When you name your band Itchy Choad, you run some minor risks. I thought it sounded like a new kind of STD - an infection of the skin on the testicles coupled with a nasty rash. Itchy. Choad.
In reality the health center at UNLV isn’t seeing any cases of Itchy Choad, because it’s actually the name of a local band that is gaining steam with every gig they play. The band used to just be C.H.O.A.D., which stands for Creative Heroes On Active Duty. This evokes more of a super hero theme, Captain Planet and his cohorts saving the world one polluted wasteland at a time. While they don’t don spandex suits for their missions, all the band members are in the Air Force, hence the whole heroes on active duty thing. They recently added the “Itchy” in front as an homage to vocalist Mike “Itchy” Richards’ nickname, explained drummer Chris Horton. When it was combined with Choad, it just kind of stuck, (much like the STD I thought the name represented.)
IC have made a speedy transition from acoustic garage band to a more guitar heavy outfit, filling local bars and other venues and recently playing to a large crowd at the tailgate party for the UNLV vs. Airforce football game. Their single “Empty Eyes” has also had some radio play on Local 107.9.Tonight the band is playing downtown at the Bunkhouse Saloon. Las Vegas Weekly spoke with drummer Chris Horton about his role in the band and their recent rise to success in the local music scene.
How long have you guys been playing together?
Chris Horton: All of us collectively, it’s been since March of this year. Mike, the singer, and Russ [bassist] have actually been playing together for a couple of years in the garage. Mike’s background is in acoustic guitar playing. We kind of got together just on a whim.
Have you all had a tour of service abroad?
Yeah, I did the first Desert Storm tour back in ’93. I’ve been in it eighteen years. Most of us are pretty old dudes. Actually myself, Russ and Bill have all been in I think over eighteen years.
What was it like hearing your music on the radio for the first time?
It was way cool. You get to act like a kid again; you grin ear to ear.
Was that about a sniper? Were you involved in the songwriting process?
Actually my wife really put most of it together in like 30 minutes. I came home from practicing one night and she said she had this idea and we just looked at the words and kind of organized the thoughts a bit and made it tell a story. It was just one of those things that popped into her head with all the stuff going on over there - what goes through the head of a sniper.
Do you use your music as a kind of catharsis or release from all the disturbing thoughts of war and things you have experienced?
Music is a great release. What’s wild is how things just come together collectively for the four of us. We’ll have some lyrics and the guitarist will have a riff in his head. We’ve had a few songs just come out quickly in an evening where everything just gels.
What was the transition like from playing in your garage for friends to headlining events like the concert at the recent UNLV vs. Air Force football game?
Actually the first time I met up with these guys, everyone just had that look that we just sound pretty good together. I told the guys that I would buy another drum set but we were going to do something with it. It would be a waste to just hang out and play in the garage. It’s been fast but it’s been one of those things that just felt right.
What are you most looking forward to about your Bunkhouse show?
We haven’t played there yet. I actually went there today and checked it out because I like to know exactly what I’m getting into. It looks like a really cool little spot to play. I met some of the barbacks and they said they are just looking for a good time and that’s what we try to give everyone.