The Medflys frontman Carl Christ says the band’s tune “Up and Away” sums up the entire show.
“We’ve had a lot of good fortune doing this reincarnation act that we’ve been doing now for about 10 years,” Christ says. “It’s all about going out on a high note.”
There’s the possibility of an aerial ring act taking place as they perform “Up and Away” at the West End Celebration Kick Off Party on Friday, Aug. 23. But then again, The Medflys’ shows have always been notoriously rowdy spectacles beyond a simple set of music. (Although it is the music, complete with catchy pop numbers, that cement them as one of the Monterey Bay area’s greatest rock bands ever.)
Christ says about five boxes have already been shipped to Sand City ahead of the show. These boxes aren’t full of musical instruments, though. They contain cowboy hats, blood capsules, police uniforms, an electric chair strobe light helmet, inflatable guitars, beach balls, 8-inch silver boots, adult toys, “straightjackets” and an array of additional props and costumes.
In addition to founding members Christ on vocals, Robbie Evans on guitar, Dale Kurokawa on guitar and keys, and Alex Stewart on sax and keys, the band will be joined by longtime local musician John Brearton on drums and Simon Stewart (Alex’s son) on bass. Some members are coming from as far as Idaho (Kurokawa) and Utah (Evans).
The Medflys were regularly named “Best Local Band” by local radio stations and news publications during their prime in the 1980s. They regularly sold out shows from Monterey to San Jose and were featured in national television commercials.
Additionally, the group often scored opening touring slots for the likes of everyone from Joan Jett and the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Huey Lewis & the News and the Violent Femmes. The Medflys cracked homeruns with regional FM hits like the punky “Belfast,” the funky dance number “Compulsive,” the hippie mental lift of “State of Mine” and the spaghetti Western-esque satire, “Don’t Mess With The Mayor,” an homage to Clint Eastwood’s 1986 Carmel mayoral campaign.
After disbanding and a lengthy hiatus, in 2010 The Medflys delivered what was supposed to be a one-off 30th anniversary reunion show at what was then Planet Gemini (now the Jade Lounge) in Monterey. That performance went so well that afterward, they headlined the Monterey BaconFest at the Fairgrounds, played twice at the renowned Coach House in San Juan Capistrano and at 2016’s West End Celebration for more than 2,000 adoring fans.
“It looks effortless, but it’s all smoke and mirrors,” Christ says. “It’s just all the years we have together that allows us to seamlessly fall into the groove again.”
Aside from practicing for a few days before any given gig, the outfit has very little musical contact with one another these days.
While shows haven’t been plentiful, the Medflys have rocked some big-time performances prior to their unofficial 40th-anniversary show in Sand City on Friday.
“People just rehearse on their own, hopefully,” Christ says. “Then we come together and pound it out. We put our heads together and work hard for whatever show it may be.”
There’s preparation that goes on beyond the music. The Medflys also boast Carmel’s FlyGirlz dancers, featuring Callie Dailey, Vanessa Burkleo and Marinda.
“There’s also the theatrics,” Christ explains. “We work remotely with the [FlyGirlz] so we’re pretty in sync by the time we get together, if any changes need to be made, which always happens right before the show.”
Performing continues to be a source of gratification for all the bandmembers, far-flung as they may be.
“We never expect the outpouring of affection or that people enjoy [our show] so much,” Christ says. “I’m grateful for all these opportunities and couldn’t ask for more.”
18TH ANNUAL WEST END CELEBRATION KICK OFF PARTY7:30pm Friday, Aug. 23. Carmel Stone Imports, 1725 Contra Costa St., Sand City. $25/in advance; $30/at the door. Music and entertainment continues 11am-6pm Saturday and 11am-5pm Sunday, Aug. 24-25, throughout Sand City. Free to attend. The music schedule is viewable at left or online at westendcelebration.com