Charlie Black is coming home and he won’t be alone.
Black, who graduated from Park City High School in 2018, is the rhythm guitarist for San Diego-based indie band Saint Luna, performing at the Park City Brewing on Sunday, July 24 at 7 p.m. The show is free and open to guests of the restaurant.
“I’d love to see old friends there,” Black said. “It would be great if everyone supported the local business, drank some good IPAs and watched us play.”
Saint Luna – Black, lead vocalist and guitarist Bradyn Jace, bassist and vocalist Max Katz, lead guitarist Wick Hauser and drummer Paarsa Heidari – have been making quite the noise in the City of Motion since their inception in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There wasn’t much to do back then, so Max, who’s a big DIY enthusiast, built a studio in the garage of the house he rented,” Black said. “He soundproofed the room with 23 mattresses and everything he could find on Craigslist.”
According to Black, Katz met Heidari, a jazz drummer who played the drumline while she was studying music.
“They knew Jace and brought him and Wick on board,” he said. “A week after they started jamming, they realized they needed an extra guitarist.”
Katz invited Black to a rehearsal after the two jammed together one night.
“They asked me to learn three songs, but when I came to rehearsal I found I’d learned them in a different key,” Black said, laughing. “So it was like walking over hot water to figure them out. But it has been sailing steadily ever since.”
Saint Luna has released six singles Previously appeared on the TV series “ME” and played a long string of live performances throughout the San Diego music scene.
“We’ve played a variety of venues here — Music Box, Soda Bar, Boulevard Bar — and we’re branching out to play wherever we can,” Black said.
Last month, the band played the Observatory at North Park to a sold-out crowd of 1,200, their largest ever.
“It was a huge success,” Black said.
In addition to the singles and gigs, Saint Luna is also making a name for itself digitally. The band has 28,000 monthly listeners on Spotify69,300 followers on Tik Tok and 9,500 followers on Instagram.
“Tik Tok is where we get most of our bookings,” Black said. “I’m not very well versed in Tik Tok, but luckily Katz and Jace are.”
It took Black a while to develop an interest in the guitar, although his musical tastes were more diverse than the rest of his family members.
“My brothers were all rap and electronic music, and my parents were classic rock to the bone,” he said. “I was the one who branched out, and while I liked music, it never occurred to me to pick up a guitar until I was in high school.”
Black decided to buy a $60 acoustic Fender while his family lived in Connecticut.
“As far as the instrument itself goes, there are few things that sound better to my ears than a guitar,” he said. “It’s a wonderfully expressive instrument that can make you cry, smile and shock.”
After his family moved to Park City for his junior year, Black took some courses at the
Granger School of Music, which is now the EA School of Music.
“I would recommend her to anyone,” he said. “I learned music theory, which was very helpful.” Black’s friend, local guitarist Shane Cumming, also encouraged Black to hone his skills.
“Shane is a phenomenal guitarist and he inspired me to be even better,” said Black. “Right now I’m teaching myself and learning along the way.”
Still, the music lessons helped Black with songwriting.
“Sometimes it’s free for everyone,” he said of the songwriting sessions. “We have a couple of weeks off, and then someone comes along with guitar riffs, lyrics, or a beat.”
Pitches will either be shot down immediately or worked out, Black said.
“It’s not the best feeling when it’s not working, but when people start picking up their instruments and playing along, it feels great,” he said.
One of Saint Luna’s biggest challenges is scheduling rehearsals.
“In the beginning, because of COVID, we were all doing online training, so it was a lot easier to get together for three hours every day and play and write until our hands hurt and our brains were gone,” he said. “Now everyone is working. So it’s harder to coordinate things because we’re not all available to meet up every week. So we usually try to practice at night in a studio we built in another house.”
The ultimate goal for Saint Luna right now is the Tour.
“I know some of us, including myself, have never been to Coachella,” said Black, who recently graduated from college with a degree in business and management. “So one of my big goals is to play Coachella, even if it’s just for 20 people in a tent in the back lot.”