An Interview with Satan's Pilgrims

Portland Correspondant Steve Peters checks in with this interview with Portland surf-rockers Satan's Pilgrims.
Steve: Well Scott Pilgrim tell me this, does Satan ride a long board or a short board?

Scott: Satan rides a long board.

Steve: Have you seen this personally?

Scott: I, uh, no, uh I don't know what Satan rides, it just sounded good.

Steve: Let's ask a boring band question. How long have you guys been playing together?

Scott: All of us have lived together for the last four and half years, and we've been playing together as a band for the last two and half years.

Steve: I also understand that you guys have been to Europe, are you doing a European tour, is that true?

Scott: No, this band has never been to Europe, but the previous band that me and Teddy were in, the drummer, went to Europe, that was Crackerbash. We would like to go there certainly. We have plans to put out a 10" with a Dutch label, Vulcan records from Amsterdam, so I believe that will enable us to get our foot in the door with going to Europe and stuff. I know the music is pretty popular everywhere, sure we'd love to go.

Steve: So this is another good question for you, if you were in a fight with Man Or Astroman? who would win?

Scott: Well, Man Or Astroman? are very nice people. I think that we're totally different from Man Or Astroman?. And people say when they see us "Have you seen Man Or Astroman?" when they see us, or "you guys sound like Man Or Astroman?" I don't see it. If you were a true official fan of this music, you would know that Man Or Astroman? are into their own thing. Right now it's even a little bit more power rock than us. I mean, we have three guitars, but the last time I saw Man Or Astroman? the sound was a little bit different from the first time I ever saw them. I'm not trying to take anything away from them, but they're into a different thing all together. We're both fans of the music, but I think their portions are so different. As far as fight, I think it would be a draw.

Steve: A draw?

Scott: yeah, I mean we're pretty even as far as members, they do have the Monkey Boy from Outer Space, so they might have some special effects to make up for it. This is John.

John: hi.

Steve: Hi John Pilgrim, I'm Steve Peters. I'm a roving reporter for the Unit Circle 'Zine. Surf Music, the enduring legend or passing fad, what do you think?

Scott: Well, in the sixties it was very vital for about three or four years and it's vital again maybe for three or four years. So, I don't know. It might be a passing fad, all types of music are passing fads. We just love to play it, I mean it has a lot of creativity and emotion and power. I mean, itFs just what we're into.

Steve: Well, you guys certainly knocked fem dead, you were having a lot of fun up there on stage. How did it feel to be pulling such a big draw like we had here tonight at Madrona View (Winery in Portland)?

Scott: Well, it's great. I mean, we love to have people come to our shows. The more people the better. I hope that people were able to get enough beer to make it fun. I know that there was one line for beer and one line for the bathroom.

Steve: They ought to have a combination line, like you get a beer and then you walk into the bathroom.

Scott: I think that the most important thing is that the people who come to the shows provide the energy that we need to perform.

Steve: Well, it was certainly a great show. Do you have anything to add John?

John: Er, no.

Steve: Ok, what instrument do you play.

John: I play bass.

Steve: You're the man on the bass.

Scott: Silvertone bass, he plays Silvertone bass. And, uh I play guitar.

Steve: So, how do you get that (Steve makes a sound sort of like "whereerarereaware") sound out of the guitars?

Scott: Well, that's all thanks to the creative inginuity of Fender instruments and their floating tremolo system that they developed back in the late 50's. It's all thanks to them.

Steve: Fender amps, Fender guitars.

John: and Fender reverb.

Steve: Did you guys get to catch Dick Dale last time he was in town?

Scott: Well, we think that Dick Dale wrote some very amazing songs, our overall enthusiasm for him isn't so great, so much for him anymore, 'cause everytime you see Dick Dale now, he's kind of a parody of himself. And he does medleys, and everytime he plays a riff from a great song he kinda goes into something else, so it's kind of like, it doesn't leave you very well satisfied. I know that he's got a lot of great attention recently for Pulp Fiction. We played with him actually. We played a PSU benefit show, and we played with him. I think he's great. The thing about Dick Dale that a lot of people don't know is that he did a lot of vocal songs. His vocal songs don't really go way out as much as his instrumental songs. So he's doing what he thinks he needs to do, but that medley, uh, sucks.

