Throughout the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, Santa Cruz was a breeding ground for pissed off punk rock acts. The raw aggression inherent in the sound was greatly reflected in the generations of high-flying skaters and no holds barred surfers; fueled by aggressive lyrics, heavy riffs, thumping bass, and warp speed drumming. This was especially the case during the ‘90’s, where an explosion of diverse acts saturated the local music scene. While this over-saturation nailed a coffin in the lively scene, there are some legendary acts who remain favorites to this day. One such band was Lost Cause.
In 1993, young punk rock enthusiast and surfer Shane Rafferty knew he wanted to sing in his own band. He’d written some lyrics but didn’t have the crew to help him put them to music. One fateful day he got a chance to listen to his buddy Zack Mitchell’s demo tape. Mitchell, a drummer, had recorded some songs with guitarist Kalu Coletta and bassist Gabe Makenzie. Upon first listen, Rafferty could hear his lyrics pair up with the group dynamic in his mind, and immediately wrote up a few songs’ worth of lyrics practically overnight. Before long the crew was jamming. “Lost Cause” was born.
Their sound was old-school punk, heavily influenced by bands like B’last and Black Flag. Standout tracks include “21”, “My mind”, “Empty Bottle”, and “Tomorrow” (their most popular song to date). It wasn’t long before the local boys had won over the Santa Cruz punk crowd. In 1996 they were signed to Half Pint records. Copyright complications compelled to group to change their name, and for a few more years they performed under the moniker “Leveler”.
Around 2003, grown-up responsibilities led this tight act to disband, with Rafferty and Makenzie raising families and moving inland, while Coletta migrated to Oahu to hone his surfboard shaping skills. Fast forward a dozen years later and Rafferty, who had moved home and raised a few babies, felt an urge to get the band back together but struggled to accommodate everyone’s busy schedules.
Fellow punk rocker Guerin Myall was celebrating his 50th and asked if the crew could come together. Coletta had returned but Mackenzie was still living and working in Oregon. Despite this, Rafferty figured “if you build it, they will come”, and agreed to play the show. Sure enough, everyone was able to get together to salute their fellow punk rocker’s half-centennial landmark and the magic resurfaced.
“It was like nothing had changed,” remembes Rafferty. “The energy was immediate!”
Now the boys are back— this time to play their first official show this Thursday at the Catalyst with fellow at Live Oak shredders, “Kemper’s Temper”.
Next Fall, Lost Cause will join the similarly reunited Santa Cruz punk band “Good Riddance” on October 5 at the Discovery in Ventura. The group plans on releasing music from the early cassette days and recording new music next Fall.
Come pay homage to these local lifelong punkers! Show starts at 8:30. This is one you don’t want to miss! Plus the cover is only $5!!!!!