Fueled by Testosterone

When Pierce the Veil takes the stage this summer at Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre as part of the Vans Warped Tour, it will be a homecoming for the San Diego band. Vic Fuentes, 27, says he still lives in the Mission Bay area. “I went to Mission Bay High School. Me and my brother, we both went there.

“Growing up [in San Diego],” says the front man, phoning from the road near Albany, “the hot spot to play was Canes. Then, that kind of slowed down, and we ended up playing the Epicentre for a while. Now, pretty much all we play is Soma.” He explains that Soma appeals to an all-ages crowd. “We don’t really do the 21-and-up thing. Our fans are younger than that.”

Interesting, considering that Fuentes and his brother’s first band was called Early Times (there is a grocery-store brand of whiskey by that same name) and that one of their earliest cult hits was “5.9,” a song written in reference to Natural Ice beer: “I hit up the bar every day/ Before I go to Mission Bay/ Every weekend and every night/ I’m drinkin’ 5.9.”

“My brother Mike and I had that band out of high school. That’s the band we signed to Equal Vision Records.” Early Times specialized in double- and triple-time melodic punk and mosh-pit power blasts fueled by boy testosterone. Even as a teen rocker, Fuentes had a knack for writing to the mind-set of his audience.

He recalls the all-ages punk scene at the original Soma housed in an old warehouse near downtown San Diego. Like blink-182, Unwritten Law, Switchfoot, and scores of other local bands that made good before them, the Fuentes brothers would eventually share the Soma spotlight.

“It’s been cool to go from being a kid, moshing and running around in circles, to, like, actually being onstage and being the one playing.” They shared billing with local acts such as Lower Definition and My American Heart. “Those are the bands we grew up with.”

After signing with Equal Vision, the band changed their name from Early Times to Before Today and released A Celebration of an Ending. They broke up, and the Fuentes brothers started Pierce the Veil four years ago. Tony Perry and Jaime Preciado fill in the current lineup.

“It wasn’t like we had a hit on the radio and blew up overnight. It took years. What happened was [Pierce the Veil] started building a fan base in San Diego and [Equal Vision] flew out to see a hometown show. We got signed that night. From that point, life turned upside-down.”

And as for playing to the band’s hometown homies on the big stage at Cricket Wireless August 10? Fuentes laughs. “It’s gonna be ridiculous.”

— Dave Good

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