Garage Boys roll in from Las Vegas, tune up for Lake Tahoe

Garage Boys
The Garage Boys are smoking and headed to Lake Tahoe for the 30th time.

The Garage Boys have the best of both worlds.

When they perform free casino shows, most bands play mostly cover songs. But the Las Vegas rock band is free to play original tunes. That formula bridged the Garage Boys to Sammy Hagar.

Garage Boys
The Garage Boys have gone back and forth from Las Vegas to Lake Tahoe so many times that the tour bus finally broke down somewhere near Tonopah, Nevada.

The Garage Boys were recommended to Hagar by Entertainment Manager Brian Chandler and Aaron Hagar, Sammy’s son and former manager of the Cabo Wabo Cantina Lake Tahoe at Harveys.

“The first thing he asked is if we played originals,” Garage Boys singer-guitarist Bryan Duffy said.

Hagar watched a Garage Boys set at Cabo Wabo and was impressed. The band has opened for Hagar’s shows the last two summers at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena.

“We should be back in August and if he asks again, we’ll play again,” Duffy said.

A native of Toronto, Duffy came to Las Vegas for a two-week gig and he never left. The Garage Boys were formed in 2006. Muscleman Mike Neufeld has a Mohawk and plays guitar. Drummer Craig Small shares lead singing duties with Duffy. Aaron Harris does everything else: bass, keyboards and production. The band has made an estimated 30 trips to Lake Tahoe, and its popularity has increased after opening for Hagar.

Duffy was recently in line to buy a bottle of Scotch when a man tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Hey, dude, I saw you open for Sammy last summer.”

It’s unusual for an independent band to open a major show. Usually the openers are with the same label as the headliner. But Hagar and the Garage Boys share an appreciation for cars and rock and roll.

“His crowd is fantastic to us,” Duffy said. “Sometimes you get a mixed reaction because they are so loyal to the headliner who they came to see, but his crowd is just excellent and after the show they come down to Cabo and we play his after-party.”

And anytime the Garage Boys play, it is indeed a party.

“We’re pretty much a tongue-in-cheek band,” Duffy said. “We don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

On Saturday, Feb. 11, the Garage Boys released a song and video, “We are Millennials,” a pop-punk taunt to youngsters “taking selfies of myself.” The band performs at a backyard pool party for a crowd more interested in their phones than the music.

Duffy said he wants to release a song and a video every six weeks to two months until summer, when the Garage Boys will release their third album. He said he recruits people to appear in videos through Facebook.

“Whoever shows up, we turn them into actors,” he said.

Last week, while Lake Tahoe was inundated with monumental rain and snowstorms, the Garage Boys camped in the desert, making a video with people dancing around a campfire in a conga line to the song “Love Light.”

The best of both worlds.

Related story: It’s a family jam with the Hagars and Kris Kristofferson. LINK

  • Garage Boys
    When: 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Cabo Wabo Cantina Lake Tahoe at Harveys and 10 p.m. Sunday at Harrah’s Center Stage

“We Are Millennials,” released Feb. 11, 2017

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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