Alright, so we're a month premature, but Bernard is hitting the road on a rockin' tour with The Bellrays (bit.ly/bellraysdec2017dates) on bass duty, and Rebecca is headed to Texas to finish house repairs with the family. Before you know it, Christmas and New Year's Eve will be here and BOOM! 2018! Yep, that quickly.
While we're not smooching 2017 goodbye yet, we ARE hopeful for what 2018 is offering Par Avion, and ultimately, you all. New music is cooking, and we're gonna feed y'all as soon as it's ready. In the meantime, below's a lil sesh from last week at Lake Perris. Maybe we'll debut the full song at Pacific City on Thursday in Huntington Beach (21010 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, California) ... But you gotta be there to know! Thanks for it all, and see ya soon.
More info at: www.gopacificcity.com/
It actually probably won't be too freaky (unless you want us to get weird), BUT Par Avion is sharing the night with BLACKBALL BANDITS and HOLD FAST for the first time down in OC, and that's gonna be a heckin' howler (I don't even know what that means, but it sounds provocative). Shall we wear costumes??? See us there!
After Hurricane Harvey hit Houston horrifically hard, I impatiently waited for the water to subside to assess the aftermath, not only for my fellow Texans, but for my family. Yes, indeed, it hit close to home: THE home I shared essentially my entire life with my parents until I was married off. We are lucky that my parents were (and still are) safe during the entire ordeal, staying with my siblings, but their house, like many others', was not spared the floodwaters. Doing my best to remain calm as my parents, family, and I sorted out via phone and text the following days of how and what to do next was no simple task. "Are the streets finally safe to drive to the house?" "Have you applied for FEMA assistance yet?" "Does homeowner's insurance cover that?" "Do you have flood insurance?" "Is there electricity yet?" "How much damage was there?" "Did you get photos of that?" were all questions that had to be answered one at a time, and with 7 individual adult opinions (not including spouses) in a family, it's bound to become stressful.
That's not to say we weren't working together. My siblings, nieces and nephews, did a beautiful job of helping remove damaged furniture, all major appliances, carpet and cabinets from the house. We were even more fortunate to have extended family and friends come, some of them bringing volunteers from their local parish to tear down walls and clear out rubbish to the front yard in heaping mounts. I put in a phone call to United who were kind enough to change my flight to an earlier date (free of charge - GASP!) so that I could be on the ground with my family and working side by side as soon as possible. Once in Houston, I, too, got down and dirty with the house. Masks, gloves, sweat, repeat. Physical and emotional support every day. There was still a lot to be done.
There IS a lot to be done. We are taking care of it slowly but surely. And we are hopeful. Hiring contractors for tasks my one-functioning-donated kidney dad can't do, replacing studs, accepting assistance from family for electrical work, and eventually the walls of sheetrock will go up. We are so grateful for the blessings of good people and good will, and honestly, the country's disaster assistance program. As remarkable as that's been, we've been of further fortune with the friends who went to our show at Molly Malone's and even more who bought our music at our bandcamp page, adding an additional $300 that will go to my parents' home. Thank you doesn't fully reflect the thankfulness I/we feel. YOU all ROCK.
Did you know that Rebecca, Par Avion's bassist, grew up in Houston, Texas? We are sad to report that Rebecca's childhood home (and the home where her parents still reside) was severely damaged by the flooding resulting from Hurricane Harvey. Par Avion will be performing this Friday, Sept 22, at Molly Malone's here in Los Angeles to raise funds to help with the repairs. Rebecca, Bernard and Derek invite you all down to enjoy some music and help the family out. We perform 10pm and the club generally runs on schedule. CAN'T MAKE IT BUT WANT TO CONTRIBUTE? FOR THE DURATION OF 2017 We are offering our music at a "Pay What You Want" rate so grab a track or grab them all and simply pay what you want. WE WILL BE DIVERTING 100% OF OUR DOWNLOAD EARNINGS TOWARDS THE HOUSE REPAIRS Very much appreciated. Link: https://paravionmusic.bandcamp.com/
Rebecca and Bernard
Photo borrowed from the Houston Chronicle.
