The Classy Motherfu?kers of Desert Hot Springs are becoming known for more than the profane name: Frontman Joseph Vaughan plays a mean guitar—and the rest of the band is pretty damn good, too.
During a recent interview, Vaughan—along with Jasyn Smith (drums) and new member Tanner Mahaffey (rhythm guitar)—discussed the band’s origins.
“About four or five years ago, Jasyn and I started playing together,” Vaughan said. “We made our demo in August of last year, and that’s when we started to call ourselves the Classy Motherfu?ckers. We weren’t really a band until last year.”
The members’ influences are all across the board.
“I listen to classic rock—’50s ’60s and ’70s music,” Vaughan said.
Smith, however, said he listens to Motorhead and Black Sabbath. “I was listening to a lot of thrash metal and stuff, but when I met Joe, his classic-rock stuff started growing on me. Our influences only influence us to play, not what we sound like. We play whatever sound comes out of it that we like.”
Of course, one has to wonder how in the world the band came up with its name.
“Jasyn got a (used) computer so we could do our recordings,” Vaughan said. “And on that computer, (the old owner had a user handle) that said ‘Classy Motherfu?kers.’ When we recorded our songs and put it on iTunes … we kept it.”
However, the name has led to some problems.
“People say, ‘You can’t say your name onstage’ or something like that, or we have to change it to the CMFs and manipulate it a little bit,” Smith explained. “Venues or contests will do that thinking you’re giving the wrong impression to kids or something like that. … We had to change it for the Schmidy’s open mic and for the Date Festival’s Battle of the Bands. It wasn’t really the owners of Schmidy’s; it was more of the hosts. It’s a family event rather than just a gig.”
None of the members of the Classy Motherfu?kers are 21 yet, which creates problems getting gigs in venues that only cater to the 21-and-older crowd.
“Usually, we only get booked at places that sell food, too, like Schmidy’s and The Hood,” Smith said. “They usually make us play at 9 p.m., and then we have to be off and out of the venue.”
Name and age issues aside, these guys can play. Vaughan is a stand-out guitarist in the Coachella Valley with incredible technique. You can see this in a video the band members posted of themselves covering Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child.” The band’s originals have a lot of mind-blowing guitar solos from Vaughan as well.
“I’ve been playing for about nine years in December. I’d just call it sloppiness, but it goes together, I guess,” Vaughan said about his technique, with a laugh.
The band’s performance at the Date Festival’s Battle of the Bands was excellent; however, an issue prevented them from getting the number of points they should have gotten.
“They were really strict on the rules,” Smith said. “When we went in there, they ended up deducting more than half of our points because we were an hour and a half late. We didn’t even get to play until five hours after that. We got lost on the way there because they blocked off Highway 111 … because of all the people walking to get in there. We had to go around and find our way in around Highway 111, and it took us awhile. It was very frustrating, to say the least.”
The Classy Motherfu?kers have had issues keeping a bass-player. Trillion Drummond recently became the band’s third different bassist.
“The problem we have with bass players is practicing,” Smith said. “We like to practice a lot, and they didn’t want to practice as much. … I guess they just can’t handle the amount of practice.”
The members said they are hoping to add more members as time goes along. Newest member Mahaffey has been a friend of Vaughan and Smith since high school.
“During my freshman year of high school, I met these guys. I was hanging out with them, and I started learning guitar about two years ago,” Mahaffey said. “I had a guitar years ago but never really played it too much, but hanging around these guys made me really want to play more.”
The band’s beginning to record more music—and the members would love to find a place to record that they can afford.
“Recording at home is tough,” Smith said. “The sound quality sucks, unless you buy a bunch of stuff and make a room into a studio and soundproof it.”
Vaughan agrees. “We’re working off a shitty MacBook and a $150 interface, and that’s really about it.”
Another challenge: Smith recently had to buy an electronic drum set to play at lower volumes in his garage.
“Older people live around here. For the first part of me living here, they didn’t like me playing the drums at all, so I had to buy an electric set,” he explained. “Now we play almost every day in the garage, and they don’t care. I really like practicing with loud music because you can get into it and really feel it. Electronic drums are so much more compact, too, and when I go to my acoustic set, I play a lot better, because my area of hitting is precise.
The Classy Motherfu?kers will perform as part of Schmidy’s Tavern’s Open-Mic Finals at 9 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 11, at Schmidy’s Tavern, 72286 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-837-3800, or visit the band’s Facebook page.