“Oh, yeah! I love that song!”
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Lost In Suburbia bandmates Eddie Otero, Chris Gartner, John Amarillo and Alan Boucher never get tired of those words. Considering their specialty — 1980s and ’90s rock — they hear them often. What usually follows is a crowded dance floor rockin’ out to Billy Idol, Radiohead and U2.
Since February 2011 the El Dorado Hills-based band has entertained crowds at everything from an elementary school festival to the El Dorado Saloon.
“We came together and had the same idea … not to do the same ‘classic’ rock,” said Boucher, adding that he means no disrespect to the music of the 1960s and ’70s.
The band formed, literally, in Boucher’s living room. Boucher and Otero had played together before and brought in friend Gartner. Amarillo answered a craigslist ad and said he feels so lucky “that I got to meet these guys.”
“We got together in my house in Serrano but decided band practice wouldn’t play well in the neighborhood,” Boucher said. So the group rented a rehearsal space in the El Dorado Hills Business Park, “helping the local economy,” he noted.
And about that name?
“We had everything from X-rated to G-rated,” said Otero, regarding the band’s name ideas.
Then the men got to talking about their lives, “playing rock ‘n’ roll and changing diapers,” as Otero put it. “We are long-time musicians stuck in the suburbs,” Boucher explained. “We are Lost In Suburbia … and it stuck.”
Meet the band
John Amarillo (Jean Grootjans) — The 45-year-old lead guitarist originally from Belgium but currently living in Sacramento is an interpreter and houseman. He’s been playing guitar for more than 30 years and recently brought his prized Gibson over the Atlantic from Belgium.
Alan Boucher — The 52-year-old percussionist is director of a software engineering company and lives in El Dorado Hills. He’s been behind the drums for almost 30 years and previously played in another local band.
Chris Gartner — The 45-year-old bass guitarist and background vocalist is a daytime engineer who lives in Sacramento. He picked up a bass six years ago and never wants to put it down, even if he does suffer from some stage fright now and then.
Eddie Otero — The 40-year-old lead singer and rhythm guitarist lives in El Dorado Hills. Otero picked up a mircophone at age 5 and added the guitar to his talents some 20 years ago. He works as a contractor when he’s not busy downloading song lyrics into his iPad.
Save live music
“We show up. We’re professional and play for the crowd,” Boucher said, adding that the band feeds off the energy of its audience.
No one has a rockstar’s ego in this band. They just want to play music that will fill the dance floor and maybe inspire some good memories. At a recent rehearsal the band performed “Jealousy” by the Gin Blossoms for this reporter and I couldn’t help but remember all the great times I had in high school, riding in my friend’s car down Sunrise Boulevard in Rancho Cordova.
“Music is like a language,” Amarillo said.
Lost In Suburbia’s members describe the band’s sytle as “covers of covers.” They look at some of their favorite cover bands’ work and recreate it with some of their own flair. They also venture beyond the ’80s and ’90s, playing some of today’s great rock hits from Coldplay and Muse.
The band’s grateful for the support the community has given them and other local bands, Otero said. El Dorado Hills is known for it’s well-attended community concerts.
“We’re huge advocates of saving live music,” Otero said. “Keep supporting that whether it’s us or another live band.”