Doom-Wop - A look at Shannon and the Clams
You can feel your tires roll over the salt-worn boards, each one squeaking as you pedal on the pier. That peerless ocean caress, flecked with sand, pinks your cheeks. The laughs from fellow cyclists spark your ears—the same spark you’ll get from the band at the downtown dive, warm with its harmonized whoa-ohs, yahas and ooohs, backing up some proto-rock yowls. As the sun sets and the boardwalk grows dark, you grab a cone from the creamery and wash it down with a 40 before heading into the punk rock prom. This is the essence of Shannon and the Clams, a sock-hop punk band out of Oakland, California.
Made up of Shannon Shaw (bass and vocals), Cody Blanchard (guitar), and Nate Mahan (drums), the band belongs to a new generation of ′50s and ′60s surf-influenced slacker punk, which includes bands like The Growlers, Thee Oh Sees, Fidlar, and Guantanamo Baywatch.
A love of visual arts runs through all members of the band. In fact, Shaw and Blanchard met at California College of the Arts in a video production class. The band’s gonzo visual aesthetic can be seen in their beautifully bizarre music videos and their garish yet altogether fitting stage outfits. (Hello, gold sequin tuxedo jackets!). Shaw is also a tremendous painter, particularly in portraiture, and influenced by the symbolist painters as well as mythology and fairy tales. Altogether, the peculiar blend of sound and image cultivates a unified feeling that can only be described as “weirdo oldies,” a designation the band does not deny.
A peculiar blend of sounds...that can only be described as weirdo oldies
Their latest album Gone by Dawn, released in 2015 and recorded at Tiny Telephone Recording with Sonny Smith (of Sonny and the Sunsets fame ) continues the band’s signature mix of punk and doo-wop, but with deeper, far more personal lyrics and polished production.
Shannon and the Clams is currently on tour and can be found this summer at festivals such as The Great Escape (London), Sasquatch! (George, Washington), and Burger Boogaloo (Oakland, California).