Stab Magazine | Landon McNamara’s Reggae Record Is A Chart-Topper

Landon McNamara’s Reggae Record Is A Chart-Topper

The North Shore musical surfing dynasty continues.

stabfm // Feb 7, 2017
Words by Jed Smith
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hawaiian surfer/model/musician, Landon McNamara, has joined the long list of pro surfers who’ve turned their hand at music with resounding commercial success. His debut album A Dollar Short And A Minute Late immediately went to number one on the iTunes reggae charts and Hawaiian radio following its release in December, following in the footsteps of such other successful North Shore surfers-turned-musicians Jack Johnson and Makua Rothman.

The North Shore is no more than a few streets, so it goes without saying Landon lives a stones throw from both, citing Jack in particular as a major influence. “He lives right down the street and I see him surfing all the time,” he says. “And just being able to see that even though somebody is still a big musician or star in a sense, to be able to still be so grounded and down to earth is really inspiring to me.”

Prior to Landon, Makua Rothman’s 2013 debut record, Sound Wave, debuted as #1 on the Billboard World Album on iTunes and peaked as the #1 Billboard Reggae Album. He toured all over the US alongside artists such as Matisyahu, Sublime w/Rome, Common Kings, The Wailers, Steel Pulse, Slightly Stoopid, Rebelution, and Donavon Frankenreiter. Makua’s album also featured a posthumous duet with iconic Hawaiian folk singer, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (interesting fact: Israel became the adopted guardian of Hawaiian heavy, Johnny Boy Gomes, following the death of both of his parents as a 14 year old).

Landon says the affinity North Shore surfers have with music is inevitable, given their surrounds.

“Growing up on the North Shore has helped my music and usually, when you grow up on the North Shore, you surf. So the two go hand-in-hand, intertwined,” he told the WSL in a recent interview, adding: “Surfers seem to have some weird relationship with music and that’s how it’s always been.”

Outside of the islands, Tom Curren is another who’s toured internationally and released an album. In Plain View came out in 2013 receiving three stars (out of five) from Rolling Stone Magazine, who wrote that it was “steeped in the Laurel Canyon vibes of home-state heroes like the Eagles and Jackson Browne, with Curren flashing a rich tenor and fluid guitar leads on the feel-good anthem, Unconditional.”

Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, and Peter King put out an album together as The Surfers, with Kelly going onto perform duets alongside Karina Zeviani and Jimmy Buffet live on stage for a rendition of Margaritaville during the Quiksilver Pro.

Aside from Jack Johnson, the next most successful surfer-musician is Donavon Frankenreiter, who’s responsible for over a dozen albums with various collaborators as well as a record label, Liquid Tambourine Records. Surfer, filmmaker and artist, Andrew Kidman, has also earned critical claim in the musical realm.

At the other end of the commercial spectrum you’ve got the degenerate punk stylings of the Goons of Doom, featuring Ozzie Wright; hit surf-punk-pop outfit, Skeggs, which used to include Noa Deane; Al Knost, formerly of Japanese Motors, who now performs alongside Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon in Glitterbust; and Wash, comprised of Ellis Ericson, Creed Mctaggart, and Beau Foster, who tour Australia sporadically.


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