Slamdinistas, a Los Angeles ‘Supergroup’ Releases New Album, ‘Shoot for the Stars’

Slamdinistas - Courtesy
Slamdinistas - Courtesy

New Album: Shoot for the Stars
Detroit Records
Produced by: Loren Molinare


Five guys walk into a studio and a band is born.

We are living in a world where there seems to be more and more music being made for our active ears. Sometimes we just cannot consume it all and a new band may slip under your radar. I am here to not let that happen. If you miss good old fashion, no bullshit, 100 percent rock and roll then let me introduce you to the Slamdinistas. They have just released their brand-new powerhouse nine song CD Shoot for the Stars on Detroit Records.

The Slamdinistas are a bunch of well-seasoned musicians who understand their roots, musical influences and it shows. The band consists of everyone’s best friend, the ever-likable Gabriel Johns on vocals. Gabriel is a rock and roll aficionado, lyrical wordsmith and several people say he may be the bastard son of Rod Stewart.

Slamdinistas – Courtesy

From the streets of Detroit to the Sunset Strip, on lead guitar and backing vocals is hardest working man in Rock and Roll the mighty Loren Molinare (The Dogs, Little Caesar, Cruzados). Molinare also did a stellar job on producing Shoot for the Stars.  But what would a band be without guitar slinger Michael Gavigan (The Blessings – another excellent band) burning up the frets with his picking and slide work. No band can do without a solid rhythm section and the Slamdinistas have one of the best. On bass, the man that keeps the pulse beating is renowned Paul Ill, and on drums is groove master Brian “Boomer Bearman” Irving. 

Shoot for the Stars comes out swinging with the opening track “Brand New Day” an upbeat barnburner with an early Faces feel. It gets things moving and makes you feel good. Roll your windows down and blast this song on your way to work. You will start your day off with a smile on your face. The song flows right into the radio friendly “Time Flys By” which is getting worldwide air play and spins on the Rodney Bingenheimer’s Sirius XM Sunday night radio show as well as Palmyra’s Trash Pop Shindig on the Underground Garage.  This song is a hit and deserves the recognition it’s getting. 

Slamdinistas release new album – Courtesy

Shoot for the Stars is a killer album with every track being a welcomed listen.  There is no filler, every song stands on its own. “There You Go Again” is a prime example on how to craft a radio friendly rock song and get it done in under three minutes.  One of the first singles off the album is “Boy/ Girl” a happy go lucky song about love in a beautiful world.  “Get Back to My Self” has an early Stones like groove with a fine blend of blues and rock. 

“Knocking on American’s Door” is a change of pace musically and lyrically with some strong guitar work that starts out acoustically then builds with emotion and feeling. Gabriel sings this one from the heart with sincerity and soul. The guitars flow effortlessly thru the song while accenting the vocals. “We Say Goodbye” could well be the next single.  Cheap Trick would be happy to have this gem in their rock and roll arsenal. 

One of the early stands out tracks is “Cut Me Some Slack” a rebel rousing rocker that throws out the hook and reels you in. The twin guitar attack accents each other perfectly with Michael Gavigan laying down some killer slide guitar. These cats understand what it takes to write a good rock song and “Cut Me Some Slack” is a prime example. 

The album ends with a cover of Ian McLagan’s “Little Troublemaker.”  This song fits perfect into the Slamdinistas wheelhouse. The guitar solos are short and sweet, and the rhythm section never lets up.

Check out the video:

The Slamdinistas are serious and cut no corners on “Shoot for the Stars.”  The hard work they put into this album is evident. The songs blend well together, full of polished musicianship, pacing and delivery. They put in the sweat and time it takes to make a solid debut album and you know what they say “if you don’t sweat, it isn’t rock and roll. 

Check out Shoot for the Stars here on Bandcamp:

Watch ‘Little Troublemaker’ here:

I recently had a chance to ask lead singer Gabriel Johns a few questions about the Slamdinistas:

US Rocker: How did a the Slamdinistas form? 

