The Nematoads

Posted by drew On September - 10 - 20102,507 views

Who are the Nematoads?!  What are the Nematoads!?!  They’re spy-fi tinged surfabilly  from the Lone Star state!  Find out more about them below!

Photo by Michelle Berkoff

For the record, who are you guys and what do you do?

We are The Nematoads, and we play surf-inspired instrumental rock & roll. How’s that for concise? We formed in early 2004 as a trio. Over the last 6-1/2 years and a couple hundred gigs, we’ve had a few lineup changes. Currently, we’re a five piece with Ted James (guitar), The Pope (bass), George Pestana (drums), Sean Ellison (trombone), and Jeff Newell (trumpet). We’ve released two full CDs and a couple of EPs on our own Deep Eddy Records label as well as more than a dozen compilation tracks on labels in the US, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. We also have a handful of songs in a couple of local movie productions. Just waiting for the release…

Surf music in Austin, Texas? Interesting choice. Do you guys feel like you bring a bit of the beach to each show?

While that’s not really our goal, you might call it an occupational hazard. People hear twangy guitar and think surf and the beach, and rightly so! Our music might take you to the beach but then send you off in some other direction, like the old west or the dragstrip or outer space and then back again. Surf isn’t just a beach or California thing. It’s a state of mind. We like to take bits of the old classic sound and mix it up with our own demented, usually unorthodox ideas.

How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard it?

Photo by Michelle Berkoff

Classic ’60s surf mixed with the punk of the Dead Kennedys (love East Bay Ray’s guitar), the sonic attack of the Pixies, the killer fuzz of Davie Allan & the Arrows, the twang of a good spaghetti western, and a bit of 007 spy and crime themes. Oh yeah, and horns. We got horns! It may sound lumpy, but we tie it all together pretty well.

What music influenced that sound?

Well, we can’t call ourselves a surf band without mentioning The King of the Surf Guitar Dick Dale. Of course, the Ventures (who aren’t a surf band) influenced just about everybody who ever picked up a guitar. Then there’s Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, who also weren’t a f*cking surf band — you know, the band behind Kids in the Hall. Davie Allan & the Arrows — the master of fuzz guitar. The Dead Kennedys. Ennio Morricone. John Barry. There’s tons more, but you get the idea. We currently have a two-piece horn section (trumpet and trombone) that we’re looking to expand to three (looking for a sax). The combination of modern surf guitar and horns makes for a much bigger, unique sound.

Are you guys fans of vintage beach party movies?

Photo by Michelle Berkoff

Absolutely! They’re silly and ridiculous and a helluva lot of fun! Besides seeing ’60s beach babes in bikinis (Barbara Eden in Ride the Wild Surf — YOW!), there’s the hotrods, and the music. Can’t forget the music! Dick Dale and Stevie Wonder in Muscle Beach Party, The Hondells in Beach Blanket Bingo, The Pyramids in Bikini Beach, The Beach Boys in The Girls on the Beach.

What about other forms of vintage media?

You mean like tiki culture, classic spaghetti westerns, Bond flicks, just about anything they made fun of on MST3k, you name it!

Any upcoming projects we should be aware of?

We’re always working on a new song, so I guess you could say our next album. We’re also writing songs for a split spaghetti western-themed CD-EP with the English surf band Los Fantasticos. And then we’re making plans to record a few songs for a split CD-EP with the Finnish surf band The Silver Hawks. Got all kinds of great gigs in the works as well, so stay tuned!

The boys will be rocking the  Austin Pagan Pride Day festival in Zilker Park on Sunday September 19 at noon.  For more info check ’em out on Myspace!

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