Anyone following indie rock in the last decade is surely familiar with Florida’s Surfer Blood, if not for their music, then for the dramatic roller-coaster of their career. They came out of the starting gate in 2010 with Astro Coast, a debut so widely acclaimed it landed the college kids in the band a world tour, and a run of opening slots for The Pixies. I saw one of their pre-fame shows, and while the music wasn’t 100% my zone, I totally understand the appeal. Despite the club being dead empty, they put on a show so affable and fun it felt like they could have been playing to a packed house party full of their best friends.
They were riding so high from that impressive beginning that on their tour for their second album, Pythons, they topped the bill over the venerable and respected indie stalwarts …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. But their second album was derailed, both by being less impressive than Astro Coast, and by a nasty and well-publicized domestic battery incident in which their their singer, John Paul Pitts, was the aggressor. After Pitts sought anger-management therapy, the band sought redemption with 2015’s respectable 1000 Palms, but they’ve been derailed again:
Thomas Fekete, Surfer Blood guitarist for 6 years, has been sidelined while undergoing treatment for a very rare and aggressive cancer (a sarcoma). Although Thom has health insurance, which has covered more than six months of chemotherapy, his experienced team of doctors are confident in an alternative treatment plan, that unfortunately is not covered by insurance. As he’s no longer able to tour and make a living, we hope and appreciate if you can help with a donation of any size, and help spread the word by sharing on social media. Thank you so much for the love and support!
A GoFundMe campaign to help Fekete came and went last spring, but there’s still a need for more money (fighting cancer is one of the most damnably expensive goddamn things on this Earth), so the band has contrived a novel fundraising idea. Bands including Guided By Voices, Yo La Tengo, Lou Barlow, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and unsurprisingly, Surfer Blood, have donated unreleased tracks, and each track has been lathe-cut by hand into a single record, each one-of-a-kind and accordingly numbered 1/1. All one of these unique, hand-made records are on eBay right now, through the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund. For a lower premium, the band offers a download of all the donated tracks in MP3 format. The minimum donation for that compilation is $10.
Here’s a really great live-in-studio appearance by Surfer Blood at L.A. radio station KCRW, from a couple of years ago.