Originally it started as my solo project in which Loren Molinare so kindly agreed to produce my first EP Love Lives Here back in 2016. After all was finished and promoted I then came again to Loren to produce my second recording. He said yes and we both approached it differently. Working with different musicians. Loren suggested that we get Brian “Boomer Bearman” Irving on drums. I love Brian’s playing and said yes, by all means. Paul Ill played on my previous EP and we asked him to please play on this session. He agreed. Paulie is awesome, great bass player. During this time, I have been following this band The Blessings and I loved Mike Gavigan’s guitar work and his slide guitar style! I asked him if he would play on this upcoming session and he said “Yes, he’d be honored to do so!”

Man, I was happy by what was happening on this session with Loren producing, playing guitar, arrangements of all the songs including suggesting that we include a cover of Ian McLagan’s “Little Troublemaker”. The session was going so well that Loren played some rough mixes to a record label friend of his. He loved what we were doing he asked if we would play his zoom birthday party (lockdown being the reason for a zoom party). We, agreed, and when we played his associate (while watching us from Australia) said they needed to get us on their label. Thus began the process of putting it all together. All the boys in the band gladly joined in with us being a band. I remember Loren would casually say, prior to all this happening, “who knows where this going, you might have a band already!” We all loved what was happening, all of us together. It just had to be a band.

US Rocker: Where did the name of the band come from?

Ha ha, so after we played that birthday show, all the stars aligned in agreement to us being a band. Loren told Brian, drummer, and I that we need to come up with names. We did and Brian submitted like 10 band names with Slamdinistas being one of them. We liked the play on the word Sandinistas, giving us a street edge, raw kind of persona (which we are). We decided to use that name! It works for us. It was a quick process.

US Rocker: What can we expect from the Slamdinistas in 2023?

Wow!!! A new record! We’ve a couple of shows in the works now but being really choosey on where we place ourselves. What we’re going to do this year is going to make a big splash!! I wish I could tell you more but it will spoil the surprise. (Recognize that line?)

US Rocker: There seems to be great chemistry in the band, what do you contribute that to?

There is great respect amongst us. We’ve been around the block more than a few times and, with that, I think you learn a few things on how to keep things running smoothly, to know that we work together as a team. No drama, stress, no ego’s, etc.

US Rocker: As an early promoter in the LA music scene what do you think about the scene today?

I’m actually excited by what’s happening in the scene, not only in Los Angeles, but the East Coast, Europe! Rock n Roll is alive and thriving. Love that so many new bands are kind of reviving the glory days of Rock n Roll in the way that they play and write, the way they look, everything from glam to grunge to punk! Yes, Los Angeles has definitely got a happening music scene.

US Rocker: If the Slamdinistas could open for anyone this year, who would it be?

Alejandro Escovedo touring with Ian Hunter’s Rant Band currently doing the songs of the master himself, Ian Hunter. Yes, I will be very happy if and when that comes into fruition. Fingers crossed.

US Rocker: As the main lyricist where do you get your inspiration? 

You know, sometimes inspiration falls into your lap! Sometimes I’ll dream a song, wake up and write it down. Sometimes it takes years to write. I find inspiration in people and their actions. Inspiration is a never ending pouring of nectar that I feel fortunate to be its spout. I find a lot of inspiration in hope. Hope for a better world, an opportunity to spread kindness.

US Rocker: Your marketing seems to be working as you are getting air play around the world.  What do you attribute that too? 

I’ve invested a lot of time finding out what I can do get our songs played. I found so many DJ’s are very open to bands submitting their music, i.e. Rodney Bingenheimer. Before we were Slamdinistas, we (Loren & I) submitted BRAND NEW DAY as just my name as the artist. Rodney played it so much, was really honored. And then I changed the artist name to The Gabriel Johns Project. Rodney played it under that name! Then, we became an actual band with the name Slamdinistas! And Rodney continued to play our song with Slamdinistas as the artist. Was so honored that he did that. Also, a huge shout out to Marc Platt and Radio Candy Media as he gets us worldwide play. His radio promo’s are off the charts. He plays a very important role in our promotions.

US Rocker: What do you want to say to the new fans of the Slamdinistas?

First of all, a big thank you from the bottom of all our hearts! Loren Molinare, Brian Irving, Mike Gavigan, Paul iLL and I have so much gratitude for all who support us. We’re nothing without the fans! So, all of you get ready for 2023 because some powerful happenings are coming your way and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone worldwide!