Four NMSU students moonlight as local band, Acceptable Losses to talk about addiction, life, and growing pains.
Las Cruces Foursome Adds Reality to Their Music
Wake Gardner is an easygoing guy with a bit of a surfer accent and a welcoming personality.
He’s the kind of person who could be sipping tea in his dorm room at NMSU while chatting about his love of music. This was not the voice nor energy one might expect after listening to his band, Acceptable Losses, for the first time.
The hypnotic funk baselines and punk vocals radiate with energy and movement. It was clear that Gardner is a man dedicated to his craft, letting his energy pour into his words and manifest on stage.
A surprisingly humble lead vocalist, Gardner was quick to point out that the bulk of the talent lies with his three bandmates: his brother, Aidan Gardner, on bass and backup vocals; Josh Galloway on lead guitar; and last, but not least, one-armed drummer Trey Baker.
Having a one-armed drummer is not noticeable from listening to audio clips or even the music videos Acceptable Losses has released. Baker is missing the portion of his arm below his elbow, but Gardner said Baker has a system that he uses involving a heavier-than-normal drumstick strapped to his arm with a wristband.
“I don’t want to jinx him, but I have never seen him drop a stick from that hand; it’s always the other one,” Gardner laughed.
The band truly loves touring and is very successful at it. This year alone the group has played more than 30 out-of-state shows, focusing primarily on the Southwest, culminating in what Gardner said was his favorite moment as a musician.
“The crowd was singing back to me, like my actual lyrics, not a cover, my words, back to me,” he said.
Life Meets Art
Much of Acceptable Losses’ music is based on life experience combined with subtle nods to the members’ musical influences.
“Gold,” for instance, has a strong baseline reminiscent of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and lyrics that tell a story of living a lifestyle that teeters between self-care and self-destruction.
Their most recent single, “Switch,” also deals with pulling one’s self away from bad habits, people and situations. It is based largely on Gardner’s personal life while he and his brother were kicking an addiction.
“I have about a year and a half clean so far,” he said.