"We’re going to try to recruit all the stoners of the world to follow our band," proudly proclaims Jason Morales, guitarist of Tia Carrera. Like Phish and The Grateful Dead before him, Morlaes and his two bandmates thrash out powerfully terrifying grooves for hours upon the stage. Unlike their predecessors however, none of it is planned. "We never rehearse," confesses bassist Andrew Duplantis, and their live show proves it. Tia Carrera put new meaning to the term "jam band," crafting a scything line-up of bluesy, vintage and stoner rock…all improvised for your pleasure.
All music veterans, the trio of artists arrived into the 21st century still clasping their ‘90s grunge stylings, and refusing to let go. Jason Morales – raised in Olympia, Washington – played briefly with The Butthole Surfers and his own band Hell Trout, which played with Nirvana before Bleach. Hell Trout’s drummer Dave Foster even played for the fellow grungers before Chad Channing came along. Morales’ amp is even featured on the cover of Bleach. In addition to Tia Carrera, he also shreds ax in Migas and Gorch Fock.
Bass player Andrew Duplantis, hailing from Louisiana, has been very much an in-demand rhythm instrumentalist. Playing in over 40 bands since he first picked up a bass, including the Meat Puppets and Bob Mould, Duplantis brings with him the glue needed to fuse the talents of Morales and drummer Erik Conn. "I just feel it. It’s telepathy man," revels Conn. Playing for Roach Factory, Conn opened for Jesus Lizard, The Flaming Lips, Uncle Topuleo, and Mudhoney before joining up with Stick. It was Conn who proved the key middle man between Duplantis and Morales, gigging with them both and bringing them together at the suggestion of Duplantis
The group’s first gig – a benefit funding the construction of a skate park – was the trio’s first time playing together: raw, unrehearsed, and blistering. Concerned over the young skaters’ music tastes clashing with their style, Tia Carrera were surprised to find a different group applauding them. "The funniest thing was," recalls Morales, "I can remember playing and [the skaters’] parents all coming up and going ‘Yeah! These guys are playin’ some of that blues music…I saw Cream, and it was just like that!"
Since then, the group has been a regular at Room 710 in Austin, Texas. Each and every week, at 8:00 on Friday, the trio take the stage and throw out new jams…new even to them. "You don’t know where it’s going to go but it feels good," Morales claims of their songs. Duplantis agrees: "People really seem to lie it, because they’re not really songs. It’s not packaged into nice little two and half minute deliveries."
This quality makes for a thrilling and blazingly haunting live set, but making an entrance into the studio-world is difficult. Usually handing out free recordings of their live acts, Tia Carrera decided to record their first album. The November Session, released in 2003 and recorded in a single day, certainly got the critics talking. Rolling Stone magazine described it as containing "A-bomb quality, like the 1970s German band Guru Guru shredding Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Machine Gun’ at half-speed." The Austin Chronicle agreed, claiming the monstrous grooves are "like Hendrix firing up his axe while the Melvins pour kerosene on it…Tia Carrera will have you on your knees, begging darling please." Achieving a place on The Austin Chronicle’s Top 10 list of 2003, The November Session exposed a whole new demographic of music-lovers to Tia Carrera’s exposed and unabashed sound.
Their newest recording come out in 2007 within the Heaven / Hell EP, which features more of Tia Carrera’s blistering jam rock, with a few guest faces and always stepping closer to the power of their live act. Tia Carrera’s on-stage performance will always be the heart of the band. "It’s like a treasure," Conn muses, "You’re not looking for it, but lo and behold you find it, and it’s more beautiful than you ever imagined."