We would like to share a few fun highlights from the Surf Guitar 101 Fest which took place earlier this August (2017). Being our first show since a pair of fun sets in Valencia and Castellón (Spain) earlier this summer - we were both excited and a tad rusty (typical musician talk right!?). What was the highlight was re-connecting with friends from the surf music world as well as meeting many for the first time. Our photos and a short video do nothing to effectively summarize the breadth of this event and how amazing it was but here's what we got. At the end of this entry we comment further on some of the fine folks we met and hung out with as well.
Let's start with the music. Our humble contribution was a set of originals and eclectic covers. Here's Tahiti 66 as shot by David Holleman. If anyone else has video footage from our set, let us know! This is an original and has been a tradition for years through previous surf type bands Brazil 2001 and all lineups of The MiGs. A studio recording is available HERE http://bit.ly/paravionbandamp if you care to have a copy.
And, as indicated, it was heavily about PEOPLE! Familiar faces included (l-r) Rebcca Par Avion, Laura Bethita of the Neptunas, Ferenc Frankie and the Poolboys, David Arnson Insect Surfer and Bernard Par Avion. This, of course, is a cheater shot 'cause we all have hung out many many times over the years including the 2013 European Insects tour during which Bernard played guitar next to Mr. Arnson.
Now, nothing is more fun than meeting new friends or people that one has had a correspondence with online. Stephen Blinkenstaff is such a cat. Bernard has been attracted to Stephen's art and claims that this was even prior to knowing of Stephen's now legendary contribution to The Cramps' famous cover of Bad Music for Bad People. Stephen also jams theremin with the Atomic Mosquitos. He's a man of many talents. Now it might be worth noting that Bernard plays guitar with Fur Dixon's band; a former member of the Cramps.
Like many bands at SG101, The Exotics traveled from Milwaukee! Turns out that an old skater buddy of Bernard's [Pat Emerick] is buds with Don of The Exotics, so they just had to snap this one to have a good chuckle and, of course, send to Pat. Don, like everyone at the event, is a great guy and full of positive vibes. We hope to meet you again!
Can ANY So Cal surf or tiki event be without John Okanishi? Answer: NO! This man is the light of any event and brings a smile. This time, he brought his lederhosen, which made sense given Alpine Village's theme. We're starting to think that we all should have followed John's lead.
We'll close this blog entry with two things. First, a day by day summary of the event can be found courtesy of Storm Surge of Reverb here: http://www.stormsurgeofreverb.com where a bit was noted about Par Avion:
"Probably the most progressive act of both nights, they had a much more syncopated and unique rhythm to them. They delved into chicha for a minute too, which always scores points with me. It's hard to choose highlights in a lineup that really never went wrong, but this was a standout."
The next day, which was August 5th to be precise, we played two sets at our fave Long Beach bar: The Pike Restaurant and Bar on 4th St. It was a blur BUT suffice it to say, we had a blast and we cannot wait to play there again. Thanks to our friend John Godin for getting one of the few shots that night.
Above is a shot of Bernard, Betsy and Tom from the Pannikin coffee shop in San Diego. Bernard is sporting a shirt he bought from The Surf King Surfwear at SG101 BUT it's also cool to add that Tom Erbe is the mind behind the Erbe Verb; a highly lauded module for synth enthusiasts. Despite this, if you want to really geek out, it's hard not to get excited about this unit's potential with surf music. Check out this video: Erbe Verbe
Stay tuned for some a sneak preview of fresh recordings featuring Derek O'Brien on drums and percussion. It cool stuff and the guitar's reverb comes courtesy of an echo-heavy restroom positioned amplifier oh and please feel free to comment!
