No Motiv Marks 20th Anniversary of And the Sadness Prevails…

No Motiv is back. (Courtesy Earshot Media)

Here is what was published from a Weekly wag covering a local show featuring No Motiv and Autolux way back on Feb. 3, 2000.

No Motiv were interesting simply for the fact that they were from Oxnard, which just could be the (ugh!) “emo” capital of the world—hey, if you lived in Oxnard, you’d be sad and moody, too! Actually, superproducer Daniel Lanois, we’ve read, has moved his headquarters from New Orleans to that very ‘burb, for some ungodly reason. Insane? We sure think so! Maybe No Motiv could work with him; we’d like to hear what he’d do to their crunched-up teen-rock sound, and their singer with the high, reedy voice that suggests former membership in a ska band (that old singing-through-yer-nose technique, y’understand). They fired up plenty of righteous riffs, though, like they’d been abusing fistfuls of cayenne-pepper suppositories, likely accounting for the occasional, dislocated (and less successful) hardcore foray. They wrapped up, someone in the crowd screamed “Oxnard rules!” (ummm . . . okaaay . . . ), and they left. An all-right band, but not as satisfying as Autolux.

First off, to whichever Weekly wag wrote that: Tell us who you are (or were–no judgments), and we’ll restore your byline as one of our many data management system changeovers has now rendered  the review’s author as “OC Weekly staff.”

Secondly, fast forward to Saturday night at Chain Reaction, where the original No Motiv lineup will get back together for a show celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut LP, 1999’s And the Sadness Prevails … 

Capturing the band’s “Classic ’90s/’00s Nardcore” (a.k.a. hardcore/punk) sounds for the Vagrant Records release was producer Trever Keith, a founding member of the seminal SoCal punk band Face to Face. Recorded in an analog studio in Ojai, And the Sadness Prevails… includes songs about heartbreak, growing up and friendships gone wrong.

A newly mixed and mastered version of the album with two bonus re-recorded songs became available last month digitally and via a limited pressing of vinyl. (For details, visit merchconnectioninc.com/nomotiv.)

“So crazy, I can’t believe 20 years has passed,” says drummer Pat Pedraza. “Time really does fly. Most of us have kids now which makes things totally different than when we first started this. It’s been really fun playing these songs again. Nostalgia is real … and I kinda like it sometimes.”

Speaking of nostalgia, you can listen to a 20th anniversary version of the and the sadness prevails cut “Nostalgia” right now:

It turns out that Oxnard is not only where No Motiv hails from but is ground zero for Nardcore, although the band has called their version “Sadcore” (See the title And the Sadness Prevails…)

Besides Pedraza, the original No Motiv had Jeremy Palaszewski on guitar and lead vocals, Dave Brandon on bass and Max McDonald, who was 13 when he first joined the band, on guitar and vocals.

They quickly gained some local recognition via a string of 7-inch vinyls and demo tapes before their first full-length record, Cynical, came out on the Oxnard label Edge Records in 1995. That was followed three years later by Scarred, which was a collections of demos and unreleased material, and then And the Sadness Prevails for Santa Monica-based Vagrant in ’99.

While touring to promote that album, No Motiv shared stages with Jimmy Eat World, blink-182, MXPX, Alkaline Trio, Dashboard Confessional and (natch) Face to Face. Looking back now, the original band members would likely call that period their heyday, although Brandon was gone and Pedraza left to join the Ventura-based alt-rock outfit From Satellite by 2004, when No Motiv reached their biggest success with 2004’s Daylight Breaking, which reached No. 36 on Billboard’s Top Independent albums chart.

For No Motiv 2.0, Palaszewski and McDonald were joined by Roger Camero on drums and Jeff Hershey on bass and vocals. They had not played many shows since 2014, probably due to band members’ other interests. Camero moved to Irvine, played bass with the punk band Peace’d Out that included Steve Choi of RX Bandits and wrote, recorded and played shows with his band He Fails Me. Palaszewski and Hershey had recorded material as Monster Hand, but after that disbanded, Palaszewski began the solo project Sea Greens while the bassist started the soul outfit Jeff Hershey and The Heartbeats. McDonald, who now resides in Brooklyn, has recorded solo material under the moniker Gentlemen.

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OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.

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