Northern California heavy hitters, The Expendables have become well-known in the music world for their creative intent and a mastering of their craft that is untouchable. Their vibe is on point, and they only want to be true to the music. Layered with sounds and lyrics deep enough that it’s alluring and inviting to listeners from all genres. Growing up and sharing their love for the ocean with childhood bonds that would evolve into something that they never would have imagined.
The Expendables sound pulls musical influences from metal, ska, reggae, and punk rock. Since 1997, they have toured all over the globe and their popularity has risen fast since their first album debuted. Touring and sharing stages with greats such as NOFX, Less Than Jake, Pennywise and countless more.
Not only are they musicians, but they are also entrepreneurs creating the ExpendaFarms, 100% organic California bud for other passionate cannabis enthusiasts like themselves.
Geoff Weers is also pulling together a killer side project which we will explore throughout this interview.
Your music is so extensive in range, it stands out beyond others. It is hard to put you in a genre! How many albums do you guys have?
- Geoff: Man, I don’t know, haha. Maybe 8?
You guys have been together since 1997 right? That’s amazing! I admire that you guys have been together so long. You guys have been doing this for a long time man! I have been hearing about you forever, and I saw this song , “Surfman Cometh,” and I said to myself, “ I have to interview these guys!”.
- And here we are!
You guys are all in Santa Cruz? You guys grew up there?
- We have known each other since we were very young. Me and Adam, our drummer, were both on the same Little League team. He and Raul, our guitar player, were friends since elementary school. Our bass player, Ryan went to another school but then we met him in high school. He was in another band at the time. Raul went to college, then he hopped on over. It’s pretty much been us four since the beginning. We had another guitar player named Cam, but he quit around 2001, I think. We are still good friends though.
How do you guys stay together so long? What is your secret?
- No other job skills to fall back on? Haha. The older I get and the more personal relationships I have, I feel like this is like a marriage in some way. You kind of just go with the flow, accept other individuals for who they are, stay creative and keep it fun. Surfing and skating were the things to do, and music ended up being the job.
You guys are touring a lot, huh?
- Well for the past few months, we have been going out every weekend. Playing two to three shows at a time. The pandemic kind of screwed up the whole idea of what touring is, and how to tour.
When the pandemic happened, what was it like for you guys?
- Oh yea, we were in the worst position possible! We were three or four shows into a 40 day tour, super keyed up with sponsors, and we had this whole big plan. All these things that were in the months of making and then everything had to get all shut down. It was honestly the worst time for a band.
Yeah, I heard some bands had to quit, and just couldn’t afford to come back out.
- Yeah, that’s tough man. We are all moving forward with a lot more caution these days. There is some good that came out of it; a lot of reflection.
I think a lot of people don’t truly understand a lot of the behind the scenes of touring. Gas prices alone can affect the tour!
- You don’t have your own kitchen and you’re basically paying the highest prices for everything. Or you compromise by eating shittier food. A lot of expenses, things that are way more expensive.
What initially drew you to music?
- I would say Michael Jackson. I remember when I was a kid, I thought that was so cool. I would put it on the Fisher Price Record Player, 3-5 years old, and try to dance like him. Then my grandma gave me a keyboard for Christmas, and I remember thinking this was so cool. I did piano lessons, clarinet lessons, and theater when I was young as well. I always had that expressive art performance type of childhood. And then my sister’s boyfriend, when I was in junior high taught me how to play the guitar, while he was in a jazz band in high school. So that is basically how that all started. I was in a jazz band in high school too so that really drove my passion.
What passions do you have outside of music?
- I love surfing, I love my kid! I have one child, her name is Opal. It can be difficult being a parent- but I try my best for her. Part of the gift of having children, they make you try to be a better person. Music is such a big part of my life, so that is pretty it. I remember when Sublime came out, then Bradley died, and that music opened a whole new sound, and everyone wanted to experience that. Before we were like this party band, playing cover songs for high school parties and stuff. Then once I heard Slightly Stoopid, that was it for me. I wanted to write music like that! I want to write metal reggae songs that are f***ing rad and melodic! Reggae is f***ing heavy man. It’s culturally heavy. Coming from an oppressed people, I pay homage to them every time I get on stage. I play the songs that move me. I have such deep respect for the heaviness and the groove. I was brought up on rock and roll and jazz. I fell in love with it immediately, and could never get away from it.
Can you pinpoint one of the most pivotal moments for the band?
- I am thinking when we played at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz, California. They had this Thursday night showcase — with three bands on the bill. I was reminiscing with our old guitarist Cam, that to this day we are still good friends. The Catalyst would give the band 300 tickets to sell or give away to the fans. Whatever band that had the most come out, they would get to play the next week. We had our tickets, and everyone came! I think that really helped us a lot! Our friends were like “f*** yea we are going!” and they did! Those shows pretty much started everything.
You guys are such a success story!
- You just have to never stop and always believe in yourself.
Do you have any crazy stories from being on tour that you’ll share with us?
- I used to drink a lot, so I have some stories. One in particular is this time we were in Germany opening over there, also in Amsterdam, and Belgium. We had the night off, and we were in Munich — where all the strip clubs are, and we got drunk as f***. One of the crew was saying “Geoff, whatever you do, don’t get a lap dance.” I was like, “I am just going to go in there, sit down, just chill.” This big beautiful blonde lady comes over and says, ”would you like to buy me a drink?” They bring over this tiny bottle of champagne- and when we get the bill it’s like $180 Euro and I barely had any money on me. Adam barely had any money either, haha. This one little bottle was about $200. Then the bouncer came by and told us we must buy it. He started to take off his jewelry and stuff. Then he said, “I am going to take you downstairs, you stupid American, and shake you upside down!” I thought, “this is it! I am going to get totally throttled by this European bald badass with a super shiny head and tons of gold.” Thank God Adam had stuffed some money in his sock! He hands him the money and said, “okay, get the f*** out of here!!” Running out of there panting and almost crying, haha, we got far away from there! So basically, we found out that it was a scam they do to tourists! After that, we decided that we would never go out alone, just us together like that.
Wow! That is wild! What about ExpandaFarms? What can you tell us about that venture?
- It all came from weed becoming legal in California. We were like, “we should grow our own weed!” So many of our fans smoke weed, it would be a great merchandise item to have! And this couple from Connecticut reached out and were like “hey, we grow this weed, and we call it Expendaberry!” Wow! Cool! They named it after us and it smells like berries. We ran with it! I get to be the tester for ExpendFarms! If it passes my smoke test, then it’s a go! Part of what we want for our fans is to have access to good weed, A LOT OF IT, at a really good price!
So what is the next step in your recording?
- We’re putting together a new record, it’s almost done. Will have it out soonish!
Do you have a favorite song to perform live?
- I would say “Surfman Cometh.” I love how it represents the ocean, the beauty and carnage the power it has. The ocean waves in that song were recorded at Pleasure Point and are the actual sounds of the waves hitting the shore that day. Pretty special.
So, any surprises we can mention?
- I’m putting together some solo stuff and going on tour with Eric Rachmany from Rebelution this December on the west coast. I will be releasing some of this music soon so be looking out for this! I have so much music and I never stop creating.