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 n’ roll era listening to her mother’s Elvis records and watching “It’s The Beatles” would grow up to become anything she wanted in life — 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 — a.k.a. Susan Surftone — had always been inspired by musicians from McJagger to Link Wray, but it was the women in music who really impacted her.
“Janis Joplin was a front-woman when I was a teenager and [music] wasn’t considered career path for a girl in the 60s,” said Surftone. “She made me see it was possible that a woman could do it.”
It wasn’t long after Surftone began her career that she received similar recognition.
“I started in the early 80s when female guitarists were a novelty,” said Surftone. “Women would come up to me and say, ‘Wow, this is great.’ I was really planting a seed in their minds … Women are just as capable as any man… I don’t really hear those hecklers at shows anymore.”
Surftone is still appreciated today and was listed on GoMag’s 100 Women We Love in 2016.
“It feels great to be on that list,” said Surftone. “It makes you want to keep going and doing what you’re doing. Nothing bad about that.”
Despite the significance of Surftone’s legacy, all she wants to do is create fun-loving tunes everyone can enjoy.
“In 1964,The Beatles came over and boy did they have an impact on me,” said Surftone. “They looked like they were having a great time and a lot of fun. That’s what music should be. Sure, there is a place for serious music, but I want it to be fun.”
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.
“[The records] are rooted in surf guitar and 60s garage,” said Surftone. “The 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.”
Surftone’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.
“‘Bluemoon in Kentucky’ is almost bluegrass, totally different style for me,” said Surftone. “‘Shadowland’ is a little more aggressive, but I like it a lot… I kept playing ‘Smoke on the Water’ and it turned into Shadowland … We added lead guitars, tough instrumentals, made it a little more contemporary.”
Of course, Surftone couldn’t resist throwing in a little FBI reference in her last EP, Bluelight.
“Everyone always asks what ‘K5’ means,” said Surftone. “On the FBI silhouette used for shooting training, the center of the chest is called the K5.”
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.