Local band leads coming musical revolution
Posted Oct. 27, 2006
Kelly Rivas
Bassist Jerry Moncada is one of four members of the band Thee Invention. Started in 2001 by brothers Anthony and Edward Valdivia, Thee Invention also includes new drummer Carlos Maldonado. Thee Invention performed at The Wire, a music and art venue, in Upland Saturday. The band’s second EP will be sold at future shows. See story, Page 11.

Multicolored spotlights ricocheted across Thee Invention singer Anthony Valdivia’s guitar, as his fingers slid down the length of the fret board, producing a thrilling “wah-wah” sound reminiscent of the melodically pulsating 1990s Seattle scene onstage at The Wire in downtown Upland on Saturday.

To his right Jerry Moncada, the Covina-based band’s self-proclaimed “brother from another mother,” attacked his dark cherry-red electric bass like a rebel with a cause; a concentrated fervor evident on his scrunched-up face.

Singer/guitarist Eddie Valdivia shared the limelight with his younger brother, performing classic rock-inspired gems — a mix of songs from the band’s latest EP “The Black and White of It” and fan favorites such as “Something I Said” from its previous release.

Housing a unique sound within borrowed walls, the Valdivia brothers said they learned from the best, capturing the spirit of bands they idolized while producing wholly original material.

An assemblage of rock’s ancestors and soul predecessors decorated their vocals and lyrics, seemingly stemming from a common vision of the American art form known as rock ‘n’ roll.

“It’s just like Jeff Tweedy said, ‘Rock is a fuse of country, folk, blues and rockabilly,’” Eddie Valdivia said. “A rock band is a fusion of all these sounds and that’s what we are.”

“It’s more of the soul of it; it’s just the feeling that it gives you, it strikes a chord,” Anthony Valdivia added.

Consistently described as pure rock ‘n’ roll, the band provided a solid demonstration of unadulterated passion balanced with hard work and camaraderie, revealing the underlying black and white traits of its success.

Childhood dreams of reaching Ritchie Valens’ acclaim often-inspired Anthony Valdivia to entertain passersby at a local convenient store with Buddy Holly and Otis Redding tunes.

Post-Pearl Jam discovery, he and his brother founded a high school cover band, later compiling an original songbook that resulted in the humble beginnings of Thee Invention – largely inspired by four British pageboys who landed in America in 1964.

“My dad asked once, ‘How come you guys listen to the Beatles on the way to every show?’ and I said, ‘Because I want to remember why I’m doing this and that’s exactly it,” Eddie Valdivia said.

“The Beatles are the only reason why we do this,” he added.

A bond of mutual respect and love, even among new drummer Carlos Maldonado, was easily manifested on and off stage. They joked with each other in the parking lot after the show as they remembered the turn of events that had started it all.

Longtime friend Kerry Anderson piped in every once in a while to make sure none of the important stories were left out.

“Like Pearl Jam, they have integrity to their music and they sustain because of their integrity,” Anderson said.

“It’s about the music always and I always say this is a band that is going to be around for a long time,” she added.

Fueled by a love of the genre, the band has continued to trudge on amid disappointing trends in efforts to be heard.

“The hardest part about being a band isn’t the songwriting or playing live shows – that’s all fun – the hardest thing is letting people know you’re alive,” Eddie Valdivia said.

Brushing stray shags of hair from his eyes, Anthony Valdivia power-strummed his black and white guitar, eliciting wails that seemingly echoed bands such as Silverchair, Nirvana and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

“I wanted to start playing when I was 5 because of the Beatles, and Kurt [Cobain],” Anthony Valdivia said. “Eddie Vedder made me want to do it that much more.”

His older brother’s sweetly raspy vocals lent a Bob Dylan-esque key to “Vicious Handful,” “Sundrain” and “Mississippi Belles,” a bluesy tune with southern accents.

Anthony Valdivia fell to his knees during “Mississippi Belles,” capitalizing on the pressure of the coming bridge with several nimble-fingered guitar vibrations.

Maldonado blended bass tempos with pounding beats, showcasing his disc-jockey roots and ultimately proving the band’s well-matched fate.

“Anthony and I decided to start a band; we got Jerry and wrote about 30 songs and after that we started going through drummers like Hollywood guys go through wives,” Eddie Valdivia said of previous trials with drummers.

The brothers said they shared songwriting responsibilities, combining ideas, streams of words or guitar riffs.

Anthony Valdivia’s prolific writing hand has produced a “plethora” of material, measured in songbooks and shoeboxes and covering everything from an imaginary perfect woman and solar eclipse moon dances to a million and one different ways to say “I love you.”

“We’re just over there with our hammers working and banging away,” Eddie Valdivia said of the songwriting process.

Although it has been a year in the making, the band is finally putting finishing touches on its second EP.

Featuring six songs, including a hidden track titled “Harriet Roberts,” the album provides a small taste of what lies ahead, serving as a precursor to a full-length record and eventual tour.

Eagerly awaiting the second-coming of music, the band continues to contribute to the promising uprising, engaging in “guerrilla marketing” techniques to convince the world to give its music a seven-second chance.

“I always have hope for music, because I think it goes through a lull; it starts to suck really bad and then right before it gets dark the sun comes out,” Eddie Valdivia said.

“I think the sun came out back in the 1990s with Nirvana and then it went away and now we’re just waiting for it to come out again.”

“But I have hope that we’ll at least be a part of it; you can either lead the revolution or be a part of it, and we’d be happy with either one,” he added.

For more information on Thee Invention visit theeinvention.com.

Kady Bell can be reached at rzezna65@yahoo.com.

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