German Cops, The Acid Tests, & Chaz Ferrare: The Sleeperz, XMAS Stoop Show 12/18

“The band started in a studio apartment with my best friend Chaz. I was pretty much desperate to start a band in Long Beach… Was working on a solo project but I wanted more. After two years I had a make-or-break moment, I guess. Sometimes you get to a point where you feel like you literally can’t do it anymore. I was busting my ass to make rent while simultaneously trying to start a band, & it just wasn’t working. Chaz was living out of his friend’s limousine & he ended up moving in with me.

Crooked Straits.

The Sleeperz is: Landon Reed (rhythm/vox), Alec Mayne (bass), Jordan Hermosillo (drums), Austin Morrissey (lead), & Chaz Ferrare (lead). I sat down with Landon on the stoop after WACKO’s set.

We were a band for maybe two, three months before we got a show; Alec on bass, Chaz on lead guitar, and myself on rhythm guitar. The drummer we were jamming with bailed so I sang & played drums at practice just to keep this band alive.

Jordan (first official & current drummer) was in a band called Freeman’s Dead; they were a major reason I moved to Long Beach initially. I was so in love with what they were doing. Every kid I see at our shows wearing a Sleeperz shirt & going hard, that was me for this band. We were already homies from other projects & as soon as we got together, it was the same as what I felt today. It’s never been any different, always clicked. That’s the thing though; we had this band for almost a year and a half, then Chaz passed away. In this house.

Directed by Chaz Ferrare.

After it happened we all met here & agreed to keep doing this shit. For him, you know what I mean? It was like a pact where we signed our lives to this band. I mean, I got it tattooed on my fucking knuckles dude. I will play in other bands, I will start other projects, but to the day I die, I will be playing in this band.

Crooked Straits.

Chaz & I slept in the same bed until we could afford more space. He was my best friend. We’d take acid at two o’clock before a show, peak around four or five in the studio, pregame with a flood of all the homies, & as we’re coming down either walk to the venue holding our guitars or cruise or whatever dude. There was a connection I had with him that I can’t just recreate.

A little over a year ago I could have broken down & ended the band, but instead, his passing fueled the fire. I can feel him watching over me telling me to not give up, to push harder. We haven’t slowed down & I feel as though people are paying attention to us now more than ever. I was already excited to have this band with my best friend, now Jordan, Alec, & Austin. We’re all that much tighter through this music.

Chaz found this house. He swore it was the one & already knew which room was his. I had this weird feeling that he knew something about it… When I came to see it, Ari & Chaz got the keys & we walked around before we even signed the lease. I could feel what he felt; this was ours. He was sleeping in this house four or five days before the electricity even turned on, so stoked to be here. I’ll never forget being posted up in the studio apartment with everyone, huddled up in the backyard together. I was like, ‘We’re doing this. We’re getting the fuck out of our shitty ass little apartments & we’re getting a living room. With carpet!’ (Haha).

After talking influences (70’s Hard Rock, CBGB scene, Grunge), I mentioned Palm Desert’s Kyuss.

Fucking Josh Homme bro? You know Queens of the Stone Age started in Amsterdam? Check this out: my friend Reid & I used to back this German chick who invited us to tour with her in Europe. She asked me to stay at her house in Berlin, chill for a couple weeks, then play Barcelona all the way up to… ah… I can’t remember, but what I do remember was saying, ‘I’m going to Spain!’ (Haha) I’m Hungarian, but I was excited. I’m going on this next-level European adventure playing bass in a band, I don’t give a fuck.

Polaroid with a Dutch friend.

