Tyson Evans was 16 when he started a punk band with his friends at Lodi High School. For a while it was about rocking out in garages and basements and trying out new songs on the weekend. But a year or two of hard work later, Second to Last was spending summers and school breaks touring throughout California and had released two EP records.
“I couldn’t tour as much as I wanted to, due to high school,” said Evans, now 21. “But to me, that’s what it’s always been about. Playing music is just my thing. That’s just what I do.”
This month, the band released their first album and are grateful for the positive response from their fans. All the songs were written by Evans, and recorded with bassist Russel St. Clair in San Diego and drummer Evan Deges in San Francisco.
One challenge of maintaining a band with a strong touring presence is finding musicians willing to tour and record. Evans recorded the album with St. Clair and Deges, but is currently playing with two former band members, Kris Ruiz on drums and Pat Mays on bass. Ruiz is also from Lodi, and is one of the founding members of the original band.
But the chaotic assembly of musicians isn’t fazed by the inconsistency.
“Being dysfunctional is kind of how we function,” Evans said.
Evan characterizes the music as radio-friendly punk rock — think of Green Day, Jimmy Eat World, and Taking Back Sunday.
The group does not take themselves too seriously. Their band name was cribbed from a New Found Glory song. And the album title, “Nobody Cares,” is a realization by Evan that no matter how much feeling he puts into the songs, it’s still just the perception of the world to a white guy in his early 20s.
“In our genre, a lot of the lyrics are very tongue-in-cheek and kind of contrived,” he said. “Sure, I’m passionate about it and it’s therapeutic to me, but at the end of the day, nobody cares about your [expletive].”
This album is special to Evans because it’s the first one in which he wrote all the songs himself.
“They’re all kind of like my children,” he said. “They hold a lot of meaning.”
Starting a punk band in Lodi put the group at a disadvantage from the start. There weren’t real music venues in the area at the time, and there’s no legitimate punk scene here in wine country. But the positive reaction to the album’s release has been humbling, said Evans. On YouTube, fans are recording covers of catchy tracks like “Your Favorite Cigarette,” and “California, son.”
“This is important because it’s audible and tangible,” he said.
“This is one of the proudest moments in my life. To take my thoughts, write them down, and have people respond to it and share it, that’s amazing.”