Spring Break Shark Attack!
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Spring Break Shark Attack!

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Shark Attack!

What a great name for a surf-rock band. So Andy Gibbs naturally named the Baton Rouge surf band that he and fellow guitarist Eric Johns, bassist Peter Cagnolatti and drummer Patrick Quilter formed in 2004 — Shark Attack!

Unfortunately, dozens of other bands were calling themselves Shark Attack!, too. Many of these other Shark Attacks! — including a punk band and an all-girl rap group — didn’t even play surf rock.

Baton Rouge’s Shark Attack!, in fact, played a show with Houston’s Shark Attack!, a rock-reggae band along the lines of Sublime. Performing at the beachside Balinese Room nightclub in Galveston, the bands were accompanied by very apropos views of the Gulf of Mexico.

But something had to be done about that too-common name. So the local Shark Attack! guys adjusted their moniker to something even more explicit — Spring Break Shark Attack!

Gibbs got the idea for forming a surf band when he saw a band playing psycho-surf rock at a party above the Electric Ladyland tattoo parlor on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans.

“They were dressed up in costumes,” Gibbs recalled during an interview on the patio of the LSU-adjacent Highland Coffees. “One dude was in a wheelchair playing guitar. I never heard anything before or after about them, but it looked like a lot of fun. I figured if we could just do that, play parties and stuff, it would be awesome. We didn’t set out with a whole lot of ambition or anything.”

Prior to forming Shark Attack!, Gibbs had only recently learned about surf rock and horror-surf music through a friend in New Orleans.

“I didn’t sit at home playing surf music,” he said. “I just was like, well, all you do is turn up the reverb, pick really fast and put the right drum beat behind.”

Eric Johns, on the other hand, grew up with his dad’s vinyl surf-rock discs by Dick Dale, the Ventures, the Safaris and the Raybeats.

The newly formed Shark Attack! immediately composed four instrumentals, “Red Surf,” “A Shark Ate My Baby,” “Theme” and “Army of Sharkness.”

“It’s not really a rule,” Gibbs said, “but pretty much every song title has something to do with sharks or water.”

Except for occasional vocal outbursts, Spring Break Shark Attack! is an instrumental act.

“Nobody wants to hear us sing,” Johns said. “And I would find it very difficult to sing with our music.”

“It’s a lot of fun writing songs, because we don’t have to worry about lyrics,” Gibbs said. “I’ll bring a riff and play it, someone will come up with another part and we’ll just put them all together.”

Gibbs and Johns, the band’s twin-guitar attack, have distinctive styles.

Echoing Dick Dale, the godfather of surf, “Andy’s playing is very Arabic sounding,” Johns said. “To break it down in a nerdy music way, lots of harmonic minor and diminished stuff. And I’m a little bit more straightforward. The really cheesy melodies are normally me.”

“Our tone is different,” Gibbs said, “especially when we play live. I usually kick up the distortion more than I should. Of course, Eric always uses the reverb tank.”

Patrick Quilter’s high-velocity drumming is essential to Spring Break Shark Attack!, too.

“We had an opportunity to play a gig while he was out of town,” Gibbs said. “We ended up not even doing it.”

“Every drummer we talked to was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it,’ ” Johns said. “And then they’d listen to the CD and say, ‘I can’t do that.’ ”

“It’s not so much the technical stuff,” Gibbs added. “He has a certain feel that’s really bombastic, kind of Jon Bonham-ish.”

Surf rock has always been quick-tempo music, but Spring Break Shark Attack!’s punk and metal influences, not to mention Quilter’s furious drums, knock the pace even higher.

“We didn’t want to be just a throwback band,” Gibbs explained.

Spring Break Shark Attack! fans everywhere can get a take-home bite out of the band via Sharkronomicon, the group’s full-length CD debut. The disc’s nine surf-rock voyages include “Feeding Frenzy,” “Blood Ocean” and “Great White.” It’s available from local CD stores and Internet music outlets CD Baby, iTunes and Rhapsody.

