The New Pups - One Year Later

Yep, I have been neglectful . . . again.  A list of excuses exists.  They run from A -- anticipation of a new puppy -- to Z -- zealous pursuit of profession.  In between, we had the three Cs:  Calamity, chaos, and comedy.  Potential gigs fell through as we juggled the real world’s surprises and demands.  Nothing too heavy dropped on our heads.  This may not be good news to you, but my fingers are back on the MacBook’s keyboard.

The posters on the Doghouse's walls bring the realization that the “new” Pups have been together for one year.  July 22nd is the anniversary of the first gig of our current line-up.  That afternoon, Sue and Robert were ensconced behind the safety of music stands as we found our way through 14 songs.  Even when we stumbled, we made sure that the 70 or 80 people who showed up believed that we knew our stuff. 

When new folks showed up and asked that we play longer, our choices were to say, “no,” or to replay some of the 14 songs.  After all, we were beginning to take down our equipment.  We said, “Sure, we’ll play.”  And we played the five to six songs that we knew best again, and everybody had fun.  The reality was that we had practiced only 14 songs.

That day was the first step in defining the "new" Lava Pups as a band.  I no longer could look to Paul the Pyronaut to bail me out and cover up my playing deficits.  The surf classics that were in Paul’s and Don’s memory banks and quickly under their fingers were foreign to Sue and Robert.  On July 22, we took a step towards finding a new identity when we said, “Sure, we’ll play” as we played with abandon and pushed our tempo up a notch or two.

“Sure, we’ll play” almost became a band mantra.  It compelled us to get better and find our way.  When we were asked to open for Aloha Radio, our response was, “Sure, we’ll play.”  We fastened together a set, promoted the gig all over town, put some fun out for the audience, and pulled it off.  When we were asked to open for Dick Dale, our response was, “Sure, we’ll play.”  We enlisted Rikki Styxx on drums, added some fun, looked a crowd of 300 right in the eye, left a lot of sweat on the stage, and pulled it off.

From the beginning, we added fun to every performance.  We also realized that taking ourselves too seriously was not very congruous for a band named the “Lava Pups.”  We played music our way with our idiosyncracies.  What evolved was garage surf played with an edge and a bit of irreverence.  Robert thinks of our music as having a punk twinge.

One year later, we have become our own band -- not hemmed in by the boundaries of traditional surf music.  Along the way, we learned some lessons.  The Pup schtick only can go only so far before it breaks.  Do not do anything that has not been practiced.  Do not eat anything new to your diet before playing.  Hair spray in a wig stinks and does not hold.  No matter how talented musicians are, they have to promote a show.  And the biggest lesson of all is “stuff happens"; smile and move on!

This last year has been an absolute blast for me thanks to Glenn, Robert, and Sue.  But we want to send a huge thank you to each of you -- every person -- who came out to see the Lava Pups play.  You made our year an incredibly pleasant journey.  Each of us knows that without you, there would be no live music and certainly no Pup music.

Come and see our next show.  We are working on it right now!

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