It's 6 o'clock on a Monday evening, and Dallas surf punk quartet Loafers are about to start their 5 o'clock band practice as soon as their drummer Adam Locklear arrives. This particular evening is set to be a short practice. The band just wants to run through the set in preparation for their first show of the year on Friday night at Three Links, part of the venue's Staff Infection Weekend celebrating all the bands that the bar's staff members (like Locklear) play in. The night will also correspond with the long-awaited release of Loafers' new digital 7” So Hard — which the band believed would never see the light of day.
Locklear arrives in the light drizzling rain with sleep still in his eyes and sets up quickly. The band runs through a few songs, including So Hard's title track, before pausing to tell the troubling story behind the album's recording.
"We had studio time set up with David Wilson at Echo Lab," lead singer and guitarist Eric Vaughn Eisenman remembers of that day in the summer of 2018. "We were all set to go, and then our old drummer texted us at like 8 in the morning, the day we're supposed to go — after we'd already missed the day before — and he just says 'I quit.'"
"We were basically left wide open," adds lead guitarist Taylor Smith. "We had paid for this recording time with David, who was a dear friend and we felt bad for already missing one day. So, we hit up our best friend Charlie DeBolt from Upsetting, Doomfall, Soggy and Springtime and the Changes."
Always ready to help out a friend in need, and sympathetic to the band's predicament, DeBolt showed up with all of his gear and a box of cinnamon rolls from his job at Seven Mile Café in Denton. The two songs were recorded that day and DeBolt stayed on as an honorary member for the week while they searched for a new drummer, so the band wouldn't have to cancel a show that was scheduled.
"We were going through an involuntary lineup change, and that's why we have avoided putting these out so far," Eisenman says. "What do we do with these two Charlie songs? We had to put them out. David recorded them and then Jordan Richardson mastered them."
The Loafers sat with two great songs recorded by great people as the band's future hung in the balance.
Had Locklear been awake earlier the morning of the recording, his entry into the band would have come sooner, but he didn't have too long to wait.
"I had not-so-secretly been waiting for an opportunity like that. I had been wanting to play with them for months, because you could kind of see some of the writing on the wall." — Adam Locklear
"I had not-so-secretly been waiting for an opportunity like that," Locklear says. "I had been wanting to play with them for months, because you could kind of see some of the writing on the wall."
Since Locklear joined the band, Loafers have stayed more or less dormant, playing the occasional support gig, releasing a demo here and a couple of tracks from their Bobby EP recording sessions there, doing anything they could to stay relevant while they worked on new material with their new drummer.
"We're trying to write," Eisenman says. "We've got it in, like, a Crockpot. It's going to be really good stuff. It's just taking for-fucking-ever, right?"
Eisenman and bass player Savannah Loftin both work at The Nines in Deep Ellum, which is closed on Mondays, making it the perfect time and space for the band to get together, practice and plan for what's next.
"We're trying to write at least one song every practice or at least like the bones of it," Smith says. "We're just going to jam more than anything, which we need."
What better place to find their relevance than in their other creations? Despite their band's name, Loafers have been hard at work making serious business out of their band and their Dallas Observer Music Award-nominated Barf Wave record label and their DOMA award-winning monthly DJ night, Barf Wave Plays the Hits, where musicians from local bands take turns spinning their favorite songs in short sets.
"It's made us focus more on Barf Wave, and maybe less on Loafers," Eisenman says of all the accolades the label has received in the last two years. "That's just because there's more people relying on us. I never want to not do a good job here.
"This year we'll shift our focus more towards Loafers and put some more time into that," he continues. "It's a juggling act. We're too lazy to do it all well at once."