During the course of a lifetime of making music, Santa Rosa multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer and artist-manager Darwin Meiners made some famous friends.
Last year, Meiners began collaborating with two of those luminaries, bassist David J, of Bauhaus and Love & Rockets, and drummer Victor DeLorenzo, of Violent Femmes, and now the trio is an official band, Night Crickets.
Last month, Night Crickets released a full-length debut album, A Free Society, that is garnering rave reviews, and the group is already discussing possible tours in 2023 and beyond.
“I still pinch myself,” Meiners says of the project. So, how did it all happen?
Night Crickets’ roots stretch back almost 10 years, when Meiners met and befriended David J while playing a Love & Rockets tribute show in Los Angeles and soon after met DeLorenzo at Coachella when the Violent Femmes reunited at the festival.
Both DeLorenzo and David J ended up contributing to a couple of Meiners’ musical projects, in addition to Meiners managing David J and touring with him. All three artists kept in touch and eventually reconnected, via email, during the pandemic.
“I was bored with not playing,” says Meiners, who reached out to DeLorenzo about doing some drumming on a new batch of ideas. DeLorenzo agreed and suggested they recruit David J to join them.
“We just started making music,” Meiners says. “We didn’t have any plan at all. Nobody knew what was going on with the pandemic. We thought it was just going to be for us.”
Collaborating over Zoom, and sharing ideas and musical elements online, the three artists found that they clicked on everything and had fun doing it. After completing six or so songs, the trio decided to make it official, arranged a record deal with Omnivore Recordings and set about completing a full album under the name Night Crickets.
The group’s debut album, A Free Society, contains traces of sounds from Bauhaus and Violent Femmes, yet it’s a completely original collection of 13 darkly melodic and rhythmic pieces full of gothic pop and punk folk.
“One of the things I like about the record is that even though we never were in the room together, it feels like you are in the room with us,” Meiners says.
Meiners laughs when asked about Night Crickets’ burgeoning status as a supergroup, saying, “They’re like Batman and Robin, and I’m Alfred, I guess.”
“I’m just happy to play with those guys,” he says. “We all get along really well. I’m honored to be in this band, and everything that comes with it is just extra to me.”