Asbury Surf Music Interview Series: The Outlips

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Pop-Break.com is proud to be an official sponsor of the first annual Asbury Park Surf Music Festival which takes place on Saturday, July 12th at The Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

One of the cool perks of sponsoring a festival like this is discovering great new bands like the Ocean City, New Jersey band The Outlips who really embody that fine line between classic surf and classic punk. The band has a real fun vibe to them, but also an edge that’s totally undeniable.

When we spoke with festival organizer Vincent Minervino, he said this about the band: ” Super fun 60’s style beach rock from
Ocean City, these guys lay the vibe on thick. Better clear your whole day if you’re gonna listen to their first single ‘Closeout Beach’ – you won’t be able to get it out if your head. Oh And be sure to check out their 1969 Ford Econoline tour van – Super cool!”

Pop-Break caught up with the band to talk a lot about surf music and their love for it as they prep for The Asbury Surf Music Festival.

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Pop-Break: Your songs definitely stems from surf rock, but there are a lot of other elements as well. How would you describe your specific sound?

The Outlips: We surf and skate so we naturally have a beachy vibe. The early Stones and rock-a-billy and the 50s style format of early rock ‘n’ roll is a base for our songs. We grew up listening to punk rock as well but found that keeping people bopping and moving on the dance floor was when the audience and the band had the most fun so we slowed some songs down and responded to the fans. Ray Charles and Little Richard have that tempo that makes you move and really wanted to match that. Most of the songs come from real life stories and things our friends say…so they molded into a fun but gritty vibe. [Some of us] used to live in California and Australia and saw a lot of bands playing a newer version of beachy surf sounds. The Growlers especially showed me a new way to play surf tunes. It’s funky punky and a real rounded out version of rock ‘n’ roll from all directions.

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Pop-Break: You describe yourselves as “surf-a-billy beach goth rocky 60s beat dogs of space.” For someone who hasn’t listened to your music, how would you describe that genre?

The Outlips: Definitely a blend of some of the more rebellious elements of rock ‘n’ roll from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s but we live and work in and around the beach culture. This is an extension of our lives and the things that make us go-go-go. We engage the audience, tell stories and tear out the separation of band and spectators. [Band member] Brie even gets in the crowd.

Pop-Break: If someone’s coming out to the Asbury Surf Music Festival and has never heard of you before, what song or songs would you recommend they check out in order to get what The Outlips are all about?

The Outlips: “Close out beach” is our song getting the most attention at the moment. It’s all about that beach where everyone goes and it’s poking fun at the whole sponsored surfer attitude and vibe in the water and on the beach. It’s fun and really captures us in a song. “Race of Gentlemen” is about the hot rod race in Wildwood (New Jersey)and really embodies a surf-a-billy sound. It’s basically The Cramps gone surfing. “North Park Shaggers” has rock-a-billy roots but it’s all about chilling on the beach all day and playing music all night and shagging in North Park San Diego. This was the first song Brie sang on and has a great response from the fans….they always shout out more Brie!!!

Pop-Break: When people see The Outlips show, what can they expect from you guys as a live band?

The Outlips: The Outlips are engaging the crowd talking directly to you, telling you about what happened on the way to the gig or the story behind the song. We build the set list based on what other bands we are playing with the vibe of the venue and so many other variables. It’s spontaneous as set waves. We might play a new song never played out before…..we have so many songs. We are gonna talk to you and find out what you want to hear…and instigate body dancing. Sometimes we bring boogie boards and foam surf boards to try and get the audience to crowd boogie or crowd surf (laughs) whatever it takes ton get people rocking. You’re gonna like the songs….it’s loose, it’s interactive, it’s party time at the beach when we come up.

Pop-Break: What is it that you love most about being in The Outlips?

The Outlips: Performing something original and creating a vibe in a group effort that makes people smile and dance to ORIGINAL music. Brie was a go-go dancer for ten years and it is a relief for her to pump people up with original music. Aaron can’t help but write songs and is happy to have finally found a group of cats and dogs that are humble and not afraid to work hard and contribute to sound that is original

Pop-Break: You’ll be performing at The Asbury Surf Music Festival — what drew you to come play this show?

The Outlips: We want to be a part of anything that has to do with surf in the state of New Jersey. Whether it’s a contest, music or art fest, we are on a mission to put our selves out there and help shape our beach culture in our home state. We were not going to get to play this event but we kept pressing and finally said we will just have to set up out front with generators and play anyway. I was a surf shop manager for 10 years in New Jersey, a manager of a shop in Cali and taught at a surf school in Australia and Cali. I grew up in a musical surf family if its one thing I know is, it’s how to get your foot in the door and drop in whether its a close out set or a firing point beak.

Pop-Break: You’re deserted on an island and you can only play one surf song and watch one surf movie for the rest of your life. Which ones would they be and why? (And if you’re wondering how you can listen to the song or see the movie, let’s assume you’ve created something amazing out coconut shells, palms trees and sand).

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The Outlips: Surf movie would be Invasion from Planet C — not the best surf footage but hilarious the way they crossed a sci-fi B-movie with surf stoke because their planet is going to implode….it was running out of stoke. Song….well there aren’t many that sing about surfing but “Wipeout” or “Surfing Bird” you can’t beat them!!!! Party fun shredding all captured.

Pop-Break: What are you most excited about for the band for the rest of 2014?

The Outlips: We are really excited about recording more songs touring to Cali, Texas, and Oregon in the fall. Playing as many parties gigs and festivals as we can. We are really excited about the possibilities that are starting to pop up in front of us. We are going somewhere and we are fresh and original. I know people all over the world and they are liking our music: Japan, Australia, France, England, Mexico, Argentina, Puerto Rico…and of course LA and NYC. It’s all on our radar and we are set to soar. We’re also really looking forward to the Race of Gentlemen in Wildwood in October, it’s the coolest thing going and we have a 1926 Model T…Brie wants to be the first girl to race in it. We had a video come out that my friends at frothylip.com did for us didn’t even know they were making it! Rob is from billabong and his brother Chris and Stumps from Santa Barbra surfed in the vid its great and featured on surfersview.com over 2500 views in two days!!!! We have a lot of videos planned and great things coming.

all photos credit: william murray

The Outlips perform at 1pm at The Asbury Surf Music Festival at The Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Click here for tickets.

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Bill Bodkin is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. He can be read weekly on Trailer Tuesday and Singles Party, weekly reviews on Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Hannibal, Law & Order: SVU and regular contributions throughout the week with reviews and interviews. His goal is to write 500 stories this year. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English and currently works in the world of political polling. He’s the reason there’s so much wrestling on the site and is beyond excited to be a Dad this coming December. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom

Bill Bodkin is the owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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