CHICHA. Peruvian cumbia. We don't even recall how we came across this glorious genre of music, but what do ya know? Those Peruvian guys of the 60s/70s cast a spell on us with their wah-wah pedals and psychedelic surf guitars on top of cumbia rhythms. A few years ago when we traveled in Lima, our cab driver all but laughed us out of the car for mentioning this "old music from the country, the mountains," but those working-class Amerindians migrating to the oft time unwelcoming city created something special in our eyes (and ears) that, also, shed a light on the experiences of exploitation and marginalization of indigenous persons.
Nevertheless, chicha, like it's namesake, the Incan corn-liquor, intoxicated us. Unable to resist its pull, we washed into the studio and recorded this song, "A Patricia," which has become standard among many of the bands we hear running with the genre. In fact, we must offer a nod to Money Chicha, Chicha Libre, and Chicha Dust to name a few. This track was recorded at Long Beach's legendary Mambo Studios and mixed by punk rock legend (and Bernard's old bandmate from Sex With Lurch) Geza X with Derek O'Brien (Social Distortion, Agent Orange, Extra Fancy) having a great time on drums and percussion. The video was shot one day before Bernard hit a BellRays rehearsal in Riverside at the amazing and artsy Tio's Tacos. We urge all who pass through Riverside, California to check this place out. A Patricia may be downloaded at: https://paravionmusic.bandcamp.com/
A Patricia written by Enrique Delgado Montes
More about chicha here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peruvian_cumbia and http://www.laweekly.com/music/an-obscure-compilation-called-the-roots-of-chichas-far-reaching-influence-in-los-angeles-8900124
We uploaded this tribute track on the 50th anniversary of the At Folsom Prison release by the great Johnny Cash. Although he did not perform Ring of Fire at that gig, it's a track we could not resist but cover. We celebrate with this video.
This track features some great musicians: D.j. Bonebrake - drums, Probyn Gregory - trumpet, Sebastian Leger - trumpet, and Sarah Kramer - trumpet. Recorded at Steve Refling's Lincoln Lodge in Venice, CA.
Bernard says: "I have always loved Johnny Cash's music since childhood when I would sneak my dad's Cash album onto the turntable."
Download this track and others at: http://bit.ly/folsomprisoncash *Name your price!
Shot in the Philippines, San Quintin (Mexico) & Santa Monica, CA
2017 closed with us having played more gigs than ever as well as planting the seeds of some fantastic opportunities for 2018. We covered a fun range of gigs, which included club dates in Spain all the way to a fun low volume birthday party for a very young and musically-inclined 3 year old on the shores of Santa Monica, California. We love the variety! Allow us not to fail to mention a fab time at the Surf Guitar 101 Convention. It was a bittersweet year as well with Bernard's mother passing in January and Rebecca's family's house taking a major hit as a result of hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. So many of you came forward with well-wishes and a must-mention donations for the Houston house's repairs. We also have no shame in declaring our disgust and disappointment with the direction of US politics toward race, gender, foreign relations and environmental policy, and although you may not hear us on some sort of bullhorn singing Jefferson Airplane protest songs (or the Dead Kennedys or a lot of the less bling-driven rappers for that matter) but you know what we're trying to say here, and we probably won't be changing that tune anytime soon! We plan to keep as busy as possible this coming year with creativity fueling good vibrations for a better world and will soon be releasing some digital singles; some heavily fueled by our passion for 60s era Peruvian Chicha music and driven by a great team. Stay tuned!
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.