TIJUANA PANTHERS

By Lauren Rubcic

The Tijuana Panthers are a 1960’s inspired surf rock band on the rise. And with a lot to say about girls, hair and awkward teenage years, we thought we should hear it straight from the horses mouth. After talking with drummer Phil Shaheen, we realized there’s a lot more to this band than what meets the eye.

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Q: How do you stay authentic as a band?

A: “We write what we know about…we play straight from the gut and there’s not a lot of showy stuff attached.”

Q: Is there one thing you can always go to for inspiration?

A: “For me, it’s childhood stuff. For Chad (guitarist), it’s junior high stuff and just dealing with those awkward teenage years…and just things that you saw in junior high; things like hair cuts and fashion.”

Q: What about girls in junior high drove you crazy?

A: “the clothing wasn’t much help in the early 90’s. I know that’s what didn’t drive me crazy…I liked braces on girls!”

Q: How important is hair considering you have two songs that reference it (“Red Headed Girl and “Crew Cut”)?

A: “It’s important. I like to have my hair under control and so does Daniel (bass player), and Chad goes back and forth. Chad goes to this Vietnamese woman who says she just cuts hair ‘ok.’ And the name of her salon is Ok Salon. I got a hair cut there once and it was rough. Daniel uses the Flowbee to cut his hair, you wouldn’t know it though.”

Q: Do you have any pre-show rituals?

A: “I always have to be on time. Chad always gets a little nervous I think, and he likes to drink Pepto Bismol or something. I don’t know.”

Q: Is there a particular song that you have a fond memory with?

A: “Yeah. ‘Modern Love’ by David Bowie. When I was a kid we used go up to San Francisco and when we’d go up the [interstate] 5 we used to listen to that song. The saxophone on that is pretty wicked.”

Q: What was the last time you felt really uncomfortable?

A: “The supermarket is one place I’m always uncomfortable. I’m always pushing the cart and it always feel like I’m in everyone’s way. Everyone’s all focused on what they’re doing and I’m just hanging out with the cart.”

Q: What makes you an artist?

A: “You’ve got to constantly be looking at things, going out and seeing things and feeling things from other people.”