(Above Feature Photo by Zooey Jolivet)
By Jason Hall
Surfbort is a Brooklyn based band formed in 2014. They have made a name for themselves locally in NYC, and the word is spreading fast. They will be touring with The Black Lips all of May.
I got turned on to Surfbort because of their drummer Sean Powell. He is the drummer of one of my favorite bands out of Texas, The FuckEmos (you need to check them out if you’re a Butthole Surfers fan). I’ve been in contact with Sean for a bit because of FuckEmos and his amazing art.
In 2015/2016, an Arizona based punk label reissued a lot of The FuckEmos catalog as well as Surfbort’s 7″. Once I heard it, I was hooked. I couldn’t believe it when I read Surfbort was playing Coachella.
I don’t want to hate on this year’s lineup too much, which seems to be what is happening with most people I know, but it IS pretty weak in my opinion. Goldenvoice booking acts like Pond, Surfbort and T.S.O.L. was totally redeeming. I highly suggest you get to Empire Polo Fields in time to check them out, or you will regret it.
CV Weekly: Has music always been a part of your life?
Dani Miller: “My Uncle Lucky, plays the stand-up bass really well. That and my Dad playing records when I was 5, is my earliest memories of music. I got lost in strictly No Doubt and Blink 182 when I was 12, but I got back into music after that…”
Sean Powell: “Yes. I was born that way.”
Alex Kilgore: “Yeah. I grew up in a family like the Partridge Family. My older brothers are all musicians and my Dad played. My older brother Robby did Malcolm McLaren’s first record after the (Sex) Pistols and he turned me onto them when I was in the 5th grade.”
CVW: What age did you start playing music and what instrument did you start with?
Miller: “My first band was called THE ANGELS when I was 13, I was also the singer in that…”
Powell: “The 5th grade… the sousaphone.”
Kilgore: “I noodled around when I was 14, called a number on the bulletin board at Real Records (the only punk rock record store there at the time) in Houston, that said singer wanted. I started singing for a band called Throbbing Cattle.”
CVW: What music did you listen to growing up?
Miller: “My Mom birthed me while listening to X records.”
Powell: “Steppenwolf, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Cheap Trick and KISS when I was little, then I discovered Social Unrest, The Dickies, Throbbing Gristle, Black Flag etc.”
Kilgore: “All the local Texas stuff….The Dicks, The Big Boys, Party Owls, Butthole Surfers, Scratch Acid, Mdc, Verbal Abuse, etc. I saw The Clash when I was very young, and it made a huge impression on me… also Black Flag, Bad Brains, Circle Jerks, The Fuck Ups, Flipper, Fang, Code Of Honor, Rites Of Spring…the list is endless of great bands when I was a teenager. Before I got into punk rock, I was really into (Black) Sabbath, Kiss, and alternately Marley, and heavy dub like U Roy.”
(Just in case you don’t know, I’m a huge Texas music scene fan. From Texas punk like Verbal Abuse, FuckEmos, The Dicks, etc., to Texas psych like Butthole Surfers and 13th Floor Elevators, to Texas industrial like Ministry, Revolting Cocks, and Skatenigs, to everything else like ZZ Top, Pantera, Willie Nelson, etc. Texas has a rich and powerful musical influence on the world, every bit as much as California. I strongly suggest checking out every band Kilgore and I have mentioned when it comes to Texas music.)
CVW: Can you tell me a bit about the formation of Surfbort?
Miller: “It formed around 3 years ago when former member Matt Picola and I moved from the west coast to New York, and the trash inspired us to start Surfbort. Once I met Charlie Wimberly, the rest is history.”
CVW: You put out your 7″ with Arizona based punk label, Slope Records. How did you get hooked up with them?
Miller: “We love Slope! We met Tom Lopez the owner of Slope through Sean, our drummer.”
Powell: “One of my best friends is Doug Curtis, and he was in a band called Insurrection in Phoenix. Doug grew up with Lopez and introduced me to him. Later on Lopez formed Slope Records!”
CVW: Coachella is a huge festival. Is this the biggest crowd you guys have played in front of?
Miller: “Yeah. I love meeting new people and yelling and dancing with them so it should be fun!”
Powell: “With Surfbort, yes.”
CVW: Do you enjoy playing big shows or smaller shows?
Dani: “Either is a good time. I love when the stage is on the ground and I can just dance with everyone in the crowd.”
Powell & Kilgore: “I enjoy both.”
CVW: What does the immediate future of Surfbort look like? Any extensive touring or recording coming up?
Miller: “The future is a beaming slime ball of friendship and music! We will be going on tour most of May! Look out for surprise announcements! Our first full length record is floating in space right now, but will be prepared for the masses soon enough!”
Kilgore: “The future is blinding!”