|Origin||California, United States|
|Years active||1989–2000, 2003–present|
|Labels||BYO, Moon Ska, Hellcat|
|Associated acts||The Aggrolites
|Past members||David Fuentes (deceased)
Joey "Pepe" Urquijo
Jeremiah Ben Zion
Aaron Owens (deceased)
Hepcat is a ska and reggae band formed in southern California in 1989. Their soulful harmonies and mellow rhythms were unlike those of contemporaries and more akin to musicians from the heyday of 1960s Jamaican ska, also referred to as the first wave.
Hepcat's debut album, Out of Nowhere was released in 1993 on New York-based ska label Moon Records. Two years later, they followed it up with Scientific on BYO Records. In 1998, after signing with Epitaph Records subsidiary HellCat Records, they released Right on Time, scoring a modest hit with the swinging "No Worries" and scored a spot on the Vans Warped Tour. 2000 saw the release of Push n' Shove, their first album without founding members Raul Talavera and Alex Désert, although the latter appears as a guest vocalist on two tracks.
The band went on a short hiatus after 2000, then reunited in March 2003, bringing back members of the "Scientific" lineup, sans alto sax Raul Talavera.
In early 2004, a remastered version of Out of Nowhere was released with two additional bonus tracks—an early version of "Nigel" and "Club Meditation"—both of which appeared on their first single.
Hepcat has since continued to play occasionally, with most appearances close to their home in Los Angeles. New songs have been written since their reunion, and an album is in the works.
On September 22, 2007, it was reported via the band's MySpace profile and corresponding blog that long-time bassist David Fuentes had died. No details were given, and as such, the band has taken to grieving the loss.
A few members of Hepcat have also participated in other endeavors. Trumpeter Kincaid Smith formed Soul Traffic, a five-piece funk band. Vocalist Alex Desert has had a successful career in film and television, appearing in the movies PCU, Swingers, and High Fidelity; and the television shows Boy Meets World and Becker.
The term "Hepcat" originates from an early slang term (1930–35) pertaining to an admirer or devotee of jazz, esp. swing, or one that was "hep", or a hipster. The band is actually named after a cat once owned by vocalist Alex Desért, named "Hep."
- Out of Nowhere (1993), Moon Ska Records
- Scientific (1996), BYO Records
- Right on Time (1998), Hellcat Records
- Push 'n Shove (2000), Hellcat Records
- Out of Nowhere (Hellcat re-release with two bonus tracks) (2004)
- Live at The Whiskey a Go-Go (2011), Whatevski Records
Current members (as of 2007)
- Greg Lee - vocals
- Alex Désert - vocals
- Deston Berry - keys and vocals
- Efren Santana - tenor sax (joined on Scientific)
- Kincaid Smith - trumpet, flugelhorn (joined on Scientific)
- Lino Trujillo - guitar (from Scientific)
- Greg Narvas - drums and percussion (Out of Nowhere and Scientific)
- David Fuentes - bass, E. upright (deceased 1971 - 2007)
- Joey "Pepe" Urquijo - bass ("Nigel" and "Club Meditation" — first single)
- Raul Talavera - alto sax (through Right on Time)
- Dave Hillyard - tenor sax (Out of Nowhere)
- Joey Aguilera - guitar (Scientific Tour)
- Dennis Wilson - guitar (Out of Nowhere)
- Jeremiah BenZion (Settles) - tenor sax (Out of Nowhere)
- Aaron Owens - guitar (credited as an additional musician on Right on Time, joined on Push n' Shove)
- Chris Castanon - drums (in between Scientific and Push n' Shove)
- Scott Abels - drums and percussion (credited as an additional musician on Right on Time, joined on Push n' Shove)