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Color is The Havnauts’ fifth band member

Pop, punk, and oh-so-pink

Pink-powered pop-punk: The Havnauts
Pink-powered pop-punk: The Havnauts

Singer Shelbi Bennett of Midnight Pine — an act she describes as “very serious and veiled in metaphor” — and Shady Francos drummer Jenny Merullo share a love of the pop-punk that shaped their respective youths. “I was in born in ’85,” Merullo says, “so the late-’90s, early 2000s emo-pop-punk wave was hugely impactful on me when I was playing drums as a 15-year-old. I grew up in Boston, and I played in bands there. The first real band I was ever in was a ska band, because it was 2001 and that was what we wanted to do. When I first moved to San Diego, I was in this little punk band called French Kiss Koma. The oldest person in the band was in his fifties, and the youngest person was underage.”

If you caught the duo’s pop-punk band The Havnauts in those early days, you probably saw bassist Zak Kmak rocking outfits that Merullo describes as having a “Jimmy Buffett vibe,” and Bennett sporting “bright makeup that looked like it had been smeared on.” The group was still seeking a visual aesthetic that would unify them; they found it in the color pink. “I like that it’s softer, and I wouldn’t ever describe our music as soft, but it does have tender subject matter,” Bennett says. “That color is almost a fifth band member. The only other color I think we could have chosen besides that is red, but red is too aggressive.” Merullo adds that “It’s really eye-catching onstage, and it’s easy to find pink stuff at a dollar store.”

The San Diego Music Award winners (Best Local Recording for 2018’s Go For It EP) dropped an eight-song album, Real Good Now, on New Year’s Day 2020, promoted via videos produced during the pandemic shutdown. Right now, they’re working on a video for “Bummer Man,” the B-side of their 2021 Iggy Pop cover “Search and Destroy.”

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Pink-powered pop-punk: The Havnauts
Pink-powered pop-punk: The Havnauts

Singer Shelbi Bennett of Midnight Pine — an act she describes as “very serious and veiled in metaphor” — and Shady Francos drummer Jenny Merullo share a love of the pop-punk that shaped their respective youths. “I was in born in ’85,” Merullo says, “so the late-’90s, early 2000s emo-pop-punk wave was hugely impactful on me when I was playing drums as a 15-year-old. I grew up in Boston, and I played in bands there. The first real band I was ever in was a ska band, because it was 2001 and that was what we wanted to do. When I first moved to San Diego, I was in this little punk band called French Kiss Koma. The oldest person in the band was in his fifties, and the youngest person was underage.”

If you caught the duo’s pop-punk band The Havnauts in those early days, you probably saw bassist Zak Kmak rocking outfits that Merullo describes as having a “Jimmy Buffett vibe,” and Bennett sporting “bright makeup that looked like it had been smeared on.” The group was still seeking a visual aesthetic that would unify them; they found it in the color pink. “I like that it’s softer, and I wouldn’t ever describe our music as soft, but it does have tender subject matter,” Bennett says. “That color is almost a fifth band member. The only other color I think we could have chosen besides that is red, but red is too aggressive.” Merullo adds that “It’s really eye-catching onstage, and it’s easy to find pink stuff at a dollar store.”

The San Diego Music Award winners (Best Local Recording for 2018’s Go For It EP) dropped an eight-song album, Real Good Now, on New Year’s Day 2020, promoted via videos produced during the pandemic shutdown. Right now, they’re working on a video for “Bummer Man,” the B-side of their 2021 Iggy Pop cover “Search and Destroy.”

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