VACAVILLE — Leave it to Bob Vollmer – aka “Downtown Bob” – to peg the May 30 concert in Town Square as a “coptivating evening.”
Vollmer, who heads up the Downtown Vacaville Business Improvement District, has again recruited Rust Bucket and The Fellas for the annual concert series.
The theme comes from the fact three members of Rust Bucket are Vacaville police officers. Also in the band is the 10-year-old son of one of the officers, and a former Vacaville firefighter.
The Fellas features Vacaville police officer Dale Hogg on vocals and guitars.
Rust Bucket brings multiple genres into its performances, from AC/DC and Van Halen to country music and their own tunes penned by member Bob Horel.
“It all sounds like us,” Horel said.
“No one else could replicate us,” said Shawn Windham.
The lineup also includes former Vacaville firefighter, now Chevron refinery battalion chief, Grant Tokiwa, as well as Vacaville Police Lt. Ian Schmutzler and his 10-year-old son, Collin Schmutzler.
There was talk of calling the band Guns and Hoses, but the moniker was already being used as part of the Sacramento Pig Bowl football game that pits first responders against each other to raise money for charity.
Rust Bucket does the same without tossing the football. They play charity shows and ask for “donations of hops and barley” for the other gigs.
The band’s name was inspired by an old muscle car that lead guitarist and singer Horel saw.
“One that looks ugly but runs good,” he said.
Original songs are sometimes inspired by on-the-job experiences.
“I was looking for an outlet,” said Horel, who pens the tunes. Putting them on paper and then getting to perform them are great ways to relieve stress, band members said.
Some tunes, such as “Back to the Bar,” show the lighter side of life. It’s done in the style of an Irish punk song, Horel said.
Collin Schmutzler joined the band about a year after tagging along with his dad to practices.
“We got him before anyone else did,” Tokiwa said of the young recruit who loves to sing Blink 182’s “All the Small Things.”
Band members got involved with music in their youth.
Ian Schmutzler began playing drums in elementary school.
Horel still remembers the name of his high school band teacher in Woodland. He played the tuba, but decided it was too heavy to carry in parades and switched to bass.
Tokiwa was mentored by Les Claypool, who sings lead and plays bass in Primus.
Windham picked up the guitar when he was about 12. Before that he played trumpet.
Rust Bucket is more about having fun, band members said.
“We do it because we like it,” Horel said.
“There’s no performance pressure,” Ian Schmutzler said.
They chuckle at the idea of having a regular practice time, since their schedules rarely coordinate. It seems easier to get together knowing there’s a show coming up, Horel said.
The band has recorded a CD. Horel said, in jest, they only have to give out 49,500 more copies to be certified gold.
Horel is an 18-year veteran with the Vacaville Police Department. Windham has been there 21 years. Schmutzler joined the department in 2000 after serving in Oakland.
Tokiwa was with the Vacaville Fire Department almost 13 years.
Horel, Ian Schmutzler and Windham said they see more friendly faces in the audience than ones they have had to deal with on a professional level. Their colleagues, family and friends always show up, band members said.
“The more you drink, the better we sound,” Horel said.
The Fellas is a blues-rock band that lists Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimi Hendrix as major influences, along with classic sounds of the 1960s and 1970s.
“In all, the guys just want to entertain and have people feel the love that each member has for music as a whole,” the band’s bio reads.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org.