Lizardsmouth brings funk, hard rock, unique songs to the stage


Kevin Ham

Lead singer and guitarist for the band Lizard’s Mouth Cameron Meza performs their original song “Greedo” in one of the band member’s garages on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, in Santa Barbara, Calif.

August Lawrence, Staff Writer

Isla Vista-based rock band Lizardsmouth never misses a beat. Musically, they finish each other’s sentences. They define their genre as “wet rock,” and insist that it’s Lizardsmouth, not Lizard’s Mouth.  

The band is made up of Cameron Meza on guitar and lead vocals, Nolan McCarthy on the keyboard and a rhythm section of made up of City College students Cai Norton on bass and Cooper Umoff on drums.

As Santa Barbara locals, Lizardsmouth members have known each other “since we don’t know when… a long time,” said Meza.

Live, Lizardsmouth’s energy cannot be contained. Members jump around, run up and down the stage and danced, having their instruments as their partners.

The four friends first all played together in 2016. Meza, McCarthy and Umoff all joked in remembering how Norton had never picked up a bass before that day.

The first show Lizardsmouth officially played together was at a house party in Isla Vista. Even at the first gig, they knew they had something special. 

“Its where I’m meant to be,” Meza said about performing. “We started as friends to begin with. We connect to make one up there [on stage].”

With sounds reminiscent of ‘90s hard and alt. rock, chords rooted in jazz and blues and storytelling to rival Morrisey (and even a little bit of country) Lizardsmouth are in your face, entertaining and impossible to miss.

Their musical inspirations include the Doors, the Velvet Underground, Pixies and Creedence Clearwater Revival, to name a few.  

Each member comes from different musical backgrounds and influences with preferences ranging from old school blues to death metal, all the way to new wave punk.

“We like anything before the 2000s,” joked Umoff. 

They also don’t mess around when it comes to songwriting. Reminiscent of bands like Mothers of Invention, Lizardsmouth songs are diverse and unexpected. 

Their compositions are on the longer side. Numbers are mini-epics, telling exciting stories and are never boring.  

“We want exciting songs,” McCarthy said. 

“Greedo,” a rocking ballad that takes a look at what might happen if Jesus existed in the Star Wars universe, is a perfect embodiment of McCarthy’s sentiment. The song has many different sections, never leaving the listener bored.

As for the future, they say they would be happy just to be playing consistent gigs. 

“We belong in a band,” Meza said. “We just want to keep on playing.”