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We don't care what you think!
Ron “Doc” Morse is over trying to “make it.” Notice the quotes. He says this, and you don't quite believe he wouldn't be up for one more shot at the rockstar life, what with the black-on-black attire, long red beard and black-framed glasses — the dude looks rock 'n' roll. But he's played in bands since the late 1970s and has been down that another-night, another-drunken-gig road. He spent some time in his late 20s piled in the back of a van with five guys, sleeping on hardwood floors, and says you should try it if you get the chance. But he wouldn't go back.
He has a wife now, and a daughter, and has found freedom in defying expectations and genre codifications and playing music just for the hell of it.
And that's Docabilly, the band he formed in 2004 with “Uncle” Martin Hansen and “Reverend” Shane Scott.
Musically, it's a sort of rock 'n' roll free-for-all, combining Morse's love of rockabilly, garage rock, blues and surf with Hansen's years in the L.A.-thrash metal scene and Rev. Shane's (don't ask about the name unless you're ready for a long story — something to do with a church, $25 and an Elvis impersonator) love of country music, (the good kind, not the Kieth Urban kind) the King Elvis and Johnny Cash.
There's more than a bit of history here that Morse likes to tell. Like how the band he was in in 1983 sold out the old Olympic Tavern, set the Wednesday night bar record. And as he rattles off the list of bands he's been in, and with whom, it sounds like name-dropping. But that's just memory.
He's known Blake Jones since junior high, was in an early incarnation of the Trike Shop. He was is an even-earlier incarnation of Sparkle Jet, called the Bridesmades and played on the first three Sparkle Jet albums, though that was mostly the band being nice, he says.
The Rev. still plays in a zillion bands, including the Trike Shop. He carries a binder to practices and takes notes.
It is an incestuous little world after all.
Before Docabilly, the three were in a surf band called 200 Lbs Bees and later in the Hillbilly combo They Can't Hardly Be Playboys.
In fact, Docabilly wasn't supposed to be a band at all, just an off-day jam session — the boys letting off a little steam, cranking things up to 11, to quote Spinal Tap.
“And after a couple of hours, Shane says, ‘book some gigs, we're playing.' ”
This was when they were called Old Doc's Likkers. The name quickly changed.
But the attitude is still there.
See, Morse doens't really care what you think. He just wants to play. So he's going to do some rockabilly, maybe mix in some blues and old-school rock 'n' roll, do it all Chuck-Berry style. Then they might do some Bakersfield country tunes (that's Rev. Shane's forte). If Morse had his way — and a better voice — they'd be doing some power pop, too.
As far as “making it?” Things aren't as serious as all that anymore.
“We just want to have fun. We want everyone who comes out to see us to have fun.”
Docabilly, with Dave Gleason and KFSRs National Big Fresno Barn Dance
Noon, May 17
Yoshi Now's Second Annual Hootenany