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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

When I talked to the members of Drop Mob about 2 1/2 years ago, they were working on a new album and playing shows regularly.

Then … it seemed as if the locally renowned rap-metal band dropped out of the scene. But in June, the band posted a video on Facebook showing a practice—and announcing Drop Mob’s return.

I recently dropped in during one of Drop Mob’s rehearsals at guitarist David Burk’s home in Indio. Burk explained why Drop Mob had been inactive.

“You need to take a break sometimes,” Burk said. “I needed to take care of some personal stuff. But I kept in touch with everybody. I never let anybody not know my intentions, but I knew I had to step away and get some personal things back in order.”

Vocalist Gabe Perez said that he and bassist Steve Zepeda came back hungry, but there was one issue the band needed to resolve.

“Dave called me up one day and said, ‘Hey, let’s play. Oh, we need a drummer, though,’” Perez said.

Perez reached out to former Remnants of Man drummer Alex Milward, who had also been absent from the local-music scene.

“I dropped Alex a message and was like, ‘Hey, man, you playing again? Want to come jam with us? If you like it, that’s cool. If you don’t like it, that’s cool. We’ll see what happens,’” Perez said. “He came and jammed with us twice and said, ‘I’m in.’”

Milward said he was hesitant to respond to Perez’s offer at first.

“After Remnants split up, my drum kit went into storage, and it stayed there,” Milward said. “I had just pulled it out and got it set up to start working on my chops again. But I told Gabe, ‘Have Dave send me three tracks … and just his guitar parts.’ Four weeks later, we have five songs that we can rehearse today, and five more on the backlog just waiting to be learned. In about a week, I had a full set list worth of music to start learning.”

Burk expressed excitement about having Burk join the band.

“I knew this was going to be a game-changer,” Burk said. “I knew he was a technical drummer. I knew that I could throw shit at him, and he’d put it together. I’m pretty stoked, because I know I can push my horizons now. And he comes from a big fucking band. They were going to be the next big thing.”

Perez, who comes from a hip-hop background, said he’s needed to start working harder since the band got back together.

“The second practice, they were talking and were like, ‘It’s in 4/4,’ and to me—I’m the least of the musicians here,” Perez said. “It’s like they’re speaking fucking Japanese, and I don’t know what they are talking about. But they tell me about breakdowns and stuff, and I’m like, ‘OK, cool, now I know what you’re talking about.’ They all push each other and then look at me, and then I push myself, and we start coming up with ideas.

“What I’m dropping is still hip-hop and metal mixed. It’s not traditional rap, and it’s not screaming rap. They push me to adjust myself, and my songwriting is getting better and better every time.”

Drop Mob is planning to pick up where they left off—including making that long-delayed album.

“Now that we’ve got Alex, the plan is to speed that process up ten-fold,” Burk said. “We haven’t all spoken about it, but financially, I’m in a better position right now to where I want to do it right. I want to go somewhere where money isn’t going to be so much of an object and just nail out the songs and kill it. It’s hard when you only have a little bit of money, and you’re doing this and that, and going here and there. It’s like trying to put a puzzle together when you don’t have all the pieces, and money is the final fucking piece in everything. I think it’s important to have a good product.”

The members of Drop Mob said they’re open to even more additions to the band.

“I think it’s important to have some different flavors and dynamics,” Burk said. “I want things to be heavy and melodic. It’s a little hard on the big guy (Perez) over here. I’d love to find a female vocalist. To me, it’s a big deal as to how it looks on the band, because I’ve felt like we’ve always been an underdog band.”

Burk then pointed to the band’s CV Music Award.

“For Christ’s sake, we’re ‘Drop Mop’ over there!” he said. “It’s hilarious, but at the same time, we won that.”

Perez hopes that whoever they get will make Drop Mob sound like something no one has ever heard before.

“We’d like to get someone who can also write and somebody where if we hear them sing, we go, ‘Dude, I know I’ll be able to collaborate,’” Perez said. “That’s the biggest thing: I want to be able to collaborate and do something that doesn’t sound like Linkin Park, given we’re doing our own metal. I don’t call it nu-metal anymore; I call it ‘hip-rock.’”

For more information on Drop Mob, visit www.facebook.com/dropmob760.

Drop Mob is an East Valley band that’s bringing metal to hip-hop.

The sound is kind of similar to ’90s nu-metal—but it’s not quite the same. Drop Mob has a very heavy sound, with lead guitarist David Burk playing complex guitar solos on an eight-string guitar. Bassist Steve Zepeda has a style that rises above nu-metal grooves, and drummer John Camacho hammers out complex rhythms to back Gabe Perez’s genuine, straight-to-the-point hip-hop lyrics.

I recently attended a Drop Mob practice in Indio—and it was definitely the loudest local-band practice to which I have been invited. Even with ear plugs, I could clearly hear every instrument and every lyric. (The only thing missing from the practice was guitarist Curtis Hendrix, who was away dealing with a family matter.)

