MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Eight local Marines and civilians recently found some common ground in music and decided to form a band that is building a dedicated following and has started playing local, live shows.
The members of the band, Deep 6, are all somehow related to the Marine Corps and got together in August through mutual friends just to have some fun and to “fill a void in their lives,” according to Dan Claire, the original guitarist in the band.
“Music has always been a big part of all of our lives and it was just time to start a band,” said Claire, who is manager of the Combat Center’s Marine Corps Exchange. “So we said, ‘let’s buy some equipment and do it,’ and we did. I know it’s filled a big hole in most of our lives, who until now, only had our iPods and karaoke.”
Joe Becker, vocals for the band, said all the members play off each other extremely well and use their diverse musical backgrounds to play their music, which they consider to have a rock foundation with a popular “Top 40’s kind of lineup.”
“We basically play all genres of rock pretty much from classic to alternative and even a little hip-hop thrown in,” said Becker, an electronics and air traffic control maintenance technician with the Combat Center’s Communication and Data Directorate. “What we’re going for now is trying to get into more recent top 40 kind of music.”
The way the members come together during practice continually opens new doors for the musical direction of the band, Claire said, citing how the band’s keyboardist, Victor Diaz, a member of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Band, is “bringing hip-hop to the table.”
“Right now we’re based in rock and roll, but we’re experimenting a little bit with some hip-hop stuff because of Victor,” Claire said. “He’s just a character, man. I’ve always worked with guys who were into rock and he’s into hip-hop, so he brings so much to the table. He’s just phenomenal with the keyboard too, so the chemistry is pretty balanced in the band.”
Becker said from the first practice, he liked where the band was headed.
“When we all got together it was a little rough at first, but the Marines that came from the Marine Corps Band were able to pick up what we were doing very quick, which helps a lot and we’ve been moving forward ever since,” he said.
The chemistry the band had early on is a great sign for things to come, Claire said.
“It’s awesome. I couldn’t ask for a better group of individuals,” Claire explained. “Everyone seems to get along extremely well. There are not really any huge egos involved. There are some strong personalities, and we don’t always agree on everything but it’s great to see everybody get together and do the things they do.”
Eddie Espinosa, Deep 6’s lead guitarist and a member of the Combat Center Band, said his new band was just the thing he was looking for.
“I guess we formed it in the first place just for something to do — something that we love doing,” he explained. “And that’s exactly what I need right now, especially with my job. I don’t really get a choice of what music I have to play, but here I have a little input in what we do and have way more freedom.”
The band recently played their first show at a local bowling alley Aug. 29, which turned out better then they had expected, according to Espinosa.
“Our first show went great,” he said. “There was a lot more people who came out then I had expected, and I think the crowd really liked it. It just went really well, and I think our only short-coming was we didn’t go on for like another hour, because we could have with the crowd like it was.”
Becker said he couldn’t have been more pleased with playing their first show and the way it turned out.
“I’ve been waiting to do this for as long as I can remember,” he said. “I love to sing and overall it was a great show. We had a lot of people show up. We even got offers for a couple of other gigs. I’d definitely call it a success."
In this early stage of the band, Becker said the attitudes and the way the members interact is a huge determination in how good the band will do.
“When you put so many personalities together in one garage it can tend to be kind of hectic, so with that taken into consideration, we really get along really well,” he said. “It’s really easy playing together. We play off of each other really well, personality-wise and musically, and when something doesn’t quite match we realize it fairly quickly and get back to where we need to be.”
But not everything can run so smoothly when you have eight members, all with numerous other obligations.
“The different schedules — that’s got to be the toughest part,” Becker said. “A lot of people have sacrificed a lot of things to make this happen.”
Espinosa said the sacrifices are worth it though, when it comes to helping out the band.
“A week before the concert we practiced every night, and I was waking up at 4:45 in the morning to go to my gray belt course and then straight to work and straight to practice right after that,” he said. “So it’s long hours, but you make the sacrifices where you have to.”
At this point in time, it’s unclear where the band will take everyone involved, Espinosa said. But they’re all ready for the ride.
“This is just a lot of fun, that’s all I want to do,” he said. “Play a couple of gigs and mainly just make sure everyone has a great time, while possibly coining a few dollars on the side.”
The next show Deep 6 is scheduled to play is Oct. 18 during the Pioneer Days festivial, which Becker said he looks forward to, just like every other time the band gets together.
“It’s been more than great. I’d still be working 10 hours a day, then going home and doing not a whole lot of anything,” he said. “So I’m really grateful they pulled me into this band. It’s really made my life a lot more enjoyable.”
Becker said the name Deep 6 comes from a nautical term for throwing everything overboard that you don’t need. But he said the way this band is headed it doesn’t look like they’ll need to be dumping anything anytime soon.