Barnsey And Me: How I Met Ellis Ericson
A Scary Good Reflection.Read more
The first time I saw Ellis was at the Occy Grom Comp in 2012. He was in a lime, fluro green full length steamer, and he was just whackin’ it. He was the full air punk dude and I think he won the comp. Free as a Dog had just come out, so he was the full movie star. I didn’t talk to him. Too heavy. He felt like a superstar.
We became friends when I was about 19. I’d copped him a fair few times in Indo, but it was through Tobes (Cregan) I think, when he and Ellis were hanging out around Byron, that I started to get to know him a lot better. So we ended up surfing together heaps and then Beauy (Foster) moved into his house and I was friends with Beauy and so we were just hanging out a lot after that.
I remember one thing that stoked me out about E was his knowledge of surfing. He took an interest in the history of things, boards, eras, people; it seemed like every week he was discovering some new facet or little forgotten pocket of surf history that would fascinate him, and he’d get right into it. He liked the detail and the story behind it all, and it made him curious to try new things himself. He’d go full 60s, get all psyched on Greenough and fins, and then he’d go all 80s and get pumped on these nuggety thrusters, and then he’d turn around and be like, “Nah, thrusters are shit,” and get all into twinnies and be like, “Twinnies are the shit!” He’s crazy. He’s a creative dude and his brain is always looking for new possibilities. And he loves going surfing too. He surfs a lot, and I love that. He’s a bit of a chameleon, I guess.
I never thought we’d end up in a band together. We were hanging out with Jimmy from Dumb Punts, and he said to us one day, “You guys should start a band.” He pretty much told us to do it. Andrew Kidman gave Beauy a drum set, Ellis bought a guitar at some boot sale, and there was a bass at the house, so we just started jamming. We had these shitty jams for ages and we had no idea what we were doing. We were so out of the loop and naïve and had no idea. When we first set up our shit Beauy would play facing the wall. So we’d be playing and he couldn’t see us, because the room was so little and we didn’t know how to set it up, so we just crammed it in. I had a microphone that was a broomstick stuck in a crate with the microphone taped to it. Then one night the Punts came over and looked at our set up, and they were like, “What the fuck are you guys doing? You can’t jam like that.”
Eventually we started finding our way a bit. Nothing is more fun than making music and jamming with your friends, and we had a lot of support from Jimmy and Seattle and Brenty from the Punts and Tobes as well. And you get better and people start to pay a bit of attention. It’s a trippy feeling when people, especially good musicians, come up and they’re like, “You guys are Wash, huh? You guys are the Washies?” And you’re just like, “WHAT?!” It’s comical in a way, but it’s so sick when you get acknowledged as a band of best mates because you really go through a lot working together to make these sounds, touring around, highs and lows and hangovers, you have tiffs and disagreements, but it all makes you so tight.
For the most part, though, we’re brothers. One time we went down to Sydney to play a couple of shows and on the way down there we got on the beers the night before and Bucket from Sex Drive came with us as tour manager. He booked a flight at 1am for 9am the following morning. So we had a big night, and we get to Gold Coast Airport and they’re dishing out free makeup. So I get this psycho, full facial makeup that made me look like the craziest drag queen. And then Ellis says to me, “I’m gonna dye my hair red!” And I was like, “I dunno dude, you’re already feisty enough” but he ended up doing it and it wasn’t just red, it was bright, shiny red. He was like, “Fuck, I hate it, ay!” He was wearing these really short Ruggers shorts and a crop top shirt and he had this choker and he looked messed up, man. So we went to Sydney and played the Surfing World gig in Manly and it was super fun, but then we all got loose and went our separate ways. The next morning we’re driving down the street when we spot him on the footpath in the exact same get up, just these little shorts and hairy legs and crop top and choker and shoes and blue socks, this angry little redhead, and he sees us and he starts screaming in this little gremlin voice, “OI! PICK ME UP YAS CUNTS!” and I remember having the fondest memory, thinking, “What the fuck?! What is this? I can’t believe this guy is my best friend!”
We picked him up and he was literally growling, and he says, “I gotta get away from you.”
I think he needed a timeout. He needed to go back to the farm and do some gardening.
OCTOBER TOUR DATES:
Thursday 12 – Westside Museum, Costa Mesa, CA USA
Wednesday 18 – The Steyne, Manly, NSW (film only) – Free Entry
Sunday 22 – The Bangalow Hotel, Bangalow, NSW – $15.00 – Tickets on Door
[shopify embed_type=”product” shop=”coastalwatch-book-shop.myshopify.com” product_handle=”new-surfing-world-issue-390″ show=”all”]