A little girl, Elvis, and her electric guitar, Susan Surftone talks style, fun, and being a woman.
A little girl in the heart of the rock nâ€™ roll era listening to her motherâ€™s Elvis records and watching â€œItâ€™s The Beatlesâ€ would grow up to become anything she wanted in life â€” a law school graduate and FBI field agent to name a few. Most importantly that little east coast girl knew she had one purpose in life: to make music.
New York City native Susan Yasinski â€” a.k.a. Susan Surftone â€” had always been inspired by musicians from McJagger to Link Wray, but it was the women in music who really impacted her.
â€œJanis Joplin was a front-woman when I was a teenager and [music] wasnâ€™t considered career path for a girl in the 60s,â€ said Surftone. â€œShe made me see it was possible that a woman could do it.â€
It wasnâ€™t long after Surftone began her career that she received similar recognition.
â€œI started in the early 80s when female guitarists were a novelty,â€ said Surftone. â€œWomen would come up to me and say, â€˜Wow, this is great.â€™ I was really planting a seed in their minds â€¦ Women are just as capable as any manâ€¦ I donâ€™t really hear those hecklers at shows anymore.â€
Surftone is still appreciated today and was listed on GoMagâ€™s 100 Women We Love in 2016.
â€œIt feels great to be on that list,â€ said Surftone. â€œIt makes you want to keep going and doing what youâ€™re doing. Nothing bad about that.â€
Despite the significance of Surftoneâ€™s legacy, all she wants to do is create fun-loving tunes everyone can enjoy.
â€œIn 1964,The Beatles came over and boy did they have an impact on me,â€ said Surftone. â€œThey looked like they were having a great time and a lot of fun. Thatâ€™s what music should be. Sure, there is a place for serious music, but I want it to be fun.â€
Susan landed her first record deal as Susan and The Surftones in 1995. The band moved west in 2000 to work on more music and evolved in Susan Surftone where they introduced guitar, bass, and keyboards. The band has released five records together.
â€œ[The records] are rooted in surf guitar and 60s garage,â€ said Surftone. â€œThe sound is retro, but modern. I try to stay as true as I can because I want to bring my influences forward and make them work for a younger audience and the older generation.â€
Surftoneâ€™s newest EP The Magician released this summer. Surftone said certain songs are completely different styles and even included a little of her own singing.
â€œâ€˜ÂÂÂBluemoon in Kentuckyâ€™ is almost bluegrass, totally different style for me,â€ said Surftone. â€œâ€˜Shadowlandâ€™ is a little more aggressive, but I like it a lotâ€¦ I kept playing â€˜Smoke on the Waterâ€™ and it turned into Shadowland â€¦ We added lead guitars, tough instrumentals, made it a little more contemporary.â€
Of course, Surftone couldnâ€™t resist throwing in a little FBI reference in her last EP, Bluelight.
â€œEveryone always asks what â€˜K5â€™ means,â€ said Surftone. â€œOn the FBI silhouette used for shooting training, the center of the chest is called the K5.â€
The more you know.
Surftone fans can expect plenty from Susan Surftone this year. New music and east coast tours are in the works for 2017.
To keep up on all things Susan Surftone and learn even more about the artist, visit her website or social media for weekly updates.