A band none too serious

NEWPORT BEACH — Clad in a Hawaiian print shirt, opaque sunglasses and an eclectic mix of turquoise beaded bracelets, Costa Mesa resident Eric Rankin epitomizes the 1960s surf culture look.

It's even more so when he stands next to his teal-blue Volkswagen van, with its palm tree curtains and peace symbol positioned between the headlights.

Rankin is the keyboardist for the Orange County surf rock cover band, The Hodaddies. He, along with two other locals from Newport Beach and Tustin, formed the group about five years ago.

But he doesn't call himself a real musician.

"The name Hodaddies is kind of our way of poking fun at ourselves," Rankin said of the trio. "A 'hodaddy' was the word for a guy who dresses like a surfer, has the board and hangs out at the surf spots — but he's not a real surfer. Well, we don't really consider ourselves to be real musicians."

The "real" musicians oftentimes take their music too seriously, Rankin said. The Hodaddies love what they do too much to risk losing their party-hard style to seriousness.

However, as uncool as the label is, these laid-back surf rockers have a very real gig this weekend for a crowd of up to 1,000 people.

The Hodaddies will play at the second annual Lobsterfest at Newport Beach, a fundraiser at the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort on Sunday.

The event is being organized by the Newport Beach Sunrise Rotary Club to benefit multiple Orange County and international nonprofits, including the Newport-Mesa Schools Foundation.

More than 500 people attended last year's Lobsterfest, which raised more than $30,000, according to a news release.

Last year's turnout resulted in some issues with service and long lines at the buffet, but 2010 Lobsterfest organizers have added more serving stations and volunteers to accommodate a crowd twice as large, Sunrise Rotary President Reniero Francisco said.

Other entertainment includes activities such as a children's sand castle building contest, a silent auction and a raffle.

While The Hodaddies will be busy playing throughout most of the evening, don't expect the band to remain isolated from the crowd.

"We party with people, not just throw songs at them," Rankin said.

How much fun a band has directly relates to how much fun a crowd has, he said. Similar to a surfer having a harmonious relationship with the ocean, a band needs to be in sync with its audience.

"Playing a crowd of people is like riding a wave of energy," Rankin said. "A perfect party is when you've caught that wave and people are on the floor dancing, having a good time."

If you go: The gates open at 3 p.m. and dinner is served at 6 at the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, 1131 Back Bay Drive.

Tickets and dinner orders must be bought by noon Saturday at http://www.lobsterfestatnewportbeach.com.

Preview the music: The surf rock tunes of the Hodaddies can be listened to at http://www.thebeachpartyguy.com/hodaddies.asp

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