by Stephanie Barnett
Ever since I was little, I’ve always loved music. Loved everything about it, from rock-n-roll, to country to indie, heavy metal, and classical, though rock is my passion. I always love finding new bands and seeing what I like most about their music. When I was asked to write about the Visalia band Pawn, I wasn’t sure what to expect, would they be classic rock, hard rock, metal, or something totally different?
Pawn started in 2006, and has four members, Gabe Chavez-guitar, George Juarez-bass, Richie Valdez-drums, and Rauly Gonzalez-vocals/songwriter. I asked the band what inspires them, and they said, “We look at our band like yin and yang. Half the band is inspired by progressive rock and the other half is metal driven, so our sound is definitely a mixture of the two, plus our Latin background adds something unique to it.” And I completely agree. Some bands focus too much on one aspect, the rock, or the metal, or something else entirely.
When I listened to Pawn’s five songs on the CD they give out at their concerts, one of the first things I noticed was the balance of styles they had going on, and I was pleasantly surprised how much I really liked their sound. Sometimes bands tend to be a little “heavy” with one instrument, or even the vocals, but it didn’t seen this way with Pawn. They had a good balance between, vocals, guitar, base, and drums, which can be hard at times with some bands.I asked the band why they do what they do, and what inspires them to make music. Gabe said, “I started out playing guitar as a hobby then it became my passion, I like all music with a good guitarist.” George said, “I play music as an outlet. I want people to be able to know what I am feeling through my music.” And Richie said, “This band is a creative outlet that I’ve never had in any other band before…anything and everything is possible. It’s nice to have no limits.”
For many people, musicians, or not, music is an amazing outlet, I mean who hasn’t danced around crazy to their favorite band? I know I have! Pawn is one of those bands that you can just rock out to.
Being in a band can have upsides, and down sides. When I asked what the best part of being in a band is they said “being able to put our ideas, questions and theories into our music is the best thing about being in a band.”
Then I asked what the most difficult part of being in a band is they said “working around everyone’s schedule whether it be work or family related is always hard.” Being in a band is hard work, whether it’s practice, performing, or recording, but all the hard work is worth it when things turn out great.
I asked what their favorite part of performing in front of a crowd is, and they said it was, “Seeing the audience’s reaction to our music.”
I’ve found with many different groups, that when the audience is pleased with a performance, that’s when the performers are happy. You never know how a group of people are going to react. You’ve just got to hope that what you’ve got to give is what they’re hoping for.
Right now Pawn has an untitled CD with five songs, 1.The Line, 2.Confession, 3.Our King, 4.Prologue, 5.Veriticus. My favorite of which is Our King. Making an album is hard work, and I asked the band what goes into it and what it was like for each of them. Richie said, “Creating a song from a collection of everybody’s ideas is what makes it exciting.” George said, “Recording is always fun. To hear the finished version makes all the hard work worth it.” And Gabe said, “Recording is always something I look forward to, hanging out with the band members all day while recording awesome tracks that we made, priceless.”
With all the work that goes into making good music they always try to have fun with it, I was surprised to hear that after every show the band gets together and decides who the MVP (most valuable pawn) for that night’s show was. It’s little things like that that make a band. Working with people you get along with, and who share a common goal. Music can be a powerful thing, and great music is even more powerful.
Pawn is a really interesting band. I really enjoyed listening to their music, (and I listened to their CD a lot in preparing for this review) and learning about them, and if I get a chance, I know I’d like to see them in concert. I would recommend Pawn to anyone who would be open to new music. Pawn is a really interesting, original band, and I hope to hear more from them in the future. Pawn’s just one of those bands you can Rock out to!
If you want to see then, they have two upcoming performances in July. One July 13th at The Dome in Bakersfield, and another July 22 at Mezcal in Fresno.
Lastly, I asked Pawn if they had any advice for young musicians, who wish to start, or be in a band. They said to work with people who are as passionate about music as you are. Whether you’re a musician or not, get out there and enjoy music.
You can find Pawn on Facebook.
Editor’s note: Pawn played for KRL at the Reedley Street Faire and they were awesome. I highly recommend checking out this band when you get a chance!