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Embark on the Great Electric Quest

Oceanside rock & rollers Great Electric Quest prove the hustle is real

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    Great Electric Quest embark on their biggest tour yet on May 24 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jason Bang)

    When it comes to "making it" in the music biz, most bands are encouraged to produce mountains of content, tour as far and as often as possible (even if/when no one shows up), always be hustling -- and maybe, someday, they'll catch that all-important break. Of course, no one needs to be told it rarely happens. The breaks these days are fewer and farther between (do they even exist anymore?), and the bands willing/able to truly grind it out seem almost as rare. But when it comes to Oceanside "doom/stoner/shred/rocker doods" Great Electric Quest, they're all in.

    When they're not on the road, the band (which is comprised of guitarist Buddy Donner, bassist Jared Bliss, drummer 'Mucho Drums,' and vocalist Tyler Dingvell) is churning out records, working on their Glory Or Death Records label, or playing huge metal festivals like Psycho Las Vegas. In other words, these guys aren't sitting around waiting for a break to come to them -- they're out there making it happen. As Donner explained in a recent email: "We just all have this 'sleep when we're dead' disease."

    Case in point: Great Electric Quest are heading out on their biggest tour yet (dubbed the "Squeelin' Wheels Tour") -- with a kickoff show on May 24 in Phoenix, Arizona. According to Donner, the jaunt (which makes 26 stops around the country in nearly as many days) is almost more about soaking up great music than dishing it out.

    "We love traveling and meeting new people, checking out the sites when we get a chance to breathe between gigs. One of the best parts is definitely checking out all the hundreds of bands we get to share the stage with on the road, and partying with them. It is surreal man…The fun meter is maxed out the entire time."

    When's the last time you heard a touring band say the best part of the road was meeting other bands along the way? That's one of the great things about the Quest. They're incredibly supportive of their metal/rock scene in general (local bands, take note) -- and Glory Or Death Records (which is run by Donner, Dingvell, and Kook bassist Jeff Wilson) is proof of just that.

    "Our obsession with new bands/tunes is the main reason we’ve gotten into this new label," Donner said. "For some reason we can’t stop going out to shows when we should really be getting some rest at some point in our lives. There is just always some killer band doing some gig somewhere within an hour or two of us and we cannot justify missing it for any 'real life' bulls--- ... We definitely feel the passion of bands trying to make something happen and that’s where creating a label came to plot. It’s just a way to tie together all of our connections, turn it into one giant machine, and utilize everything we have, to do our best to spread the music we enjoy out to the world. I know what these bands are capable of and they need to be experienced by all."

    Take the label's upcoming release, for example: "Bow To Your Masters Volume 1: Thin Lizzy," the inaugural release in a forthcoming series of tribute compilations that, along with Great Electric Quest and Kook, features some of the buzziest (and fuzziest) names in the metal/psych-rock genre -- Mos Generator, Egypt, White Dog, Slow Season, Red Wizard, Mothership, Sacri Monti, and Harsh Toke.

    When asked why they began with Thin Lizzy, Donner said: "What could possibly be a more classic start? A band loved by all with countless masterpieces that could be morphed to fit many different styles of the bands involved. We love the idea of honoring the rock gods and doing our part to keep their music alive. Nothing gets you more involved and 'in-tune' to a song than to learn it and jam it live with your buds. It’s the closest you can get to the feeling of what the artists felt when they performed the songs originally."

    The compilation (which is available for pre-order here) is just one piece of the ever-growing musical pie -- Great Electric Quest are hard at work on their own sophomore full-length album (a followup to 2016's "Chapter I" fittingly titled "Chapter II").

    "We are constantly learning bits and pieces of all the different ins and outs of being a band," Donner said. "Constantly making more friends and connections to make us sound better and constantly pushing ourselves to be better at our instruments. Without a doubt, 'Chapter II' will be better than 'Chapter I.' If not, then we are not doing our jobs. We also are not pushing for a deadline and are absolutely not rushing anything. A record is forever… So we want to make sure we take the time to make everything exactly how we want it to be for our listeners."

    The hard work seems to be paying off. After playing Psycho Las Vegas (arguably the biggest metal fest in the states) in 2016, they were invited back to play it again -- this time at its official pre-party (as metal blog the Obelisk recently hailed "a fest unto itself") at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Aug. 17 with Pentagram, Conan, Ruby the Hatchet, Sasquatch and more. Not exactly shabby. Donner agreed.

    "Psycho Las Vegas is unreal…The ultimate rock n' roll party experience. What’s more dreamy than a Pentagram pool party kicking off an all-weekend party festival with 60-70 acts, half of which I consider to be headlining bands? Insanity…And that’s exactly what last year was. Unless you were there, you cannot imagine how incredible it was. My condolences to those who missed out. Poor, poor souls."

    Great Electric Quest Squeelin' Wheels Tour Dates 

    May 24: Phoenix, Arizona -- Valley Bar

    May 25: El Paso, Texas -- Boomtown

    May 26: San Angelo, Texas -- Dead Horse Saloon

    May 27: Dallas, Texas -- Reno's Chop Shop

    May 28: Oklahoma city, Oklahoma -- Blue Note

    May 30: Louisville, Kentucky -- Highlands Tap Room

    May 31: Indianapolis, Indiana -- Taps Live!

    June 1: Chicago, Illinois -- The Cobra Lounge

    June 2: Fort Wayne, Indiana -- Skeletunes

    June 3: Ruth, Michigan -- "Burnin Turf II"

    June 4: Baltimore, Maryland -- The Depot

    June 5: Richmond, Virginia -- McCormack's

    June 6: Raleigh, North Carolina -- Slim's

    June 7: Charleston, South Carolina -- Tin Roof

    June 8: Atlanta, Georgia -- Masquerede

    June 9: Nashville, Tennessee -- Springwater

    June 10: Birmingham, Alabama -- The Nick

    June 11: Texarkana, Arkansas -- Arrow Bar

    June 12: Houston, Texas -- White Swan

    June 14: Nashville, Tennessee -- The Cobra

    June 15: Saint Louis, Missouri -- Sinkhole

    June 16: Lawrence, Kansas -- The Replay Lounge

    June 17-18: Denver, CO -- Electric Funeral Fest with Acid King, Mountain, the Well, Slow Season, the Munsens, Electric Citizen, Goya, Glitter Wizard, Lords of Beacon House, Greenbeard, Red Wizard, Cloud Catcher, Monarch and more.

    June 19: Albuquerque, New Mexico -- Moonlight Lounge

    June 20: Tempe, Arizona -- Yucca Tap Room

    Aug. 17-20: Las Vegas, Nevada -- Psycho Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino with Mastodon, King Diamond, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Gojira, Sleep, Neurosis, Swans, Ace Frehley, Earthless, and more.

    Dustin Lothspeich books The Merrow, plays in Diamond Lakes, and runs the music equipment-worshipping blog Gear and Loathing in San Diego. Follow his updates on Twitter or contact him directly.