Banditos loose in San Diego


Banditos, a sextet from the same “Magic City” scene that produced bands like Alabama Shakes and St. Paul and the Broken Bones (Birmingham, AL), is headed to San Diego.

The garage/rock/blues six-piece now calls Nashville home, but they won’t be seeing much of it for the next month.

After multiple touring runs for their 2015 self-titled debut, Banditos is back on the road in support of last year’s sophomore release, Visionland.

Named after a local 90s theme park that squandered its $60 million price tag in just five years, Visionland finds the band gently expanding their foundation of electric, barroom honky-tonk with producers Israel Nash and Ted Young at the helm.

PACIFIC recently spoke with singer/guitarist Corey Parsons from his home in Nashville ahead of Thursday’s show.

PACIFIC: Catching you right before you hit the road for a while again. How’s it going?

COREY PARSONS: Good. Yeah, we’re going out for a month this time. We’ve definitely done longer than that, but a month is a month. And I’ve noticed that before I go out for a while, or when I’m getting back from a long while, I kind of have to ease myself into being social when we’re going back out, and ease myself out of going out every night when we’re coming back. So right now, I’m going from being a hermit to jumping on stage.

Are you naturally a hermit?

Umm… …no. I suppose I’m an introvert, but I’m getting there. Still trying to figure that out, I guess.

How did a hermit-slash-introvert end up as the singer and guitarist in a rock and roll band?

I wish I knew, man (laughs). There was music in my house, but no one really played an instrument. My mom plays a little piano, but she didn’t play all that much growing up. But she always had music on. I think it started there. Then I just dove into it myself. I found out about Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, the good stuff, when I was about 12 or 13 — on top of the CCR, Alabama, and Bob Seger that my mom listened to all the time. And they’re definitely all influences.

You guys are now based in Nashville, but it seems like the music scene in Birmingham has really come up.

I think it’s always been a great scene. People are just now starting to take notice of it — which is awesome.

Banditos is a sizeable band. Is there a specific way you navigate the creative process?

Not really. We try a number of methods. But we’re always down for trying out new s**t, too. Some songs I write on an acoustic guitar, or (singer/banjo player) Steve (Pierce) and I write it on banjo and guitar, and bring it to the band. Then it gets transformed into something completely different — usually better. Other times, we’ll get together as a band and figure things out instrumentally, or make a song through (singer) Mary (Beth Richardson). We do it a lot of different ways.

It’s nice to have options.

For sure. That’s one of the pros of being in a six-person band that’s been together for six-and-a-half or seven years. And we’ve all been friends for at least 10 years — some of us, 15 or 16 years. We’re all from the surrounding areas of Birmingham, but we convened and got to know each other at this all-ages DIY venue that’s sadly no longer there called Cave 9. It was a pretty impactful spot in all of our lifetimes. We were all about 13 or 14 years old and seeing punk bands play live music for the first time. It was huge. We were all so fortunate to have a spot like that. I can’t even imagine how our lives would’ve turned out without that place.

Your sophomore record, Visionland, has been out for a few months now. It’s named after a now-defunct, $60-million dollar theme park in your hometown. Any stories from the 5-year window it was open?

They’ve dozed most of it, but there’s a waterpark in that spot now. I believe it’s still open. They somehow salvaged something out of that place. And the last I heard, it’s called Alabama Adventure now — a terrible name for a water park. Deliverance vibes for sure (laughs). But oh yeah, we all went there. Our bass player actually worked there. But he quit the day they asked him to clean human s**t out of a photo booth.



What’s next? Plan? Or take it as it comes?

We’re constantly working. I think if we compartmentalized things, it’d be a whole lot harder to jump back into the writing mode. We actually just recorded a new song the other night at our guitar player’s house. I don’t know if it’ll make it onto the next album or not. We’re just keeping the juices flowing. Never want to get rusty. But we’re going to put out a new album before too much longer anyway.

Banditos w/ The Liquorsmiths and Summer Knowledge

When: 8:30 p.m. Feb. 1

Where: SPACE, 3519 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego.

Cost: $10-$12