Guantanamo Baywatch plays Guantanamo Baywatch – They Don’t Believe You.
Afterwards the room was thick with warm sweat, smelling in equal parts sour and sweet – like a couple who fought, and then fucked to make up.
It would’ve been sloppy and crashingly passionate. Rolling through a mess of ashtrays and cardboard boxes full of old clothes, from the couch to the table, through towers of empty tall boys and pizza crusts to hit the floor with a thud – whooshing up a tornado of dust bunnies from amongst jewelery and knick-knacks long since lost or discarded. In the corner a mountain of old VHS tapes looms, a testament to a discarded yesterdays; except one is prattling away on the TV now.
The bathroom, an old mop closet, is separate from the scum-stained shower. Next to the toilet lies an empty bottle of El Timador tequila and some twisted, handmade acid art. Its bright colors and bloodshot eyes invoke Guantanamo Baywatch, their sound, their home and their art: scorched earth in neon.
Bassist Chevelle Wiseman is painted the same such loud, twisted tones. Green laces lash together a pair of purple Doc Martins. The croaked boots have seen the world – or at least the world’s alley ways. With them she wears black socks, knee-high leopard print tights, and a form-fitting black dress with big gold buttons. Wiseman’s hair is purple, and like her Doc Martins, the color has nearly washed out, a near desaturated grey.
It’s a crisp, clear and frigid evening in this pocket of southeast Portland. In the yard of the dilapidated house sit two massive papier mache dinosaurs. On the porch and in the hallway there are more, complete with over-sized bones from the Flinstonian surf-party set they designed months earlier for TBA, a high-brow, stuffy arts festival for Portland’s bourgeois. It’s not the place one would expect to find a scummy surf-punk-throwback. But for Guantanamo Baywatch and their all-encompassing post-apocalyptic rainbows and inclusive sweat, somehow it works.
Packed shoulder to shoulder in the living room, the trio try to fire up a more technical, instrument-driven twanger, with Dick-Dale-esque picking around tight corners. But the engine coughs, sputters, and fails to turn over. It needs a few more kicks.
But their blood, like oil, would soon begin to warm and flow freely. Guitarist and singer Jason Powell began to emerge from under layers of coats and leather jackets, fallen hair and six days of stubble until only the requisite surf tank-top covered his spindly, meatless bones. Drummer Christopher Scott wore one too – Bart Simpson on neon yellow.
Now, on this icy evening, they were nearing a boil. Pushing into a swerving wobble, the cockeyed ballad Guantanamo Baywatch – They Don’t Believe You, they bubbled over. It was pure soul fire, through a twisted fun-house mirror. Eyes and ears pushed around the corners of adjoining rooms, wanting to warm themselves from the now searing heat. They were eager to share.
– Andrew R Tonry
- Audio: Guantanamo Baywatch – They Don’t Believe You