Life is so very interesting, there’s no real way to measure the people you meet. You know, the ones who will stay and the ones who will go. Yet, as the Fates would have it, for some reason, there are those chance encounters that last a lifetime. It was 1995, and like in a John Hughes film, let’s say Pretty in Pink or 16 Candles, I walked into a record store in Downtown Fullerton called Nothing Shocking. I was a teenager that just got my first job at Skratch Magazine as a photographer. So I had to look cool and have cool tunes on me. Needless to say, I was looking for something, anything interesting. I was just getting into music, and tongue piercings were all the rage, so something had to give. Somehow, the universe was looking out for me and I was approached by the store manager, he was very mild-mannered young man named Efrem.
Everyone’s favorite record Store from back in the day
With a big smile, he introduced himself, he said “Hi, my name is Efrem Schulz, how can I help you?” Oddly enough, I normally wouldn’t have talked to a sales guy, but he was so nice, and I found myself having a great chat with him about music. We got to talking and I told him I was looking for a tongue ring or that CD by Crash Test Dummies, that mmm mmm mmm mmm song. Efrem looked at me, smiled and just shook his head. I left the store with no tongue piercing, luckily no Crash Test Dummies CD, but I did leave with a new interest in a band called Limp Bizkit. In 2020, Efrem and I remain friends, and we still talk about music. NOW, it’s about uber-cool tunes.
Efram in 1996 playing with a band called Kleenex at Koo’s Cafe in Santa Ana | Photo by Rachael Contreras
Not long after that chance encounter with Efrem Shultz, he started a band in 1998 called Death By Stereo [“DBS“]. It’s hard to believe that after all these years, DBS is still taking names and kicking-ass. They have six full length-albums under their belt, and they have another due out shortly. Efrem’s also part of Manic Hispanic, and he’s also the lead singer in Voodoo Glow Skulls.
Rejected from the Tribute Album, Hooligans United
The thing about Efrem and the guys in DBS is they all have a great sense of humor. After all, they named themselves after a Corey Haim line in The Lost Boys…. “Death By Stereo!” Kinda like Save Ferris, but not really. So fast forward to 2020, it’s brought DBS a million shows, two whirlwind European tours, an equipment theft during one of those tours and many hours in the studio to record their newest album.
Each member of DBS has an extensive list of side projects including but not limited to being in other very successful touring bands, a clothing company, a skate shop, a podcast, a move across the globe and families. How these five guys find the time to keep the momentum going together after twenty (plus) years proves their love for the music, each other and their fans.
Like any band with longevity, there have been some changes over the years, but the core lineup is intact. DBS today consists of Efrem “The Bean” Schulz (lead vocals), Dan “The Mustache” Palmer (lead guitar), JP “The Kid” Gericke (rhythm guitar), Robert “Robbo” Madrigal (bass), and “Turkish” Mike Cambra(Drums). Collectively the band is simply electrifying.
Never Ending from the album titled, Just Like You’d Leave Us, We’ve Left You for Dead
I caught up with my my dear friend Efrem last Sunday at the TNN RADIO / KXFM studio in Laguna Beach. I’m happy to say he’s that same funny guy I met so many years ago. He’s always happy and you can feel his smile even through a phone call. We talked about DBS and what they’re up to. He told us we could expect the new album to be out in June. This will be their latest album since the 2016 release of “Just Like You’d Leave Us, We’ve Left You for Dead”. No word yet on what the new album will be titled or how many tracks we’ll be enjoying.
Efrem went on to say the new album is going to be varied, and he’s stoked to have everyone hear it. DBS is playing at the Slidebar in Fullerton with friends Tsunami Bomb, Toxic Energy and Ursula on Thursday, January 23 and the Viper Room on Friday, January 24, then on to more North American tour dates including Mexico in February. They’ll also be joining Strung Out on their 30th anniversary tour through Canada this Spring.
The thing about DBS is their music is loud, it’s dynamic and bone crushing at times. They are sincere and genuine musicians who connect with their fans. If you want to be truly entertained, check these guys out. Look for their music too when you walk into your next record store… or online. After all, DBS is living proof of that good ole saying that those who wander are not always lost.