The local metal scene has been going through a transitional period, with many longtime bands calling it quits—and one of the bands rising from the figurative ashes is When Tides Turn.
Slowly but surely, the band has been getting its name out there, playing consistently at venues such as The Hood Bar and Pizza, Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails, Club 5, and Kilo’s Cantina.
During a recent interview in Palm Desert with the band members—except for lead guitarist TJ Cazares, who was not able to make it—they shared some amusing stories about their inception, their shared history, and how they all pitch in to support their recording and travel costs.
The band’s name is actually a reference to most of the band members’ hometown of Blythe.
“We were trying to find something that no one else had, because every name in the world is taken,” guitarist Thomas Lambert said. “Where Desiree (McCaslin, drummer) and I are from and where we formed the band, it was out in Blythe. Blythe has a river, and at certain points, there’s a really crazy rip current and undertow, and it looks like the water flow is going against the current. That’s where we came up with the name When Tides Turn.”
What is actually over there in Blythe?
“There’s a state prison there, which also comes with state jobs,” McCaslin said. “It’s a farmer town; they’re also building this huge marijuana-growing center, and it will probably be one of the biggest marijuana-growing centers in the world, because we have access to a bunch of water.”
McCaslin said she had been trying to start a band with Xan Abyss of Rogue Ogre, but it kept falling apart, and a mutual friend told her about Jacob Garcia, who was originally a drummer and a bassist. Garcia explained how he came to join When Tides Turn—as a vocalist.
“I had not been doing much of anything with music, and at first, I wasn’t really going to do it, because I didn’t have transportation; I didn’t really have the means of getting out there, but this was a band, and they were ready to go,” Garcia said. “They had already written music, and I thought, ‘OK, I can give this a shot.’ They liked me; I liked them; and maybe a week after I auditioned, we played a backyard show in Blythe, and I didn’t even finish the lyrics and was making it up as I went along.
“They had a crappy PA, so it’s not like you could have made out the lyrics anyway.”
Garcia wasn’t the only new band member who needed to learn material quickly.
“It was totally random. Desiree asked me if I wanted to jam, and I was kind of hesitant, because I didn’t think I was ready or good enough,” bassist Adrian Whitson said. “She said, ‘Just come jam, and see what happens.’ Literally, one day before a show at Club 5, they got a hold of me and asked me if I would play. They said they had a bass for me, and I had one day to learn the songs. I used to be in a band during high school, but as far as playing a show goes, I had only ever played one show before that, and it had been years since. I had one day to prepare for a metal show and had only played one show before. I was freaking out, but it worked out really well.”
Garcia added: “When Desiree decides she wants you in the band, she’ll figure out how to get you in.”
For When Tides Turn’s style of music, the vocals need to switch back and forth from a pop range—into a screaming range. Garcia said he has not yet perfected it.
“I started learning about the diaphragm to scream,” Garcia said. “Unfortunately, I’m caught in a Catch-22: I love to sing, but there are a lot of screaming styles I’d love to do if I didn’t have to worry about singing, too. It comes to a point of trying to balance it all out. I might be discovering a scream and being able to do it consistently, but I also have to sing. It’s learning how your throat feels and what feels OK, and what you can’t get away with. It’s challenging, but it’s really damn fun and rewarding.”
When Tides Turn has been working on its first album with producer Jerry Whiting, who also produced music by Frank Eats the Floor and Sleazy Cortez.
“We started recording back in February, and around that time, we were just about done,” Lambert said. “The only thing left was vocals, and that’s when our other guitarist, TJ, came into the band. We went back in and re-recorded the leads and put all of his stuff on it, and stepped it up majorly. It sounds so much better. Now we just need to touch up one of the songs and start getting it out to everyone. Jerry made it a lot more of a comfortable atmosphere versus a place that rushes you and makes it seem like you’re wasting their time. He was really easy to work with and work for. He’d add stuff and give us ideas.”
When Tides Turn, like many local bands, had problems finding a place to practice. The members of the band Hollace recently purchased a rehearsal studio called The Sound Hub from its previous owner in Cathedral City; the members of When Tides Turn say they gladly pay the money to use it.
“The Sound Hub in Cathedral City definitely helped us out. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have the place to practice,” McCaslin said. “They provide the backline and everything else. If you pay $5, you can even take a recording of your practice home.”
Garcia and McCaslin told an additional amusing story about that aforementioned first show they ever played in Blythe, at a backyard party.
“Some big, old, fat drunk guy got on my drum set and just started wailing away on it, and it didn’t sound good at all,” McCaslin said. “It sounded like trash can lids, and I was watching my fucking cymbals just go to pieces. Someone was cheering for the guy, and he just kept going.”
Garcia added with a laugh: “You don’t touch another man’s car—and you don’t mess with a woman’s drum set!”
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/whentidesturn.