Then this lady went crazy on me dude! She got in her comfort zone, & I hate to say it, but when people get in their comfort zones, you get to see their real side. She started drinking & drinking & drinking… She was isolated. I didn’t realize this person was a fucking alcoholic & it got bad. Really bad. Reid was supposed to meet us out there, and as soon as he landed I told him I was going back to California. I couldn’t keep up with this person. Reid convinced me to head back to her pad to feel things out… We get there & she’s already wasted. We tried to jam out her songs & as he makes eye contact with me I literally drop my shit. ‘I told you, I’m wasting my time. I need to go home.’ She started throwing a temper tantrum & wouldn’t let me get my things to the point where I had to call the fucking cops in Germany. These dudes rolled up like the fucking Gestapo, big ass leather boots & uniforms. They looked at me like ‘What did you do!?’ I was like ‘No! You have to understand, I’m just trying to get the hell out of here. I’m just trying to live my life & get back to California!’

After assessing the situation, the cops came back outside with a look that read ‘You’re okay, we understand.’ They escorted me inside to grab my things & she just charges at me. She was off her rocker, dude. The cops just watched as I was shaking with anxiety, pleading to help me get my things. It was literally hundreds of dollars of guitar pedals & a Japanese guitar I bought there…

Landon gifted the guitar to Lüc [WACKO, Nightmare Enterprises] to teach his father guitar.

Long story short, Reid mentioned our roundtrip plane tickets; why not make the most of this? We went to Amsterdam & found some shows to play as a guitar & drums duo. The Rolling Stones played one of those spots… We also got a show at the biggest skate park in Amsterdam on Noord across the river. Through that show, we met this group that worked at this bar called Cafe the Minds. I got a rock & roll education there; Dave Grohl actually slept in their attic when Scream toured the Netherlands. This is the spot all these musicians go… So when Josh Homme toured with the Screaming Trees, he ended up at this bar. The bartender told me he hung out with him personally, & that QOTSA started down the street.

Polaroid from Cafe the Minds.

When I was out there, I found this book called the Sleepers of Mars. I really wanted to name the band that, but Chaz thought it was too long. At the time we were taking a lot of acid, maybe too much… To the point where we’d ask ourselves if we should trip, then decide not to… Three of four o’clock would roll around & he’d come out of the kitchen like ‘I ate a tab.’ I’d usually end up joining him. One time we watched this MK-Ultra documentary that covered the Acid Tests. They’d basically pay people to drop LSD & let them observe their behavior; patients were classified as sleepers. Chaz & I looked at each other & we knew.


We got it made here in Long Beach. We don’t need to go outside of the community for anything; we just shot a music video with one of our best friends, Dom. It’s not just some video our homie shot, him & his crew are unbelievably talented at filming & editing. He dropped out of high school to pursue this shit. We also did this crazy ass photoshoot today with our other best friend, Lil B… As a collective, we inspire each other & make each other better. It’s beautiful.

Last summer we played a bunch of protest shows like Push for Peace. I’m about the shows where there’s restriction on doing what we love, you know? Makes every note that much more powerful. Even tonight: playing at the house here, knowing that the cops could come any minute, made everything 10x more exciting. That’s what music’s about, what art’s about. Even those gnarly LA shows where there’s NOS tanks left & right with fireworks & fires… Would you prefer these kids vandalize the city? It’s a good outlet, don’t you think? I couldn’t tell you how many times I felt some way but pushed my friends around at a show instead. Expressing myself in music makes me a better human. It’s a release. That’s what music’s about.

At the end of the day, I play because I want to make people happy. It makes me happy to make people happy. I had a little ego about being in bands when I was younger, but now it’s just a part of my life; this whole Long Beach community is.

Karen Marie.

If you’re 18 years old and you’re considering falling in line, but you have a passion everyone around you says you can’t succeed in… This has to be the moment you sink your teeth in & let that fuel you even harder. To succeed in the first place, you need to believe in yourself. Believe & do what makes you happy.

Rest easy Chaz Ferrare. Crooked Straits.

Read our WACKO interview: WACKO on COVID Clown Parties, Hate Pages, & Dream Composition; NPU/BCP 12/10

Stream The Sleeperz’ 2020 full-length on Spotify.

More Sleeperz at:


By Hector Zaldivar

Professional magician. @hexzald