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Scrapbook: Fool's Gold Flip Through Their Old Photo Albums

Luke Top excavates some real gems for this #tbt. Soul patches! Double corduroy! Official acting headshots! There's so much goodness here…
April 9, 2015, 7:15pm

I still maintain that

Fool’s Gold’s

2009 song

“Surprise Hotel”

ranks in my Top 20 Guitar Riffs of All Time. Yeah, it’s an ever changing list I keep by my bed, but their entry is a constant. Also the accompanying video features old people partying in the sun (among other things), so that rules, but that was also a long time ago. Since then the LA-collective, who flip between singing in Hebrew and English have released two full lengths and now we have a third,

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Flying Lessons,

out on 4.18 (

via ORG Music

). Luckily the nimble goodness and snaking basslines displayed on “Surprise Hotel” are still evident in this collection. Imagine Friendly Fires tangoing with Steely Dan and Staff Benda Billi in the middle of Mali and you’re kinda close. Take recent single “I’m In Love” (below) as evidence: their songs are lushly produced, they evoke sunset cocktails and dancing with the sand between your toes. And, one word: sax.

The band—who are now whittled down to a quartet (although yes, you counted right, there are four of 'em above)—are alsovery stylish dudes, none more so than singer/bassist Luke Top (dead center). So it seemed only appropos to ask him to pillage his old photo albums and talk us through his music and sartorial evolution. Get ready: there's a soul patch below… Thanks Luke—these are pure gold!

  1. This photo was taken soon after my family immigrated to Los Angeles from Israel. Judging by the clothes I'm wearing, it is highly possible that I was piloting the flight over. Those with a keen eye will be able to discover some dampness in the groin area, further evidence of a hard day's work.

1989. No LA childhood is complete without at least one foray into child acting. These "official" headshots were meant to showcase my acting range and various looks: "The Hardened Neighborhood Bully," "The Fred Savage," and "The Intellectual.”

1993. This picture was taken from the first show I ever played. I think it was a six-year-old girl's backyard birthday party in Granada Hills, CA. The main stylistic takeaway here is grunge. I'm pretty sure the audience of eight to ten people were transfixed by our risky interpretations of Nirvana songs. Friends, this is the moment that got the ball rolling.

1996. High school's primary focus was indie rock and the Britpop revival, as evidenced by this daring display of corduroy on corduroy. And the most divisive facial adornment of its time: the soul patch. Fun fact: the uni-browed kid behind me is my childhood friend Amir Kenan, who was one of the early members Fool's Gold.

1998. This is me in my college dorm at San Francisco State University. I think this photo is funny because the items around me seem like they were staged. 4-track tape machine, Fender amp, guitar pedal, textbook, and the kicker: bagel in toaster. Fun fact: Lewis P, co-founder of Fool's Gold, also had a short stint as the keyboardist in my college band, The Cave-ins. We also had a country band together called Disparity Shacks, although there are no photos in existence to back this up.

2008. Early days of Fool’s Gold. This is one of the first times we played the Echo in LA. Those first shows we did were so explosive and wild—we still talk about them to this day. Yes, that is face paint.

2010. The white suit/white hat was a big part of my wardrobe for a couple years. Not sure exactly what I was going for now that I look back on it. But hopefully it was more David Byrne than Colonel Sanders.

  1. The current state of things, with my dudes.

2024. After computing the various style shifts over the years, it only makes sense that this is what I will look like in the not-too-distant future.

Fool’s Gold Tour Dates: 4.22 Paris, France @ Silencio

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4.23 Roen, France @ Le 106

4.24 Amsterdam, Netherlands @ London Calling Fest

4.25 Saintes, France @ Coconut Fest

4.28 Paris, France @ La Maroquinerie

4.29 Toulouse, France @ Connection Live

4.30 Nantes, France @ Stereolux

5.2 London, UK @ 100 Club

5.14 Los Angeles, CA @ The Troubadour – tickets

5.27 San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop – tickets