Burk said that when he joined Drop Mob, the band had a different concept.

“It was a cover band—and I’m not a cover-band kind of dude,” Burk said. “As we started writing original songs, it just started coming out that way. Out of the box, Gabe wasn’t even into metal at all. It’s just now that he’s kind of blooming into it. It took some time. I’m throwing songs at him left and right. We don’t really think what genre we’re going with, though.”

Perez said he is much more rooted in hip hop.

“Once we started playing metal music, I wasn’t really into it,” Perez said. “I started listening to Rage Against the Machine, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Hacktivist and bands that had a similar style. I took it upon myself to make my own style, and I didn’t want to be like them. Dave shoots stuff at me, and we do it our own way.”

The members of Drop Mob are no strangers to the Coachella Valley music world. John Camacho has played in numerous local bands, including Elektric Lucie and In the Name of the Dead. He and Zepeda also have another current music project.

“It’s a mix of salsa and merengue,” Camacho said. “I think that’s what makes Drop Mob what it is: It’s a mix of metal, Latin and rap. We combine all of that together.”

Perez said he struggled to make a name for himself in the local hip-hop scene when he first started.

“I’ve been doing it for about 15 to 20 years,” Perez said. “But in the hip-hop scene, I didn’t really move up the charts. I’m more of an old-school rapper, and a lot of the local hip-hop people were like, ‘I’m not even going to mess with him.’ I hooked up with a friend of mine named Lucky, who is now with Lost Souls out in Los Angeles, but me and him worked together, and he helped me evolve my rap game a little bit—but even then, I didn’t really go anywhere.

“When we started Drop Mob, the first couple of songs Dave and I wrote together were out of the box. I let a friend of mine listen to what we had, and he was like, ‘Dude, you finally found your niche. This is what you’re good at.’ I guess I found the right kind of music, and it feels good. It feels like I’m at home, and it’s weird, because I never liked metal music before.”

I asked Drop Mob’s members if they feel like they’re alone in what they do locally. Even though the group recently won a battle of the bands organized by CV Weekly—beating bands such as Brightener and The CMFs—the members all laughed and said yes.

“Very much so!” Perez said. “We played Synergy Fest, and we thought, ‘They’re not going to like our music at all.’ But we had people coming up and listening to us. After we got off stage, one guy in his early 20s came up to us, asking, ‘How long have you guys been together? Where you guys from?’ I said, ‘We’re from here!’ and he was like, ‘Shit! I thought you guys were from Los Angeles or something! You guys sound good!’ Now, when you go out of town and say you’re from the desert in the Coachella Valley, you get a little bit of street cred. But there aren’t a lot of places to play anymore. You’ve got The Hood, Plan B and The Date Shed.”

They did travel to Blythe recently for a gig.

“That show was fucking crazy, man. Those people out there—I don’t know what they’re doing, but my God! It was wild,” Burk said. “It was the alter-reality of Neil’s Lounge in this weird town. It was called Steaks and Cakes or something weird like that. Behind it, it looked like scenes from The Walking Dead with guard towers, and it was wild. Everybody was totally into it, and you could feel the electricity in there. Out here, it’s so hard to feel that sometimes—to where I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I’m sorry I played that. I didn’t mean to scare the shit out of everybody.’”

Drop Mob has been working on a new album that the members hope to release sometime in early 2017. Burk said the new songs show how much they’ve evolved, while Perez said the group is trying to come up with a title.

“We’ve had a couple of ideas for a title, but nothing solid yet,” he said.

For more information on Drop Mob, visit www.reverbnation.com/dropmob5.

If you have not seen local band Drop Mob before, you’re really missing out. The group’s metal and hip-hop sound is unlike anything you’ve ever heard. Simply put, they kick ass, thanks to a talented M.C., Gabe Perez; amazing guitar-playing from guitarists Dave Burk and Curtis Hendrix; drums by John Camacho; and bassist Steve Zepeda, who serves as the band’s driving force. Catch the band in action on Sunday, Nov. 6, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. For more information on Drop Mob, visit the band’s Facebook page. Steve Zepeda was kind enough to recently answer the Lucky 13.

What was the first concert you attended?

Drowning Pool.

What was the first album you owned?

Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill.

What bands are you listening to right now?

System of a Down.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

The new rap style. You just can’t understand the lyrics. Ha ha!

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

Led Zeppelin.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

The musical Grease, and the band Extreme.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Date Shed.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

“Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

There are so many bands and artists who changed my life as I was learning how to play bass. Learning to play bass and then joining bands has kept me busy and out of trouble.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

Victor Wooten: “How do you slap the bass?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Pearl Jam, Ten.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Imagine,” John Lennon. (Scroll down to hear it!)

Published in The Lucky 13