Editor’s note: The Cash Only Band plays at 8 p.m. at McP’s Pub on Saturdays. The band will play from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18 and 25 at the Beacon in South Lake Tahoe. It will appear Friday, Sept. 23 at Battle Born Harley Davidson in Carson City from 5 to 8 p.m.
After two years of transition, South Lake Tahoe’s Cash Only Band has a new lineup and a full season of live country music ahead.
Don’t let the name fool you: Cash Only Band plays a lot more than Johnny Cash tunes.
“We’re doing a wide variety of stuff now,” frontman Davin Kangas said. “We’ll do everything from Hank Williams to Black Sabbath, including modern country stuff by Jason Aldean or Kenny Chesney.”
Kangas formed Cash Only Band in 2002, with the original intent of creating a Johnny Cash cover band to support a cause near and dear to the guitarist’s heart.
“My son was born in 1998, he was born with cystic fibrosis,” Kangas said. “I used to play in punk rock bands and stuff like that. When he was born I took a couple of years off. When I started up again, I wanted to do something a little bit more family oriented.”
Kangas and Cash Only made music, not only to raise money for Dallas Kangas, but for the greater fight against cystic fibrosis, playing at and promoting a variety of fundraising events over the years. Last year’s Great Strides Walk for Cystic Fibrosis raised about $50,000 on a group hike from the Stagecoach ski area to the Big Meadow trailhead, Kangas said.
While he originally chose Cash’s music because of its broad-based, family friendly appeal, the band’s repertoire has branched out far afield.
“Over the years now it’s turned into what I call an interpretation of Johnny Cash music, outlaw country and rock. I think the coolest thing that we’ve heard is that random people will come up and say that they didn’t like country music,” Kangas said. “They couldn’t stand country music, that was their whole thing — ‘but now that we’ve seen you guys, we like country.’
“They say they appreciate the old music that we’re doing, the Johnny Cash, the outlaw country stuff as opposed to what they’re hearing on the radio these days,” he said.
The group primarily plays cover tunes, but Kangas does feature a few originals, often closing out shows with his tune “Bye Bye Baby.”
Cash Only Band has been a familiar fixture at a number of venues around South Shore, just wrapping up an eight-year run of Monday night shows at Cabo Wabo in Harveys.
The group has undergone some membership changes in the last two years, now appearing as a trio or four piece comprised of Kangas (guitar, vocals), Ray-Bob Bowman (steel guitar, bass), Greg Noonberg (bass), and Steve Roberts, Michael Kalmar or Danny Barnes on drums.
Cash Only Band has had a busy winter thus far, playing Saturday nights at McP’s Taphouse Grill along with the regular Cabo Wabo gig. Cash Only Band also performed New Years Eve at Hard Rock Café in Harveys.
“It was a big party, the place was packed, it was a lot of fun,” Kangas said. “They treated us like rock stars, rolled out the red carpet.”
One of the act’s main goals is to play free shows .
“We like to play where they don’t have a cover, we hate to have the audience pay,” Kangas said. “A cover just scares people away sometimes.”
Cash Only Band had a fun-filled summer
“I’m really excited and happy where the band is going, we’re looking forward to playing the Beacon this summer and things like that,” Kangas said, noting that the group is also working on expanding into the Carson City and Reno areas.
“Whiskey Dicks is a place where we can let loose; we’ll bust into Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath and all that crazy stuff,” Kangas said. “It’s a place where we can get away with that stuff; get a little rowdy down there.”
Cash Only Band is also hoping to tackle some home recording with the new lineup in 2016.
“Whatever we do record is going to be available for free,” Kangas said. “We’re not going to charge anything because we just want to get the music out there.”
Contact Kangas on his Facebook page to book shows.