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Beach Goons’ Pablo Cervantez: “Jose Feliciano is untouchable for flamenco, but he’s an amazing rock guitarist, too”

Beach Goons
(Image credit: Neto Valasco)

Beach Goons guitarist and frontman Pablo Cervantez admits that his fans are a fervent lot, often rushing the stage and besieging him for autographs and selfies before the band can begin playing. 

But even he was surprised by one fan at a recent gig. “This guy came at me and wanted me to sign his vaccine card,” Cervantez says. “I was like, ‘Dude, I can’t sign that,’ but he insisted. So I signed it. I hope it’s still valid.”

Since starting up the San Diego-based surf punk trio in 2004, Cervantez has become accustomed to seeing bassists and drummers come and go. “Sometimes we have creative differences, and other times the other guys decide they want to do their own things,” he says. 

Recently, he took on two new members, but he demurs when asked to divulge their names, saying simply, “We’ll see how things go. Right now, things are cool.”

Cervantez’s playing style is supercharged stuff. On Beach Goons lo-fi gems such as A.M. and Tar, he peppers bracing, action-packed rhythms with dreamy, understated lead melodies.

Although he cites Jose Feliciano as his biggest influence (“He’s untouchable for flamenco, but he’s an amazing rock guitarist, too”), he also draws inspiration from bands as disparate as the Cure, Blink-182 and the Cardigans. “I like to play with power and passion, but I try to throw some light touches in there as well. On record I try to show off some nuances, but live it’s all about rocking out.”

Axology

• GUITARS
Fender Players Series Telecaster, Fender Mustang

• AMP
Fender Blues Deluxe reissue

• EFFECTS
Boss VB-2W Vibrato

The group just came off a whirlwind cross-country tour, and Cervantez reports that they’ve begun work on a new album, their first since 2018’s hoodratscumbags.

“It’s a little early to really say what kind of album it’s going to be,” he says. “I could say we’re maturing, but it’s still going to sound like what the fans love. I want the band to evolve a little more, but I’ve still got to perform the songs live. Between singing and playing, I do a lot of heavy lifting on stage, so whenever I write a song I have to keep that in mind.”

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Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar World, Guitar Player, MusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.