of Them Guns’ music lives.

“Like any band, we’ve been through a lot of ups and downs,” said drummer Chris. “We’re good for each other. We just keep getting better and better so we’re excited about our future. It’s all about the music and the fans. And more than anything, we really love what we do.”

For more information check out the Viper Room website and Them Guns’ Facebook page.

%d bloggers like this: