Sometimes you just got to go with what you’ve got.
Getting ready for Shine’s Surf Night yesterday included running through the set without the benefit of a band. Wow, the old fingers were exceedingly bulky. They had a mind of their own. My brain said, “fifth fret, low E.” But the fingers went wherever they pleased. My brain responded, “We’re going to screw up this puppy tonight.”
By mid afternoon, however, any trepidation subsided. Alfred E. Neuman’s mantra took over, “What, me worry?” Worrying just would exacerbate the brain-finger disconnect. Thinking -- or overthinking -- may easily be humanity’s worst enemy. Reconciled to rely on zen in the art of guitar playing, fingers and brain were nearly in sync by 8:25 when we took Shine’s stage.
Besides, as usual, band mates, energy, and an audience were going to pull me through. Perfection is for the symphony and critics. Fast, loud, and loose is for the Lava Pups. Our forte is trashy, energetic garage surf. “Precise” and “clean” generally are not used to describe our music.
Fast, loud, and loose, standing alone, probably are not enough to justify spending $5 to watch us play. After all, if somebody wants to hear perfect -- or even trashy garage -- music, iTunes is available. For that reason, the Lava Pups hope to give an audience something more. Energy. Fun. Engagement.
Last night, we added sense of fashion. For Shine, Robert wore his “singer-songwriter” ensemble -- all black including his jacket. Sue displayed her handcrafted, recycled, bicycle inner tube earrings. They provided an elegant and sophisticated touch to her black outfit. Glenn wore his limited edition “cuelgan sueltos con los muertos” camp shirt.
For me, the cheap shark skin suit came out of the closet. When asked for fashion guidance, Sue vetoed a pink striped jacket with raspberry pants. Robert suggested, “Business look -- like Dick Dale.” Not paisley. Not Hawaiian print. Businesslike.
“How about a shark skin suit?” Robert responded, “Do you have gray?” “Well, no. Gray washes out with my hair!” After some more fashion direction from Sue and Robert, the verdict was the cheap shark skin. You might ask, “How cheap was the suit?” Cheap enough that having it tailored to fit cost nearly as much as the suit. Not so cheap -- or expensive -- to have a high sheen look.
After setting up and a semi-soundcheck, I exited to the restroom and donned the black shark skin suit -- black so that it does not clash with my hair. That was a ticket back to my youth. Thin lapels. Skinny tie. Collar pin. Very business like -- except for the orange and yellow striped socks and abstract patterned, dusty purple jacket lining. Nobody ever will call us sophisticated or subtle.
Somebody unfamiliar with Pup music might have looked at us and thought, “Vintage surf rock coming up.” But sun glasses with zebra-stripe frames and few bars of our garage surf quickly dispelled that notion. Add our rapport with the audience, and even a casual observer would know that the Lava Pups do not do vintage surf rock.
High energy rock ‘n roll and a bit of a fashion statement made for a fun evening at Shine. Funny what happens when you just go with what you got!