His night gig is literally a night gig. Counselor David Turcotte, who has a passion for helping students navigate through the complexity of college, is returning to the stage to pursue his first love, music, with his new band ‘Thieves and Tyrants.’
A counselor at Pierce College by day and a musician by night, Turcotte is excited about his new musical endeavors and is fully ready to get back in the scene. Thieves and Tyrants, with their energetic, gypsy-punk-ska sound, had a packed show for their first performance.
A staple player in the Long Beach music scene as a young adult, Turcotte has played in different projects throughout high school and college, notably Fungus Mungus and the Shrooms. During a time where the local reggae-ska music scene was thriving, Turcotte was a musician performing in the heart of it all.
“I grew up playing music in the Long Beach music scene back in the early-mid ‘90s with a lot of bands like Sublime, No Doubt, Suburban Rhythm and One Eye Open. At that time in Long Beach, it was kind of a magical time for music,” Turcotte said.
The drummer for Thieves and Tyrants, Jordan Dustin, has played with Turcotte for years, and recalls his importance in the Long Beach music scene of the ‘90s.
“He was very much revered in the local music scene since I started coming up through the ranks,” Dustin said.
Turcotte brings the sound of the guitar to life when he plays. Dustin recalls how Turcotte’s ability has always been respected.
“Dave was always known by local musicians as the ‘color guy’ on guitar. He can paint a picture using his guitar tones and effects with a very unique yet authentic style,” Dustin said.
After years of being in college without a strong sense of direction, Turcotte decided to pursue counseling. He also got married and started a family, moving to New York to work as a counselor at LaGuardia Community College in Queens.
After spending a number of years on the East Coast, Turcotte felt that he wanted to be with his mother who was having health issues, so his family decided to move back to Long Beach. After returning to California to care for his mother, Turcotte got a job at Pierce College as a counselor.
Turcotte felt lost as a community college student, so he thrives in helping students reach their full potential.
“It’s a good feeling to help someone. After years of doing this, it’s not about me, it’s about helping students become who they want to be,” Turcotte said. “It’s wonderful that I can provide tools, information, and counseling, but it’s most rewarding when I see students become self-sufficient and successful at their endeavors.”
Finding himself back in California, Turcotte felt a spark of inspiration to return to music. He has written many songs, and was was eager to create something with them. Henceforth, Thieves and Tyrants was founded. Open to the boundless potential for success, Turcotte feels satisfied being able to express himself musically, while continuing to help students as a counselor.
“I’m not setting out to be a rockstar. I’m just setting out to be a counselor playing music, but we’ll see where it goes,” Turcotte explained.
Thieves and Tyrants keyboardist Jon Tomilson, said that Turcotte’s passion shows he wants to share his music with the world.
“Dave has a deep sense of harmony that I think he wants to share with the world,” Tomilson said.
The tight-knit Long Beach music scene is happy to see the return of one of the staple musicians of the era. Dustin said the new band is a way for the players to catch up where they had left off.
“We had always had so much chemistry, writing and developing his ideas for various projects we’d worked on,” Dustin said. “Thieves and Tyrants is the fulfillment of all the things we never got to do while he was gone, and everything we learned while we did our own things on opposite sides of the country.”
The following that exists for the Long Beach 90s ska-reggae music is evident by the loyal supporters that bands like Sublime retain. Thieves and Tyrants is geared up to help bring that sound back with a fresh new twist.
“This band is bringing back all of those familiar sounds from our old local scene and throwing in some new exciting tunes that Dave and Marcus have composed,” Dustin said. “It’s very exciting getting back to our roots and playing fun music together again.”
With his new project, Thieves and Tyrants, Turcotte is helping to re-strengthen the Long Beach ska-reggae music scene and bringing that same joy alive in a new era. He is returning to his roots and following his inspiration to rekindle his musical fire.
Turcotte is a person that lives to inspire, whether through his role as a counselor or musician.
“For me, it’s all about passion, following a calling to do something. It’s validating overcoming that insecurity. That’s what I’m always reaching out to students to do,” Turcotte said. “You got to take a risk in music or anything else. You have to be willing to put yourself out there and try and do your best.”