El Capitan is a surf spot not too far from Santa Barbara, CA. This region and NW Washington are my favorite places. My family lives near this stretch of coast and I have many good memories of surfing, barbecues, wine tasting in the countryside and time spent at the beach and zoo with my wife, kids, parents, brother and sister-in-law. I remember when my daughters first ventured in the ocean and built sand castles, my wife caught her first wave, and all of us enjoying the presence of pelicans, seals, sand pipers, and each other.
The name El Capitan evokes seafaring imagery that I think is perfect for this song – captain of a Spanish pirate ship. One of Sanoma’s themes is the era of seafaring pirates and this period in history carries with it Spanish sub themes that also surface in the harmonic minor scales of much surf music. I have images of abandoned church buildings, Spanish missions and graveyards, the open sea with ships looming on the horizon, and a ragged crew that has sailed from the Spanish Main in search of treasure. This imagery is mixed with great surfing memories to inspire an all-out rock & roll song that really kicks ass live. I love the recording, too. The guitar tone is like a bad wipe out on a skateboard or a surfer getting sucked over the falls and smacking water.
My personality is a mixture of, among other things, my experiences and these images and memories, and I express my life through the rock & roll music that I love, and now through writing with words about the songs that I write on the Telecaster cranked through a Fender Vibro-King. The theme of a captain reminds me that I don’t control these things, but they are gifts from God. I’m not the captain of my own destiny, but a good God gives me great people, abilities, locations, inspiration, and many other things that I love. There are opportunities that are meant to take. Life is meant to be lived to the fullest. All this is a gift from the King of the heavens, sea and earth. This song reminds me of that.