The Power of East Coast Surf


Feature for 

January 2011

Matt Heaton & the Electric Heaters



Name: Matt Heaton & the Electric Heaters

Genre: Modern Surf

Geographical Area: Boston MA

Interview with: Matt Heaton by email on 12/29/10

Band formed: 2010

NESMA member since: 2010

1. What is the current line-up of your band?

Matt Heaton - guitar

Paddy League - drums

Laura Cortese - bass


2. How and when did you get started with your band?

We're still getting started! Our first gig was Labor day 2010. 

All three of us play professionally in other styles. Paddy & I play Irish music, Laura got her start in Scottish fiddle, and now tours as a singer/songwriter. We've all played together a lot over the years, from very traditional acoustic settings to the Urban Ceidlidh band, a sort of electric Celtic dance band. The Electric Heaters grew out of me spending a bunch of time wanting to start playing electric guitar again. I used to play in a band called the Flavor Channel in Chicago in the 90s. We weren't a surf band, but did a few surf tunes. 


3. What bands or music have influenced you most?

The Raybeats, Spies Who Surf, Man... or Astro Man, the "Surf Legends and Rumors" compilation, Link Wray.


4. What is the break down of cover vs. original material in your live shows and/or recordings?

Depends on the show. For shorter sets we'll do mostly originals; if we need to play longer we'll pepper it with covers. Most of the covers are "classic" surf tunes. We are doing some old Flavor Channel tunes.


5. What recording have you done?

Nothing yet. We want to keep them wanting more. . .


6. What kind of gear do you use?

A weird amalgam of not very "surfy" stuff:

Guild S-60D, modified with a bigsby and tweaked by the fabulous "Yukon" Stubblebeine, luthier extraordinaire. 

Custom made "Surf Tone" reverb tank, built by Andy LeBlanc of Lazy Mary Amps in Maine.

A little tiny Fender Pro Junior, 'cause I hate carrying stuff. 

Effects: Bluebird tremolo, Radial overdrive, Line 6 DL4 delay, Ernie Ball volume pedal


Laura plays either a nice old Fender Jazz bass or a newer Fender bass with a Jaguar body shape. Depends on her dress. 


Paddy plays some drums. Depends if he remembers to get them out of his car before it goes into the shop.


7.  What is your bandís favorite food/beverage?

MGD. That's not strictly true, but we've got a vegan, a hard core meat eater and an omnivore, so it seems like the best compromise.



8. How do you get gigs?

The sweat of our brows. So far, we're playing at places where we have connections from other projects. I've been in email contact with some other NESMA bands about getting something together show wise. Hopefully in the new year!



9. What are the difficulties you find playing your kind of music in your area?

It's too damn cold in the winter!


10. What positive attributes does your band have that sets you apart from other bands (of any genre)?

Our congeniality. And the fact that we don't bother with democratic principles and I'm answering all the questions for everyone without getting their input.


11. What have you found to be the single most effective promotional tool youíve used to further your bandís musical path?

We started out with nothing but a Facebook page. In fact, we still have nothing but a Facebook page. So that's been the most effective, though I'm seriously considering a move to bandcamp! Opinions welcome.



12. Whatís the most interesting performance experience youíve had? 

We did an opening set for the Sweetback Sisters, a honky tonk band from Brooklyn. I'm friends with their drummer, so when Paddy couldn't make the gig, I figured it would be OK, as Stephen (from Sweetback) could cover. Then a few days before the show, I found out Laura couldn't make it either! I was fully prepared to attempt a White Stripes style set with no bass, but FROM THE ROAD Stephen called and said the bass player from Sweetback could do the show too. They spent the drive from NYC listening to our tunes and watching Link Wray videos on YouTube. So we did the show with 1/3 of the band. But now I figure if we play in NYC I'm all set for a rhythm section. 


13. What do you hope to get out of being a NESMA member?

Meeting & hearing other surf bands! I found the website well before I had the band when I was jones-ing to go hear some reverb!


14. Anything else?

I still have that issue of Guitar Player with the flexi record with the Raybeats and Paul Johnson, but I lost the record. Anyone? 

BTW we're playing a show at Club Passim on Jan 30. it's a split bill with a tiki/exotica band called Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica - Should be a good time. .


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