Indie-Pop Pharmacy 

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Druggist reflects on the success of its debut album. Photo by Denise Blaz

“Where can I throw this away,” I ask Blake Cormier, lead singer of indie-rock band Druggist, referring to my empty water cup. “Right here,” Cormier says pointing to the trashcan. “Yes, help yourself. You can take anything you want in there, we don’t want it,” he says in his all-but-constant sarcastic manner.

The members of Druggist, one of San Antonio’s most promising indie-rock bands, are meeting me in a wheelchair warehouse — yes you read that correctly. This location is in the back of a wheelchair store owned by Cormier’s mother. It is also the place of employment for one half of the band: Cormier and drummer Justin Drummond. The space also serves as a Druggist rehearsal and recording space whenever needed.

“Speaking of taking things, do you just want to pick out something from in here?” Cormier asks, pointing to the walls. “Perhaps a wheel?”

All four band members are present and they’ve just finished shooting some hoops out back. Drummond proves to be the most tenacious, as he fires 15 shots until he finally makes one. In a couple of hours, they’ll be onstage at Ruta Maya Riverwalk, sharing a bill with their friends Big Soy. There will be a good number of people looking on and Milo Sanchez, the bassist, will randomly jump on tables and come this close to accidentally hitting an audience member in the face. It’s something to be seen, and quite unexpected, given that Sanchez is the one member of the band who opts to lead a straight-edge lifestyle.              

“It’s my way of living out,” Sanchez says about his consummate rock star moves while he’s onstage. “I think that comes from my love of wrestling.”

Friends from high school, the group’s members have known each other 10 years, with only one lineup change since forming in 2005. Since then, their level of devotion to the band has only grown higher, even taking them to Salt Lake City for a recording session. But after deciding the finished result was too overrun with synthesizers, they deemed it too sterile and scrapped the whole thing.

“Yeah, our drums didn’t sound like our shitty drum kit. So, we just said ‘Fuck it,’ and we re-recorded every song. Every song we recorded, the mics weren’t the same. We went for a different feel for every song,” Cormier says about the do-it-yourself approach they used for their debut album, Early Michael Keaton.

The album amply demonstrates the group’s innate pop melodicism and the organic way in which they complement each other, onstage and off. Cormier, Drummond, and Sanchez are the silly ones while Zach Dunlap, the guitarist, is the quiet, understated Druggist.

“Zach can’t even come up with stuff to check the microphone. He just goes, ‘Uhhh,’” Sanchez says. Dunlap quickly interrupts though, and true to the band’s jokester form says, “I used to be the frontman for a screamo band.” Everyone once again breaks out in laughter.

These kinds of exchanges are common with this band, particularly between Cormier and Drummond. Cormier also does a spot-on Borat impression and directs his own comical Youtube videos in which the band and their friends star.

Cormier doesn’t take much seriously, but he doesn’t joke about unicorns. He’s balls-deep into the mythical creatures. In fact, if Druggist had a band mascot, it would surely be a unicorn. It’s a part of their logo design, and unicorns are emblazoned on their new stickers.

“They’re just cool. They’re the stupidest thing on earth. Well, I guess they’re not really on earth,” Cormier says. “I want a big unicorn tattoo though with rainbows and shit, and when I have a daughter she’ll really like it.”

When it is suggested that her name could be Unicorn, he replies, “Yes, I can name her Unicorn! Unicornmia, that’ll be her name. I happen to think we play Unicorn music.”

Unicorn music? You be the judge. Druggist’s music certainly invites a listener to sing along, and it’s the kind of music that makes Sanchez ecstatically jump whenever he’s playing. So, it might be possible that Cormier has devised a new rock subgenre and Druggist seem to fit the criteria. From now on, they can be classified as unicorn music. 

When pressed to name one album that most inspired each of them, the members of Druggist offered these selections:

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The What of Whom
Daniel Johnston

Blake Cormier —

“The songs are totally unique, raw, beautiful and honest. When I heard this album, it totally changed my life. His early records are absolutely unparalleled.”

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OK Computer

Zach Dunlap —

“It is one of the first albums I remember really loving. It’s beautiful. It made me want to play the guitar and be in a band.”

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Legacy of Brutality

Milo Sanchez —

“If I have to choose one record, it has to be this one, because if it wasn’t for this record I wouldn’t be in this band.”

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Sonic Youth

Justin Drummond —

“I first heard this album in middle school and it opened up a whole new world of music to me. Soon after, Steve Shelley became one of my favorite drummers.”

More by Denise Blaz



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