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More Than Just 'Popular'

Nada Surf
Cheryl Dunn Surf's Up: Daniel Lorca (left), Matthew Caws (center) and Ira Elliot of Nada Surf are a friendless teen's best friends.

For Nada Surf's Matthew Caws, the band's big hit is just a teaser that gives the wrong idea

By Nicky Baxter

MTV'S SUMMERTIME buzzer "Popular" has nothing of Nada Surf singer-songwriter Matthew Caws' real-world experience in it and nothing at all to do with the band's real sound. Dishonest? Well, maybe just as little. "I agree that it gives the wrong idea about the band," Caws told Billboard, "but it gets people to the show, and they're not disappointed." The catchiest tune from the band's major-league debut, Hi/Low (Elektra), "Popular" has indeed raised the pop-loving public's awareness.

Contrived or not, it's easy to understand why. How many awkward, friendless teens can relate to lyrics that recast them as first-string quarterbacks on their high school football teams, cruising around in cherry red Camaros? Caws, who claims to have been something of an outsider himself as an adolescent, knows a thing or two making himself perfectly clear. Prior to founding Nada Surf (which also includes bassist Daniel Lorca and ex-Fuzztone drummer Ira Elliot), he was a desk jockey at Guitar World magazine. As can be expected from a former pen pusher, Caws' songs are brimming over with clever wordplay and power chords.


Nada Surf and Tuscadero play Saturday (Oct. 12) at the Cactus Club, 417 S. First St., San Jose. Call for ticket information. (408/491-9300)

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From the October 10-16, 1996 issue of Metro

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