Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer with the Sums

The Sums were a surf-rock band from Harrisonburg, VA.  Actually, I'll go on record saying that they were the BEST surf-rock band ever to come out of Harrisonburg, VA.  Mickey Walker played bass, Marshall Costan played lead guitar, Thomas Dean played rhythm guitar, Josh Lawson played drums, and... Travis Hunter on organ?  I forget.
See, here's the thing about bands in smaller towns - they're usually better.  If you're in a major metropolitan area like New York or Los Angeles or Austin, there are tons and tons of distractions.  In towns like Fargo or Harrisonburg, you practice.  You get better.  It's easy to tell from this CD that the Sums practiced a lot.

Sums Album Youtube Playlist
For some reason that I don't remember, Marshall was no longer in the band, so Thomas asked me to fill in.  I wasn't the only replacement - Mickey (who played on all of the recordings except for one or two of the songs) replaced Tommy Rogers (who also played Wurlitizer, organ, guitar, and bass on most of the recordings); and Travis replaced someone named Laney Devening. Thomas's dedication to the rock was such that he was willing to drive from Harrisonburg to Richmond to get me (a 3 hour drive), drive back to Harrisonburg to practice with the Sums (3 hour drive), dropped me off back in Richmond (3 hour drive), then drove back to Harrisonburg (3 hour drive).  Would you drive for 12 hours so that your band could play a show in someone's basement?  We played several shows, house parties, and I think even Mac Rock.  We never recorded, which is fine by me because I couldn't touch Marshall as a surf guitarist.  In fact, let me tell you a little story.  The Sums covered a song by Freshomatics - my old surf band.  Marshall was in the crowd as we did a rare reunion show.  I handed the guitar off to Marshall during a break in said song, and to my bandmates' amazement, this person they'd never seen before played lines I wrote better than I ever played them.
I don't really know what most of the Sums are up to nowadays.  Thomas and Josh are in a band called the Order .  Last I heard, Marshall was doing this kind of  Americana folk thing. Mickey moved to Philadelphia (?), Travis... I have no idea!

1 comment:

  1. Nice. Sadly, I never got to see The Sums, but heard many great things about them.