Perennial powerhouse Oleander blooms on Cinco de Mayo

Oleander
Oleander plays Friday, May 5, in Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

“Something Beautiful” will happen on Cinco de Mayo for lovers of rock ‘n’ roll: Oleander will perform in Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

When it was in full bloom, the Sacramento post-grunge band had a slew of radio hits in the late 1990s and early 2000s. After an extended hiatus, Oleander planted itself back onstage and in the studio where it made the album “Something Beautiful.”

“We decided to record three songs and the management company liked it so much they asked if we’d do another (full-length) record,” said Steve Brown, who has been Oleander’s full-time drummer since 2003. “Three of us live in Sacramento and two are in L.A. We emailed until it was time to make the record. It was really a relaxed process. It used to be a rush to get it out and go on the road.”

Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
Steve Brown is the happy man at the drum kit.

“Something Beautiful” was recorded at guitarist Rich Mouser’s studio, the “Mouse House.”

Oleander only plays a few shows a year. It had a couple of runs in recent years, touring with Bush and Three Doors Down. After Friday’s show at Tahoe, it will headline Saturday night at the First Festival Sacramento.

Brown has played at the Hard Rock several times with the Greg Golden Band, which is about to release a new album.

He also was in Ronnie Montrose’s band for the final four years of the bandleader’s life. Brown said he learned a lot by being around the guitarist and it boosted his confidence.

“He liked the old-school jam stuff,” Brown said. “When we played live, we had the structure of the songs but you never knew where it was going to go. If he was feeling good one night, he was going to take it somewhere else. And you needed to follow him at all times, which was petrifying to me at first. It was a confidence builder after I learned that. He said, ‘There’s no mistakes, just experiences. This is going to be awesome.’ He was a powerhouse. He laid it down. He was cool.”

Brown’s older brother, Mick, is the longtime drummer for Dokken. As a teenager, Steve Brown saw his brother perform at the San Francisco Cow Palace; that’s when he put down the trombone and picked up drumsticks. Girls, he said, were the motivating factor.

Although Steve and Mick Brown have been professional musicians their entire adult lives, parents Mick Sr. and Marie are the family’s rock stars, Steve Brown said.

Backstage, he said people are always having photos taken with them and buying them drinks.

“They have gone to all of our shows,” he said. “After all those years of listening to drums, they are almost deaf.”

KRLT-Radio is a sponsor of the Hard Rock show on Friday, May 5. The station also is promoting at least one summer outdoor concert, Primus on Aug. 17.

  • Oleander
    When: 8 p.m. Friday, May 5 (Cinco de Mayo)
    Where: Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Stateline
    Tickets: $15

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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