The Madeira is giving a free concert on Sunday in the parking lot outside Checker Records , a cafe and video store, in downtown Hillsdale.
This high-energy surf music band is known on campus because one of their accomplished guitar players is none other than Professor of Economics Ivan Pongracic. He is excited for students to come see the show at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 7.
“People should come because, well, how often do they get to see one of their professors in full ‘Rock god’ mode?” Pongracic said, laughing. “We’ve been at this for a long time and we have toured all around the country and even Italy.”
The Madeira just celebrated its tenth anniversary and Guitar Player Magazine featured the band in its March issue.
Bill Zeiser is a graduate student and happens to be Pongracic’s next-door neighbor.
“I had never listened to surf rock before except for the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction,” Zeiser said.
Soon after Zeiser first heard Pongracic rehearsing his guitar parts, he acquired a new appreciation for The Madeira and now enjoys seeing them play in concert.
“It’s high-energy rock with an exotic sound. I like tiki bars and all things retro, but beyond that, Pongracic is a very talented player,” Zeiser said.
John Spiteri, owner of Checker Records, said The Madeira has played at his coffee shop before. When Pongracic, a good customer, was looking for a venue to host The Madeira, Spiteri was happy to oblige.
“The band is great live and a lot of fun and plus, the show is free,” Spiteri said, laughing.
He added that the show provides a great opportunity for students to see a talented band perform and, if so inclined, suck up to a professor at the same time.
The Madeira’s drummer, Dane Carter, is looking forward to being in Hillsdale again.
“Drumming for a surf rock band is actually a lot like drumming for any other genre,” Carter said. “The Madeira try to create great songs that emotionally connect with people and tell stories without words. They just happen to be recognized as surf rock songs. If you become emotionally connected with a genre, every song within it tells a different story in an entirely unique voice. The one exception is polka. All polka songs are exactly the same.”
Though surf music was born in the early ‘60s, Pongracic said the Beatles and other British bands eclipsed it in popularity.
“Even though it’s very underground, there are surf bands all around the world, particularly in Europe and Latin America, but also Japan and Australia,” Pongracic said.
Senior Kadeem Noray may have only heard The Madeira on Spotify and YouTube, but he is excited about the chance to see the band live.
“Getting the opportunity to see a professor perform in a surf rock band is a once‑, maybe twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I definitely plan on attending,” Noray said.