A teenager in Southern California in 1984, I fell deep into surf and skate culture. Insecure and living in “the valley,” I was willing to rep ANY surf brand just to fit in. Gotcha, Maui and Sons, JIMMY’Z …
While my loyalty wavered, there was one brand that captured my mullet, and never left — Town & Country Surf Designs, or T & C.
Founded in 1971 by Craig Sugihara in Pearl City, Hawaii, T&C blew up in the mid-80’s thanks to shirts designed by artist Steve Nazar — featuring “Da’ Boys,” surfing cartoon characters.
Led by Thrilla Gorilla, “Da’ Boys” was a squad of surfers, zombies, tikis and cavemen sporting Ray-Ban sunglasses and ripping on neon surfboards.
Turns out, Thrilla was inspired by 80’s tube master Dane Kealoha.
And Joe Cool? South African professional surfer, world champion, environmentalist, awesome human, and handsome devil, Shaun Tomson.
Every summer, my teenage self anticipated buying a new T & C shirt as much as a new Van Halen album.
By the late-’80s, the Thrilla Krew got wiped out of Town & Country Surf Designs as fast as David Lee Roth got replaced by Sammy.
But, unlike Van Hagar, T&C faded out of the mainstream. And, fast…
Meanwhile, Nazar continued to produce art around his original characters, as well as his other passion, soccer.
Today, the Riverside artist has resurrected the old T&C squad in a new clothing line appropriately called Thrilla Krew.
Here’s a gallery featuring some of the new art work which can be purchased (on a shirt) via www.thrillakrewgear.com
Another ongoing project is called The Rocking Dead, which, according to Nazar “is a poster portraying iconic dead rock stars as zombies. As you can imagine, with the way these guys are dropping it requires regular updating.”
YEW! is looking forward to hosting a San Diego art show with Steve in 2017.