I was digging through a box of old recordings when I found this. This is the first time all of the members of Charlie Don’t Surf have played/recorded together since the band went defunct in 2006. The recording is a 30+ minute jam session. Although this particular recording may not leave anyone speechless, I thoroughly enjoy it. To me, it is a privilege to play with these guys. For some, pictures are the medium in which they relive their past accomplishments. Others may use video. I have both… But I also have a collection of audio recordings. Many of them are poorly recorded and riddled with missed notes… But regardless of their imperfections, I still love listening to them.
To continue my current trend of exploiting my previous musical endeavors, it seems only fitting that I share the album that took me out of the basement and put me on a stage. Now, to put things into proper perspective, I had been in a number of jerk-off bands throughout high school. By “jerk-off” I am insinuating that there was no real agenda. A “jerk-off” band isn’t really a band. It’s more of a group of friends that play instruments and dick around with no real direction. The only reason it’s given a name is to pick up chicks. I mean, come on… Chicks dig guys in bands. Or, at least high school chicks did back then.
Anyway, after a while the whole “jerk-off” band thing had grown stale and I wanted to do something more. I ended up meeting a guitarist, Josh Vance, and a drummer, Bryan Ayers. We started meeting up on the weekends to jam on whatever notes our minds could muster. I mean, it really wasn’t much different than a jerk-off band in the beginning. The key difference was that we weren’t trying to exploit the band for women or any other purpose. We genuinely enjoyed playing music and pushing ourselves to be better musicians. Then again, my 18 year old self might disagree with this entirely.
We kept up our weekend jamming regiment for what seems like years. We had started implementing a 4-track cassette recorder that we would use to document our jams. It had gotten to the point where it was just what we did. We would meet up, rock out for a few hours, and then sit back and listen to the recordings and talk about what was good and what was bad. We really dissected ourselves as musicians and performers. Eventually, this started to get old as well. The real motivating factor to take things to the next level, at least for me, was when I went to a few shows and realized that our jams were better than the majority of the local performances I was paying to see. I remember thinking to myself, “Why aren’t we doing this?”
We decided to name our little collective “Charlie Don’t Surf” after watching Apocalypse Now for no real good reason. Maybe it was because we were doing something just to do it and it seemed to be similar to scene in the film. I can’t be sure. There have been far too many days and nights between now and then. Shortly after we decided on a name, we began reviewing all of our recorded jams and picking out highlights that would be worthy of being turned into a performable arrangements. This was a extremely tedious process that took months of trial and error. The result of our hard work and diligence was a full-length album that we titled “Kvalitetsstoey,” which means “Quality Noise” in Norwegian. Yeah, I know… The title is way pretentious and nearly impossible for people to pronounce. I was young and naive, I get that. I’m okay with it.
Charlie Don’t Surf was a three-piece experimental instrumental band in Muncie, Indiana that existed from 2002 until 2006. We were known for long instrumental compositions and obscure song structures. Actually, we were probably best known for our shows. Being an instrumental band, it’s hard to keep people focused on the stage for very long without losing their interest. Our shows were heavily augmented with fog machines, strobe lights and confetti. We did our best to make sure that people were entertained.
We disbanded in 2006. The strains of college, full-time employment and other aspects of living had taken priority over the band.