If it's a fight between Mother Nature and corporate America, there's no question who trumpeter Scott Steen and the rest of Royal Crown Revue are putting their sound behind.
Founded in 1984, the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit environmental
organization, has been working to clean up the world's beaches and oceans
and to educate on the importance of respecting them as resources. After one missed chance to offer their talents to the cause, RCR have now joined in the effort.
"I'm a snowboarder," Steen said, "and of course it's so important to keep the oceans clean for the snow, otherwise we end up with polluted snow from the rain."
In 1996, Surfdog Records and Interscope joined forces with Surfrider to create
MOM (Music For Our Mother Ocean) a benefit compilation album that
featured new music from Pearl Jam, The Beastie Boys, No Doubt and The
Ramones among others. MOM raised over $200 000 for the Surfrider Foundation,
according to Dave Kaplan, owner of Surfdog Records. To continue supporting and raising awareness of the ocean's plight, Surfdog, Surfrider and Interscope have put together a second compilation MOM II, due out Aug. 26.
MOM II features new material from Jewel, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
and the Pietasters, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Sunchild, Pennywise, Dick Dale, Royal Crown Revue and others. In addition, Porno For Pyros covers
"Tonight" from West Side Story and Sublime, Dishwalla, The
Offspring, Counting Crows, Jimmy Buffet and the Beach Boys also
Royal Crown Revue was approached to be part of last year's MOM, but
were unable to contribute a track on such short notice, Steen said. "[This time] we sat down trying to come up with stuff, banging our heads against the wall, and at one point in our delirium, I said y' know why don't we do 'Sing, Sing, Sing' and call it 'Surf, Surf, Surf'? And everyone was like 'That's stupid.. um, yeah OK.' And so we started messing with it and it came out great!"
The track, called "Barflies at the Beach," was written for MOM II but will also be the opening tune on the band's new live album Caught In The Act, which is due out at the end of August as well. "Whenever there's a good cause, where people are trying to clean anything that corporations are trying to destroy, then we're there!" Steen said.
Kaplan said that putting together MOM II was fun as well as
rewarding because the artists really cared about the project. "A lot of
these artists surf, are ocean nuts, and so it was really neat working with
them," Kaplan said. "Like Jewel. She not only gave a new song for
the album, but it's something she passionately believes in. And she surfs so
we had a chance to go surfing and get to know her a little bit better. It's
not just like 'Here's a track,' but it's something she deeply
believes in. She's a really spiritual person and it's neat to get to see that
side of some of these people."
All the artists donated their tracks to the album and Kaplan said the
marketing and promotional endeavors for MOM II have gone beyond what any of them had hoped. A new marketing partner, 1-800-COLLECT, is spending big bucks on marketing the album including
nationwide radio buys with some of the artists that are featured on
MOM speaking out in paid commercial spots.
The promoters are also doing over 150,000 posters and stickers to be given away on the Warped, Lollapalooza and H.O.R.D.E. (Horizons Of Rock Developing Everywhere) tours this summer, while donating $4.44 for every record sold, directly to Surfrider, up to $100,000. The marketing company is also giving $9 of free 1-800-COLLECT calling with every CD, Kaplan said. In addition, all the surf, skate and snow industry people have rallied around MOM by donating full page ads in magazines. Quicksilver, a surf clothing company, put a hang tag that's already in stores, on 150,000 pairs of surf trunks. "It's a really cool partnership," he said.
The liner notes to the album are printed on recycled paper and contain
artwork by 12 artist/surfers. The notes also include tips and facts about
ocean pollution and what can be done to combat it as well as information on
how to become a member of the Surfrider Foundation.
"Take a look at the ocean and figure it out for yourself. Then go out and
buy the album and support the clean up effort," Steen said. "Once you've
been in the ocean and you get sick, you'll think again. 'Cause I used to
live down in Seal Beach and it's like the San Gabriel River dumped out there
and every time it rained, it's like, you can't go in the
ocean. You can't go in for five days, it's really sad."