When I turn 21 ... 

Even Jagermeister reps give Black Tide hassle for being young

Dont ask Black Tide whether they cover Skid Rows Youth - Gone Wild. Trust us. Just dont.
  • Dont ask Black Tide whether they cover Skid Rows Youth Gone Wild. Trust us. Just dont.

It's three days since the release of Black Tide's first full-length album, and bassist Zakk Sandler is already getting kinda sick of hearing everyone talk about how young the band is.

"It's getting a little annoying," Sandler says. "I mean, it's cool or whatever. But after hearing about it for the 10,000th time, it's like, forget it, we know."

As talented as the four guys in Black Tide have proven themselves to be, their youth is going to drive their storyline, at least for a while. Sandler is the second-oldest member of the band. He's 19. Steven Spence, the drummer, is the band's oldest member. He turned 20 on March 20. Guitarist Alex Nunez is 18, and lead singer Gabriel Garcia is only 15.

But they don't play like toddlers. On Light from Above, which was released March 18, it seems Black Tide is aiming to scream its way into legitimacy.

"I'm a shockwave and I'll take your fucking life," Garcia screams on the opening track. "Don't mess with me / I'm a shockwave ready to kill." To hear it from a 15-year-old, well ... it's kinda cute, in that we're-so-proud-of-you sort of way.

Regardless, it's a promising debut musically. Black Tide's sound is a return to the '80s speed metal of Metallica and Megadeth, if with a more mainstream tilt. Black Tide even covers Metallica's "Hit the Lights" on Light from Above.

The members are from Miami not exactly a thrash hotspot and met each other through school. All have dropped out since, except for Garcia, who takes classes online. And together, they've achieved an enviable level of success. They're signed to giant Interscope Records, and "Shockwave" has been released on the video game Rock Band as a downloadable song.

"I'm pretty bad at the guitar part," Sandler says. "But I can play bass on expert [level]. It's much easier in real life."

Black Tide has also played at Ozzfest, where a minor mix-up almost halted its set. The band was scheduled to play on Stage Two, which was the stage Jgermeister sponsored. When the liquor company learned that none of the band's members were of-age, they banned them from performing.

"Sharon [Osbourne] was like, "That's bullshit,' so then we got to play on the main stage," Sandler says. "Jger didn't want to look like they were endorsing underage drinking. God forbid; if we play on their stage, it means we must drink their stuff."

Not that they, well, don't drink it. The group had its CD release party March 20.

"It was pretty insane," Sandler says. "I don't remember much."

Because of some Jger?

"No," he says. "Oh wait, yeah, I did have some."

On tour at bars, people have gotten good at looking the other way.

"There's still restrictions," he says. "It's not like we're drinking on the bus every day."

Either way, Black Tide is living the life its members have always dreamed. Even when the band first got together, the members had hopes of getting a record deal and touring for a living. Now, they are.

"We really wanted to do this," Sandler says. "We set our mind to it. This is what we wanted to do, and, at least at the moment, it's been possible."


Black Tide, with S.T.E.P. and Bohemian Grave
The Black Sheep, 2106 E. Platte Ave.
Sunday, March 30, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $9.43-$10, all ages; visit sodajerkpresents.com.


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