We've returned to Spain this year because... por que no? The remarkable food, generous people, accessibility to a beautiful quality of life is enough for us! Last summer, we met two people who have offered incredible support towards our dream for Par Avion to play a show here. Sergio, the rockin' bassist boyfriend of longtime Fuzztone fan and friend of Bernard's, Eva, has been instrumental in setting up our gig, in which we'll be opening up for his band, Public Animal N9, on Saturday, June 10th, in Castellón. Homemade meals, guitars, and friendship are worth so much to the weary travelers' grateful souls. We are psyched for the party! But we can't get ahead of ourselves and pretend we'd be able to play without a handy, dandy drummer. Who is it this time, you ask? Bernard and I, per our usual city aimless wanderings, stumbled into musicians loading into a bar in Valencia last June, preparing for a jam night. They invited us to join them later that evening, and we had our first encounter with Miguel, our very own local drummer! Voila! Drummer position filled! Nearly a year later, we will hit the stage with the talented batería, but not before we get another dress rehearsal jam session in!
Par Avion has a colorful volley of So Cal gigs over the next several days, and we wish to invite everyone to attend. Here they are in order with a few quick notes:
The Porch Gallery in Ojai, California - Saturday, March 25th - 5pm
Our laid back performance as a duo will take place at roughly 5pm after our good friend, Osceola, holds a talk about his photography (also on exhibit). This is free, open to the public, and is simply an all-around cool event. Details HERE
The Santa Monica Farmer's Market - Sunday, March 26th - 10AM-1pm
We're talking the one at Main St. and Ocean Park - just blocks from the beach! This will also be a low volume duo gig. How often can you hear music while shopping for organic fruits and veggies? Super family friendly and totally California! Details HERE
The Pike Restaurant and Bar - Thursday, March 30th - 9pm-11pm (ish)
This is one of my favorite bars on earth. They make an honest, no BS fish taco, serve some drinks, and have a cool vibe with walls festooned with So Cal punk posters as well as Long Beach historical images and such. This night will feature two sets at medium volume. Set #1 being loungier than the second more rocking one. Derek O'Brien will be with us on drums. He's been a great part of the Par Avion experience, and we will be recording some new material with him soon. Anyone with a passion for So Cal punk and surf will know Derek from a variety of great bands such as Social Distortion, Agent Orange, Extra Fancy and the Adolescents, to name but a few. He's a cool cat too! The bar is at: 1836 E. 4th St. in LB. Their site is HERE
The Huntington Beach Pier - SURFIN' SUNDAYS - Sunday, April 2nd - 2pm
This is the first of a lengthy summer of Sunday events curated by some very cool allies in the world of instrumental surf music. This is ground zero; where it all began. I'm talking the roots of surf music! The event starts at around 11am and all the bands are great. Stay tuned from more details at this blog and or Par Avion's Facebook page HERE.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of travel is forcing myself to see people and places unfiltered. Forget about what the news said, which stereotypes or preconceptions I'm supposed to hold, whatever I'm conditioned to know (besides reasonable caution) is tossed into the wind. Medellin, Colombia's not so distant past of drugs and crime would likely prevent many persons from visiting, a simple non-issue decision of a city to fly-over en route to Machu Picchu or Buenos Aires, which we did initially, but ultimately, we explored the vast inland valley for a week in May 2015. We rented a room in an Airbnb house near the Setenta (La 70), Medellin's nightlife party row, and with the assistance of our hosts' directions, that lone week was plenty of time to ensure that we would, indeed, be returning. (Incidentally, we met up with him in Marbella, Spain the following year, this past summer!) At Salud y Pan, a vegetarian-friendly restaurant, waitresses began to recognize us as we returned for a few of their healthy, creative, delectable, and wallet-friendly dishes. Per usual, we explored mostly by foot, discovering the local skatepark, the ex-pat coffee shop, restaurants, and rallying after a long night of aguardiente, micheladas, and dancing just to catch an Atletico Nacional, the prize team of Pablo Escobar and the slain mixed-fortune football hero Andres Escobar, match at the nearby stadium (Feliz Dia de La Madre souvenir cup with chocolate included). It was rare, if at all, that we ever felt threatened