Jagaloons Bring Hardcore and Punk to the Beach, or the Riverbank. By: Liam Sweeny

Written by on January 12, 2022

Surf rock is a very fun kind of music. It’s energetic, irreverent, and it’s persisted throughout the decades. Its guitar sounds are iconic, you can hear it mixed with three other musics at the same time and you’ll be able to pick it out. And its transcended beach and board to become a true facet of Americana.

The Jagaloons are a surf rock band. Well, partly a surf rock band. Partly, they’re just out there. And if you show up at their show, or load up their album, you’ll be out there too.

I sit down with the Jagaloons and we talk about white sand.

RRX: I’ve interviewed more than a few surf- or surf-vibed bands in the Capital Region, and maybe slightly beyond. It’s kind of big around here, which, unless people are wake-surfing the Hudson, might seem odd to people. What is it about our area, do you think, that lends itself to a surf sound?

JAGS: The ebb and flow of the mighty Hudson churns up the primal energy within the human spirit that yearns for release through reverb-soaked guitars and pounding drums… or maybe people just like good fun music… One or the other. Also, climate change.

RRX: The Jagaloons aren’t a “quiet” band. You’re out there, tagging your name on plywood in the street (presumably your plywood) and I’m sure that was for some basic reason, but everything I’ve seen of your band evokes a sense of fearlessness. Does that come from the practice as a team, or are you all just like that?

JAGS: Don’t know about fearless but we’re older hardcore/punk guys, so I think being a little boisterous just comes naturally. We come from the days when we would be out all night, stapling posters to telephone poles around town or wandering college campuses trying to get people to come to shows. Things are just different now and we want people to know that while we want to be a great band, we will never take ourselves too seriously. And yeah, if people want to spray paint our name on things, go for it. 

RRX: You guys have won awards for your music. They’re great to have under your belt, especially when exposure is so hard; every little thing helps. But is it a double-edged sword? Are there suddenly laurels to park your butts on? Does the hunger get fed at all? Or does it put pressure on you to even get better? 

JAGS: It’s because we’re real-ass dudes and people get it. We’re not a bunch of mid-century LARPers wearing their grandfathers’ slacks. We just genuinely love music and do our own thing. We thought 2020 was to be the year of the JAG, and a global pandemic threw a wrench into the gears. We had some fun tours and stuff that were canceled. This year, we pivoted as everyone did and focused on what we could still do. We played a handful of shows, worked on some new music and are wrapping up some recording for various releases. So, maybe 2022 is the year of the JAG?

RRX: When I checked through your social media, I saw a lot of shout outs to other groups, and it made my coffee just a degree warmer. I love it when the love is spread, and it broadens my musical knowledge, so thank you. Do you think every band should do that? How do you get a new band to realize the value of cooperation over competition?

JAGS: Again, it goes back to our roots in the scene from when we were younger. We have been lucky enough to play with a lot of great bands who we’ve developed friendships with over the years. Friends helping friends builds a community and community is what defines a music scene. 

RRX: You guys have genres like ‘space’ and ‘spaghetti,’ and as a fan of spaghetti, my humble thanks. But you call yourself ‘instro-rock.’ But you’re not instrumental, right? What is instro-rock, in the context you use it? And do you think that defined genres are as important now as they may have been in the past?

JAGS: Well technically we don’t have any vocals, but if you buy our record and play it backwards, you can hear first person accounts of such legendary mysteries as, the Bongoloid, intergalactic time travel, reptilian overlords, The Moth Man and Area 69. You must buy our record to hear that though. We have a lot to say for a band without lyrics. We also really love spaghetti, both Westerns and the pasta

RRX: You have a great artistic side to the band. Logos, merch, and beyond… I just see some very interesting themes that run through each other. And I think, IMHO, that bands that embrace art do better than bands that are strictly music. Do you think that your artistic stuff enhances the “band concept” at all? And if so, how?

JAGS: We’re thankful to have a great band wife, Beth Mickalonis, (really, Josh’s wife) who does most of our art and design. She’s made some great short videos for us that have given us some great promotion and established a strong online presence. Our whole schtick and instrumental surf music in general, leaves a lot of room for creativity.

RRX: This is where you answer the question we didn’t ask. Educate, enlighten, emote – the floor is yours.

JAGS: “No, not like The Beach Boys”

We mentioned 2022 being the “Year of the Jag” and really hope we can make it happen. We have great things in the works with new releases, fulfilling some pre-pandemic show commitments around the country and making a lot more friends here in the great scene we have. Oh yeah, one more thing…. Vote for Ritz.

Current track