Fight Fair Biography

Wind the clock back several decades and imagine a California summer of a much simpler time. Even if you weren’t around back then, it shouldn’t be tough to envision, as you’ve probably seen it before on television or in the movies—whether it’s Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello getting their fun in the sun in their “Beach Party” film series, or perhaps the ‘60s surfer girl comedic hit TV series “Gidget.” And chances are, you’re probably familiar with the era’s music, too: the upbeat, heavily melodic and beautifully harmonic compositions from hit-making artists like Jan and Dean or The Beach Boys.

But, where did all those good times, positive vibes and simple enjoyment of a youthful life go? And how come they just don’t seem to exist today?

Nearly a half-century later, San Diego-based beach pop-rockers Fight Fair hope they’ll have answers in their quest to reintroduce the best of the beach: the playfulness, parties, people and, most of all, pop-laced singalongs. And they’ve managed to deliver it in a eleven-track offering dubbed California Kicks.

And who better to reignite this affinity of classic surf rock hitmakers with the edge of today’s rock scene than this beach-based fivesome, who’ve merged yesterday and today, melding its current punk influences with the records and lifestyle of the ‘60 surf community. They’re armed with beach blankets, surfboards, sunglasses and convertibles—and they’re ready to kick off a day in the sun with their pop sensibilities.

The first hints of this groundbreaking style can be heard in Fight Fair’s EP release, Settle the Score, which was re-released via Triple Crown after signing to the label in July 2008. Although admittedly more of a traditional pop-punk release, from which Fight Fair finds their contemporary roots, the EP also found the band spreading its musical wings, shifting into its own via a couple tracks.

“We were just starting to explore the sound that we went for on the full-length, which is this new sort-of punk sound that we started creating, this new style, this new vibe that we wanted to do for our new record,” says Alex Bigman, Fight Fair’s vocalist. “We first found our sound when we were writing our EP. We have a song called ‘Brain Freeze’ and we were kind of figuring out exactly what we wanted our sound to be. We had our fast pop-punk influences, like Lifetime, and even metalcore on the EP. But the songs that stood out on our EP were the more poppy songs, like ‘Brain Freeze,’ which talks about hanging out on the beach with a chorus of just wanting to have fun. We had that sound and we really wanted to explore that on a whole new level.”

Retooling their musical efforts for California Kicks wasn’t so difficult, as the band hails from a diverse musical background and wanted to display such variation, rather than simply conform to the norms of what’s currently popular.

“We’re kind of tired of the generic pop rock that’s coming out right now,” he says. “We wanted to take music back to its roots and do something that’s classic but original for the modern times right now. And also mix it with a kind of aggressive early punk style—it’s like mixing the Ramones with like The Beach Boys, you know? We just wanted to do our own style and really make something cool that people could relate to and have fun over the summer, go to the beach.”

And the beach is where the band’s roots have been firmly planted. “We kind of wanted to go away from the harder punk style that we were kind of doing, and explore that more fun surfing vibe, because we love surfing and hanging out with girls,” Bigman notes. “We started looking for influences on the new record, which I think come from classic bands—just the old, classic pop and rock ‘n’ roll. We wanted to make a sound that brought that early influence with modern rock and modern punk, and that’s pretty much what we did.”

Fight Fair entered pre-production with producer Mike Green (Paramore, Yellowcard), who helped to fine tune the band’s songs, which were tracked with producer Brian Grider (who also produced Settle the Score) in San Diego. Green mixed the final tracks.

“We loved how the EP came out, so when we were scouting for producers for our full-length, it was only natural for us to go back to him,” says Bigman. “We spent five weeks in San Diego at his studio just every day, eight hours a day, working on the record. We slept at the studio, it was a pretty crazy time, but we came out with a cool product in the end.”

Some of California Kicks’ many standouts include “California Girls,” of which Bigman says is directly about its namesake and features a classic surf breakdown with a call-and-response between vocals. “We’ve talked to girls all around California, and it’s about how every boy needs a California girl,” he says.

“SexyFancyMoney” changes gears a little, injecting dance overtones while sporting guest female vocals. “It’s like a Black Eyed Peas meets Ramones type of song,” says Bigman. “We’ve also thrown a little hip-hop in a couple of the songs on the record which is cool.” And “Livin’ for the Summer” is a ballad that Bigman says might be his personal favorite on the album.

All in all, California Kicks really exemplifies the affable personalities of the members of Fight Fair.

“We’re pretty laid back guys,” says Bigman. “We’re all from California and I wouldn’t say we’re super serious—we have fun, we go to the beach, we go surfing, we go to nightclubs with our friends. But we do our music seriously. Still, the record’s all about hanging out, having fun, going out to the beach, girls. It’s not a very serious record where it’s all deep, we kind of wanted to do a record that makes people happy instead of being bummed out.”

And it won’t be a bummer summer as California Kicks will be released alongside Fight Fair’s appearance on the entire 2010 Vans Warped Tour. And if timing is everything, it’ll be the perfect fun-in-the-sun anthem for its audience—longtimer fans and newcomers alike—even if they’re not based in the Golden State.

“People are already calling us surf-punk or surf-pop band, when no one had even heard our surf songs yet,” says Bigman. “I think our previous fans will be really stoked on what we’re doing with this new record, and hopefully it’ll catch on. Maybe we’ll be starting a whole new genre with what we’re doing right now. We’re trying something new, you know?”
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