Interview: John Paul Pitts (Surfer Blood)

Indie | Monday 21st December 2015 | Craig

With the band’s guitarist Thomas Fakete undergoing experimental cancer treatment (read our article here), we get the low down from the main man himself, JP Pitts. Here’s what he had to say:

First and foremost, how is Thomas Doing? And the band itself?

Thom is doing all right, I can't even imagine how impossible this must seem for him. He has a great outlook considering how cruel and unfair his situation is. His wife, mother, and friends have all rallied around him and are helping in any way they can, but its still going to be a long, hard fight for him.


1,000 Palms was pretty sick considering what’s been going on with you guys, how hard has it been to carry on without Thomas?

It hasn't been easy, Thomas was in Surfer Blood for five years and was woven into the very fabric of the band. His tastes, sense of humor, and musical style had become such an important part of our band's presence onstage, on the internet, and every day on the road with us. Thankfully Mike McCleary, our friend from high school and multi-instrumentalist was able to rise to the occasion and learn our entire discography. He's been doing an amazing job filling those shoes, but Thomas isn't easily replaced.


Thomas’s GoFundMe page seems to be doing great, how has the response been from fans in general?

Our fans have been amazingly sympathetic and generous. The GoFundMe page has raised an incredible amount of money this year, and people who we've met on tour through the years have re-emerged to show their support. I know it makes a huge difference for Thom, both financially and emotionally.


Other bands have been getting involved as well right?

Yes. There have been a few benefits around the US so far, perhaps most notably a show we put together at Bowery Ballroom in New York City the day 1,000 Palms came out. There were nine or ten bands, all very notable acts who came out to play a few songs and support. Then just last month, Joyful Noise, our US label, put out a compilation with us and some of our favorite bands. It included Yo La Tengo and Guided by Voices: two bands I've been a huge fan of since high school (and so has Thomas), making it extra special. 



We read a little bit about your van being broken into on the road, what was that all about? Did you get the money back?

We were broken into on the same tour just outside of Chicago, thankfully we had already deposited all of the money we had raised for Thom at the New York show I mentioned in the previous question. We had been raising money for Thomas at the merch table at subsequent shows, and unfortunately, it was stolen in the break-in along with a few laptops, cameras, passports and other personal items. It was around $500 total. This is the third time this has happened to us and its awful each time, but it stung even more this time.


Over here in the UK, the indie/alternative scene isn’t exactly booming at the moment, how’s it going over in the States?

Its going good, I think there will always be indie/ alternative bands as long as there's a way to record yourself at home. I discover new bands all the time, some break-up after six months and others put out records for decades. You just never know.  


What bands are doing it for you right now?

No Joy, Alex Calder, BRONCHO, Julia Holter, Viet Cong.


And lastly, what’s next for Surfer Blood?

We have a long tour in January that takes us from Florida, through Texas to the west coast (California) and back again. Other than that, we're getting songs together for a new record. Hopefully we can start recording in the new year!


Please spread the word and help get Thom back in the game, where he belongs.

Here are a few links to check out:

Thomas Fakete Info

GoFundme Page

Shop for Thomas!