The Cadillac Tramps
“At this point, the Tramps are one of the few bands that can easily draw multiple generations of punks to come out to shows. And watching their OG supporters push up to the front of the stage always gives them a much-needed jump in their collective, fire-breathing, punk-rock engine.” – O.C. Weekly.From Orange County, California, USA, hardcore punk unit Cadillac Tramps did not take too kindly to their press tag of ‘bar-drunk brawly blues band’, claiming that they offered a much more sophisticated sound – yet that description was close enough to reality to warrant repetition.
Formed in the mid-80s and comprising Mike ‘Gabby’ Gaborno (lead vocals), Brian Coakley (guitar/vocals), Johnny Wickersham (guitar/vocals), Warren Renfrow (bass) and Jamie Reidling (drums), they riffed their way to prominence with an acclaimed, sweaty live show that earned a solid reputation for the band on the Southern Californian club circuit.
I’ve seen the ‘Tramps five times, and they are hands down the best live band ever to come out of the West Coast. Ever! Any band who became anything in LA has opened up for the Tramps, and their original guitarist Johnny Wickersham went on to play with Social Distortion. This album does a fine job of capturing the pure raw energy of the ‘Tramps, and is a great representation of songs from their three previous studio records. All are out of print, so if this is all you can nab, quit reading this and download now! – iTunes Review
Their early admirers include Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam (who personally filmed one show). Their third album, 1994’s It’s Allright, was headed by a title track that concerned Coakley’s HIV-positive friend.
The Cadillac Tramps split-up shortly after the release of a 1995 compilation of outtakes and remixes, but reunited at regular intervals to play live shows. A more permanent reunion took effect in 1999, since when the band has maintained a regular touring schedule.
Sadly, latter-day member Michael ‘Mad Dog’ Combs, who played guitar with the band between 1999 and 2002, was found dead in December 2004 after he disappeared during a snowboarding trip on Vail Mountain in Colorado.