If Damon Tucker has a bucket list, it’s hard to imagine anything being on it for too long.
When Tucker has a hankering to do something, he does it.
Tucker is a fraud investigator for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office who has investigated cases involving some of the county’s most high-profile criminals.
He was the lead investigator in the case of Carlos Bustamante, the former Santa Ana councilman convicted of multiple sex-related charges.
Tucker also led the investigation of the mysterious death of an elderly woman, which led to the arrest and conviction of her caretaker.
“I would do law enforcement for free,” said Tucker. “It’s that fulfilling. It’s intrinsically a noble occupation. I enjoy holding people accountable for the things that they do … when they rip off an old lady or when the steal somebody’s identity. I’m a fraud guy. I want to recover your money. I find that the chase and catching them is fulfilling.”
But Tucker is immersed in a completely unrelated career, along with several other endeavors, and is pretty darn good at all of them.
When he’s not investigating crimes, Tucker writes music and plays bass guitar for a band he formed about the same time he was beginning his career in law enforcement with the U.S Customs Department.
And when he’s not investigating crimes or playing in a band, the former Irvine police officer is a swimmer and track athlete who has competed in the World Police and Fire Games every year since 1997, and in the Baker to Vegas relay for the past 24 years.
Tucker was a member of a four-person team from Orange County that won the World’s Toughest Competitor Alive at the games in Spain in 2003. The competition includes runs, swims, rope climbs, bench presses, and an obstacle course.
Prior to working in law enforcement, Tucker was a professional bungee jumper and a stuntman.
He swam with hammerhead sharks off Galapagos Island and walked among penguins in the Antarctic.
He also teaches criminal justice classes at Cal State Long Beach.
“I don’t want to look back and say, ‘I wish I would have tried something that I didn’t do,’” Tucker said.
Among his most recent accomplishments is a three-song collaboration with celebrated drummer Steve DiStanislao called “28,000 Days.”
The title represents a rough estimate of the number of days the average person stays alive.
The title also explains why Tucker does what he does.
“The average human life is 78 and a half years,” Tucker said. “Multiply that by 365. It comes to about 28,000 days and some change. I’m two-thirds on the way to death right now. I know that. I know I will die in probably 25 years average. No way around that. So that is where I got the name ‘28,000 Days.’ So I write songs about, ‘What are we doing in the meantime?’ I don’t want to put off tomorrow what can be done today.”
DiStanislao, who himself has made his mark touring and recording with Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour and playing with the band Crimson Crowbar, is impressed by Tucker’s diversity.
“I’m like, what doesn’t this guy do?” DiStanislao said. “He does a lot of stuff. He’s a remarkable guy. He really is. It’s pretty incredible that he has this duality.”
Tucker attended a year of college in his native Illinois when he decided to pack up his bass guitar and head to California in 1988.
Without a definitive career path, Tucker attended Long Beach State and switched majors a few times when, on a whim, he enrolled in a criminology class… then another one…and another one.
“They were naturally easy,” he said. “I loved it.”
Tucker was simultaneously studying music while earning a degree in criminal justice.
He formed the band Parkaimoon with his cousin in December 1992, and put out their first of five records in 1994.
Tucker was honored when DiStanislao once filled in on drums in his band.
A few weeks later, Tucker returned the favor, playing with DiStanislao’s band at a club in Manhattan Beach.
The two became friends and jammed together, and wound up crafting three songs – “Eyes Wide Open,” “Scratch” and “Amuse Me” – which became the playlist on the EP “28,000 Days.”
“He was a good guy and a good musician and he just seemed really enthusiastic,” DiStanislao said. “I recognized he had a passion for music. and once you have a passion for it, you want to pursue it.”
There’s also something else fueling Tucker’s passions.
Growing up, Tucker and his best friend had plans to explore the world’s offerings in much the same way Tucker is doing it now.
But at age 17, his friend was severely injured from a car accident and confined to a wheelchair.
“I saw that happen, and I thought, ‘That could be me.’ I’m this little speck on the earth. I don’t want to be in a hospital bed and say, ‘I wish I would have done that.’ I see the world and I don’t want to do the same path everyone else has. I want to go places people haven’t been. I don’t ever want to look back and regret not doing something.”
To listen to “28,000 Days,” go to reverbnation.com/28000days