Skateboarding and punk rock have long been connected—but for the members of GFP, aka General Fucking Principle,they are both ways of life.
The relatively new punk supergroup is scheduled to play at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Saturday, Sept. 21.
GFP consists of former DFL (Dead Fucking Last) vocalist Tom Paul Davis, aka Crazy Tom; skateboarding legend and Dogtown Z-Boy Tony Alva on bass; Bad Religion and Circle Jerks guitarist Greg Hetson; and drummer Grant Garrison, who played with H.R. of the Bad Brains.
Davis originally had the idea for GFP back in 2009.
“We came together after I went to see The Germs and Suicidal Tendencies reunion concert in Los Angeles,” said Davis during a recent phone interview. “I had an itching to get back into music. I skated a pool before with Alva, and it just sort of came to me. I thought, ‘Hey, I should call Alva, and we should get together and do a jam.’ I had a drummer who I was thinking about for a little while, and I kind of worked to put the pieces of the puzzle together from there.”
The band has suffered through some lineup changes in its relatively brief time. There were originally two guitarists when the band went into the studio, but Davis had a hard time getting along with guitarist Aime Caron.
“We went to record a demo, and he wanted to kick the other guitar player out of the band,” Davis explained. “He went ahead and did that. He was like, ‘I can handle the whole load by myself,’ and I was like, ‘All right, dude. I’m not going to keep having these brawls with you. If you think you can handle it, go ahead.’ We went to do the demo, and he just kinda bugged out on my idea, which was to go into the recording studio to do our 14 songs live and record them as fast as possible without a whole bunch of overdubs and Pro Tools tracking-style stuff, which he was used to doing.”
That’s when Davis reached out to Hetson. “What happened is we asked Greg to help us produce the demo, and he liked the music a lot. When I called Greg and told him Aime quit the band, and I asked him if he felt like playing guitar, he said yes.”
While the band members are all decidedly unique individuals with independent visions, Davis said there haven’t been any problems.
“Actually, everything is organic between me, Greg and Alva,” he said. “We all come from Hollywood, Los Angeles and beach cities, so we’re all influenced by the same bands we grew up with—Black Flag, The Germs, The Weirdos, TSOL and X. … The rest of the guys are a little older than me, so I look up to them as big brothers.”
Alva is one of the pioneers of skateboarding and was a part of the Zephyr skateboarding team in the ‘70s in Venice Beach. While Alva is known more for skateboarding, he has been involved in the punk scene as the bassist for The Skoundrelz.
“He is an incredible bass-player,” said Davis. “He plays without a pick, which is a really incredible bass-playing style in punk rock.”
While punk rock never died, it did go through a dry spell in the last decade. Today, the drought is over: GFP is one of several newer punk-rock supergroups, while older punk bands are reuniting or recording again.
“Some of the bands I grew up with are Pennywise, NOFX and Rancid. DFL was on Epitaph with all those guys,” Davis said. “When we broke up, those bands just continued to keep playing. They didn’t break up, but they didn’t get any bigger and just kept going. I think a lot of bands just watched what happened and realized it and said, ‘We should get back together.’
“What’s amazing is all these bands are still out there from when I was a kid and when I was on Epitaph. It’s great to see it still going strong. I think a lot of it has to do with skateboarding being a major influence in punk rock. Skateboarding is popular as well.”
The band is currently recording its debut album, which Davis said has been delayed due to the departure of drummer Amery Smith, of Suicidal Tendencies. Davis said that they hope to have the album out within the next six months.
When it comes to their show at The Hood, Davis said he is excited.
“I really enjoy the shows away from Los Angeles,” Davis said. “People here are controlled by stargazing and shoegazing. … I would expect an old-school vibe; we like to bring our skateboards. We like to hang out in the crowd and talk to people. I think it’s going to be really fun.”
Davis did have one concern about playing in the Coachella Valley.
“I hope there’s air-conditioning!” he said.
GFP will play with Year of the Dragon and Throw the Goat at 9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111 in Palm Desert. Admission is $5, and there are no presales. For more information, call 760-636-5220, or track down the event on Facebook.