Moss’ Rolling Stones
The new Surf Hound Studio gives Moss Landing a little art, live music, film and surfer fun.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Bent over like a reed in a breeze, the lanky, 6-foot-one-inch Andrew Dolan strums an acoustic guitar. Around him, the Good Sams pull old-timey country music from their instruments. Behind him an eyeball dangles from the socket of cartoon punk rock character. In one hand, the figure holds a paintbrush. In the other hand, it clutches a guitar with a revolutionary’s zeal.
Looking around Surf Hound Studio, which is Dolan’s new t-shirt shop/art studio/music venue/community space located in a building that used to house Moss Landing’s old Post Office, it’s obvious that Dolan based the cartoon character on himself – except that he appears to have both of his eyeballs. Decorating the walls are Dolan’s cartoony takes of beach culture, including a painting of a bikini-wearing redhead on a surfboard and a shark sporting sunglasses. Also hung in the room are Dolan’s hand-drawn cartoons on celluloid frames from his six-and-a-half-minute animated movie Dead Sams Music.
Even though Surf Hound Studio had not officially opened, almost 20 Moss Landing locals – including a handful of kids and a dog – assembled last Thursday to check out the space and listen to songs like The Good Sams’ cover of Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys’ “Sugar Blues.” This Saturday, Surf Hound Studio will throw a grand opening party that will include a screening of Dead Sams Music, a silent auction of Dolan’s artwork and a performance by The Good Sams to celebrate the release of their debut CD Dead Sams Music Double Feature, a collection of eight roots rock numbers. Half of the proceeds made from the event’s cover charge will be donated to help a Moss Landing baby named Matthew Grijalba fight leukemia.
A Moss Landing native, Dolan graduated from CSUMB’s Teledramatic Arts & Technology program last May. His capstone project ended up being his animated movie, which follows a surfer who meets a mermaid at the bottom of the ocean. The crudely animated but endearing short includes some humor that’ll appeal to young surf groms and an inspired segment where a cartoon skateboarder shreds a kitchen sink.
Dolan says the film took him a year and a half to complete. “I’d surf half the day and put in the other half of the day drawing,” he says.
For Dolan, using computer animation to create Dead Sams Music wasn’t an option. “I like the way the old style looks,” he says.
Dolan says that one of his biggest hopes for Surf Hound Studio is that it will help him break into the surf entertainment industry. “I found a lot of refuge in the beach culture and the skateboard culture as a kid,” he says.
In addition to housing his own art and being a performance space for The Good Sams, Surf Hound Studio will be a storefront for Speedy Ts, a t-shirt company Dolan began in 2008 with his friend Luke Braddock. On a rack displaying Speedy Ts merchandise, there’s a hoodie sweatshirt Dolan designed with a giant cartoon octopus holding a boat in one of its tentacles, and a red t-shirt depicting an old boat in Moss Landing’s harbor. “We taught ourselves how to screen print graphics on t-shirts,” he says.
Dolan also plans on screening cult classic movies in the studio on Friday nights and allowing any musicians to come by and play with The Good Sams on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Having been around since 2006, The Good Sams had performed in local venues including the now defunct Monterey Live and Jose’s until recently. “We’ve been playing more barbecues and house parties lately,” Dolan says.
Back on Thursday, the crowd continued to grow as Dolan sung the lyrics to his band’s song “Dead Sams Music,” which concerns a mutant gang running amok after the Moss Landing Power Plant explodes. During the number, the band’s other guitarist, George Brooks, casually ripped it up, and Corey Helgeson’s standup bass thundered like a train on the rails.
A few minutes earlier, Moss Landing local Kathryn Hannay had walked around Surf Hound Studio, marveling at the new space. An art teacher at the Monterey County Home Charter School in Salinas, Hannay offered a hint why the venue was so crowded before it had even had its official opening.
“A lot of people in this village don’t like to leave,” she said, “and Andrew brings the art to us.”