Two weekends ago, Bombon’s Angela Ramos, 25, went to the flea market – they call them swap meets out west – to prepare for tour. She was looking for sunglasses. She wound up with a Ventures record. That seems like the way the guitarist for a girl surf band from San Pedro, Calif. should spend her Sunday.
Hopefully that doesn’t come across as patronizing.
Ramos has never been on tour before, she’s never been interviewed, she’s only just now put out a record (Las Chicas del Bombon was officially released three days ago at their show in Florence). But she’s dealt with the stigma of being a cute girl in a band of cute girls plenty of times.
“People will come up and say ‘wow, I really wasn’t expecting that. You actually know how to play your instruments,’” says Ramos, a chemistry major at Cal State Los Angeles. “We try to take it as something positive, but it’s also negative, because everyone automatically thinks ‘I wonder how cute they’ll sound’ instead of ‘I wonder what kind of music they’ll play.’”
For those that do wonder what style?
“I just tell them surf-punk,” she says. “I started writing Ventures-style songs and just played them by myself. I’ve always been into surf music, but never found the right people to play it with.”
That changed last year after a couple of girls crashed on the floor of the punk house she used to live in (before the one they all live in now).
“I started jamming out with Jerico (Campbell) cause she played the drums and then Paloma (Banuelos) wanted to learn something so she picked up the bass pretty quickly,” Ramos says. “All of a sudden, it just started.”
And it works; Ramos’ favorite song “La Playa” – Spanish for “the beach” – sounds as beachy as a surfboard smells, or as beachy as she imagines it might smell.
“People ask us if we surf,” she laughs. “No, none of us surf. If you can’t surf, play in a surf band. I’m ashamed, but only one of the Beach Boys surfed, or kind of surfed. That’s what I heard.”
Who: Rise Up Howling Werewolf (organ-driven garage visions featuring members of The Pine Hill Haints), Almighty Do Me A Favor (the gut-wrenching one-man band of Auburn expat Bradley Williams, backed by two-man Hippy Riot or something), and Bombon.
Where: The Independent, 203 Opelika Road.
When: Friday, July 17, 8 p.m.
*** Bombon also plays (outside – rain or shine) Saturday evening (5-9:30 p.m) at Standard Deluxe in Waverly along with The Pine Hill Haints. Tickets are $10 (kids get ‘in’ free). Proceeds will go the East Alabama Food Bank.