In today’s musical climate, there might not seem to be much of a market for cheeky surf-punk and white-boy joke-rap. But that hasn’t stopped St. Augustine quartet Boredom from reigniting their ’90s-fueled flame. Longtime friends and Oldest City music staples Gibby Gwiazda, Tom Derringer, Tony Lippi and Jeremy Rogers reunited for the first time since 2001 for a recent December show at Freebird Live and an upcoming gig at Café Eleven. Debauched Boredom classics like “Don’t Pick on Goth Kids,” “Tony’s 24 N Still Lives With His Mama” and “Shake What Palatka Gave Ya” will be resurrected and served up fresh for a devoted local crowd.
Folio Weekly chatted with Boredom guitarist Tom Derringer about the band’s high school roots, its intimate connection with local punk heroes Yellowcard and the importance of surf videos.
Folio Weekly: After a 10-year break, what motivated you to get Boredom up off the ground?
Tom Derringer: We’re all still really good friends, so we’ve talked about it a lot. Gibby and I went to see Yellowcard a few months ago, and I realized, “Man, I forgot how much fun it is to play that kind of music.”
F.W.: Yellowcard actually had a big hand in Boredom calling it quits back in 2001, right?
T.D.: Yeah, we used to play with them around Florida, and as soon as they got signed to a big label, we were scheduled to go to California and tour with them. On the way out there, our bass player Jeremy broke his hand skateboarding, so we had to come home, and that was the end of Boredom.
F.W.: Tell us about the beginnings of Boredom.
T.D.: Tony and I and Mike, our original bass player, knew each other from surfing in high school, and Gibby, who was just a little bit older than us, came on board to sing. We grew up listening to fast surf-punk like NOFX, Bad Religion and Lagwagon — we actually learned to play our instruments listening to those bands.
F.W.: And you added metal and even hip-hop influences into the mix. Where did those come from?
T.D.: We were all into Metallica, Slayer and Pantera, but none of us really listened to rap, so that was kind of a joke. We covered a couple of songs from that old Chris Rock gangsta-rap parody movie “CB4,” which we thought was hilarious. We started playing rap as our last song at a few parties locally, and it got a really funny reaction — sometimes the crowd would go crazier for the rap than the punk. Tony got more into it, which led us to do “Feedback,” that rap CD, even though we were still just joking around.
F.W.: Which has always been Boredom’s ?M.O., right?
T.D.: Yeah, we never really took ourselves too seriously. We never aspired to be professional musicians, even though we wouldn’t have minded it. We were a pretty tongue-in-cheek group of guys.
F.W.: Boredom had a couple of songs in classic surf videos like “What’s Really Going Wrong” and “Lost Across America.” Doesn’t seem like a big deal today, but how important was that back in the ’90s?
T.D.: Being connected with the surf and skate industries was huge for us. We used to play shows at the Surf Expo every year in Orlando, which was always a great hook-up with companies like Volcom and …Lost, who would have showcases there and up and down the East Coast. That definitely helped us gain popularity and fans. Back then, the Internet wasn’t around, so if you were on a surf video and then played a town with a surfing community, people came out to see you. The surf video thing was definitely our claim to fame, along with playing shows at the old Milk Bar in Jacksonville, opening for bigger punk bands like Blink 182, Bigwig and Guttermouth, who were coming through on tour.
F.W.: How was the first Boredom reunion show at Freebird? Were you all firing on all cylinders?
T.D.: The response was awesome and we had a blast. Somewhere between 250 to 300 people came out, and it was funny to see the first three rows of people singing along to every word. We didn’t realize that many people actually gave a crap about our music. But I think we’re way better now live than we ever were back in the day.
F.W.: Do you have more shows planned beyond Café Eleven’s on Jan. 7 and the Daytona Beach gig the next weekend? Maybe that national tour that never was?
T.D.: We don’t. If something special were to come up, we might do more, but this is probably it for the moment. So if you want to hear us, come out to those two shows.