Surfer Blood: My Firsts | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Surfer Blood: My Firsts

John Paul Pitts on His First Pet, First Movie, First Job, First Car, and Early Musical Experiences

May 20, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

My Firsts is our email interview series where we ask musicians to tell us about their first life experiences, be it early childhood ones (first word, first concert, etc.) or their first tastes of being a musician (first band, first tour, etc.).

For this My Firsts we talk to John Paul Pitts of Surfer Blood. Surfer Blood’s third album, 1000 Palms, was just released last week on the band’s new label Joyful Noise. Pitts is the lead vocalist/guitarist and the rest of the lineup consists of Thomas Fekete (guitar/backing vocals), Kevin Williams (bass guitar/backing vocals) and Tyler Schwarz (drums). Don’t forget to donate to the GoFundMe campaign to help Fekete pay for his cancer treatments.

Read on as Pitts discusses the two childhood cats still living, his favorite animated feline, his time as a little league coach, and an early bad review they proved wrong.

First pet?

John Paul Pitts: My first pets were a pair of cats, who are still alive, named Antoinette and Malachai. They were just kittens when I got them in high school, but now they are old and kind of insane. They live with my parents. My dad calls them big cat and little cat for some reason, but he takes good care of them and loves them a lot.

First movie you saw in the movie theater?

The first movie I ever remember seeing in a theater is The Lion King, because I remember being really sad when Simba’s father died (duh). Other classics from that era are Jurassic Park and Kazaam starring Shaq.

First TV show you were obsessed with?

Garfield and Friends. I still love Garfield. Last Halloween we played a show on a boat in San Diego and I went in a full Garfield costume. Originally my girlfriend was going to go as the lasagna to my Garfield, but we couldn’t find a lasagna costume so we went as two Garfields.

First record your parents played for you?

Creedence Clearwater Revival and Cream. My dad is a classic rock aficionado and those are his favorite bands. I still remember listening to [Cream’s] Disraeli Gears and thinking it was very ‘spooky’ music.

First job you had?

I was a baseball umpire for children ages 8-10 when I was 13 years old. In South Florida, little league games got really heated and serious fast. I made some very controversial calls in my time, and there were a few times I was genuinely afraid for my life. I still stand by every call I made though.

First car you owned?

The first car I owned was a 1995 Mazda Protege stick shift, with a broken radiator. I didn’t know the radiator was broken when I bought it, that car gave me a whole world of trouble. The air conditioning didn’t work and South Florida gets really, really hot in the summers, so I would arrive at school drenched in sweat every morning. I managed to get a few years out of it before the head gasket finally blew and I had to sell it for parts.

First country you visited outside of your own?

I went to the U.K. for the first time when I was 2 years old, I still remember looking up at Big Ben for the first time. My dad lived in the U.K. for a few years in high school and had a friend named Rupert who still lived there, so we went back to visit a few times growing up.

First instrument?

My first instrument was an Epiphone Les Paul that my mom and dad bought me for my birthday one year. The first song I learned was “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream, because that’s one of the songs my dad knows how to play all the way through.

First band you were in?

In high school I was in an awesome band called The Nina Pinta, I think our MySpace might still be around. It wasn’t all that different from Surfer Blood in a lot of ways, really guitar-centric and Sonic Youth inspired. Everyone who was in that band lives in different cities now, but they still come out to our shows whenever we come through.

First recording device?

Some friends of mine managed to crack a shareware program called n-Track Studio, I still get emails in my spam folder about updates. It was a pretty basic program. GarageBand is a million times better but it was great for me starting out. I bought a drumset from my friend Roberto and started recording songs every day when I got home from school.

First bad review? Not the worst review ever but a little snarky, it was also our first live review and it went up online minutes after we got offstage. We were a little bummed after, but we went on to play all 11 or 12 shows just fine and got a few good write-ups in the process.


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Paul Mason
November 25th 2016

It must be interesting for you growing up.