Growing up with the minority’s taste in music is difficult. That’s what most of the band members of Wallace had to do. Lead singer Simone Ash, went to a rap-and-hip-hop-infested high school. Even so, with few people to share her interests with, Ash’s love for punk rock was never swayed.
Attending UC Riverside, Ash met Miles Hunt, the band’s present-day guitarist. At the time, Hunt and Oliver Kaufman, also Wallace’s present-day guitarist, had started the post-hardcore band Softspoken. Although the band had success on a local basis, conflicts had split the band up after two years.
With Hunt and Ash now friends, and bouncing back from a devastating band breakup, there was talk about starting a side project. Meanwhile, Ryno Dietz, Wallace’s present day drummer, had collaborated with Hunt and Kaufman and was already writing some music. The four finally put their talents together and began a side project, with Ash as their lead singer.
One problem that still existed was the lack of a permanent bass player. Kaufman’s co-worker, Dietrich Schmidt, was a huge fan of the late Softspoken. Boldly, Kaufman decided to bring him into the mix and taught him how to play bass guitar. Things just started to click from there.
Down the line, several months later, Wallace, although not yet known by that inside-joke-of-a-name, is coming together nicely. Ash, as the band’s female vocalist, had been giving a lot of input to the band’s newly evolving style. Hunt and Kaufman, coming from hardcore bands where screams alone are translated into harmonies, are mixing with Ash’s punk/New Wave female vocals and creating a sound unique to the local band scene of the Inland Empire. The creative impulses racing through the new band definitely outweighs whatever negative sentiments having a female vocalist brought them.
Now, almost a year after their first demo hit the music scene, Wallace has a full-length album out, power-packed and fully equipped with eleven songs, and are playing at venues nationwide. Their last show was close to home, in Irvine’s very own Hogue Barmichael’s.
Hogue Barmichael’s is close to UCI and the home of the weekly Road to the Warped Tour Battle of the Bands competition.
The winner from each week is added to the line-up of Orange County’s Warped Tour and gets to play on the Smartpunk’s Stage. Since the second week of January, bands have made a tour stop at Hogue Barmichael’s to partake in the competition. A list of their weekly winners can be found on the restaurant and bar’s Web site.
Wallace did the same. In their winter nationwide tour, they made a stop at Hogue Barmichael’s and took park in the weekly Battle of the Bands. The first band to play, they performed a set that consisted of about half the length of their new album.
It was definitely a sort of spectacle to see how all these different musical genres came together to make one band. Ash was bouncing all over the stage in what looked like a blouse resembling a gartered slip. Her vocals belting out songs, it was amazing how the synthesizers, guitar riffs and drums complemented her feminine voice.
Kaufman and Hunt’s guitar playing, set up for surround sound as they played on opposite sides of the stage, rocked out with each song. Each wielded a synthesizer and keyboards, components of Wallace that gives the band their real flavor. Schmidt and his bass had minds of their own, each bass-lick providing that crucial underline for each song. Deitz on drums kept impeccable time, handling those Zildjian cymbals as only a great drummer could. Their set was over too soon.
Although Wallace did not win Hogue Barmichael’s weekly Battle of the Bands, they’ll still continue their tour.
When the band was asked what had brought them all together, one of their bandmates responds with, ‘McDonald’s’ but it was obviously more than that.
Friends from elementary school, college buddies and co-workers, these five music lovers have come together and created something of their own. Wallace has a unique sound, the mix of female vocals and hardcore screaming, high-jumping punk