Last summer, Smack Jonez, Darla Sugar Candy, and Macthrilla had been hanging in a recording studio, talking about driving cross-country to play the blues for whoever would listen.
“We always thought in our heads that we wanted to get in a car and go to the South and play shows on a road trip and be on the run and call ourselves Clyde Bonnie Clyde,” explains Candy, who contributes vocals, National guitar, and bass to the mix.
Jonez, who is responsible for vocals, guitar, bass, trumpet, and harmonica, happened to find some gigs and the Venice-based trio became a live unit by November of 2007. The following month, Clyde Bonnie Clyde played Good Hurt. Since then, the band has become the cornerstone act of Weird Mondays at the Mar Vista nightclub.
Once a week, Clyde Bonnie Clyde joins a host of local artists ranging in sound from metal to lounge to cabaret. Jonez says that the club has been a good “sounding board” for the band as it continues to refine its sound.
Earlier this year, Macthrilla left the fold to pursue other interests, temporarily leaving Clyde Bonnie Clyde as, unofficially, Clyde Bonnie.
“It’s more like an empty seat at the dining table with a family member,” says Jonez of the situation. “That’s kind of what it’s like now, but at the same time, you’re with family, so you kind of forget about that painful part and just have the good memories.”
Recently, though, the band brought in a new third member, upright bass player Dr. Empty. For Jonez and Candy, who worked primarily as solo artists before Clyde Bonnie Clyde, the opportunity to perform as a group has major advantages.
“It can get rowdy,” says Jonez of Clyde Bonnie Clyde’s live performances. “You can yell at each other on stage, make fun of each other. You just play off each other and it’s not these hundred eyes staring at you from the dark.”
And for Clyde Bonnie Clyde, who also dabble in homemade instruments like a guitar formed out of the rails of an old futon and a bus air filter, more players on stage fit with the bands self-described sound of “down home, vintage junk blues,” a mix of genre standards and original material performed as though the band and crowd were hanging out on a “cozy porch” instead of inside a club.
At its April 7 engagement at Good Hurt, Clyde Bonnie Clyde will be celebrating the release of its first album, Drunk, Bootlegged, and Higher than a Georgia Pine. The self-released disc will feature live material stemming from local gigs, as well as a recent road trip through the San Joaquin Valley to Visalia, where the band played a benefit show inside a 500-seat movie palace.
“That was our only road trip, to Visalia and back,” Candy confesses. “What we would really love to do is go up the West Coast. We want to get an old vintage bus with tables and chairs inside and pack ’em in and go on a crazy musical road trip.”
“And keep going for the rest of our lives,” Jonez adds.
“Yeah,” Candy agrees. “Never stop.”