I originally met Jeff Pliskin when Hill Kid did their collaboration with his New York based clothing/photography/music video/record label/cold-brewed-coffee/everything else under the sun brand – Raised Fist Propaganda.
I was honored, as the guy is probably the world’s best-known photographer/producer in the punk/reggae music scene, and Slightly Stoopid’s own right-hand man.
One of the first times I really hung out with him was during a Slightly Stoopid show in San Diego a year or two ago, backstage:
Me: “OK, great. Should I just trade my regular ticket for a pass or something?”
“No,” Jeff replied. “Just follow me.”
I had my doubts about the technique, but I stood all sketchy-looking out by the back door waiting for Jeff to come get me. All of a sudden he walked out past the security guard, threw his camera into my hands right in front of her, and walked back toward the confused lady like he owned the place.
“This is my assistant,” he said sharply, jangling a keychain full of all access passes in front of her and pushing me past before she could even say anything. I proceeded to watch the entire set from the surreal view backstage as Jeff jumped around the band like a ninja and shot some of the best videos of Don Carlos singing with Stoopid that I’ve ever seen.
In a nutshell, that’s Jeffro. He’s a crazy, play-by-his-own-rules, defy authority, strong-willed, fight the good fight New Yorker, who will always stand up for what he believes in, as long he believes that overall he’s bringing artistic integrity into everything he does, and putting a net positive result into the world.
He’s not the kind of guy who’s friends with everyone. In fact, he’ll be the first to tell you if he doesn’t like you or feels you’ve done something against moral code. On the other hand, he’s one of the most genuine, kind, big-hearted people I’ve ever worked with.
OK – so what do you get when you cross Jeff with one of the most legendary musicians on the west coast?
Now let’s talk about Miguel Happoldt. If you’ve never heard of him, I’ll put it this way – he is undeniably one of the biggest reasons that the enormous and still-growing reggae-rock genre is what it is today.
Miguel co-founded Skunk Records with Bradley Nowell of Sublime, produced and played on Sublime’s early albums, and has worked with and played in countless other bands over the years.
Needless to say, he is a certified icon in Long Beach, California, and the beautiful reverberations of his work can be heard throughout the entire world today. His humble genius is still working with and producing tons of bands, most notably his own, Perro Bravo. That’s who we’re here to talk about.
I love Perro Bravo because I think they’re doing one of the most important things a band can do; they’re keeping the original vibe alive. They play music that is at the very core of of our entire scene.
The raw, emotional, unfiltered, and honest songs they write are the backbone of the reggae-rock we love so much. Without the sounds they bring to the world, so many of our favorite reggae-rock bands today wouldn’t even exist.
To me, Miguel helped light the torch and pave the way, and Perro Bravo proudly carries the tradition on and lets the world that California surf-rock-punkabilly is still alive and well. You can’t truly know a genre without knowing the classics, and this is what Perro Bravo is – they’re the heart and soul.
Tomorrow, Raised Fist Records and Perro Bravo join forces and team up to release their recent masterpiece on digital and vinyl. Whether you’re a fan of reggae-rock, punk, punk-reggae, surf, or any of the classic California sounds, I highly suggest you check it out.
It’s been an honor working with Jeff, Miguel, and Perro Bravo for this, and I’d like to give them a huge Hill Kid shoutout for the art they bring to the world. Thanks guys!