The Fling, in harmony with music’s (and its own) past



It’d be a compliment to call the Fling derivative, and it’d have nothing to do with the Long Beach band’s ’60s-flavored folk rock.

The band – brothers Dustin and Graham Lovelis, along with Justin Ivey and Justin Roeland – derives its name from an early-’80s SoCal band called the Fling. It was founded by the Lovelises’ father, Mark. “It was the name of my dad’s band,” Dustin says. “He got my mom pregnant, they had me, he had to give up music and raise a family, so I figured I should carry on the legacy.”

While pop’s Fling traded in the Knack/Cheap Trick power pop of the era, the Lovelis progeny have a lot in common with the Band, the Beatles, the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Byrds. Their debut album “When the Madhouses Appear” (self-released this week), churns with fuzzed-out anthems, pristine harmonies and aching pop balladry – in a year vintage rock has already gotten a blood transfusion from SoCal bands such as Delta Spirit and Chief, the Fling have immediately established themselves as new contenders.

(Actually, Dustin Lovelis and Delta Spirit’s Brandon Young have something else in common – they met years ago when they were traveling with their respective bands on the Warped Tour. “We both grew up and started making better music,” Dustin says.)

“Madhouses” was recorded in stops and starts over a one-year period with the help of Cold War Kids cohort Matt Wignall and local producer Raymond Richards. In fact, Lovelis says, the Fling already have another album’s worth of songs written, though in the short term they’re going to concentrate on getting their DIY release some attention.

Dustin Lovelis was the principal architect of the heartfelt stuff on this first outing, but the band’s songwriting “has changed drastically in the past six months,” with its members collaborating on future material. “There’s a lot of my personal stuff on this record, but lately I’m trying to get more creative with song structure and lyrics, and not be so literal,” Lovelis says. “I’m always trying to expand what I write about.”

The band’s nifty harmonies are the result of long hours of work. “Every practice, if the harmonies aren’t quite right, we stop until we nail them down,” Lovelis says, noting that a lot of recent touring “has helped us become better singers. When we started, it was as if everybody was kind of singing lead. The more time we spend together, the more our voices bleed together.”

||| Live: The Fling’s album release show is tonight at Spaceland, also featuring Deep Sea Diver.

Photo by Dylan Cortez