Long Beach Shortbus splintered from the popular Southern California band Long Beach Dub Allstars in 2002 after infighting amongst the members caused a premature dissolution. "What basically happened with the Long Beach Dub Allstars was there were too many cooks in the kitchen," Shortbus manager Capri Kanwal explained. "So you'd have the band touring around in two different buses, because there were two different camps. We're the band from one of the buses. We got along," he said of Shortbus, which released its first full-length, Flying Ship of Fantasy, in June of 2005. Though three of Shortbus's four members -- bassist Eric Wilson, vocalist RAS-1, and guitarist Trey Pangborn -- played in the Dub Allstars, the band's roots go back further still to the popular garage-punk act Sublime, for which Wilson was bassist. It's that band's legendary sound that influences Shortbus most, Kanwal said. "Eric mentioned once that if Bradley" -- Brad Nowell, the Sublime frontman who died in 1996 -- "was still here, this is the sound he would be playing. It's a continuation of Sublime, with a little more psychedelic rock put into it. There's also quite a bit of reggae mixed in," he said. Drummer Damion Ramirez may be the odd man out, with neither Sublime nor the Dub Allstars in his background, but his explosive, energetic thrashing enhances the band's rock-ska-reggae ethic on Flying Ship of Fantasy. His energy is not lost on live audiences, either: "Watching him, I think of Animal from The Muppets," Kanwal said.
~ Tammy La Gorce