HEY OCEAN! at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen West ), tonight (Thursday, June 7), 10 pm. $10, free w/ $28 NXNE wristband. 416-531-4625. Rating: NNNNN
You've heard of lots of bands that formed in someone's basement or garage. But life for Hey Ocean! started far from the confines of their Vancouver homes.
"It was a trip to Costa Rica," says band guitarist David Beckingham. "Ashleigh [Ball, the groups' singer and flutist] and I wrote a couple of ditties and played some open mics at the local surf camp."
That fateful trip south not only gave birth to Hey Ocean!, but also provided the band's name.
"Every day, we'd walk from our soggy two-bedroom cabana down a little path through the rain to check the waves," says Beckingham, also known as Dave-O. "Day after day the waves were stormy and suicidal."
Unfortunately, the torrential rain never let up, and the two were pissed. "We just yelled, yelled with rage, "Hey, ocean!' "
With a few songs and a band name in hand, the two returned to Vancouver, recruited bassist Dave Vertesi and percussion whiz Benny Schuetze, and quickly started playing gigs.
Today their sound can be classified as funk, but in their early days Hey Ocean! were considered a surf band an inaccurate description, says Beckingham.
"I guess it was because of the stories about Ash and me in Costa Rica, but Benny jokes that we've gone go-karting as a band more than we've gone surfing, so we should really be go-kart rock."
How they're classified doesn't matter to their rabid West Coast fan base, which will only grow after upcoming gigs with the Brazilian Girls and Mother Mother .