Tuesday, July 13, 2004

You'll never hear surf music again...again.

I'm in San Francisco today, so there will be no surf report. I did check Surfline though and, well, it looked pretty much like it looked yesterday.

Right now my wife and kid are at some free concert-in-the-park thing where they play, of all things, surf music. Sounds like fun...kind of like Corky playing at Duke's during the summer, minus the ass-faced 40-somthing leather-faced chicks and fat fucks in Tommy Bahama shirts getting hammered on Corona. But anyhow, it got me to thinking, "Just what the hell is surf music anyway?"

There's the obvious answer - Dick Dale style instrumental "Wipe Out" guitar music. Fine, like Huntington Beach suing for the rights to "Surf City", this funky music from the 60's has somehow earned the official moniker of "Surf Music", even though, by all rights, no actual surfer under the age of 40 has listened to this stuff in 40 years.

What about music that surfers actually listen to? That's a tough one. If you've watched a surf video in the past 10+ years, you'd probably be tempted to say, "Dude, punk...fuckin' Pennywise, fuckin' Guttermouth, fuckin' whatever 3 chord pop-punk wonder Fat Mike threw out on CD and colored vinyl this week."

And you wouldn't be wrong. But I'm prepared to call bullshit anyway.

You see, surfing has spent the last decade going through a toughening up period. Black wetsuits, big waves, tattoos, big raised trucks, wallet chains, and punk fuckin' rawk, man. Suddenly we're all badasses. And if you're under 24, well, kind of like the kid out in the water wearing the Volcom trucker hat yesterday, I'm pretty sure you're just a pussy trying to look tough, but I can't prove it. Who knows? Maybe your dad is Hollerin' Hank Rollins and you grew up reciting the words to How Could Hell Be Any Worse? and you really are a tough-as-nails-badass, and always have been.

However, for the rest of us...I'd just like to refresh everyone's memory a little bit.

First off, I can recall about two dozen surf flicks from the 80s - everything from Jack McCoy's Storm Riders in the real early 80's, to Bill Delaney's Surfers: The Movie from 1990. And with maybe just a couple of exceptions, NONE of them had any punk music in them. As a matter of fact, most of them had the opposite of punk - either cheesy instrumental reggae-esque porno music (no budget), no name Australian pop-rock bands (some budget), or big name "new wave" bands, like Men At Work, U2 or even Frankie Goes to Hollywood (big budget).

As a matter of fact, the only films I can recall that had anything even slightly resembling punk, were the Runman videos...and let's not fucking kid ourselves, those things were fringe. WAY fringe. Hell, they made CKY2K look positively mainstream (although, interestingly enough, CKY2K eventually begat Jackass, which DID become mainstream, so there you go). Well, okay, there was Billabong's Filthy Habits, but that was only marginally punk and felt more like whiskey-driving hard rock...plus it was only a couple of years removed from Momentum, so the tide was finally changing.

Speaking of Momentum, even Taylor Steele, the godfather of merging surfing with punk rock, was a late-comer. His very first film, Seaside and Beyond, was full of Motley Crue songs if I recall correctly.

I guess I just find it funny how quickly we all forget what a bunch of pink-motifed bunch of pussies we used to be. Did everyone just wake up one morning and decide we were now going to be black-wearing tough guys? Did we all burn the photos of us wearing flipped-up painters cap perched atop our bleached hair? Pastel-colored Gotcha madras shorts? Pato Banton tapes?

And don't lie to me about Dead Kennedy LPs...that's what skaters listened to. You were singing in the shower to Duran Duran.

Okay, enough nostalgic beration from the Colonel. You can put your neon pink Peggers back in the closet, hide your Amazing Surf Stories video tape, and put your spiked leather belt back on and continue your charade as hardcore punk surfer guy.

But don't ever forget...the Colonel knows who you really are.

At ease.