Local musicians Nic Calder and Paul LaCorte, who perform as HonkyDonky & HeartBreaker will be celebrating 10 years of making music together with a special “Bandiversary” show on July 2 at at Grillin & Chillin Alehouse.
They will be joined by members of Absurdum and The Mental Monkeys, performing as “The Good Life,” and will be releasing a new CD called “#X,” which is limited to 200 copies but available on all major streaming platforms.
Calder and LaCorte have been lifelong friends, attended Hollister High, formally San Benito High, together, and began performing together after college.
“Our first show was in a skateboard shop in Hollister,” Calder said. “We didn’t even have a mike stand—we had a guy in a gorilla suit holding the microphone. We were absolutely horrible and I am not sure if we have improved.”
The two built a following by showing up at restaurants and bars unannounced and asking to play. This strategy often paid off and was how the two started playing regularly at both Grillin & Chillin locations, the Roadhouse and the Alehouse. They are the first musicians to play either venue.
“They have always had an open-door policy with us,” Calder said. “We could just show up and start playing and after a while, our success led Chuck to start booking local musicians at his places.”
“Chuck” is Grillin & Chillin owner Chuck Frowein, who has become one of their biggest fans. He still recalls the first night they performed for him.
“They came in one day and asked if they could play,” he said. “They had the whole crowd singing and it felt like something out of ‘Cheers.’ Nic has a lot of showmanship—he can go from a pirate to a skateboarder to a rock star. They even brought buckets out and people were playing them like drums. Nic and Paul always do a phenomenal job and, that night, it was magical.”
Having Grillin & Chillin as a reliable home base allowed them to start expanding their territory to perform outside of Hollister.
“There are lots of opportunities for cover bands to do weddings and things like that,” Calder said, “but it is not as easy for an original band playing original music. All you can do is go out there and play music and meet other people who play music. But Hollister is central to so many places, like San Juan, Santa Cruz, Prunedale and Monterey, it gives you a chance to reach out and find places to play.”
Outside of his music career, Calder has also worked at DeRose Winery in various capacities and owns an embroidery and silk-screening business. LaCorte was in a car accident when he was 18 that left him in a wheelchair, and Calder said that his collaborator has overcome many obstacles in life to earn a double bachelor’s degree in marketing and mass communications from San Bernardino University.
But on July 2, all thoughts of their outside careers will vanish as they perform their “100% foolproof, spirit-induced music” which promises to make the Bandiversary show a special night.
“What I love about performing is the fun you have going out there and showing people your music,” he said. “If people have a great time, you have done your job and it makes it all worthwhile.”
“Plus,” he said, “the band gets free drinks.”
The HonkyDonky & HeartBreaker Bandiversary is July 2 starting at 4:20 p.m at Grillin & Chillin Alehouse, 401 McCray Street, Hollister.
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