Susan and Seana of “Susan Surftone stopped by for a few words about their upcoming California shows and current surf and go-go happenings. “Shore” is a great surf album you need to check out. Cheers
Hello Susan and welcome to Fear and Loathing in Long Beach, I have to start by saying your surf-rock masterpiece, “Shore,” is nothing short of incredible! People who think of women in rock will mention surf influenced bands such as The Bangles, Go-Go’s, and even The Muffs. Even though these bands are not surf purists and more pop in their approach, why become a surf-rock guitar starlet instead of chasing down the bubble gum dreams of the ever-elusive Hot 100?
Susan: To be honest I'm not a vocalist. I've got about a three note range and that's it. I really never, even as a kid, viewed myself as a singer. George Harrison was my favorite Beatle because he was the lead guitarist. I always wanted to be the lead guitar player in a band and surf-rock offered the opportunity. Thanks for the kind words about "Shore".
You were actually an FBI agent at one point in time, are you able to profile your audience? Who digs the exotic surf sounds in the year 2012, where auto tuners and synthetic production reign supreme?
Susan: I have a fairly good read on my audience. For the most part the audience is male. For some reason men just seem more drawn to instrumental surf-rock than women. Although I do have to say women are fast becoming a larger part of my audience. It's mainly younger women because I think they are more involved as guitarists, bassists and drummers themselves. It is not at all a novelty any more to see a woman as an instrumentalist in a band in many genres.
Was the punk scene an influence growing up in New York? What elements connected with you emotionally? Is the music form still relevant today?
Susan: The Ramones were a huge influence on me. I think they were the catalyst that really caused me to form a band. I saw them live four times and decided if they could do it I could do it. Besides it was so much fun to go to one of their shows that I really did want to be in a band too. I like the "attack" of The Ramones' music. It almost hit you in the face up close at a live show. I think that music form will always be relevant. It's honest, raw, angry and fun all at the same time.
Surf music is sexy and promotes an atmosphere of just letting loose. The CD includes a Doors cover as well. How are sexuality, surf music, and Jim Morrison connected from your point of view?
Susan: Well....I always wanted to be Elvis. I've tried to bring a little bit of his rockablilly style into my live shows. Lately I've even gone back to wearing my hair like his during the Sun Records days. Jim Morrison studied Elvis. I believe I've read he used to make everybody shut up when an Elvis song came on the radio. My rock and roll role models have always been male so I guess that fits with surf music. I've recently started working with a go-go dancer, Seana Steele. She brings a sexuality to our live show that is subtle and seductive. Seana can probably give you another take on sexuality and surf music.
Seana: Having a go-go dancer included in surf rock music brings in elements of passion, of letting go, thus the term go-go dancing. Jim Morrison, although somewhat unwillingly, was seen as a sex symbol, as are many rock 'n roll musicians. With surf music, you do not have the vocals, so having a dancer makes the performance package more dynamic, more interesting, and yes, more sexual; personally I prefer the term sensual though, as this word evokes getting in touch with more than one of the five (or six, if you wish) senses.
For young women that want to explore their sexuality and rock out, are the only options Los Angeles and New York? What type of restrictions do you feel small towns place on individual ambition and expression?
Susan: I've always liked large cities. I found the ten years I spent in New York City to be most educational and exciting years of my life (so far). Smaller towns limit your options and having options is what makes life exciting and interesting.
Seana: Ultimately, I feel that if you are ambitious and smart enough, you can make things happen no matter where you are; however, larger cities do provide more options and provide a faster pace where things get done. My experience with smaller towns is that often people may not be as serious about what they do and thus projects are delayed or dropped altogether.
What is the most wild tour story you have? Feel free to be explicit; what is the touring world of a surf-rock band like? How do you like California crowds and people?
Susan: After much thought I have to say the wildest tour stories involve driving. You spend a lot of time in that van. Driving around northern Europe in a wreck of a van that used to be a produce truck with a suicide knob on the steering wheel made for some dicey times.
There was the time the driver fell asleep and we veered off the road headed for a bunch of trees, the blinding snowstorm in Switzerland, hell ride up to the northern reaches of Denmark after an all-night romp on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, driving through the tunnel in Paris where Princess Di got it just about as fast as that van would go. We did that twice. The touring world of a surf-rock band is best summed up in The Ramones song, "Danny Says". I like the California crowds. The people get instrumental surf music. It truly is part of the California culture like nowhere else in the world.
What are the plans for Susan Surftone in the future? With national recognition and songs receiving nationwide exposure, it looks like you are just getting ready to take over the world! We would love to know about some of your highlights with your current release and upcoming plans.
Susan: The band, including Seana, will be coming to California for a short tour at the end of September 2012. Our website, www.susansurftone.com has all the details. I'll be recording the follow-up to "Shore" with producer Steve Kravac in February 2013 up here in Portland at Larry Crane's Jackpot Studio. I'm really looking forward to that.
Seana: As Susan mentioned, we have an upcoming tour in September and a new album is in the works. The album artwork is something I was really pleased to be a part of and I can't wait for everyone to see it! We're working on creating an image that fuses the worlds of fashion and music. It's a new and exciting direction that we're looking forward to exploring more.
Your personal thought for the day and anything else you would like to add for our viewers about the Susan Surftone experience.
Susan: Just thanks for listening to my music and supporting me and the band. Come out and see a show. We really try to deliver a good time. Let's see..my personal thought for the day...there's always something new waiting up ahead and you'll never find it if you stop.