As the members of West Shore psychedelic prog rock trio Chile Verde hauled gear into Olympic Village for a show at the Broken Arrow Skyrace, they noticed something was amiss on the event poster. The other musicians above them obviously had professional photos taken of them smiling and holding their instruments with inspired joy.
Aug. 15 | 4:30 p.m.
Lakeview Commons | South Lake Tahoe
“Then there was ours,” deadpans guitarist and lead singer David Faber.
After breaking down the show at Squaw Valley, the power trio decided to replace a blurry, lifeless Facebook pic with a new photo of them playing instruments in front of the mountains. Except, in typical Chile Verde style, they pulled a prank and switched the instruments around. The result has Faber with his flowing, young Jerry Garcia hairstyle on the bongo, while bassist Abby Groman suggestively straddles an electric guitar and drummer Andrew “Ace” Asadorian slaps the bass in the clothes he apparently just woke up in.
“A lot of our stories center around the fact that we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” Faber says. “We just like to have fun and it stays focused on that.”
These hometown rockers all have real jobs, so they can avoid any of the stress a real touring band would have to worry about.
“It’s cool playing at the same places where we like to hang out, having all the people we know come out and see us,” says Faber. “We’re spreading the joy living in the place we love, doing the thing we love to do — not that I don’t still dream of joining a real band and touring and quitting my other job.”
During the day, Faber works as a remote software programmer. By night, he rehearses in the upstairs office of the small home where he resides with his fiancée, Liz Morrill. The two lovebirds are set to wed in Nevada City on Aug. 24. In fact, it was she who inspired the group’s moniker with her habit of slow-cooking green peppers and tomatillos during band practice.
“After we got the name, David started rolling off songs like candy,” says Groman, a native daughter of Tahoma. “He usually writes the songs and lets us run with it. There’s a lot of freedom in it.”
Chile Verde plays progressive acid rock with a heavy dose of the blues and Americana over Faber’s whimsical, yet insightful words.
“The songs I like most usually have some underlying concept involved,” he says. “The lyrics paint more of an impressionist view. If you’re listening, you might not hear a story with a starting or ending, but you could a feel the emotion of a scene or something like that.”
Sometimes Faber writes about the random trivial information of mundane everyday objects. He has one tune called “Shadow Shifter,” which centers on a trash bag attached to the fence post outside his window. Another song known as “165” deals with the desired internal temperature of properly cooked chicken.
In addition to this off-the-wall original material, Chile Verde covers a sundry catalog of songs by the Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Kenny Rogers, Alanis Morissette, Blackstreet and Snoop Dogg.
“We like anything people can enjoy, listen to, have a good time and dance to,” says Faber. “The more upbeat and funkiness to it the better.”
After studying music and cognitive science at University of California, Berkeley and meeting Morrill on a solo camping trip to Carson Pass, Faber moved to Tahoma in search of a simple mountain existence. Although he’d played guitar for most of his life, he’d never been in a real band. To his surprise, the creative hub of Lake Tahoe was the place where it was destined to all come together.
“I never thought it would be here,” he says. “I expected to live the mountain hermit life and go hiking a lot and after a few years move on. Then I discovered this awesome music scene right outside my door. There are a lot of talented musicians around here that want to play and the fact that it’s a small community makes it easy to get into it.”
In true West Shore style, it’s all about going with the flow and being true to what you love.
“We’re all just living in Tahoe trying to work and have fun and that’s why the music fits our lives so well,” says Groman. “The band is moving organically and that’s what makes it fun.” | liveatlakeview.com