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About Tripdavon: As a rule, the lifecycle of an Isla Vista band parallels the parties that serve as their most frequent gigs. No matter how raucous the party, an empty keg means the partygoers will be shuffling off to the next destination. In a similar way, scads of Isla Vista-spawned bands have flourished in the area’s party-hungry, small venue-rich atmosphere, then all but vanished when, after four years, graduation sends the band’s fan base — if not the members themselves — in different directions. It’s a dilemma that’s cursed many bands with short, glorious lives and abrupt ends.

Then there’s Tripdavon.

Tripdavon originally flourished in Isla Vista, where throngs of wandering revelers allow for a greater variety of musical acts. The band’s first gig had them performing at an apartment complex on Del Playa Drive for 400 I.V. partiers. They called it 25-a-Palooza. “In I.V., you have a captive audience,” guitarist Greg Doscher said. “We had people lying on their roof and listening to our first gig. It was great….The kind of energy you find in IV — you just can’t match that anywhere else.”
Shortly after three of the five members had graduated from UCSB and moved out of their hometown of Isla Vista and into the greater Santa Barbara area, the band was riding a tour bus across Germany, Austria, Holland, and Hungary with Eric Burdon (renowned frontman of The Animals and War). They were playing to packed venues, and poised for the greatest exposure their band has gotten yet. Doscher said the experience on the road helped to bond the members of Tripdavon with Burdon, an industry-savvy rocker best known for hits like “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” “Spill the Wine,” and what is perhaps the most popular cover of “House of the Rising Sun.” “By the end, he was up on stage with us, playing our closing song with us,” Doscher said of Burdon.
The favor was returned. Soon enough, Tripdavon was appearing with Eric Burdon and the Animals — as the band is now called — for encores and playing songs like “Ring of Fire” and “Rockin’ in the Free World” before throngs of European fans.” He had enough respect for us to let us play on stage with him.” Vocalist Justin Fox said the experience with Burdon proved a pivotal event for Tripdavon. “It was a life-changing experience. It’s something I never thought I would get to do in my life,” he said. Tripdavon was initially supposed to play at Burdon’s 2005 CD release party at the Viper Room in Los Angeles, but when that gig fell through, Burdon summoned the band on his European tour.
As much as the boys like to recall their European tour, however, they admit that a truer test of the band’s abilities was recording the second album. Upon returning from their time with Burdon, Tripdavon migrated up north, to the quiet streets of Weed, California. There they worked with Sylvia Massy, whose multimedia recording complex occupies a full city block in the town and who had previously produced albums for Tool, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Prince.
Beginning on June 7, the band worked hard recording for about 40 days in Weed. The outcome: what the boys estimate is their most mature sound yet. They''ve got nothing but gratitude for Massey’s influence over the project. “A good thing about Sylvia is that she has this strong engineering background… She has a zen-like mastery when it comes to recording,” Fox said. “She’ll want a certain sound and she’ll know how to get it.” “In my opinion, we developed a more cohesive sound,” Doscher said. “[Massey] had concept of how the album would come together — how it would flow and how the songs belonged together.” Fox agreed, “The production was amazing. When we first heard the demos, we were like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe this is us.’” The boys count the recording experience as a good one. They speak proudly of The Enlightened Operative and fondly of their time in Weed
The album (released independently on November 14th) represents a kind of rock that defies the sub categorization befalling so many other musical efforts. No prefixes, no hyphens, no “alt,” no “indie” — just rock in the purest sense. “In the end, if you have a guitar and drums, you’re a rock band,” said guitarist Adam Coons. He sums up the band well — it truly defies labels, though the overall sound could be compared to rock acts like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, or Incubus. It’s a genre that stands out even though it shouldn’t, especially in the hip-hop and reggae-saturated Santa Barbara music scene.
Though word of Tripdavon may spread beyond Santa Barbara, the members maintain that they like to think of the band as a local fixture. “Our home is always going to be Santa Barbara,” Fox said. “Every time we leave, it’s amazing to get back… Coming up over that hill and seeing Santa Barbara and the ocean and smelling that sweet air.” Whether here or away, Tripdavon seems keen on pushing as far as it can. “We’re going to ride this thing until the wheels fall off,” said Doscher.

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