Reno rock band One Ton Dually do something during their live sets that I only remember Cheap Trick attempting. Like the classic rockers’ “Hello There”/“Goodnight Now” duo, Dually members have a single song they play twice during a set, at the front and the end: “Dually Noted” and “Dually Reprise.” The reason behind the instrumental, though, is more practical than tricky showmanship.
“We didn’t have very many songs to start with, so we needed another one,” said Spike Ritchie, guitarist for the band, who along with longtime friend and guitarist/vocalist Jackson Truckle started One Ton Dually about five years ago. “It was actually Jackson’s idea to do the bookend set, and it worked right from the beginning.”
One Ton Dually bring a mix of humor and genuine bonhomie to a scene that can sometimes be po-faced and cutthroat. This likely stems from the genuine friendship between the bandmates.
The band started when Ritchie and Truckle would play duo sets, beginning in 2010, as part of the twice-a-year Marianarchy shows—benefits for local people who need financial help with medical issues. The shows have been organized for years by Rory Dowd and Nick Ramirez, who are the bassist/vocalist and drummer, respectively, for One Ton Dually.
“Nick used to jump on stage with us during a Spike and Jackson set, and it was a lot of fun,” Ritchie said. “And then he said, ‘Hey, can I actually practice with you guys?’”
Once Truckle asked Dowd to join up, the band was born. They plan to be part of this winter’s Marianarchy, which is Dec. 13 and 14 at Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor, 71 S. Wells Ave.
“We’ve all known each other forever,” Dowd said. “Saturday is our practice day, and it’s the highlight of my week.”
At those practices, the two guitarists often come up with the bones of a song. Truckle and Dowd both sing lead and write their own lyrics. Although they started with more limited subject matter—mostly drinking and cars—Truckle and Dowd now just let whatever subject flow for the lyrics.
“I try to write about stuff I know about,” Truckle said. “Except for ‘10,000 Cadillacs,’ which was a song title that was already written, so I just wrote the song around that. It’s the only one where the lyrics aren’t inspired by something that happened to me.”
“A lot of my songs end up being ‘about a girl’ songs, love songs, whatever you call it,” Dowd said. “I try to step away from that, though. I mean, I have a zombie song, but that’s a love story.”
“We sing about cars and liquor still, but we’ve cut some of that out, because it’s not doing us any good,” Ramirez said. “We’re headed to the stars, man. We’re gonna make a space rock album next.”
Ramirez said that to laughs all around, but they are planning to make album number two someday. Their first record from 2018, Take It Up a Notch, often gets airplay on KTHX-FM’s local spotlight. But first, the band members plan to take a break from the tons of shows they’ve played in recent months.
“I think that shows that we’re a working man’s rock and roll band,” Ramirez said. “Even with the name One Ton Dually—it’s a truck, it gets something done, it has power. Man, I love figuring out a metaphor.”