The Keystone Eyes (The Eyes) were a Santa Cruz band (2001), whose completely improvised hops-flavored crunk-and-roll was universally disliked in the greater Santa Cruz area music scene. The core lineup revolved around Lead Singer TySin, Lead Guitarist Old Hard, Lead Bassist Squawkdogg, and Lead Drummer Turnstiles, however, Keystone Eyes did and still do operate with a revolving-door member scheme. Satellite members and honorary Eyes include BrandSin, Danimal, KrautGlands, BGM, Mickey Mayse, Iron Will, and Joe. A version of the classic Keystone Eyes lineup operates in Davis, CA under the moniker Keep On Trawlin'. They played in Big Bang 2001.
The Eyes aesthetic was simple: pure musical transcendance through beer. No practices ever occurred during the Eyes' stay in Santa Cruz. The Eyes had many song titles, but no planned music set to them. The combination of these vague guidelines and the intestinal fortitude of the performers berthed a sound not unlike Flipper or the Bunny Brains.
For the first year of Eyes gigs, Squawkdogg refused to play anything but an E note. He eventually welcomed the soothing tones of A into his repertoire after hearing Bloodrock for the first time. TySin was a red-faced blubbering behemoth, belching as much fire from his mouth as lyrics and spending most of his time on the ground, looking for change. Turnstiles drummed when he felt it was appropriate, but preferred pouring beverages on TySin. Old Hard was confused, and played several notes in a row a couple times. The band broke up violently after nearly every gig, and reformed over pancakes and jam the next morning.
The Eyes' particular brand of magic was captured live by Nicholas Taplin one star-struck eve at the Chill Out Cafe in Capitola. It was subsequently released in a limited edition of maybe 45 or so as Live at the Chill Out Cafe on the L.O.D. Efforts imprint.
After being invited to play the Big Bang 2002, and subsequently claiming the 418 Project as "Eyes Territory," the Keystone Eyes never played in Santa Cruz again. Davis, a place where alcohol fetishization is much more welcome, became their permanent home. Members of the Keystone Eyes went on to join such acts as Jabby Jimmy, HerMongrel, Fats Oils and Varnishes, Dirty Dix, and Bang! Whatta Beat!