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Beating Anew

How starting a tribute band reenergized a fan's own voice

By Gabe Meline

Five years ago, Darwin Meiners was just another nine-to-fiver with a guitar. Then he started a tribute band to one of his favorite groups, Love and Rockets, and his life changed quickly. Love and Rockets founding member David J got in touch, and soon Meiners and his band mates, Dustin Heald and Tony Vaccaro, were backing up their hero onstage, from San Francisco to Las Vegas.

The plot thickens, involving a new solo record from David J, Not Long for This World, due out in October. In an outrageous twist, the Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan has climbed on board—he's a huge fan of David J's first band, Bauhaus—and will co-release the album with Santa Rosa's own Saint Rose Records. But David J has also been sending daily texts to Meiners, frequently reminding him not to abandon his own music.

Meiners took the hint. Five Beats One, his latest group with members of Brothers Horse and the Velvet Teen, release their debut EP this weekend. At once drenched in Corganesque guitar but propelled by modern rhythm (check out "Majid), it's the best thing Meiners has done to date. David J himself makes a spoken-word appearance on "Ghosts Are People Too," an eerie meditation on unrequited love, and the whole thing gets a proper release when Five Beats One, Emily Jane White and David J play on Friday, Aug. 12, at the Hopmonk Tavern. 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. 8pm. $12-$15. 707.829.7300.

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