or in an area too dangerous to walk, though we didn't find ourselves on the hillsides where it was rumored to be a drop more sketchy in the more recent past. Ex-pats lived quieter existences there, attempting and successfully assimilating into the culture. Medellin, known for it's "eternal spring" weather, in a short amount of time, left a deep impression on us. We left much unseen, as we understood from the view of the Metrocable en route to Parque Arví that it would be impossible to turn every corner of that sprawling metropolis. Intrigued we remain, in adoration we await for our return to Colombia. Get out there, folks. There are incredible sights to be seen and locals to encounter. *Video above is footage from our Metrocable ride to Parque Arví at the top of the hill. The classic Moon River performed and recorded by Par Avion
Sevilla! Sevilla! Sevilla! With the chants of the diehard Sevilla FC fans fresh in our memories, we joined our Sevillano friend, Koke, on a train from Madrid back to his home. Though our stay was only a week to button up the month of May, it was discernible why Sevillians hold such pride for their city. Not only were we fortunate to have the home-court tour advantage of our gracious friend, Koke and his girlfriend, Candela, but our Airbnb hosts and its location were pleasantly more valuable than the listing price. A Brazilian pair working and living there, Debora and Jardel offered us amazing tips, and when either of the two were available, escorted and accompanied us to suggested markets, restaurants, museums. Debora spoiled us with her excellent English and introduced us to a few of her buddies as well, Brazilian, Argentine, Chinese, Spanish. We were situated in an excellent old quarter, between Alameda de Hercules and Mercado de Feria, ideal for strolling about the narrow cobblestone streets and losing ourselves in the deep-rooted city. We tirelessly explored in all directions by foot, delighting in the architecture of the surrounding housing, Las Setas (Metropol Parasol), Catedral de Sevilla, Real Alcázar, the Museo de Bellas Artes, tapas bars, pastry shops and cafés (note the merengue and not pictured croquetas). The structures, walls, forts, stones of centuries preceding us somehow unremittingly available to humble us, reminders of our fleeting moments there in Sevilla, in Europe, here on earth. Sevilla imparted much on us, her Roman and Moor times gone by as Hispalis and Ishbilliya respectively, present still in our time, influencing our passage. Our side trips to the nearby forgotten Roman city/ruins of Italica, where our amphitheater paddleball session was cut short by a disapproving security guard (read: we were wild but not entirely free hahaha) and the beautiful coastal Cádiz with all of their histories and charm only added to the richness of the Sevillian experience. As Sevilla functioned as a trade hub during the Golden Age, it’s difficult to argue that has changed, where cultures and nationalities gather together in a delicious city, affordable, accessible and alive, to the many people who call her home…and the visitors who call her a city to return to.
TIPS: AirBnB continues to impress and entertain us. Sevilla gets hot. We were lucky to time our visit right before spring became summer. The weather in late May was perfect. Walk a lot (if you can and time permits). We use our trips as an opportunity to force ourselves to be fit (if not in order to make room for/excuse food grazing). Walking gives you time to learn a place. Even in massive cities like Madrid and Barcelona, we focused on walking. Tapas bars vary in price and offerings. The effort that sometimes is required to find that perfect one is well worth it. That said, check out Lola Por Dios (Address: 44, Feria, 40)
Music on video by Astra Heights - Never Meant to Be
We've much catching up to do, haven't we? Accept our apologies, and in the meantime, we are pleased to keep our musical and artistic sides lively with another inspiring event - the Culver City Art Walk as part of the Tornado Creative's Art Collective at Helms Design Center. This Saturday from 2-6 pm, Chris Rohloff of Vintage Surf Art will be showing beach and lifestyle photography from the '50s and '60s by his legendary father Grant Rohloff, along with some of his own photos as well. Come take a surf trip back in time and dig the live surf music from - gasp! - us!! Enjoy an early sesh here with this video combining some classic images from Grant Rohloff's archives and Par Avion's slowed-down version of the Paul Johnson surf classic "Squad Car". Learn more about Grant's work at http://vintagesurfart.com !
*More info about the show and the dozen participating artists at http://tornadocreative.com/events/