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South Bay Comb Overs

19 Feb

Undeniably the modern world can be a cruel, precarious, ugly place. So ya just can’t blame folks for wanting to retreat to a bit: step back into familiar, less complicated times where smiles came easy, when doubt didn’t sour conviction, where belief was pure and beautiful. THE SOUTH BAY SURFERS remember such times very well. And whatever else you might wanna claim they do/don’t, THE SOUTH BAY SURFERS do believe.


I’ll always maintain that THE SOUTH BAY SURFERS aren’t a bunch of swell workaday guys with comb-overs at all, but the domestic staff who’d been on hand with mops & pails when THE CRAMPS lurched through their Gravest Hits at Napa State Metal Hospital back in ’78. Or maybe fellas passed over as potential PANTHER BURNS after these SoCal boys tried to convince ol’ TAV it was a good idea to cover BLONDIE’s “Denise”. Not unlike THE CRAMPS/PANTHER BURNS, THE SOUTH BAY SURFERS reinvigorate our musical past with a spirit that stirs up weird Jungian memories us young ‘uns barely even knew we had. They’re living proof an extra chromosome can, given the right conditions, be a godsend.

That these cads can’t actually play their instruments and tend to work the squeakier cleaner, Ozzy & Harriet-side of oldies spectrum shouldn’t deter you in the slightest. It all serves to help me better understand where us terminally suburban white folk must trace our collective lineages back to. No I haven’t ever actually experienced them live – that is if ya don’t count rubbing shoulders with the gtrist browsing Big Bad Mamma Jamma vids in Mondo Video A Go-Go’s old San Pedro location. But I’d reckon they’re one of the only bands in the modern era who could’ve conceivably pulled off successful gigs playing with X, SUBLIME, and THE CENTIMETERS with equal panache.

Anyway I’ve still got their covers of “Lollipop” and “Rock & Roll Girls” off their lone 7″ 45 (Hot Rash Records, 1994) to spin over and over and over until my neighbours cry and my aspiring middleclass blues turn to giggles, laughs, and hoots of applause. Hey: if THE SOUTH BAY SURFERS don’t make you feel like smiling for a moment again, then no doubt you’re doomed to languish in some esthetic purgatory where COLDPLAY calls the shots forevermore. And that’s a particularly tedious whiteboy hell, fr sure.

Me I’ll side with true believers everytime. Whose gonna join me in giving em props for their righteous Paul Anka tribute?