Hermosa Beach's Lance Keller describes his band Alligator Beach as a “fun, funky, good time.”
When they host a record release party Saturday, Aug. 24, at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach, Keller said there will be no love songs, it's all about “having a good life.” Their first album, “Throwin' a Party!,” will be released on Spotify on Thursday, Aug. 22.
“We're a New Orleans funk party band with quirky and catchy songs,” said Keller, who added he took something from New Orleans (alligator) and something from Los Angeles (beach) to name the band.
Keller had been a trombone player, maybe the “sixth or seventh guy in the band,” when about five years ago, a friend convinced him to start his own band. It took him a couple years to find the right combination of band mates, especially a singer. He found Carol Hatchett at a jam session in Beverly Hills. From the beginning, he said, he wanted the band to be dynamite.
“I'm not going to put together a whatever band with my friends and whoever are around,” Keller said. “I want this to be a thing... I'm going to put all of my energy into it. It's got to be something that I can say 'This kicks ass,' with no apologies.”
While attending high school in Poughkeepsie, New York in the early 1980s, Keller's friends were starting a punk band. He wanted to play his trombone in the fledgling band. They ended up opening for the Beastie Boys at Bard College in 1982 when the Beastie Boys were a punk band.
But then two concerts made a difference in his musical career. First, while in high school, he was impressed with the R&B band Tower of Power's prominent horn section.
“As a horn player who kind of liked The Beatles, I really didn't see how I fit in the world of music, but (then) I saw Tower of Power,” Keller said.
Then he saw the Neville Brothers in college.
“Just the rhythm of it really got me ... it set the stage for what I'm doing now,” Keller said.
Up until the formation of Alligator Beach, Keller had been part of swing, reggae and R&B bands as “just one of the guys.” But now with Alligator Beach, he is the main songwriter and sings about half the songs, along with Carol Hatchett.
“I consider myself more of a songwriter than a performer but … this is kind of putting everything together,” he said of Alligator Beach.
Keller added, “Just having this group of people to write for is my muse.”
“Throwin' a Party!” includes nine original songs and two covers including Led Zeppelin's “Whole Lotta Love” and “Fire on the Bayou” by The Meters.
“We switch them up and take them to New Orleans,” said Keller.
Alligator Beach, Keller said, has a regular gig at Harvelle's in Santa Monica the first Saturday of the month, where they perform two 90-minute sets. They also performed at the last Fiesta Hermosa on the main stage.
Alligator Beach performs at 7 p.m. at Saint Rocke on Aug. 24, followed by The Spazmatics at 8 p.m.
“We got them to bounce,” said Keller, of the crowd at Fiesta Hermosa, which he said is their goal for any gig.