.Love Your Local Band: The Fighting Murrays

“Umbrella Man, there he go-go. Take his little walk downtown real slow.

So goes the down-and-dirty rock ’n’ roll song “Santa Cruz Umbrella Man” by local trio the Fighting Murrays. You likely won’t see the Umbrella Man aka Pink Umbrella Man these days on Pacific Avenue (he has been spotted more recently on West Cliff Drive), but not long ago, he was famous for traversing downtown blocks at a snail’s pace.

Apparently, someone thought that the Fighting Murrays’ singer/guitarist David Murray looked just like the Umbrella Man when he was getting a drink downtown, and would not believe Murray when he said he wasn’t the Umbrella Man.

After listening to his friends make fun of him enough times, he decided to own it and wrote the song.

“The song kind of shut everybody up,” Murray says. “The more pissed you get about something like that, the more people pick on you.”

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The song is one of the group’s many fun, stripped-to-the-bone rock songs with heavy riffage and catchy hooks. Despite being together for almost five years, the group just released their debut LP earlier this year. They started out playing exclusively originals, but these days, they mix in an even split of covers and originals, and have a particular fondness for songs originally sung by female singers.

“I like to sing female-sung songs an octave lower. It kind of works for us. Sing some Joan Jett. We do “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon. Anything from Lulu to L7,” says Murray. “We have a whole set—we call it ‘The Fighting Murrays Tackle the Women of Rock ’n’ Roll.’ 

INFO: 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.


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