Skip to content

Le Yikes Surf Club: The Flamenco Punks.

November 20, 2015

LeYikesSurfClubOnline01Text by Brian Myszkowski. Images by Michael Bucher.

Le Yikes Surf Club was born after the hiatus of Dirty Tactics, Gary Viteri and guitarist Chris Haberstick’s old band. Originally Viteri’s pet project, LYSC expanded with Haberstick and drummer Ted Quann. Bassist Vinny Orender joined after sitting in on some practices.

“It was a boy’s club,” says Viteri of the hangout sessions. The result was a blend of funky Spanish guitars, organs and maracas with an ’80s punk vibe. “You’d drink a beer and play a set.”

“It’s always been that way,” says Haberstick. “The first songs had that kind of flamenco style. Flamenco punk. That was cool.”

LYSC  focused on crafting their music and it paid off. Just after announcing their second live show, the band was picked up by Grizzly Records.

The label’s founder/operator, EJ Binns, was drawn in by the band’s capability to leave him humming tunes after a single listen. While the overall style wasn’t new, Binns found that LYSC brought something distinctive by combining simple riffs, hooks and rhythm for an easily digestible but uniquely fulfilling experience.

“All the dudes are fucking crack ups, super passionate about their crafts, and [they] play some really fucking catchy songs,” says Binns. “I was sold.”

Soon after, the band was performing gigs with the likes of The Dickies and Agent Orange.

LYSC’s self-titled debut was released in 2012, showcasing jaunty surf reverb with an energetic edge. Tracks like “Ghost Ride the Whip” call to mind a sunset-lit beach, smoking a spliff with pals and watching the waves after a wild punk show. The band’s upcoming full-length, Apocalypsos – recorded by Philly’s Joe Reinhart – promises to expand on that feeling.

On the deck that leads from Viteri’s second-floor kitchen, the guys kick back in lawn chairs, enjoying beers and smokes. Discussion ranges from the expansion of Comcast – whose mega-tower dominates a clear view of Center City – to alternative PR tactics.

“How about a Le Yikes crossword puzzle?” suggests Viteri.

“And if you solve it, you win a copy of the new EP,” Haberstick says with a smirk.

Despite few compatriots in the surf/world/punk-art project scene, the group is making a name for itself.

“It’s kind of cool,” says Orender, slumped in a chair against the wall. “We don’t really fit the bill. We’re always playing with bands from outside of town.”   

Apocalypsos is set for release through Grizzly on December 21. Demos for a new EP are also in the works, featuring “a more ethnic sound, borrowing from my Ecuadorian background,” Viteri says. “A more chilled out, bluesy feel instead of surf-rock.”

At the end of the day, LYSC still holds onto its humble sonic ethos.

“It’s not complicated,” Viteri states. “The planets are aligning. We’re all here to hang and that’s how we sound when we play.”

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: