140 Yards uses up-and-comer status to make a name for itself
by Bart Mendoza
Mar 21, 2013 | 3222 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Point Loma High’s 140 Yards is working hard to make a name for itself in the local scene. Courtesy photo
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There are few institutions in San Diego that have had as big an impact on music as Point Loma High School. Beginning in the late 1950s, the school has churned out a multitude of prominent musicians, including the likes of pianist Mike Wofford, several members of reggae rockers Slightly Stoopid, ace songwriter Carl Rusk of the Nashville Ramblers and Chicago frontman Jason Scheff.

The school is known for its music programs and continues to produce aspiring artists, including a reggae, ska and R&B band called 140 Yards, which performs at The Harp on March 24.

The seven-piece band includes frontman and guitarist Eddy Allen, lead guitarist Matt Alcantara, bassist Seth Irby, drummer Alex Allen, alto saxophonist Ilish Gedestad, soprano saxophonist Cole Van den Helder and tenor saxophonist Spencer Gedestad, all of whom are students at Point Loma High School, with the exception of Alcantara, who graduated last year.

Originally performing under the name Taco Tuesday, the band has been gigging for about six months, though the core of the group, the Allen brothers and Alcantara, have been playing together for two years. That is a considerable length of time when you consider that drummer Alex Allen — the youngest member of the band — is only 15 years old.

According to Alex, he’s not sure what the band’s current name really means, though it comes via a major celebrity.

“I don’t know. It’s kind of between our guitarist and Will Farrell,” Alex said. “Our guitarist, Matt, went golfing with Will Farrell out of luck. And that’s how the inside joke started.”

In truth, it was only natural that the Allen brothers found their way into a band. Alex points out he comes from a musical family. His mother was a bassist and his father was a guitarist. While a band with two brothers might seem rife for turmoil, as seen in such famous cases as the Gallagher brothers of Oasis and the Everly Brothers, Alex considers the situation to be quite the opposite in this case.

“Playing in a band with my brother is great,” Alex said. “We connect with each other musically because we live together. So we’re really tight.”

Ironically, though Alex is making his name as a drummer, that wasn’t his first option. “My mom wanted me to play piano as a kid, so I started out playing that . I didn’t really liked it much, so tried a bunch of different instruments. But I always wanted to play the drums and when I tried it, I loved it.”

Though the band occasionally throws in a cover tune like “Badfish” by Sublime or “Sissy Strut” by the Meters, 140 Yards is primarily about its original music, with inspiration taken from the likes of Slightly Stoopid and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. The band has recorded an EP’s worth of tunes, with more recording ahead.

Though Allen is just starting out in music, he said he likes what he’s experienced so far.

“Being a musician at 15 is great, because it’s one of the best creative outlets,” Allen said. “For all the creativity I have playing, drums are the main way that I get it all out, and it gives me something to do all the time, which is pretty cool.”

While he said he hopes 140 Yards continues its upward trajectory, Allen is also realistic.

“I love everybody in the band, and playing with them and everything. [But] I don’t have high expectations, even though I think a lot of our songs are really good. I’m just going to go with the flow. And if it gets big, that would be pretty cool,” he said.

• 140 Yards: Sunday, March 24 at The Harp, 4935 Newport Ave. 3 p.m. 21 and up. facebook.com/calirootsmusic
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