The Groovie Ghoulies is my favorite band named after a cartoon. Alas, the band no longer records its version of pop punk tunes, but the memories linger on.
Recently I was driving to work listening to the Freaks on Parade release. It first came out in 2001 on Stardumb and was later re-released by Surfin’ Ki 13 years later. If that isn’t a testament to the band’s sound, nothing is. Listening to it reminded me of how timeless the music sounded. It was fresh. Upbeat. It could’ve been recorded the day before. All good music (except the blues) should sound that way. (The blues, it should be noted, should always take place in the past. It gets its magic from a time period long expired, and while the sound remains strong, it does not and should not sound contemporary.)
We all have these bands we forget about for a few years, and once we break them out again and give them a listen we wonder why we waited so long in the first place. Driving through the Humboldt mist was one of those moments, brought on by not one particular song, but all of them. I thought back to my when I did my ‘zine. I thought back to different times, different mindsets. Different everything.
I wasn’t riding a nostalgia trip. I wasn’t pining for the old days or lamenting how today’s music leaves me cold for the most part. I was just, not to sound too California stupid, being “in the moment.” The air was cool on my face. The wipers did the occasional whisk across the windshield. I had the stereo cranked, not to assault the pedestrians, but to immerse myself in that mindset albeit briefly.
I’m not the biggest fan of pop punk. I tend to like my music with more of an edge, but this was a band I could get behind. I tolerate a lot of pop punk bands, but this one was always different. That misty morning reminded me why. Say what you want about it, but it is still one of the best things to come out of Sacramento.