by Tim Tevault
“Weapons replacing the feelings they have lost. All so desperate.”
Cryptic lyrics like these clustered together is what greets visitors at the website of Red Light Cargo, a band featuring two University of La Verne students.
Inspired by such progressive acts like Radiohead and Sunny Day Real Estate, the foursome has been playing shows together since January 2001. However, they did not start as a four-member band. Senior Tom Galaraga, (guitar, lead vocals), junior Jon Falabrino (guitar) and Jason Wilson (drums) formed in September 2000, performing at one of their regular places, Pacific Juice and Java in Upland. Dan Previch joined later that January on bass, after being asked to jam.
All four members come from different influences. Galaraga played classical piano and brass instruments in grade school, in addition to listening to grunge and heavy doses of punk throughout high school. Falabrino brought a grunge background to the band, while Wilson added a touch of heavy metal and influences of hip hop.
Previch, however, added a punk flavor to the band.
“I grew up on Face to Face and Rancid,” he said.
This is not the first band for any of the members. Galaraga and Falabrino both came from a band called Grayscale, while Wilson came from a hardcore band Abilene Parado. Previch came from the pop-punk influenced Idle Hands.
“All our bands kind of broke up roughly around the same time,” Galaraga said.
Galaraga has clearly taken the initiative to get the word out on his band by creating www.redlightcargo.com, the band’s website. The singer also writes the band’s lyrics in addition to creating fliers to promote upcoming shows. Cargo recently performed at Pacific Juice and Java last Friday. In addition to Pacific Juice, the band also has performed at places including the Ale House in Upland and the now defunct Koo’s Café, a popular underground concert house in Santa Ana.
“That place (Koo’s) was really cool,” Galaraga said. “They finally got shut down after five years because they didn’t have a performance permit.”
Their first release, “Five Day Forecast,” was a self-released EP featuring five songs recorded in April 2001. The sound, which envelopes Galaraga’s calming voice in a surge of energetic, crashing guitar rhythms, evenly balances a soft and hard-edged sound reminiscent of another Cargo influence, Jimmy Eat World. Wilson’s dynamic drumming keeps the music powering forward, never missing a beat.
While their music could probably fit in well on today’s modern rock radio, what separates the band from the rest of the rock out there is Galaraga’s voice, which is easy to sing along with.
Cargo also has a song that will be released on an upcoming compilation CD on Distant Rise records made as a tribute to a woman named Kate, who was recently killed. Being a part of the record was an ironic twist for the band.
“She was the one who actually pulled us into that label,” Galaraga said.
The compilation will be released July 14 as a double album and will also feature such mainstream acts as Dashboard Confessional and Saves The Day. It will be available to purchase over the web at Distant Rise’s website.
According to Falabrino, the band does not have any real long-term goals to become nationally popular at the moment.
“Whatever happens, happens,” he said. “We’re just kind of having fun with it.”
Galaraga expressed the same sentiments. “Our only goal is to make music we enjoy playing,” he said.
Currently Cargo has no show dates scheduled for the immediate future, however Galaraga said there may be a couple shows looming in the distance. When dates are finalized, they will be posted on the website.