You Can Do It, Old Boy!

Vengeful Spirit of My Punk Rock Youth
by  You Can Do It, Old Boy!
Africa Nicole Smith
by  You Can Do It, Old Boy!
by  You Can Do It, Old Boy!
You Can Do It, Old Boy!
by  You Can Do It, Old Boy!
J. McPhillips
by  You Can Do It, Old Boy!
You Can Do It, Old Boy! (YCDIOB) was a melodic punk band from Livermore, CA, active from around 2007 to 2012.

The band was formed by Alex Flory and Chris Hopkins (me) in 2007. Alex and I had known eachother for years, having both played in bands around Livermore since high school. Our bands had shared many bills at Magoo's Pizza and Unity Skate Shop, but by that summer, neither of us were active in music at all. Instead, we skateboarded poorly in Dublin, played California Games on Sega Genesis, drank, were severely depressed, and reminisced about playing music.

The realization struck that we could play music again, and that summer we started jamming in Alex's garage. It was pretty easy to get going, as the friendship preceded the music project, and we already had a lot of shared musical interests and obsessions (namely Dillinger Four). We also both worked as pizza delivery drivers for Mountain Mike's Pizza. The band's name was taken from the Simpsons episode where Homer purposely gains a ton of weight to qualify for disability.

By fall 2007, we had a two-piece guitar/drums set mostly ready to go, and by winter, we were ready for our first show. In December, YCDIOB played its first show at Lucky Pizza in Dublin. It was observed by both performers and audience to be a shrill, discordant, and overall unpleasant experience, but it was the start of what would be many years of fun and music, with an emphasis on fun and less emphasis on music.

In early 2008, we decided we needed a bassist, so we asked our good friend Josh Mitchell to join. He agreed, and we started practicing and playing shows outside of Livermore, around the greater Bay Area, as well as writing new songs. We recorded a 2-track demo with Scott Goodrich, with whom Alex had previously played in The Transcendents. We never finished it, although we did upload the demos to our MySpace page.

By mid-2008, Josh had moved to vocals, and Danny Haberman joined on bass. Danny was another good friend of ours who had previously played around Livermore, and was looking for a new project. He passed the most important test, which was to be approved by Alex's mom when she poked her head in the garage to politely ask us to end our extremely loud practices.

With a good number of pizzeria and pool hall shows under our belt, we went back to Scott Goodrich, determined to finish our EP. We recorded our only release, a 5-song EP titled "Pat Tandy EP," and set it free into the world in fall 2008. Scott engineered / mixed / mastered the record. I'm pretty sure Logan Bean and Alex did the backup bro-core hardcore mosh crew vocals, which to my ears, the record would be incomplete without. Alex did all the CD and album artwork. Pat Tandy was a somewhat mythical Livermore resident. Most of the details of his life are unknown to me, and I'm not sure I ever actually saw him in person, but he was something of a folk hero in downtown Livermore circa 2007-2008. He passed away I believe in the summer of 2008, and the record was named in his memory.

With the record released, Alex hit the MySpace promotion scene hard. We commonly considered Gary Bonetti to be our band's manager, but it was without good reason, since Alex managed the booking, promotion, and merchandise for the band, while Gary managed the cigarette rolling (for himself).

By winter 2008/2009, Alex had booked an entire tour up and down California. We called it the "Fuck Life" tour, because the band had its origins in feeling super depressed and unmotivated, but that state had motivated us to do something about it and get a functional band up and running. So off we went on our first tour.

We played in a tool shed in Fresno; a thrift store in Fresno; a garage in Reno; a skate ramp in Pacifica; someone's kitchen in maybe Los Banos; a friendly guy named Chippy's garage in Fresno; a pool hall in Tracy; a quinceaƱera in San Jose; a generic rock venue in Burbank; I think someone's house in Echo Park or otherwise LA; and then finally brought it back home for a big tour-end show in San Francisco, in some weird underground bar decorated like an airplane.

Many Tecates were consumed, many cigarettes were consumed (leading to major health issues for all members of the band), and many lasting lifetime memories were formed.

At some point in 2009, Garrett Roads, another band friend going back many years and also active in Livermore-area bands, joined on second guitar for a few shows. However, the lineup ultimately settled with Alex Flory on drums, Danny Haberman on bass and vocals, and Chris Hopkins on guitar, vocals, and synth. The synth was a Commodore 64 with Cynthcart and piano overlay.

In winter 2009/2010, Alex booked our second tour: "Fuck Life II: The Reckoning." It was a similar affair as the first tour, with a few unexpected cancellations leading to some very silly shows. Alex scrambled to pick up a show after our gig was cancelled in Reno (maybe Las Vegas?) at the last minute. We instead played at a bar in South Lake Tahoe to exactly 3 people, though they still opened up a massive, room-wide circle pit for the entire set. There is video proof of my claims, including the animated crowd of headbanging snowboarders chanting "YOU'CN DOIT OL' BOY!!! YOU'CN DOIT OL' BOY!!!" in unison, all three voices syncopated to the extended "You Can Do It, Old Boy!" drum outro. I fall off the stage, Gary holds up a drink for Danny to sip while playing bass. Alex purposely knocks over all his drums to end the song/set. I'm not sure where the video file is located, but I am certain it exists.

In 2010 I got an office job, which instantly monopolized my time and energy. We started to practice much less, but still played an occasional show through 2012. We definitely played on the floor at Gilman on Christmas Day one year (Scott Goodrich may have been on bass). We had a handful of unfinished songs, as well as a finished but never recorded song, "Waterboarding USA." (Credit to Ben Kolina for coming up with the song name.) Covers in our live set included "Cut From The Team" by Taking Back Sunday, "Beautiful Day" by U2 (a favorite of Alex's mom), and "Break Stuff" by Limp Bizkit. We never played the entire "How You Remind Me" by Nickelback, but we often played an excerpt to agitate and delight the audience.

YCDIOB was never a big, important, influential, or relevant band, but for a half-decade, it was a vehicle for some of the best times I've had. It was a little sliver of friendship, energy, and music from late-2000s Livermore, and the band's name reflected our ethos: you don't have to feel like shit, you can do something about it, you can reach out to a friend to start a band and book some janky shows in tool sheds. You Can Do It, Old Boy!
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