Dredg goes in different direction 

Brainy Los Gatos-bred prog-rockers dredg have upped the artistic ante with “Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy,” their sonically adventurous new fifth salvo. First, they developed a masked Jekyll-and-Hyde visual theme for the cover and videos. Then they recruited a legendary producer from the hip-hop world, Dan the Automator, to continue the concept. When engineer Tim Carter told the group that he was once part of a rodeo-clown team called Chuckles & Mr. Squeezy, frontman Gavin Hayes says, “We all started laughing, going ‘Dude! That is a great album title!’ This was a different record for us, and we wanted to take a different approach.”  

You recently went on a search for your birth parents, right? Yeah. I was adopted as an infant, and throughout my life I’ve always been curious about my looks and where I came from, as cliché as that sounds. But over the past five years, I’d been doing more intense research about it, and I kept getting this recurring name, and she had ties to San Jose. So I finally hit her up on Facebook, and it ended up that we shared the same father, so she’s a half-sister of mine, and she’s actually an opera singer out on the East Coast. And from there, she put me in touch with a cousin, and then they had a big party for me out in Livermore to meet the majority of my cousins and second cousins.

How surreal was that? Very surreal. That’s probably the best word I could use to describe it. And I was expecting the worst — I would’ve been stoked just having some pictures or even just touching base with someone. But I ended up meeting pretty much everyone in my immediate biological family, and it was really interesting to see how many family members are musicians. They weren’t even impressed. They said, “Ah, we’re all musicians, so it’s no surprise that you are, too!” The family is from the Portuguese island of Faial, in the Azores, and my grandfather was a luthier out there, and my birth father was in a band with all his brothers, playing traditional Portuguese music and fado songs. And he was in radio, as well. So I guess DNA was on my side.

And this inspired your song “Another Tribe”? Definitely. And the song “Before It Began.” As was a lot of this record, emotionally.

Have you considered putting that opera diva to work? Yeah! I’ve actually talked to her about it, and she said, “Wow! That would be amazing!” So maybe she’ll be on the next dredg record.



Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. today and Friday

Tickets: $20

Contact: (415) 885-0750; www.gamhtickets.com

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Tom Lanham

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