Unlocking a New Local Band – The LOC DAWGS

By Joanne A Calitri   |   March 22, 2022
At rehearsal with the LOC DAWGS, from left, Tyler Kelly, Ben B., and Christian Pelonis (photo by Joanne A Calitri)

Fusing hard rock with their own edge, the LOC DAWGS band is tearing up venues from Santa Barbara-Goleta south through Anaheim, due to play at the vintage club, The Mint,in Los Angeles in March. 

The group was birthed by multi-instrumentalist songwriter Christian Pelonis (Stolen Thunder and the Shaun Cassidy Band), who wrote, played, and recorded all the parts of four songs. Pelonis recorded at Lost Coast Records LLC during lockdown to deal with the stress of that situation. In 2021 he reached out to two friends to form a band, himself on lead guitar and vocals, and added a bass player and drummer. As the band morphed into its current version, band members changed a few times to get the right mix of musicianship and persona. 

Today, LOC DAWGS is Pelonis on lead ax and vocals, Tyler Kelly on bass and vocals, and “Ben B” on drums. Together they do it all, co-write original songs, roadie the gear to gigs, and are dedicated to their rehearsals and song writing. Clearly the music fits into stoner hard rock, down-toned with all the fuzzy pedaling, vocal shouts, moshing, and more; somebody get them a three-pack Marshall stack!

I hit them up for an interview on the verge of their soon-to-be-released new single…

Q.What’s the music about and how is it created?

A. Christian Pelonis (CP): It’s our everyday ins and outs, like in our songs “Day by Day” and “Strung Out,” it’s talking about the conflicts our generation faces, the battles in our minds on a daily basis. If you are literal, you can read into the lyrics and think it’s about a relationship or breakup or a girl, but it’s not. I have a notepad I write bits of lyrics in all the time, and I draw from that, preferring to write both the music and lyrics together, run it by the band, and fill in the gaps together. We all bring in riffs we wrote and work with them to create songs. 

We tune our instruments to C standard (on guitar it’s C F Bb Eb G C) and aim for a tonal quality similar to Queens of the Stone Age, Sleep, and Black Sabbath where you have hard rock with a fuzzy downtone. We don’t adhere to a song formula – verses, bridge chorus – it’s a free composition.

What is music for you?

Tyler Kelly (TK): Music is why I am here. I’ve played music since I was five years old. I was in a shovel band [laughs] yeah we played air guitar and recorded a video of it, seriously, tried a few instruments, and in high school played in a few bands but the chemistry was off. My grandpa worked at KTYD in the ‘70s and had a lot of experience in recording, so I got into recording music at home, basically taught myself with his gear and help, and the usual recording software programs on my laptop.

LOC DAWGS rockin’ the house (photo by Murphy McCormick)

Ben B (BB): For me the band is about making an impact on people who listen to our music and come to our live gigs. It feels great to know we’ve made someone get up and excited about our music. It’s my job to play drums to back the band and add flairs in the right places to keep it fresh. All day at work I can’t wait to get to rehearsal with the guys, pack my gear, and play for the fans.

CP: Music helps me live! My goal for the band is to make music for our fans the way Nirvana did for me and many others. The whole experience needs to be enjoyable, and that is a huge goal to aim for. Our music may not be for every venue, but we are putting it out there for everyone to experience, without a specific audience, music genre base, or age group in mind. And we’re going to stay on an independent label to keep it ours. I gave our band the name LOC DAWGS because it’s a colloquial thing, being the locals and local guys for music, like seeing the same guy at the same surf spot; you know if you go, he’s there.

Message to your fans?

CP: Big shout out to everyone who’s been following and supporting us for the past few months! We have an EP coming out this summer that we are currently writing the songs for and a full-length LP sometime in the future. Follow us on Insta for updates and merch giveaways, on Spotify, and sign up on our website for updates. We look forward to jamming for you soon at our upcoming gigs.

What music does the band listen to right now?

BB: I am an old soul and listen to everything, from the Beatles to the Jersey Boys. I love country like Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, and take that right to Green Day, and punk rock.

TK: When I listen to new music, it’s all I listen to for at least six months to really dive in. Right now, I have Stick Figure for Reggae, Modjo’s song “Lady,” Soundgarden and Disco, yes it’s ABBA.

CP: I’ve got a ton. At the top right now is Turnstile, Fangs [punk], and Denzel Curry for rap.  

411: www.locdawgs.com

Instagram: @loc_dawgs

LOC DAWGS are also on Spotify


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