Punk band The Droogz is perfectly imperfect. The foursome’s nonchalant attitude may be the secret to their success.
Dawson Burlingame, guitarist, and Quinn Diehl, drummer, both played in a jazz band at Binghamton High School for three years together, but never took the time to really speak to each other, until the very last day of Burlingame’s senior year. Diehl asked Burlingame to be in a band with him, and this is where their journey began.
The two went through a couple of different members and jam sessions before finding Santiago Ortiz, current Binghamton High School student and vocalist and guitarist for the band. At a random graduation party in the summer of 2020, Ortiz hopped in with the band to play the Beatles’ hit song “Come Together.” After that Diehl and Burlingame invited him to practice with them, from then on he stuck. The band’s success comes from their combined talent and happenstance.
In 2021, The Droogz moved on, looking for a bass player. Cate Reynolds, a junior double-majoring in comparative literature and politics, philosophy and law at BU and now bass player for the band, and Burlingame, Diehl and Ortiz were looking for each other. They just didn’t know it.
“I was in film class when one of my friends called me and said The Droogz have a question for you,” Reynolds said. “I offered to come to a practice, and when I did it was so fun, we just jammed.”
The casual start to The Droogz is a peek into the band’s mindset as a whole. Between song names and practices, their hard work comes naturally as they are there to do what they love.
“I feel like we have a very natural vibe, we aren’t like we need to show up at a certain time, guitar in hand ready to go, so it just kind of works because it’s very comfortable,” Reynolds said.
“We hang out a lot,” Ortiz said. “I think this is the first time all of us have had a solid relationship with each other which is also cool.”
The Droogz recently recorded music and are hoping to release an EP within the next couple of months. The name of the EP is to be determined, but most certainly will not disappoint. The band is most excited about releasing music, especially for the familiar fans they see at every show. The EP is set to include two new songs, which the band is excited to release although they don’t have names yet.
“This was the first time we’ve actually completed everything and felt good about it,” Ortiz said. “We’re pretty hyped about it.”
“Within the past month or two we’ve started to add new things to different songs once we’ve gotten sick of them, so everything’s always evolving which is cool,” Diehl said. “It’s pretty cool that we’ve never actually recorded anything, but have been able to make ground with our work.”
Because the four are all Binghamton residents, they’ve been able to grow their network of people, allowing for more opportunities to play live and share their music. They’re also fortunate enough to have most, if not all of their parents’ support.
The band’s goal is to continue playing music, hopefully releasing more music soon and to continue what they’re doing. The Droogz do not want to be stuck in Binghamton.
“To not be stuck here, you’re not really moving forward if you stay in one place,” Ortiz said.
Practices in Ortiz’s cramped attic are a team effort, each person brings a different aspect to the band, even if it’s not the most together. Ortiz would have a progression to their work, introducing a simple guitar part, for each person to build on in the moment. Diehl joked about the process they go through to write and create songs.
“Santi pulls out a crumpled piece of paper with some type of lyrics on it,” Diehl said. “It’s a team effort for sure.”
The Droogz are inspired by different bands and musicians, mainly punk, but are working toward finding their own sound to define them. Their current music, which can be streamed through Bandcamp and live performances on YouTube, is more definitive of their sound.
Follow The Droogz on Instagram @thedroogz