The group hails from Pittsburgh, but Don Caballero has strong ties to the Detroit area — including recording up this way and releasing an early single, 1993’s “Andandand...,” on the local Third Gear label.
So when it came time to record its new album, the band decided to spend a week in April at Rustbelt Studios in Ferndale with engineer Al Sutton.
“It has something to do with Al being better than he’s ever been before — and us too, maybe, at least in a mature sense,” explains drummer Damon Che Fitzgerald, who co-founded Don Caballero in 1991 and is the sole remaining original member.
“We don’t have the ferocious 20-something thing going for us anymore, but we’re still pretty ferocious — and seasoned at it. And I feel the same way about Al’s mixing and recording. It was really a case of both of us getting much better over time.”
“Punkgasm,” the second release by the latest incarnation of Don Caballero, takes the band in a variety of new directions and includes elements that it’s never used before — including vocals and saxophone, though Fitzgerald points out that “everybody talks about the vocals and nobody mentions the saxophone.”
But, he adds, evolution simply comes natural to the troupe.
“There’s a responsibility of trying to make your next record better than the last one,” Fitzgerald notes. “We’ve never been good at just being loafers. When we commit to something, there’s a real strong sense of, ‘Yeah, let’s make this blow the last one away.’
“It’s like anything else — building a better bridge, making a better widget, whatever. If you commit to that with that goal in mind and keep your focus there, it works.”
Don Caballero performs Friday (Aug. 29) at the Pike Room in the Crofoot complex, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8. Call (248) 858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.
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