Forget classic acts such as Dick Dale, the Beach Boys and the Ventures. When I think of surf music, I think of indie rock groups from Arizona and power-pop quartets based in Silver Lake. Apparently, so do the people behind the U.S. Open of Surfing, who booked Jimmy Eat World and Dead Country.
There's nothing wrong with the lineup at this year's event, held on the sand in Huntington Beach. In fact, it's pretty good. But it's also not exactly surf-related. While the tunes emanating from the stage might not be your quintessential surf soundtrack, at least two of the musicians playing have an affinity for hitting the waves, as we discovered after talking to Jimmy Eat World bassist Rick Burch and Dead Country guitarist Jonny Black.
Jimmy Eat World and Dead Country perform with the Sounds, MGMT and Surfer Blood at the U.S. Open of Surfing, south side of the Huntington Beach Pier, www.usopenofsurfing.com. Thurs.-Sat., Aug. 4-6. Check website for show dates and times. Free. All ages.
OC Weekly: Please state your favorite surf spot.
Rick Burch: My favorite surf spot is any. I don't often have the chance to surf, but when I do, I'm super-happy.
Jonny Black: Growing up in Santa Barbara, my favorite spots were always shore breaks—like the back side of Rincon or Santa Claus Lane. I'm goofy-footed, so I like anything that breaks left.
Long board or short? Or the dreaded sponge?
Black: The size of the vessel does not necessarily determine the enjoyment of the overall experience.
What sort of SPF do you plan on using during your set?
Black: We don't use protection. Is "the dreaded sponge" still an option?
Is there any irony in a band from Arizona playing a surfing event?
Burch: The irony is that a band from Arizona are performing at a surf contest. I hope we don't bring the desert with us and flatten the waves.
What are the odds that you make a grand entrance by riding a wave onto shore—while holding your instrument, mind you—grabbing a girl around the waist, kissing said girl, then walking to the stage and opening with "Misirlou"?
Burch: 329,452 to 1.
What are the odds that someone from your band could not only play a killer set but also win the tournament?
Black: Slim to none. But I bet we could take the guys in Jimmy Eat World.
One of the rules of rock says no shorts onstage—and definitely no sandals. But can an exception be made when you're playing a surfing event on the beach? If so, will it be made?
Burch: I can't speak for the other dudes on this, but if there is no stage and we are standing in the sand, it's barefoot and shorts for me for sure.
Do you have any plans to cover any classic surf rock? Or how about bringing Frankie Avalon or Annette Funicello onstage for a collaboration?
Black: I'll certainly slap on some extra reverb and see if I can channel the Ventures.
Will this show be the only time you've ever been glad to go to Huntington Beach?
Burch: Years ago, we played with Three Mile Pilot at the Huntington Beach Library, and we were super-glad to be there.
Are you the only band playing who appeal to both the Real Housewives of Orange County and Laguna Beach sets?
Burch: Pretty much.
When the show is over, are you looking for a Real Housewife? Or are you more of a Laguna Beach sort of guy?
Black: I'm planning on hopping into a double-stretch limo with Tamra [Barney] and Gretchen [Rossi] and heading to the nearest shopping mall. Or maybe hang at the beach with my man Slade [Smiley]. However, I can say with relative confidence that our singer, Nick [Long], is more of a Laguna Beach kind of guy.
So, Jimmy eat world, but does Jimmy surf waves?
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Burch: Jimmy shreds waves!
No Waves? No Problem!
Jimmy Eat World and Dead Country may be performing at the U.S. Open of Surfing, but that doesn't mean they have to put on the reverb—or even wear trunks