Sharkronomicon also will be sold at gigs, including the band’s CD release show, Saturday, July 21, at Spanish Moon. Spring Break Shark Attack! also performs July 27 at the Renaissance Niteclub in Lafayette. - The Advocate


Those loveable scruffy surf divas Shark Attack! started the show with a kidney punch. I really love the dynamics in that band. It’s like they’ve found that secret tunnel between Dick Dale and Black Sabbath, and set up their guitars in its cavernous environs to create deafening cascades of swivel-ready reverb. My favorite moment was when Andy Gibbs applied a beer bottle to the neck of his guitar for a deliciously serpentine “Eat People.” Pound for pound, more fun than most bands in town. - www.225batonrouge.com


Ever wish you could go back to the carefree days of the fifties and hang out on the beach with Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon? Well, grab your surfboard and sun-block because the surf band Shark Attack! is in town. Don't think you are going to get the wholesome sound of The Beach Boys. Shark Attack! incorporates metal and thrash into their music and has influences such as Slayer, Man or Astro-Man?



The band started back when its members were in high school. The members came together and wrote four of their biggest hits in one night.



One thing that makes this band unique is their lack of lyrics. "We use a lot of reverb and a driving tempo," said Andy Gibbs. But don't be prepared for a boring show, Eric Johns said. "Just because it's instrumental doesn't mean it sucks," he laughed. Another unique aspect of Shark Attack! is their performance attire. Each member wears a full suit, complete with tie and coat. They chose this get up because this is what the surf bands of the fifties wore. They have been mistaken for certain religious sects. "We're not Mormons," confirmed graphic design major Peter Cagnolatti.



Shark Attack! regularly plays at Northgate Tavern, Spanish Moon, and Red Star. The band has already recorded a self-titled demo album, and is hoping to re-record a few of the tracks this summer.



As summer approaches, Shark Attack! is a great way to get yourself ready for those lazy sunny days. Feel the attack at www.myspace.com/sharkattacksurf.
- Legacy Magazine


Surf music is magic stuff. That reverb guitar, that insistent beat will set the most ardent wallflower into motion.
When asked why they chose surf music as their medium, Andy Gibbs, guitarist of Shark Attack!, said, "Because it's awesome! Not heavy in a distortion sense, but heavy in its effect."
An impromptu jam session last winter produced four songs and a new band, all rooted in their common love of The Ventures, Dick Dale, and neo-surf pioneers like Man!? Or Astroman, infusing standard beats with other elements from their various musical backgrounds.
Eric Johns' lightning guitar licks are awash with mile-deep reverb twang, Patrick Quilter keeps up the relentless pace of the group, and Peter Cagnolati on bass propels the lethal beast foward. And then, just like when a wave crashes, the band descends into a huge metallic meltdown.
"Eric and I are into extreme types of metal," Gibbs says, "and then we throw in rockabilly, post-rock and hard rock noise elements."
Adds Johns: "We are definetly the most metal surf band we know of."
Live, the mostly instrumental band is just devastating-four guys in suits and ties making a beautiful noise. They sell self-produced CDs at their shows, and a night out with Shark Attack! is a welcome change from the indie routine. Just dont be suprised how much you love their bite. - 225 Magazine


Discography

2006 Shark Attack! EP
2007 Sharkronomicon

Photos

Bio

Thunderous reverb and intense tremolo picking only scratch the surface of what this Baton Rouge, Louisiana quartet is about. With a background in punk and metal music the group began applying that same energy to the instrumental style of 50s instrumental rock n roll. Often described as breakneck surf-a-billy the band provides an aggressive version of surf rock that is also strongly rooted in thrash, jazz, rockabilly, space rock, and just a little bit of noise. The group originally joined together in the fall of 2004 under the name Shark Attack!, later changing the name to Spring Break Shark Attack! Now after more than 2 years of dominating the Louisiana scene, completely selling out of their debut EP, regular radio airplay, Spring Break Shark Attack! has finally released its new full length, Sharkronomicon.