Hobo Dave, as his nickname probably implies, is an interesting character. Splitting time between a cabin on a small piece of land in Seattle and his van, HD is a happy-go-lucky musician and surfer who has turned the heads of a few in the surf world. Chris Cote, who booked the music for Camp Shred this year, found out about Hobo Dave through San Clemente shredder Tanner Gudauskas, who had been rocking HD’s underground rock and told Cote he needed to check him out. Cote and HD became fast Instagram friends, and Cote was pumped to offer HD a gig playing in front of a packed Camp Shred crowd this weekend. After accepting Cote’s offer, Hobo Dave set out selling hand-painted T-shirts, sweats and CDs online to make enough money to afford the gas from Seattle to San Diego. When I called HD, he was just waking up from a night sleeping in his van in a neighborhood in Ventura. Read below for a little backstory on Hobo Dave, and then come down to Camp Shred Saturday to watch him play.
First of all, where are you from and how did Hobo Dave come to be?
I’m from Seattle, Washington. But growing up, I ping-ponged back and forth between San Diego and Washington. Actually I’m still doing it, and mostly so that I can surf. As far as the musical name goes, I was on a hitchhiking journey a couple of years ago and I met up with Nathan Fletcher in San Clemente. He brought me to Astrodeck to meet his parents and Christian, and hang for the evening. Long story short, my phone died so I didn’t meet back up with him at the end of the night, and I ended up sleeping in the bushes down at Trestles. Anyway, the next time I saw Nathan was at Mavericks, and he introduced me as his friend, Hobo Dave [laughs]. I guess it just kinda stuck.
These days, do you spend most of your time in Seattle?
I have a piece of property up in Washington. It’s a crazy story. When my Grandpa passed away, he left me a Babe Ruth card, valued at $13,000 dollars. So I actually traded the card for a little piece of property, and then I built a small cabin. It’s way out in the woods. But it’s cool, because it’s next to a National Park. So I spend a lot of time out there, but then I always leave and get out of there before the weather gets really gnarly.
How did you get into making music?
Growing up we had a little Casio keyboard and I played with that a lot. Years later my dad got a guitar, and I just started strumming on it. So I guess you could say I’m just self-taught. There wasn’t a lot else to do and I’ve just always really loved playing.
I saw on your Instagram that you’ve been selling T-shirts and CDs in order to pay for your trip down to play at Camp Shred. How has that been going?
Oh man, it’s been insane. I don’t make much money. So I just figured I’d start making gear to sell to pay for my gas money down to California, and people from all over have been buying it. It’s super rad actually. I’m really stoked on all of the support so far.
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I’m overwhelmed with stoke for all of the support for the road to #campshred !!! the worlds largest surf demo in Cardiff on Saturday Feb, 29th and Sunday March 1st 🙂 I will be playing at 1 pm on Saturday a full 1 hour set followed by @bandofgringos and @poundedbythesurf 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing all my so cal friends for the show and some super fun surfs at Cardiff on whatever surf vessel you can dream of 🙂 I’ll be selling this merch from the van at my campsite but if you’d like to order anything now it will help fill gas tanks for van and more than anything just keeps the stoke going. DM me if you’d like to order anything 🙂 huge thank you to everyone for the support and @chriscote for all he does 🙂 As well as the @positivevibewarriors for passing the positivity and keeping us all fired up 🙂 Have an awesome Friday 🙂 The hobo van heads south next week 🙂 🙏 THANK YOU 🙂
You mentioned you’re in Ventura right now. Are you on your way down to Camp Shred?
Yeah. I just wanted to take my time. I’ve kinda made an art form out of staying at rest areas [laughs]. That’s where I do all my computer editing and make all my gear. I also do a lot of Yoga. Nathan got me into Yoga and that shit changes your life. Living off-the-grid I just feel like I can slow everything down. I actually really enjoy my time in my van. A lot of times when I stay at friends’ houses I’ll still sleep in the van — it’s just where I’m most comfortable. I can focus on each day that way. Just on being happy.
Who are your influences? Music and otherwise?
As far as people go Herbie Fletcher is awesome. I love his do-it-yourself mentality. And there were a bunch of Pacific Northwest bands in the indie rock scene that inspired me growing up. Built To Spill and The Microphones are two big ones. And then I also geeked out on all of the music in the Taylor Steele films — the Southern California punk rock scene. Oh, and also Woody Guthrie.
What does it mean to you to get an opportunity to play live music at Camp Shred?
Oh, I’m so amped. Cardiff holds a place in my heart. To be able to go play my music for surfers is just a crazy dream. It’s weird, universe stuff. I was so pumped when Chris Cote asked me to come down and play. I honestly can’t wait. I hope my music really connects with the people down there. I’ll probably play mostly with my eyes closed. Thinking I’ll bust out my spiritual Jazz for this one [laughs].