Steve: So here's something that's been bugging me. Everytime I tell people that Surf Music is my favorite style of music, they say "Oh, you mean like the Beach Boys?" Do you get asked that question?

John: We love the Beach Boys.

Scott: We love the Beach Boys.

John: I bought three Beach Boys albums today.

Scott: You know, I think their style was beautiful. Vocal oriented, it was harmony oriented and they did some instrumentals as well. They did go for that kind of vocal instrumentation. They're a great band. There's no denying it the Beach Boys were very influential for a lot of people. The style of music that we go for is more influenced by the instrumental bands.

Steve: The Ventures?

Scott: The Ventures fit in more like an instrumental band, and they did Surf Songs, but there were some bands that did exclusively surf songs, like The Lively Ones, or The Centurions.

John: The Sentinels.

Scott: The Challengers, to a certain extent. The Impacts, we do a song that the Impacts did.

Steve: Did you hear of the Avenger 6?

Scott: Yeah, they did Time Bomb.

John: Which was a Good Humor album.

Scott: Yeah, they put out an album.

John: Or good Humor sponsored an album or something.

Scott: Their most notable song was Time Bomb. It's available on a couple compilations.

John: And a song called Anaesthesia, I think that was their song.

Scott: What we would suggest for you, the classic surf bands. Have you ever heard of Bob Dalley?

Steve: No I haven't.

John: I'll be right back.

Scott: Bob Dalley, he's like one of the foremost authorities on surf music and he's got a surf music appreciation society, located in Utah. And he put out a book, a compilation of sixties' surf bands. You could write to him and get this huge book.


Steve: So when you're not listening to Surf, what else do you guys do?

Scott: Well, right now we're into building model kit cars. We're big fans of the Bill Campbell models, like the Weirdo models, Drag Hag or whatever.

Steve: The kind of models with the big rods on top?

Scott: Right, like Big Daddy Rock models. So we just like to hang out, I mean, we get by. And we love to play.

Steve: And if Satan's Pilgrims was a car, what kind of car would that be?

Scott: I think Satan's Pilgrims would be, I dunno, some great car.

Steve: Just one or two, whatever comes to mind first.

Scott: I don't know. We're really big fans of the 70's Challenger, but as far as like a hot rod, a 1940s Woodie, with surf boards strapped on, would be a great car too. Or a Hearse, a Bonneville Hearse.

[Steve takes a break, and comes back talking to a couple unidentified Pilgrims]

Steve: So does Satan ride a long board or a short board?

UP: A long board definitely. He rides it goofy foot.

Steve: And when he falls in, does he get wet?

UP: He walks on water, I believe.

Steve: So you custom build the capes?

UP: No they're cheap, Halloween capes, and we've actually, we thought about getting some commision for us. We want to a fabric store with someone who could do them for us, but the material was too heavy. These ones are good, 'cause they're the cheap plastic capes. They don't breathe at all, and if you had a really heavy one with lining and stuff, forget it. You're already sweaty enough, it'd be like wearing a down jacket or something on stage.

Steve: So if you guys got in a fight with the Huevos Rancheros, who would win?

UP: There's more of us, definitely us. It'd be no contest. We'll take any three piece band on.

Steve: So what is it with this surf phenomenon, I mean you have the Shadowy Men coming from Toronto of all places and Huevos Rancheros also coming from up north and you guys coming from Portland. Those sort of cold, wet cities you wouldn't normally associate with surfing. What really drives your guys music?

UP: Why do we do it?

Steve: I mean it sort of makes sense for those bands from California, I mean the weather is warm and you're right by the ocean.

UP: Well, you certainly have to wear a wet suit to surf the Oregon coast.

UP: Historically speaking, back in the early sixties, some of the best surf bands weren't from southern California, like the Trashmen from the Minneapolis area, and the Astronauts from Boulder, Colorado. So I don't know. We were just all into surf music, we just tried to start a band up.

Steve: well, the timing is certainly right, Surf is damn fun. So if you guys were all to die in a tragic plane crash, what would you want etched into your gravestone?

UP: Like if we were all in a mass grave, or individual ones?

Steve: Well, let's say just yours.

UP: I'd want it to say "Thanks for all the reverb."

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