From Orange County, California, USA, the Cadillac Tramps did not take too kindly to their press tag of "bar-drunk brawly blues band", claiming that they offered a much more sophisticated sound - yet that description was close enough to reality to warrant repetition. The band members were Mike "Gabby" Gaborno (vocals; d. January 4, 2017), Warren Renfrow (bass), Jamie Reidling (drums, 1987-92), Brian Coakley (guitar/vocals, 1987-1995), Steven "Spanky" Barrios (drums, 1992-94), Dieter Hartmann (drums, 1994-?), Jonny Wickersham (guitar/vocals, 1995-99), Mike "Mad Dog" Combs (guitar, 1999-2002, d. December 2004), Matt Beld (guitar, vocals, 2002-present), Anthony "Tiny" Biuso (drums)
Cadillac Tramps riffed their way to prominence with an acclaimed, sweaty live show that earned a solid reputation for the band on the Southern Californian club circuit. Their admirers include Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam (who personally filmed one show). Their third album and first for Music For Nations subsidiary Bullet Proof was headed by a title track that concerned Coakley's HIV-positive friend. The Cadillac Tramps split-up shortly after the release of a 1995 compilation of outtakes and remixes, but reunited at regular intervals to play live shows. Coakley then formed Rule 62.
A more permanent reunion took effect in 1999, since when the band has maintained a regular touring schedule. Replacement guitarist Combs, who played guitar with the band between 1999 and 2002, was found dead in December 2004 after he disappeared during a snowboarding trip on Vail Mountain in Colorado.