"We love coming back there," he said. "We have spots we consider our hangout, like our home. I love going to Bella Terra. We love going on the jams on Main Street. Me and Jon still surf on 20th Street every day we're home. Huntington's just a good place."
Unlike some famous rock artists who came out of Huntington, Bailey didn't grow up here. He hails from Virginia and moved to Surf City with the rest of Runner Runner because they liked the area's musical history and closeness to Los Angeles. As Bailey made another stop on a tour that he expected to last most of the year, though, it was clear he missed his adopted hometown.
Still, to borrow a line from Paul Simon, Bailey didn't sound like he longed to be homeward bound — not when his band was busy reveling in pop stardom, and had a portable studio on the road to boot.
Bailey, Munters, Berry, singer Ryan Ogren and drummer James Ulrich made national headlines last year when C.E. Music, a new label overseen by Letterman's media company Worldwide Pants Inc., signed them as its first act. When I interviewed the band members in May, they hadn't yet met the man at the top, but that dream came true Sept. 27, when Bailey and company played their debut single "So Obvious" on his show.
As endorsements go in the music world, Letterman's is a pretty strong one; he helped launch Hootie and the Blowfish to stardom in the mid-1990s when he introduced them on TV as his "favorite new band." Introducing Runner Runner, he not only praised the group but also gave its hometown a shout-out, adding that he used to surf in San Onofre. After the show, Bailey said, he and his bandmates invited Letterman to hit the waves with them some time.