Let’s start with the most obvious question about Dan Potthast’s new band, Sharkanoid: why are there no sharks on the cover of their debut LP, Have a Great Summer? Instead, there’s a cartoon drawing of a torn-out high school yearbook page.
But actually, the yearbook image is apt, because it relates to the concept that inspired the project. Potthast (known for ska groups MU330 and Dan P and the Bricks) and Michigan’s Rick Johnson (from Grand Rapids’ ska gang Mustard Plug) had been close buddies for years. They originally had an idea for a fun collaborative songwriting project in which they’d take pictures from their yearbooks and write songs about the people they didn’t know.
They thought it might be a good idea for a short EP, so the two musicians emailed tunes back and forth to each other, and eventually had enough for a full-length album. Despite both members’ vast ska resumes, the Sharkanoid songs came out as high-energy rock ’n’ roll tunes.
“There’s no limitations, there’s no parameters set. The songs just came out how they came out. That was the sound of the band,” says Potthast. “It’s just kind of a creative process of letting it fly and not worrying about it.”
The two-some have already started working on a second LP, with a potential seven-inch in the mix. They’ve even got some tours lined up. While the only two constant members are Potthast and Johnson, they have various drummers and second guitarists lined up for dates on different parts of the country to make the shows full-on rock parties.
“I hadn’t really expected to tour much on it, but we’re both in a position where we’re available to do that. It may actually be a full-fledged touring band,” Potthast says. “Is it a project or a band? I don’t know what qualifies as a band. We put out records and we tour. Is that a project? I don’t know what it is.”
INFO: 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.