After seeing Bombón perform at a RazorCake party, I knew they had to play one of our Save Music in Chinatown shows because they were just so. Much. Fun. As soon as their set began, the first two rows of the converted office called Pehrspace became a raging dance party. The San Pedro band’s infectious, totally indie, and mostly instrumental surf tunes touch on Link Wray, The Cramps, and Annette Funicello, and it was impossible not to be smitten by them. In the parking lot, I gushed to one of the members (it was dark and I don’t remember which one) and then hit up the band that very evening with a message inviting them to our next benefit as my guest (and was politely informed that they were busy).
But I persisted, we kept in touch, and it turns out they are not only able to play Sunday’s benefit but they are also friends with Bad Cop/Bad Cop and the other bands love them, too! To get us all extra-amped about the show, I sent over some questions and Jerico (drums) answered on behalf of Angela (guitar) and Paloma (bass).
You three seem to have the best time when you play and you mentioned that you like to play benefits. Where does this PMA come from? And how long have you all known each other and how did you meet?
We’ve been a band for almost six years. Paloma and I went to high school together, but really became friends because of punk shows and our love of music, which is also how we came to know Angela a few years later. We started the band just for fun and it has always been about having a good time. Angela said, “Hey, I wanna start a surf band. You in?” At the time, Paloma and I had little experience on our respective instruments, so we were like, “Sure, why not? We can learn…” And we did. We figured out enough to play a set, started playing shows, and just went from there! It’s been wild. I think we’re able to keep our PMA mostly because playing together is how we escape our otherwise busy, hectic lives. We get to go fun places and meet great people, write, and play rad music. It’s always something to look forward to.
Mike Watt, Saccharine Trust, Recess Records–Is San Pedro as punk as it seems to be?
San Pedro is definitely its own unique island. Pedro punk has a really strong DIY foundation, which is definitely embodied by people like Watt and Todd Congelliere (Recess Records). Our buddy Craig Ibarra wrote a really great book on the history on San Pedro punk (A Wailing of a Town) if you want to know more about it! We have a definite and strong sense of pride, but I also feel our punk community is also extremely welcoming. It’s got friendships and connections all over the globe; once you’ve got a friend in Pedro, you’ve got a friend for life.
I used to see surf bands all the time, from the Phantom Surfers, Bomboras, and Man or Astro-man? to the Pebbles and 5-6-7-8’s, but there don’t seem to be as many of them in the punk circuit these days. How did you get into the genre?
The idea came from Angela. She’s got a really awesome, range in her musical taste which she has shared with us. One of the standouts that I think inspired our sound would probably be Link Wray, but we definitely find inspiration in everything from rock ‘n’ roll to Latin rhythms!
I love your song titles: “El Cowboy,” “King Tut at the Beach,” “Swedish Fish”… Do you come up with riffs and then name them or think of fun ideas and then make them happen?
Thanks! We usually name our songs from the feeling or attitude coming off the riff. “El Cowboy” has sort of a lazy, bouncing along a dusty trail or Wild West showdown feel to it… Our song “Cosmic Surf” brought visions of barreling through deep space on a surfboard, haha! Stuff like that. Our pal Dickey from Tucson named “Swedish Fish.” I forget why. Maybe he was eating the candy. But we try to keep it lighthearted.
What exactly is your connection to Cali Mucho? When I click on your website, I am intrigued.
Cali Mucho is made up of our good pals Rawl (who happens to be engaged to Paloma ^_^) and Kevin. They started their DIY silk screen business in the basement of our old creaky house in Pedro about 10 years ago. They’ve done so much for us over the years–from printing every piece of Bombón flare to helping us get our first record made to traveling the South with us on our first tour. They do a lot of great work here in Pedro and now Kevin is printing it up at a second location in Portland.
At least one of you works with kids. Can you tell me a little bit about why you think it’s important/rad for them to have music education in school?
I’ve worked with children from preschool age to middle school for the better part of the last decade, and I can honestly say that music is so important to early education. Kids love lto dance and sing, but it goes much deeper than that. Music is so beneficial to young children developing cognitive, social, language, and motor skills. Learning an instrument or being part of some other music outlet can teach children patience, focus, and responsibility and be really great for developing self-esteem. And I know from experience, finding music in my teen years really helped me grow into my own and form friendships and relationships with other music fans. Plus music is fun! And kids need to have some of that in their lives, for sure!
Any thoughts about playing in Chinatown, right by where the old Hong Kong Café and Madame Wong’s used to be?
We’re stoked! Chinatown is awesome. There are so many rad and historic places to play in L.A. and we definitely feel lucky to be part of such a vast scene with so much history.