Appearing at Soda Bar on Jan. 3, the band is based around the core of Pennsylvania high school friends Danny Tatulli (bass) and John Langan (guitar), now with West Coast additions drummer Branden Josefosky and pianist Ezekiel Parnow, the impetus for coming to San Diego in 2009 was simply the need for change.
“Take a trip to Pennsylvania in December if you want to see why we didn’t stay there,” Tatulli joked. “John hit pretty much every city in the U.S., and San Diego was his favorite. From what I’ve seen, I’d have to agree.”
The pair had a band in Pennyslvania.
“But there’s a time in every kid’s life, or at least in ours, when you say, ‘OK, I can do what everyone else in this town does,’” he said. “Get a job that I can eventually convince myself I like, find someone who doesn’t find me too annoying and perpetuate the human race. Or I can take a gamble. I can go against the grain and have an adventure.”
Meanwhile, musical partner Langan said he had his heart set on the second path. Almost immediately after graduating from Penn State, he hit the road with no real end goal outside of heading west.
At the same time, Tatulli was knee deep in the first path.
“I had a cushy job, was a family man, but I knew I wanted more. When John called preaching the good news about San Diego, I went with the red pill. Long story short, the beach towns have been our stomping grounds — more specifically Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach.”
He admits there was a bit of culture shock in the relocation. It wasn’t musical, though.
“Californians can’t drive,” he said. “No offense guys, but if you have trouble believing this statement, take a ride on the Interstate 8 or State Route 163 during rush hour. Other than that, it’s been great.”
He said it was difficult having no connections and starting from the ground when they first arrived, “But the friendliness of the locals has made it a lot easier on us.”
Though it wasn’t a factor in his move, Tatulli’s earliest musical influence was through his family and local hero Blink 182 bassist Mark Hoppus.
“My father was a drummer, so I always had that urge to tap my foot to any beat,” he said. “I think that’s why bass was perfect, for its rhythmic purposes. I really started listening to music in my early teens. Blink 182 played a huge role in it. From there, I picked up a bass and it just felt right. Later in life, I started branching out of the pop punk scene into bands like The Beatles and Queen.”
The band released its debut album, “All In,” earlier this year, with a wish list for 2014 that includes touring, a music video and “radio play in places besides San Diego,” said Tatulli. “We’re not quite sure on how all of this will be happening, but that’s what the new year is all about.”
The past year saw the band release its debut album, as well as play major venues such as the Casbah and Belly Up.
“We’re looking to ride that momentum into 2014 and keep chugging along,” Tatulli said. “As long as we are having fun, that’s all that matters.”
He said there are also side projects like the Ezekiel Jay Band, which will also keep band members busy.
Happy in his new home on the West Coast, Tatulli said he appreciates his positive experiences, but considers the journey to that gig or album release more important than the success of it.
“John and I were actually talking about this the other day,” Tatulli said. “It’s all about the chase. And by that, we are talking about the whole process of creating a song and all of the term oil that goes along with it. To finally get the finished product out and to have people thoroughly enjoy it, that’s just icing on the cake.”
• Danny and the Tramp: performs at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 3 at Soda Bar, 3615 El Cajon Blvd. 21 and up. $7. www.sodabarmusic.com