Bodysurfing, Bonfires and Giving Back With Local Band Burnt

    Imet Burnt on a sunny summer afternoon, one of my first here in San Diego. The season was just beginning, so I was still unsure of my place in a new house full of men and surf talk and PBR cans and flies. So when I decided to venture down to Black’s with the group of dreadlocked jam musicians wearing accents from Boston or Brooklyn (or something of a combination), it was sort of a leap for me. I later found out that the accents were false, an amusing charade they played for the benefit, really, of all. And because nothing about these guys seemed false and everything else they did — music, especially — seemed to be for the benefit of all, I stayed through the night. We bodysurfed as the sun went down, then plowed through a bottle of tequila, a loaf of bread and a block of cheese to warm ourselves up. We talked, slept and sat around a bonfire while Danny, the singer, played his guitar and sang. There were a few moments there when I couldn’t imagine life getting better: These guys know how to live, I thought. They’ve got it figured out.

    Listening closely to Esperanza, the album Burnt released last April, I’m reminded of their way of life. It’s written from a plane above the everyday mundane, yet committed to making every one of these days unforgettable.

    “Tell the people of the world today/ Tell the people how to make love stay/ Take a little then give a lot/ Take a little then give it all you got,” Danny sings on “Sweet Baby Ray’s.”

    “The Wretched,” another standout track, begins with “Fuck the USA/ We’re never living that way! Revolution is the day! Don’t you hear what I say?” These are not just fabricated lyrics — the members of the band don’t live that way. They do take a little and give a lot.

    The group will be leaving on a West Coast tour on Oct. 15, from San Diego to Vancouver, B.C., and back, in a bus that runs on bio-diesel. Each show will benefit a variety of organizations or causes, including Wildcoast and Save Trestles. Burnt will also be taking up issues specific to the communities they visit and, while they’re on tour, let UCSD student organization Students Taking Action Now: Darfur use their studio to record a CD benefiting the Genocide Intervention Fund.

    Danny explains the reaction he hopes his fans will have to the music: “If it sounds good enough, people dance. If everybody just stopped what they were doing and just danced and partied in the streets all day until they felt like going back to work for a system that actually worked for them, that would be the best kind of revolution ever: A general strike and boycott to bring the system to its knees, and in the meantime, we’d just have a big party. I’m not necessarily looking for a real linear response — [our lyrics] are not instructions. But if it inspires somebody to have a good day, or inspires somebody to turn off the TV and just listen to music, or make music themselves, or to dance, or to think twice about something, or look at something in a way that maybe they hadn’t before — then that’s good enough.”

    Burnt plays every Sunday at Club Heat in downtown San Diego and will be holding a CD release party for their upcoming album on Oct. 14 at the 710 Beach Club (formerly Blind Melons) in Pacific Beach.

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