GOOD TIMES SANTA CRUZ
Rock Out Knockout
The atmosphere inside Kuumbwa Jazz was buzzing with anticipation as local hero James Durbin was brought to the stage for a top secret acoustic promo concert Tuesday, Jan. 17. Durbin calls it “The first annual Acoustic Thunder Southern Hemi Tour,” and adds, “it’s a farewell tour.” The hope is that by saying he’s leaving, people will come to the shows thinking it’s his last. Well aware of the irony, Durbin explains, “Judas Priest just did it, Kiss did it, Cher did it.” No matter the name of the tour, Tuesday night’s crowd—mostly middle-aged radio contest winners and their families—went nuts.
The recently married Durbin is the kind of kid you have to root for—22 years old and living the rock and roll dream. Backstage, Durbin remembers: “I was working at Dominoes in Santa Cruz and the American Idol auditions were that weekend, and the boss wouldn’t give me the day off. Two days later the owners called us all into the office and said they were going out of business.” The rest, as they say, is history.
Durbin’s new band—made up of old friends and road-tested
metal heads—accompanied him on Conan recently for a blistering
rendition of “Love Me Bad.” Joining him on stage Tuesday
were two of his band members—local rocker Dylan Rosenberg from
Archer, and Blake Bunzel from L.A. metalcore band In This Moment,
who has toured the world in support of bands like Korn and Sevendust.
While the seven song set at Kuumbwa was stripped down to the bare
essentials, the power of the songs off Durbin’s new album, Memories
of a Beautiful Disaster, was evident.
It’s no secret that Durbin wanted to bring the rock to American Idol—and turning young people on to heavy metal is a passion of his. “I think one of the greatest things about music is no matter what genre you listen to it can really affect you,” he says. “Music has always been a big part of the youth culture and kids are impressionable. I like the idea of turning somebody on to something they haven’t heard before.”
For more information about James Durbin and his new album, visit durbinrock.com.