By Jody W. Wood
South Coast Surf Shops’ webmaster, Chris McGreal, is an artist in every since of the word. Not just with graphics and design, but Chris is also part of several original music groups around San Diego, including Superunloader and Transcendental Railroad.
Chris’ creativity wasn’t limited to making music. He’s been doing web design for South Coast for quite a few years now, and his girlfriend Jaime handles order fulfillment and customer support for online sales.
“It has a nice, small business vibe, more like a family business,” Chris said of his gig with South Coast.
The words “family” and “vibe” come to mind listening to Jalopy, yet another project for the multi-instrumentalist. Chris, who plays bass in Superunloader, plays tenor banjo in Jalopy.
Jalopy is made up of seven musicians, whom Chris describes as “strange and inspiring hominids.” Gabe Feenberg plays accordion, Rachael Winn on Violin, Justin Werner on guitar, Nachman on mandolin and lute, Ross Hendler on upright bass, Chad Farran on cajon and flute and Chris on banjo. Everyone helps out with singing, according to Chris.
Gabe, Nachman, and Ross grew up together in LaJolla, and played in several projects over the years. Justin and Rachael performed as a couple, while Chad and Chris made up the rhythm section of several bands around town for a long time. Once they got together, they realized that a few of them had actually split the bill at shows over the years.
Jalopy, in this form, is just over a year old and Chris said that they would really love to get all of their music recorded possibly as soon as the end of summer. “We save all the money from performing as our recording fund, but getting the seven of us together is like herding cats,” said Chris.
Talking about influences, Chris mentions Tom Waits, Nick Drake, and Fishtank Ensemble. Comparing Jalopy to Superunloader, Chris said, “Superunloader is like riding down a country road on a mufflerless hog with a suicide shifter. Jalopy is like riding down the same road on a mule-drawn antique gypsy wagon. Both are totally enjoyable, but in completely different ways.”
Chris also finds some time for surfing when he gets a chance. “I ride all sorts of boards and surf as much as I can. I like longboarding and shortboarding about equally, but of my favorite boards of all time is a 6’4″ Reality Check shaped by Robin Prodanovich.”
Check out Jalopy on Myspace.com and see what you think, or if you live in OB, look for them busking on the sidewalk at the Farmer’s Market. It’s far more alternative than what your local DJ is telling you.http://www.myspace.com/jalopystreetchoir