Nowadays it seems like folks have been talking about the psych-rock revival for almost as long as its original incarnation was around. Head to any major city in California, for example, and you’ll discover a tripped-out, guitar-toting scene to match it. In San Francisco, it takes shape in the scorching, swingy melodies of weirdo savants like Thee Oh Sees and, until recently, Ty Segall. Down south, the torch is being carried by hazy garage rockers and beatnik revivalists like Allah-Las, Foxygen, and White Fence. And fittingly, if you travel up the coast a ways, you’ll fall into the 805’s version, which is taking its cues from a slightly more hippy-ish school of thought. In Carpinteria alone, the noodle-y riff-rock ratio is fast on the climb, and no one is doing the scene prouder than Pacific Haze.
Born out of the ashes of onetime farmers’ market staples Sprout, this quintet (made up of guitarist/vocalist Colin Shepherd, guitarist/vocalist Zach Doiron, bassist Wesley Birch, drummer Zachariah Godlove, and percussionist Nick Hansink) proudly worships at the altar of the jam-rock greats. Ask Shepherd and Dorion about inspiration, and they simultaneously light up and geek out for everyone from Jerry Garcia to Led Zeppelin to The Allman Brothers.
“I grew up listening to all the classic rock my parents liked,” said Shepherd, “but it wasn’t until middle school that the whole rock-revival thing came around, and I realized I could actually be in a band.”
For those who have caught Pacific Haze in action, it’s easy to see the thruway. Their sound is a chameleon-like blend of Southern blues rock, soulful funk, and barefoot, starry-eyed psychedelia that’s delightfully heady and heavy on the solos.
“The live show is like splatter painting,” laughed Dorion. “When it gets really jammy and you’re able to forget what song you’re playing — that’s the best.”
In the coming months, Pacific Haze heads back on the road for a short fall tour and then comes home to hibernate (read: work on their full-length debut), which they hope to hunker down and record early next year.
“This band is only six months old, but Colin and I have been playing together for over a decade,” said Dorion. “We’ve seen lots of friends fall off — and that’s okay — but this is our life. This is what we want to do. And I love this life.” Visit pacifichaze.bandcamp.com.