The surf rock compilation Beyond the Sea includes the Lost Boys of Penzance’s cover of “The Disadvantages of You,” a 1967 Benson and Hedges cigarette commercial jingle. “I remember hearing the tune on TV, growing up in the 1960s,” says bandleader Jonathan Villegas, aka J. Hawk D’Ville. “The commercial didn't turn me into a smoker but the lilting melody of the song stuck in my head. My dad had the sheet music in a songbook distributed to members of the armed forces.”
To obtain song rights, Villegas says “I got a compulsory mechanical license, granting use of the song once I paid the statutory royalty rate, which is currently 9.1 cents per minute for songs five minutes or less. The minimum quantity is 500 units. So, for a cover of a two-minute song, it cost me .091 x 2 x 500 = $91.00.”
Villegas’s music career was once nearly derailed by hearing loss. “I was born deaf in my right ear and my hearing started to decline when I was about 11. It got worse over the years, which forced me to get a cochlear implant operation at Sharp Memorial Hospital in 1997. It took a few weeks to allow the incision -- a large S-shaped curve behind my ear -- to heal before turn-on time. It was months before I got fully acclimated…everything was very robotic sounding. The gizmo isn’t perfect, I'm still classified as hard of hearing, but it certainly beats being deaf.”
The Lost Boys Of Penzance –- based near surfing hotspot Swami’s in Encinitas -- works with drummer Nate Morton from the house band on CBS’ Rock Star: Supernova reality series. “We normally work together by exchanging audio files and talking via email,” says Villegas. “I did ask him a couple questions about the Supernova show, but he seemed loathe to talk about it. All I know is that the show we see on Tuesday was actually taped the previous Sunday, late in the afternoon.”
The band appears on the 2011 David Bowie tribute album Ziggy Played Surf Guitar.