The other night was a very “un-Pup” kind of night. A 10-year old Pinot Noir instead of a north coast amber or brown ale. Vegetables as appetizers instead of pigs-in-blankets. Salmon instead of a cheeseburger. Engaging conversation. Relaxed, but refined. Very sophisticated by Pup standards.
Given history, you probably are thinking, “Did the Lava Pups intrude into what sounds like a delightful evening?” Or “what Pup-style comedy of errors happened?” Fret not, Loyal Readers, nothing Pup-ful happened. In fact, the Pups were not even there.
This is not a Pup story. It is about music and musicians. We spent our evening with a couple of musicians -- real musicians. Musical talent? They were born with it. Music theory? They know it. Experience performing? They have it. Music studies? They did it. Play multiple instruments? They do it. Sing? They can.
Eventually, an otherwise erudite discussion of music devolved to the Pups and my musical deficits. “We came in second to a band that includes Beach Boys covers for a corporate event.” Perhaps fueled by the disappointment of losing out on the gig or by a couple of glasses of luscious Pinot, sacrilegious words crossed my lips. “Maybe we should add singing.”
Silence. Had I insulted our hosts? The proverbial social faux pas? Finally, one of them broke the silence, “Then it is not surf music anymore.”
But some of the First Wave bands sang -- The Astronauts, The Pyramids, and The Trashmen. Dick Dale -- the King of the Surf Guitar himself -- sang then and sings now. The Pyronauts fool around with singing every so often. And Drifting Sand sang at the KFJC Battle of the Surf Bands. Yes, you read that correctly: Battle of the SURF Bands.
Soon we shifted from debating whether singing defiles the purity of surf music. One of our hosts announced, “Almost anybody can sing. It is just a matter of finding out if you can mimic a note played on an instrument. If you can, you can sing. You then have to figure out your range.” That was intriguing until Becky revealed the cold, hard truth, “I’ve heard Bill try ‘Surfin’ Bird,’ and that was awful!” Her words tumbled around in my brain for a few moments along with the thought that the few people who said they liked “Surfin’ Bird” must have been really drunk that Sunday afternoon.
Before I could defend my honor, our host responded. “Even though almost anybody can sing, you should not put it in front of an audience until you really have your singing together.” In other words, almost anybody can sing but not everybody should . . . .