OK, nepotism confession time; the bass player for this group - The Mermen out of San Francisco is my ex-brother-in-law Allen Whitman.But ex-family-connections aside (and losing my friendship with Allen was and is perhaps the thing I still regret the most about my detonation of my first marriage) it is more than just nepotism that makes me post this video here. These guys genuinely rock, and they are a sort of kind of odd fixture in the northern CA surfer scene.
Which is pretty amazing, because as I understand it neither Whitman nor the lead guitarist (Jim Thomas) can surf across a flat pond on a calm day.
Be patient (or forward to about 2:20 when the rocking really begins) because this song, "Casbah", is one of their more kick-ass, except for the very vivid memory I have of one show of their I went to see at some little shithole bar somewhere in the dumpy part of Santa Rosa, CA, back in the Nineties.
A typical Merman song is not quite as tight as this one - there's a lot of noodling about and long soloing. And there's not a lot of FM radio 3:40-style discipline. A Mermen tune goes...well, as long as it needs to. And there's a lot of very astral spaciness there. So there we were, just surfin' along with the Mermen (all of us with our earplugs in - these guys are LOUD) on our ride to...where-ever.
Until suddenly the boys kicked over into a beautiful, incredible, perfectly terrifying instrumental cover of the Rolling Stone's "Paint It Black".
I wish I could find you a YouTube video of that cover. It fucking blistered what was left of the dingy paint off the walls and knocked us out of our chairs. It hammered the freaky dancers who had been ambling around the tiny dance floor to their knees. It made the sun come out into the northern California night; it made the mountains tremble and the seas run red with blood.
It was everything fucking great about rock n' roll.
Damn. I miss those guys.