SURF SHOP COPS Making a name for themselves

Since first hitting stages back in 2014, local indie punks Last Lions have made a name for themselves with consistent live shows, culminating in regional and national tours and support slots for heavy hitters like WAAX, West Thebarton, Luca Brasi and more. Speaking of making a name, the trio have also just announced their debut album will come out this year under the new moniker, Surf Shop Cops. As they prepare to bring the rebrand, and a swag of fresh songs to an all ages show at Four5Nine with Sofa, Mixed Netball and Lounge Tourist on Saturday, April 24, BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with singer/guitarist Michael Slitenbachs to find out why it’s set to be a big year for the group.

So we have seen the last of the Last Lions? What were the reasons behind that? 

There’s a few reasons. Our old guitarist Danny and I started Last Lions when we were about 15 years old. We’re almost 23 now, so we outgrew the name a while ago. When he stepped back from the band a few months ago, it didn’t feel right to keep calling ourselves Last Lions without him. Also, I kept getting stopped at gigs and told “I know you! You’re in that Lion band from Perth….Tired Lion?” Bonus points for confusing us with Young Lions, Lions and Lambs, Lionizer, Born Lion, 50 Lions…there are lots of lions in the Australian punk scene!

And do you feel there will be a significant change in the band or your sound as the Surf Shop Cops going forward?

At first it might not really seem so, but we’ve got loads of material in the swag, and over time you’ll definitely hear a change. We’re working on songs I wrote in 2015, and we’re working on songs I wrote last week. The influences I had at each point in time definitely shine through. If you like the old Last Lions stuff, you’ll probably like the new Surf Shop Cops gear, just in a different way. We don’t want to get bored of writing the same song a hundred times.

For those that aren’t familiar with you, how did you come to be  a band and what have been some of the highlights of playing together so far?

We started out in high school with Danny on guitar, my younger brother Nick on drums, and one of our mates Josh on bass. We cut our teeth playing loads of all ages shows at YMCA HQ and our friends parties, we eventually turned 18 and started doing bar gigs. AJ and Ella came in on drums and bass, and we started to build a bit of a following around town from playing shows every weekend, and sometimes twice in one night.

Some highlights would definitely be our first interstate shows back in 2019, supporting WAAX and Press Club – two  of my favourite bands – and selling out Lucy’s Love Shack last year. We were meant to go on a full national tour last March, but of course it was cancelled due to COVID. It was our first show back after lockdown and no gigs for months, and Lucy’s has always been our favourite venue to play since it opened up. We just fit there so well. It was our first ever sold out show, and the best “welcome back home” we could’ve asked for.

And what can we expect from Surf Shop Cops at this upcoming show? Anything in particular you are looking forward to most about getting back on stage?

New songs! We’re just finishing off our debut album, so we’re playing our favourite tracks from it, a few old fan faves, and some real newbies that’ll probably be on album two. I’m most looking forward to people singing along to the oldies, and the nervous energy of playing songs we’ve never done live before.

Who else have you enlisted to play on the night and what made them a great fit for the occasion?

We were actually asked to play this one by our friend Elle Cee from WAM. She’d already put the lineup together, but they’re all bands we’re mates with or have been meaning to check out anyway. We’ve done a bunch of shows with Mixed Netball and they’re great, and SOFA and Lounge Tourist are newer up and comers I’ve heard a lot about so I’m keen for their sets.

What’s coming up next for Surf Shop Cops for the rest of 2021 and beyond? Any new music or more live shows in the pipeline we can look forward to?

A few singles, an album, loads of shows, rinse and repeat until we get bored or die!

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