Lots of very cool shows happening this weekend for Halloween. On Halloween, Zola Jesus
is playing at the Echoplex and Abe Vigoda
is playing Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, with DJ sets from Air France
and The Field
. The day before, on Oct. 30, Tijuana Panthers
take the stage at the Ukrainian Cultural Center with fellow garage rockers The Soft Pack
, Thee Oh Sees
and Total Control
. Three-piece Tijuana Panthers, with drummer Phil Shaheen, guitarist Chad Wachtel and bassist Daniel Michicoff, play a kind of punk-influenced surf rock that shows the line from The Ventures
to The Buzzcocks
to Jay Reatard
is a short one indeed, seamlessly combinging straightforward, clean-but-not-clean-cut guitars, alternatingly bratty and crooning vocals and old school rock-combo rhythms — check out their gorgeously bummed out "Summer Fun" below for a fine example of what they do. I took a minute to talk to Shaheen about their sound.
Are you guys working on new songs yet? If so, how is the sound shaping up?
Yeah, we have steadily been coming up with new ones, playing them live at shows and then recording them. They shape up well this way, playing them live then recording has always helped us to tight'n them up. Just need to record a few more next week and we should be on our way.
Are you guys surprised at all by the recent resurgence of bands playing garage rock and surf rock?
No, not really. It seems to come in waves, this one seems a lot larger.
Do you guys mind at all getting lumped in with other bands that play that kind of music? I could see it being frustrating, but also there seems to be a camaraderie among bands like you guys, Audacity
and Ty Segall
Yeah there's not a perfect fit for us there but, we get along pretty well with all those bands. Joe Walters from the Redwood Bar use to call us “Barbershop Surfpop,” I always liked that.
One thing I feel like sets you guys apart is your vocals. They’re really great, I love that they're spread out among the members and that they’re often nice and croony, rather than full on garage all the time. Is that something you guys consciously tried to do, make sure the vocals actually sounded like real singing?
Yes. We have always kept it pretty clean for the most part. Chad croons, I whine, Daniel croons and whines.
I lived in Long Beach
for years, and I love that you guys represent it so well. It definitely captures the place somehow, although I can’t quite put my finger on how. If there’s a sound to Long Beach that you guys help embody, what do you think that is?
Long Beach has always had a pretty steady stew of counter culture, it's a port city. Maybe we rep a little piece of that.
Do you have any favorite venues to play?
Shows that FYF
put on are always rad, where ever they may be. It’s great getting to play these halls like the old timers use to.
What's the craziest thing you’ve seen at one of your shows?
We got to play with The Dead Milkmen
at Alex's Bar in Long Beach. Seeing those guys in person was really crazy and the fact that we got to play with them blew my mind. I still can't believe that went down.
Stock question, but what bands did you guys bond over, and who are some artists people might not expect you guys to be into?
The Dead Milkmen, Suburban Lawns, X, Circle Jerks, Link Wray, The Cramps, TSOL, Dead Kennedys, The Pyramids, Sade, Prince Buster, Desmond Dekker, Ian Dury