Guantanamo Baywatch (USA)
Conjuring up a swampy fusion of surf, garage rock, and rockabilly that suggests the Cramps hitting the beach midway through a drunken bender, Guantanamo Baywatch are a group from Portland, Oregon determined to bring good, trashy fun back to rock & roll. Guantanamo Baywatch were formed in 2009 by guitarist Jason Powell and bassist Chevelle Wiseman; Powell, originally from Seattle, coined the name for a fanzine piece, and liked it enough that he asked his friend Wiseman (who had moved to Portland from Palo Alto, California) to join a new band that would use the handle. Wiseman, who had taken cello lessons as a girl, was drafted to play bass, while their friends Nina and Cole filled out the lineup on second guitar and drums. However, Nina and Cole’s presence in the band was short-lived, and after Devin Trainer became the band’s new drummer, they opted to continue as a trio. By the fall of 2010, Trainer was out of the group, and with Chris Scott (another California transplant and a former surfer) behind the drums, Guantanamo Baywatch finally had their definitive lineup. Releasing a self-titled album that quickly went out of print, Guantanamo Baywatch began touring aggressively through the Pacific Northwest and up and down the West Coast, earning a reputation for their manic live shows, gloriously tacky stage wear, and enthusiastically greasy approach to surf music. In 2011, they signed with Portland garage punk label Dirtnap Records, and the band’s first album for Dirtnap, Chest Crawl, appeared in the spring of 2012. The group jumped to Suicide Squeeze Records for its third long-player, 2015’s Darling… It’s Too Late. For their fourth album, Guantanamo Baywatch expanded to a quartet, with second guitarist Jordan Owen debuting on the group’s 2017 release Desert Center.