Velvateen’s rising recognition in the backyard scene

Former alumni, Jacob Jimenez and drummer Mark Jarrett form their band Velvateen. The band incorporates elements of classic rock and rhythms of heavy metal. Photo credit: Courtesy of the Velvateen's.

Courtesy of the Velvateen's

Former alumni, Jacob Jimenez and drummer Mark Jarrett form their band Velvateen. The band incorporates elements of classic rock and rhythms of heavy metal. Photo credit: Courtesy of the Velvateen's.

Rebecca Aguila, Staff writer

Cerritos College alumni Jacob Jimenez, gives the audience a hardcore tune with his newly-created band entitled Velvateen.

The garage rock band creates this raw and classic rock-and-roll sound, with only two people in the band.

Jimenez, guitar player and lead singer, and drummer Mark Jarrett, have been performing at numerous bar venues and backyard shows, with their audience growing bigger and bigger with each performance.

Jimenez and Jarrett’s main fanbase are those that are attendees of the backyard show scene, due to its recent decline in areas where they were ultimately popular.

Backyard shows are known to have local bands perform and vendors sell their merchandise with occasional food vendors selling bacon-wrapped hot dogs.

It gives teenagers a chance to experience the true form of a mini concert right in their own neighborhood, instead of having to wait to turn +21 to enter venues and bars to see their favorite bands.

“Ever since The Red Pears left the scene and gained recognition, nobody does backyard shows in La Puente, El Monte or Covina anymore,” says Jimenez.

The Red Pears are an indie/alternative band based in El Monte,, from which they started out as every other local band by performing at small backyard shows.

The two musicians do not want to create generic cliche lyrics and only wish to produce poetic material.

It’s Jimenez who usually writes song lyrics.

“It can go both ways when it comes to the song process,” says Jimenez, “I can either create a tune and write the lyrics, or I can write the lyrics and create the correct vibe and tune with it.”

Jarrett is heavily into Rob Zombie and the famous indie band, The Drums.

“I like The Drums because they have a really unique sound and style,” says Jarrett.

Jimenez on the other hand, is heavily influenced by Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Queens of the Stone Age.”

“I found my dad’s “Slowhand” record by Eric Clapton, from the band Cream, and I loved the way how he painted pictures with his words,” says Jimenez.

Jimenez was inspired to create because he “enjoyed seeing other musicians garner attention from so many people.”

The band name is really creative as Jimenez explains the creation of coming up with the name Velvateen.

“Velvet is a fabric and teen is youth, so in other words it’s the fabric that keeps the youth together,” says Jimenez.

The sound they are aiming at is a hardcore fusion between some elements of classic rock and rhythms of heavy metal.

To achieve that desired sound, Jacob usually uses petals to alter he sounds on his guitar which also gives him a bass effect.

“We don’t necessarily want a bassist because it’ll alter our desired sound in a way that we don’t want,” says Jimenez.

One of their best shows was called “Rad Punks Show” in Rialto, California. A backyard venue where the pit was going and the dirt was flowing.

Although, the backyard was covered in loose dry dirt, it gave a really nice effect once the lights were shinning through the mist of dirt.

The cops eventually came to shut it down due to multiple disturbance calls.

Jimenez, the clown of the band, amusingly offers one of the deputies to join in the pit and the response was shocking.

Jimenez states that deputy replied saying, “I would’ve joined in if only it would have been ten years ago!”

To them that was the highlight and the most memorable experience together.

Their journey as musicians actually started out very young.

Jarrett, for instance, was always fascinated with the sound of drumming.

“I began listening to drummers and wondered how they did it,” says Jarrett, “I then started to take it seriously.”

Jarrett’s mom actually put him into private drumming lessons and did drum line in middle school and high school.

As a junior in high school, Jimenez decided to personally teach himself the guitar and ever since then he has excelled in his dynamics and skill.

During Jimenez’s time at Cerritos College, he gave out business cards and fliers to classmates who seemed they were into the backyard gig scene.

Jimenez would even hang out by the music department to check out other guitarists to get pointers or to learn how to do a certain riff.

The band has ultimately received a lot of support from Jimenez’s father, Frank Jimenez, the Southern California music scene and girlfriend, Leslie Acuña.

Acuña actually designed the current band logo of their T-shirts.

Jimenez states, “I’m proud of them. I enjoy coming to their shows and jamming out with them.”

Jimenez believes his son Jacob is going to take his music producing abilities somewhere and grow bigger with fan-base over time.

Frank Jimenez would occasionally get the pit going and attend the shows from where the band was performing.

The southern California scene has helped them with the gaining of their audience and the ability to perform in a great venue.

Jarrett has received a lot of support from his family and Jimenez.

“I can write and create my own music without Jacob judging me,” said Jarrett.

Velvateen has even performed at the famous Whisky a Go Go from which sought-out bands such as The Beatles, The Doors and Nirvana have performed.

Their advice for upcoming bands is to simply just do it and to have fun.