Rolling down the highway, an hour outside Ft. Worth, Texas, Michael Gossard, Ted Dubrawski and Matt Whittaker are on their way to a show in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Taking a break from the view of the road rushing by, Gossard is grateful to speak about the band, their accomplishments and fame.
Acidic was formed while the band mates were still in high school explains Gossard, “I started this band back in 2007 when I was only 15 years old. I began looking for members and decided to put up a bunch of flyers. I actually found Matt Whittaker first; he is our drummer. He responded back and wanted to jam so we did and it felt good and we just kept jamming. We decided we needed a bass player, so I hit up my friend Ted Dubrawski, who I’ve known since we were little kids. Ted joined our jam sessions and liked the feeling of jamming and everyone liked each other and before you know it we were playing shows. We would ask our friends to join us so we could have a fourth guitar player and that’s really the way it’s been since we started.”
Gossard continues, “We are a local L.A. band, a typical Southern California band. The Troubadour is home base! That’s where we call home when we are in L.A. We played our last three shows there, what can I say? It’s just great fun there. We enjoy playing there so much. We know the booking agent there really well and she gives us a great deal on tickets for our fans, the sound system is awesome. It’s just an amazing club in L.A., actually one of the older clubs and it has a great vibe. We have played all the clubs through the Sunset Strip area and this is one of our favorites and are glad we can call it home.”
Most would think that being in California, and Los Angeles even more so, would make it easy for young bands to break into the music scene; however, Gossard explains differently. “The music scene in California is so massive and truly exorbitantly overblown in size; therefore, you really have to set yourself apart and be effervescent to make yourself noticed. It’s so challenging, not just in Cali, but everywhere to break into the music scene. You have to be likeable on stage and people have to like and understand your music or you’ll fall by the wayside. It’s always challenging, but doable.”
On April 14, 2009, Acidic released their debut album, Ironic Dreams, a full length, self-produced CD. The young group was still in high school, yet their first year together would have them playing venues in Southern California such as The House of Blues on Sunset, The Whisky a Go-Go, and The Knitting Factory among other well known names. “The other bands we played with were really cool and receptive of us. We made a lot of friends and connections with people in L.A. We have met so many bands and made so many friends that we will have a buddy from another band come and play with us on a record, or to jam to just have some fun. As for the venues, they were always receptive of us and we loved making those connections.” states Gossard. The guys ended 2009 by signing a deal with the Australian duo, The Wizardz of Oz, Andrew Bojanic and Liz Hooper, for their second album, Getting Lucky.
Appearing at national events in 2010 brought them the claim to fame of being named the Whisky a Go Go’s LA Weekly Band-of-the Month. April began the tour for their promotion of Getting Lucky and just one month later Gossard would graduate from high school. June and July would have them touring numerous festivals, fairs and being winning the Battle of the Bands at a NACA sponsored event. The bands’ first three years were outstandingly remarkable and they accomplished many feats at such a young age; feats some bands would never see. “One event that really stands out for us was when we received a phone call one day. It was from a sergeant in the Armed Forces, entertainment division. He asked if we were interested in going overseas to play for the troops. We thought it was a wonderful idea. We signed up right away and wound up going to Germany, Kosovo and Austria to play for the NATO and Air Force bases there. We had our own crew, bus and our own system. It was fantastic and they treated us well and what better way to say thank you to our wonderful armed forces than to perform for them. They are excellent men and women and there’s nothing else like them! I would love to do it again.” exclaims Gossard. “As for our charity work, it became a mission for us one year. There are wildfires in California all the time and one particular year over 5000 animals were displaced due to the fires. The shelters were overcrowded and were going to put the animals down. We just couldn’t stand the thought of that happening so we started a charity, recorded a video and obtained local commercial time to try to help the animals. It worked and we were able to raise money to donate to the shelters to save them. We also have played for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as our drummer Matt survived cancer when he was a child. We try to help out with as many organizations and give back when we can.”
Horror stories quite often follow young bands. Stories of losing their minds, morals and money while accomplishing fame; however Gossard, Dubrawski and Whittaker each agree they have kept a level head with what they have accomplished. Pumping out an album every year of the four years they have been together, touring with some of the hottest headliners in the business and being invited to play for Americas troops, success hasn’t swallowed them yet. “You know, it’s really been interesting”, Gossard laughs. “We keep our heads cool. We take time to chill out…when we’re not on the road, we take time to go see our families and get our heads straight and that’s basically all it is. This is a very complicated business and if it’s not handled correctly it can eat people alive. You know, there are bands out there that have been touring for over 40 years and are still going strong. We want to keep it that way and keep going.”
The band opened 2013 on the road with Trapt and later joined Hinder for a stint and just recently rejoined with Trapt to follow up on their earlier tour. Acidic’s fourth album was just released last month, titled Copper Man. “Ahhhhh! Copper Man started out as a basic jam with a specific riff and we just kept moving with it. It was one of those songs that just happened and we’re not really sure it came to be, but we love it. I had written almost 40 songs for this album over the course of a year and we narrowed it down to the ten best and the rest of the album began to form. We had a few friends from other local bands come to sit in and play on a couple of songs. We even had a friend of mine, Koda, who runs a concert venue in town, come sing on the last song of the album. At that time we only had eight songs we were really happy with and recorded those eight in the matter of only three weeks. That’s when we decided we wanted to add two more songs so we hit the writing again and pulled two more out of our hats. Again, this is an album that just ‘came to be’ and we are so happy and proud of it. We believe it’s going to an album that we are going to tour on for a couple of years. New fans think of us as having a Green Day sound, but I feel we’re the two headed kid…I think we sound a bit like Green Day mixed with Jane’s Addiction…yea, that would be us! In terms of writing, historically I have done a lot of it, but there are some great songs that Matt and Ted have contributed to; take Copper Man for instance. Our inspiration for our music can come from anywhere. It can come from experiences on the road or from events such as life or death, the same things that happens in everybody’s life. We’re no different than anyone else. We’re just normal everyday guys out here writing, singing and playing music. Anything that happens can easily become a song.”
Acidic may have been blasting out their songs for only four years, but they are not to be ignored and plan to continue moving forward. “More touring and more recording is what we plan to do for a few years. Yes we have attained amazing things in our four years. Hahaha, look at Green Day…they started their band in 1987 and weren’t headlining until 1994, seven years. We know it takes a long time and we are prepared to go the long haul to get there.”