Nor Cal Explorer: After~Thot


I think it was probably about a year ago when I was excited to get the band After~Thot as a follower on Twitter. This was an occasion where I dove real deep into every aspect I could find about them online, and just knew I was going to do some kind of segment on them. I decided to let them roast in my mind over a long period of time too, just to see what kind of after taste I could get from that initial encounter!


Note: Click images for links, websites, and other media related to this presentation.


The thing they probably did not realize was I am somewhat of a huge fan of their genre, not by choice so much as the fact my old man championed it. Every once in a while I will tell some stories about my father, such as the fact he was a master horseman, but most of the people close to our family will know of him that he was a musician foremost- a master musician at that. Now he was not necessarily the greatest guitar player of all time, but he had a power to captivate people through his music that was truly uncanny. A family tale that often came up was how one time, while performing for a bunch of people around a campfire, he was approached by a guy who claimed to be a professor of music at Julliard… “I can literally play any music no matter how complicated on any and every instrument, I can do it without the slightest technical error, but I cannot do what you just did”.


There is an insight about music here that kind of goes deeper than the skin and hits bone. If you know it, you will immediately recognize it.



Some of the best music in the world can be found on street corners, living rooms, and bars. It doesn’t really matter where it is played or on what it is made, but the essence of it is that it will be done – regardless. Now if you got it, this surely translates on to the big stage, especially if you can afford to get your production just how you want it, but if you don’t, then it really doesn’t matter how much money you throw at it. I think some people would rather play until their fingers bleed than to make it big in the music industry- it’s something of a principle that you would rather have the merit than the money. My old man suggested he set his mind to being great, but as he got older realized maybe he should have also set his aims on being rich and famous too!


After-Thot was a duo when I first looked into them consisting of Natasha Keys and Dan Verdugo - more recently looks to me to be a trio. I’m not going to cover their new member here so I can give them time to play that out. The principles though are a couple, and this reminds me of my father and his wife. He played guitar, she played accompany with piano (when at home), but the main feature was their singing. They would go into these evening long sessions, kind of practicing for bigger shows, or just to entertain friends and family, but their voices would dance together way up high like eagles in the sky. The first chord ever made must have been the harmony of a man and woman’s voice.



Natasha strikes me as the better half of the group (I’m sure Dan will at least agree she’s the better looking one). Click the image above for her profile on ReverbNation. So it looks like she was always involved with music her whole life until she got married, went through a ten year dark period, and came out of this with a renewed passion to get back to good music and good times.



Dan has sort of a cool Kill Bill bad ass coolness going on. I don’t know how else to put it. I think he’s right out of a Quentin Tarantino flick. Click the image above to check him out on Facebook. Looks like he’s into martial arts too, so maybe he will get my reference to The Silent Flute.


Being from Northern California and having grown up everywhere between Chico and Redding, I have to say I can appreciate their music for how it reflects certain aspects of the regional culture and lifestyle that otherwise might not get popularized in contemporary media. There are strong elements of blues, classic rock, and even folk music. It’s the kind of thing you should not have a hard time finding at any given concert in the park or local festival. After-Thot seems to make a point of getting around to these types of gigs, and I think that’s a great part of the ambiance – they contribute a lot to the character and atmosphere of the place.



One thing I was happy to discover about them is they seem to go out of their way to support local veterans such as myself, and they have the good heart to contribute to causes like Sweet Relief. This hits close to home, as I mentioned that my old man was a musician, but late in his life he lost the feeling in his hands and simply could not play guitar like he used to. This did not stop him from trying, by the way, he still performed regardless. He just broke away from the more complex stuff and turned his pain into the essence of blues… simple and pure.



It was real cool to discover Afer-Thot and especially because they reminded me of my own music family. The fact is, where we were kind of at a loss between mainstream music industry norms and getting recorded, the new online environment allows anyone with the initiative to get their stuff out there, and you never know if that will help you get an organic fan base going – or who might be listening in on you. You see it all the time with younger artists out there nowadays, but I was impressed to see After-Thot right there with them- from Twitter, to Facebook, To Youtube, and more. Click image above to check them out on ReverbNation.


I listened to a lot of their songs, but one really stood out to me as their hit. I thought it has good production quality considering, especially if you can appreciate the sound dynamics of recording live together in studio – kind of like on vinyl without the digital washing – for their brand of music I think you need what they are giving to it. In fact, it was rather brilliant of them to get this on film. I wonder if this might help them get discovered and invested in for a recording… oh well, it was something that crossed my mind after writing this… I guess just had myself a bit of a moment… what you might call an After-Thot ;)


You need to be a member of Nor Cal to add comments!

Join Nor Cal

Email me when people reply –


  • Hi Anthony,

    How did you find out about our band? You are an excellent writer, and we really appreciate the fact that you liked us enough to write an article about us. It was quite surprising really. We play from Sacramento to Redding so it would be great if you could make it to one of our shows some time. We would love to meet you. 

    P.S. Thank you for your service!

    • Hi Natasha!

      Thank you for the comment. You followed my Nor Cal Social Media twitter profile @signonsocial last year and that is when I looked into you. I've been meaning to do a piece on you but it's been one of those "save the best for last" type things. I hoped you would like it.

      Thanks again for signing on to my Nor Cal project. It is my sincere pleasure to connect and I look forward to working with you!

      • Great! Dan is a Vietnam era veteran so we are happy to help however we can.

        • Awesome! You guys made my day!

  • Hello Anthony, 

    I just want to say thank you for your support. It really means a lot to us, more than you might imagine. I'm very interested in helping you with your projects. It works both ways and I'm looking forward to some cool things ahead.

    Take care, Dan

This reply was deleted.