The Damn Times: Back in the day

by Brent Cole

Let’s take a little trip down memory lane, around 2002-03. Back then – like now – Bellingham was experiencing great local talent, with a good chunk of them then moving out of town for larger pastures. At the time, I thought, Bellingham is a beautiful town, so why can’t bands just make music here and grow the scene?! During this time, I heard of a really cool Austin, TX rock ‘n’ roller moving to town and I was elated; so many had been moving away, but this guy (and not college aged) was moving here! This was a start, I thought, Bellingham would start attracting musicians – a sign of things to come! Well, while the wave of musicians didn’t exactly flood the area (it’s much better than it used to be), I still look back with fondness of when Ryan Anderson, that rock ‘n’ roller from Austin, moved to Bellingham.

Fast forward to today, and Ryan is back in Austin, again playing in The Damn Times, the high octane rock ‘n’ roll band he had before moving to Bellingham. Thankfully, Bellingham is included in their fall tour and they’ll be making a stop at The Shakedown on Sept. 16.

The Damn Times began in the late 90s. “We were playing a show in Austin and at an after party I met up with some old Austin friends, Coby Cardosa (drums) Chad Nichols (guitar) and one of Chad’s good friends from Detroit, Jeff Linton (bass). After a long night and many, many beers, we all decided that night we would be one day be a band,” he said.

In the spring of 2000, Ryan and his wife moved to Austin and within a week, he and Chad were writing songs.

A couple of years later, The Damn Times were on tour and played Bellingham with Deadbolt and The Lords of Altamont. As luck would have it, Ryan’s best friend had moved to town a few years earlier. “I fell in love with the town,” he said, noting he and his wife Jenny came back shortly after to visit their friend and both decided to make the move. “It also helped that at that time Bellingham was much cheaper than Austin. I could afford to open a recording studio and Jenny landed a good job with the county. So after two years of hitting it real hard with The Damn Times it was time to call it quits.”

It didn’t take long for Ryan to become an integral part of the rock scene, doing sound at the 3B Tavern and opening his own studio while also playing in 76 Charger. However, as the town shifted through the early 2000s, the 3B closed and recording gigs were drying up, so Ryan decided to hit the road, heading back to Austin.

After his return, Chad contacted Ryan about doing a Damn Times set for his birthday in his backyard. The party was busted by the police and moved to a club. “So after a great show and more beers we all decided to do it again sometime. And so it kinda snowballed from there,” he said. “A couple years later Jeff moved back to Detroit so the shows slowed down, but we still try to play a few local shows a year and do at least one small tour.”

This year their tour brings the band back out west – older, but not wiser, according to Ryan. “Since we started playing shows again, we all have a much more laid back attitude towards the band,” he said. “We only play shows a few times a year now, so we try to make them as fun as we can and play with friends and bands from BITD (Back In The Day). We still play shows like we are 21 years old, but now we just hurt a lot more in the morning.”

See The Damn Times perform Sept. 16 at The Shakedown. Check out their Facebook page for more information.