Fair warning to my soon-to-be-announced replacement at New Times: if Surfer Blood gets a hold of your phone number, there's a good chance that you'll be on the receiving end of a prank call at some point. In fact, the West Palm Beach foursome are so dedicated to their phone gags, that their Warner Bros. follow-up to Astro Coast could be akin to Built to Spill with the Jerky Boys on guest vocals.
It's my last day working here, so here's a little inside baseball-y story about one of the many absurd phone calls I received from a wild bunch of characters. (We'll save the rasta man for another day.) I realize fully that messing with music scribes in this manner is nothing new. Chuck Eddy got a "a wastebasket of extremely wet water" dumped on him in his sleep by the Beastie Boys in 1987, so I got off pretty lucky.
Although I have conducted several interviews with the guys over the past two years, my telephone interactions with the band of this nature began last fall. I had
passed along my phone number to them after running into them at the
Snooze Theatre in Lake Park. A few days later, I had just arrived home
from a long day of work poured a glass of wine, and a call came in
from an unknown 561 number.
The man on the phone introduced himself as Andrew, and claimed to be a
representative from Columbia Records trying to track down contact
information for Weird Wives so that they could sign them to a
multi-label deal. He also said he was on a yacht. Although it might be flattering to think that I was
getting cold-called for A&R assists, it seemed unlikely that my
mobile phone number would be any easier to find than those belonging to
any of the members of Weird Wives. Plus, the guy's voice sounded a lot like
that of Surfer Blood/WW guitarist Thomas Fekete. I played along, sort of.
When another call came later that evening, I decided to run my recorder. This time, another label bigwig named
Gary was reportedly on the line, and the caller's voice had a serious resemblance to Surfer Blood drummer TJ Schwarz.
Apparently me goofing along with them didn't go over well with "Gary's assistant," and I got some threats of blacklisting a little later.
Then, things just got surreal.
Since then, I've received other little "gifts," including a text with just exclamation points that was more than 200 pages long, and kept my phone blowing up for an hour, and the calls still come in sporadically. Based upon accounts from other locals, Surfer Blood's victims are numerous, and it's going to be impossible to stop them from striking again. Posting this is probably putting my wireless life in my hands once again, but it has been one of the many twisted joys of this job. Thanks, guys.
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