The Power of East Coast Surf

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Feature for 

November 2006   



Band name: The Crustaceans – “Northeast Connecticut’s BEST Fathers and Kids Surf-Rock Instrumental Combo”.

Genre: Instrumental Rock (Surf Rock, Garage, proto Rock, Groove)

Geographical Area: Connecticut, South-central Mass., NYC on occasion

Interview with: all band members contributing by email on 10/29/06

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

Dave Riordan/Guitar, Paul Tanner/Bass, Ryan Tanner/Drums & percussion, Galen Riordan/Keyboards & percussion, Kelsey Riordan/percussion and socializing.

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

Ryan and Galen were playing on the same soccer team a couple years ago. Paul and Dave started bringing guitars to the practices to kill time on the sidelines. Paul dared us to play an open mike night, then we coerced the kids (The Squids!) to join in the fun and the rest is history. We like to say we’re doing it for the children!


3. What bands or music have influenced you most?

The band itself is very influenced by Link Wray, Los Straitjackets, The Ventures, Lonnie Mack  Band, Preston Wayne Four, 9th Wave, Clams, VBMC,  Sasquatch & Sickabillys – a lot of amazing folks who play locally and impress us mightily.

Paul: Herb Alpert, Blind Melon, Early CDB, Cream, Dylan, Miles Davis, G. Dead, Vince Gualmardi, Hendrix, P. Jam, Lionel Hampton, Buddy Rich, RUSH, Angela Pistilli, Jean-Luc Ponty, T. Monk, The Outlaws (Fla.GuitarArmy), M. Ravel, Richard Strauss, Skynyrd, Led Zep, Mongo Santamaria, S. Pumpkins, STP, Hot Tuna, T-Bone Walker, War.  Thank you all.

Dave:  Geez, how’d the two of us end up in a band together? The first version of Pipeline I paid attention to was when I heard Johnny Thunders playing it.  I was very into the new wave bands coming out in the late 1970’s – I loved the sound of The Ramones, Talking Heads, etc. They were very different from the classic rock and disco around then. Much like surf is different than what’s popular today. (What is popular today, anyway?) Always enjoyed power-pop bands like The Raspberries, Badfinger, etc. Los Straitjackets are amazing.  When I started playing guitar again (mid-life crisis) I stumbled on the Preston Wayne 4 up in Worcester. We steal several songs from them.


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

Mostly covers and rearrangements of songs. We have one original (Bigfoot) and are always talking about trying to do more.


5. What recording have you done?

Only what Jim Lawler (NESMA Archivist) has recorded during gigs. Jim just shows up, asks permission and nails it down.  THANKS Jim!!

6. What kind of gear do you use?

Paul: Cort B4 and an undersized GK 112 combo amp. Realizing lately that for bass amplification - size does matter!  Actively considering and saving for a larger rig.

Dave: Epiphone Dot w/ a Bigsby Trem, A Danelectro Hodad w/ a Digsby Trem, Fender Princteon amp mainly.  Mostly cobbled together stuff.

Ryan: generic kit, Zildjan cymbals (when he remembers to bring them).  Remo djembes and a cool goat skin conga from Grandpa Bernie.

Galen: Yamaha keyboard courtesy of Aunt Alice, Peavey amp we got for free.

Kelsey: Tambourines, bongos, maracas. Anything that makes a noise and keeps that beat!

7. What is your band’s favorite food/beverage?

Overall: Coffee, soda, pizza and Shady Glen cheeseburgers.  Shady Glen is a local retro hamburger chain in Manchester CT. We all like ice cream so we’ve been known to play at ice cream stands in exchange for our fix of Rocky Road.


8. How do you get gigs?

Paul:  We tend to play family wholesome venues, so I go to events and ask people. Then I follow up relentlessly, mostly via email.  Playing for free or for food helps.

Dave: Mike Rosado invited us to play at Schmedley’s pub for a NESMA surf summit, leading us down the path of ruin in bars. Now Unsteady Freddie has invited us to play at Otto’s Shrunken head in NYC (Dec. 2, 2006). Surely the child welfare authorities will be after us soon.

Kelsey: Likes to tell everyone she knows about the cool band she is in.


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

Paul: As busy Dads and business people, we find time to be our largest limiter. Oddly, once we play a venue, the place usually closes shortly thereafter. We are currently evaluating whether "A" leads to "B". 

Ryan: Indoors you have to play quieter than outdoors. It is hard to play quieter. We often have gigs outside and they get cancelled because of rain.

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

The Kid Factor seems to make people smile. However, our kids are now teens and cuteness is waning, so we had better practice more and work on our positive attitude, chops and showmanship. We try to have fun when we play and not get all freaked out. Any tips from NESMA-ites on how to encourage sullen teens to practice would be greatly appreciated.

11. What have you found to be the single most effective promotional tool you’ve used to further your band’s musical path?

Membership in NESMA has been great. Attending other NESMA band's performances and hanging out afterwards to ask questions has been very educational.

We maintain websites on MySpace - and . This is a fun activity in the cold season and way to engage music freaks all over the world. We got a comment the other day from a guy in Ireland. Cool. We have a few videos up on YouTube as well. Having youngsters in the band helps us deal with all this technology stuff.

We will be working on a CD/DVD promo packet this winter. With targeted mailings/follow up and face to face meetings this will hopefully lead to some new venues.

12. What’s the most interesting performance experience you’ve had?

Two come to mind, centered on forgetting things: 

Playing We-Like-It Ice Cream Stand, Abington CT.  Ryan forgot his cymbals, and we had to split the high hat to make a basic cymbal pack.  It sounded like something out of a Barbie set. 

Playing a double header at Oobah’s Deli in Willimantic CT last month with the Acoustic Surf Tones - Galen forgot the electric cord for the keyboard, and an audience member ran out and bought batteries for us during our set. The place closed shortly thereafter (see answer to question 9) but we did get free sandwiches.


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

Get connected with a positive musical community and the opportunity to listen and sit at the feet of the Masters. We’re amazed at the talent level and diversity of bands and styles out there in the NESMA family. Great people too.


14. Anything else?

We videotape each gig. Invariably due to mistakes and nerves, we recall each gig as a "train wreck". On review, however, it doesn't sound or look too bad, which helps build confidence. Reviewing the tape also helps us pick out and build on the high points for subsequent practice. 

2006 was our NESMA "Coming Out" year. It is a fitting climax of a fun year to be invited to play Otto’s NYC on December 2! Thanks Unsteady Freddie! See you there. 




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