ACIDIC: Local teen rock band makes waves in music; plays over 50 gigs a year

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“Here. You’re going to need these,” says a salt-and-pepper haired band manager, Mary Lyon, as she hands out orange ear plugs, “we get real loud in here,” she boasts.

In a closet-like rehearsal space at the end of an oddly-scented hallway complete with brown shag carpet and asylum like fluorescent lighting, the exuberant bandmates of ACIDIC can be heard quoting the mockumentary, Spinal Tap, and having all-night jam sessions. Sandwiched between other bands renting rooms in the Culver City commercial space, ACIDIC finds themselves trying to compete with their neighbors: an all-girl Goth screamo band and a Michael Jackson enthusiast.


(L-R) ACIDIC bandmembers: Drummer Matt Whitaker, lead singer/guitarist Mike Gossard, bassist bassist Ted Dubrawski. Photo: Courtesy ACIDIC

“The walls are about this thin,” gestures 19-year-old bassist Ted Dubrawski, “but luckily, we go up to 11,” he laughs. Along with their 11 point speakers their rehearsal space houses racks of guitars, loose wires, spray painted decor and haphazard blue painter’s tape securing sketches, lyrics, set lists etc., to the gray walls.

Huddled in a circle with their instruments 17-year- old lead singer, guitarist and main song writer, Mike Gossard, guides his band into rehearsal with a lively rendition of The Beatles’ “Come Together,” subconsciously attempting to prove their legitimacy as a young band.


Crespi Carmelite senior, Mike Gossard, is the lead singer, guitarist and song writer for ACIDIC. Photo: Ani Okkasian

Drummer Matt Whitaker, a Loyola Marymount student and oldest of the group at 19, executes the song with such precision and strength it’s hard to imagine the tenacious teen battling childhood leukemia , which left him relying on his miniature custom drum kit for a much-needed distraction.

Gossard , who is currently a senior at Crespi Carmelite High School in Tarzana, also got an early start in music. “He picked up a guitar at the age of 3 and did this weird Pete Townshend, Elvis thing,” chuckles manager/mother Mary Lyon, “Sometimes you just see talent manifest itself.” Since then Gossard grew up making music his primary focus: getting involved in music videos, musical theater, and even opening up for the Misfits and Blue Oyster Cult while playing in various bands before ACIDIC.


ACIDIC drummer Matt Whitaker is a Loyola Marymount student. Photo: Ani Okkasian

Dubrawski, a recent Crespi  graduate,  also had a musical career before their current band playing bass with a death metal group performing at Whisky a Go Go and the Knitting Factory. When not on stage, or rehearsing barefoot, you can find the tattoo-clad, platinum blonde surfer catching some waves before he starts his semester at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood this fall. Their musical background is evident in their live performances.

Mike Thompson, a sweet-tempered 19-year-old guitarist trying out with the band to become a possible fourth member can see it, “They are 3 of the most talented musicians I’ve played with and I’ve played with some older musicians before.” The jury is still out on if Thompson is cut out for a band that practices every single night for the past year and a half straight. “There have been 14 people in this band and three of them ended up in rehab,” Whitaker amuses himself. “As the songs get tighter you give yourself license to develop your stage presence,” says a wise beyond his years Gossard.

After 51 live shows in the last 52 weeks or so, they have perfected a high energy performance style that they affectionately refer to as “seizure tactics.”


ACIDIC bassist Ted Dubrawski is a recent Crespi Carmelite graduate and will be attending the Musician's Institute in Hollywood. Photo: Ani Okkasian

“When I’m on stage I don’t remember anything,” explains Dubrawski, “I only remember when I mess up and when I get on and off.” Though they get a good response from their audience, the members of ACIDIC are far more critical of their performance, “there’s only been two times where I thought we had a great show,” the bassist states. Even in a near perfect rehearsal set earlier in the evening, which included a bold attempt on a Beatles classic, ACIDIC lost steam and botched one of their own songs reminding the audience that they are still a young band.

Despite their young age, the bandmates are well aware of what it takes to make it in the business and are willing to put in the work and then some. ACIDIC shows their soft side by playing at leukemia charity events and also donated half the proceeds from their debut album, “Ironic Dreams” to the East Valley Animal Shelter which took in animals from the Sylmar fire.

In a short time, ACIDIC has built a rapidly growing fan base, while crafting a reputation of a band needed to be seen live. Their singles “Break me Down” and “Strata Red” can be heard on radio stations across the country. To catch them live, check out the Cobalt Cafe in Canoga Park on September 5th and the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills on September 6th.

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Ani Okkasian is the Valley Field Deputy for LAUSD Board Member Tamar Galatzan. She is also a freelance writer and photographer. She has a  degree in Communications from Woodbury University.

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Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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