● By Super Admin
The running joke is that the band’s music is “the Police meets the Red Hot Chili Peppers meets Motown. We’re a band that kind of has an identity crisis,” says 26-year-old lead guitarist and singer Dane Drewis. “And that’s really how we like it.”
Drewis, along with bassist Tim Diedesch, 25, and rhythm guitar/percussionist Mike Camilleri, 26, formed Cuesta Drive – named after the San Luis Obispo street where Drewis lived in college – in 2003. All three shared a love of music, but each had their own favorite style. Rather than try to create a sound based on a common denominator, they went with the flow. “It’s a rare thing we do; we don’t stick to one genre or prototype,” Camilleri says. “We have so many different influences, from reggae to classic rock to country to heavy metal. We don’t sit down to write a song a particular way. Whatever way it just naturally comes out is what we’ll play.”
As a result, it’s not unusual to hear the band switch from rock to soul to blues, even in the same song. In the end, it’s not about creating one particular sound, but connecting to an audience, or a single listener, or even to each other, through the common experience of music.
“First and foremost, we’re entertainers,” says Diedesch. “While our passion is the music, that passion derives from seeing others enjoy what we do. If you come see a show, I guarantee you’ll have a good time.”
The trio, who all grew up in Sacramento, now chuckle over the idea that the only reason they went to college in SLO was to form the band. Drewis graduated with a degree in accounting, Diedesch with a BS in geology and Camilleri was pursuing an English degree before he came back up north.
Today they all have day jobs, but the band has earned enough to self-finance two albums, a video and, coming this summer, a West Coast tour. The release party for their second album, Distractions, was such a huge success that it broke attendance records, and the first single from the album, “Everything,” has been enjoying airtime on both KWOD and The Zone. All of the members confess to liking the celebrity status here at home, but with that said, they say they’re still focused on the music.
“We’re not fooled by all the marketing that goes on out there; we have no interest in being the nation’s next one-hit wonder,” Drewis says. “Our focus is on the kind of music that has already stood the test of time, and putting our own modern take on it.”
To see and hear them for yourself, keep an eye on who’s coming to Folsom’s Powerhouse Pub, as Cuesta Drive is something of a regular there. The band is also playing Harlow’s in Downtown Sacramento on June 12, and Roseville's Concert in the Park on July 26.
For other shows and more information, visit cuestadrive.com.