Surf Age Nuggets traces the “ethos” and attitude of surf music from 1959 to its monophonic demise in 1966. From long boards and short hair to short boards and long hair, this collection celebrates the lesser-known bands. They pioneered the sound. Raunchy, trashy and twangy, they deserve their place in Rock history. Available on CD.
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DISC 1 SAMPLE TRACKS
• THE VELVETONES Doheny Run
• THE SHAN-TONES Sheba
• THE VALIANTS Jack The Ripper
• THE VAQUEROS Echo
• JOHNNY McCOY & THE CYCLONES Scrub Bucket
• THE SURF TEENS Moment Of Truth
• THE RAMRODS Night Ride
• THE EMERALDS Earthquake
• THE RUNABOUTS Surfer’s Fright
• THE AVENGERS VI Slaughter On 10th Ave.
DISC 2 SAMPLE TRACKS
• THE EMOTIONALS Miserlou
• THE REVELAIRS The Cruel Sea
• THE SAFARIS Kick Out
• THE VELVETONES Mr. X
• ROBIN AND THE 3 HOODS The Marauder
• THE VIBRANTS The Breeze & I
• THE RICK-A-SHAYS Turn On
• THE TRAVELERS Windy & Warm
• THE VULCANES Cozimotto
• KING ROCK & THE KNIGHTS Scandal
DISC 3 SAMPLE TRACKS
• THE SQUIRES BaTmoBILE
• THE ROAD RUNNERS Road Runnah
• THE RHYTHM SURFERS 502
• THE REE-GENTS Downshiftin’
• THE TRADEWINDS Gotcha
•THE IRRIDESCENTS Swamp Surfer
• THE CREATIONS The Crash
• JERRY AND THE SILVERTONES Ce’Ny
• THE MONZELS Sharkskin
• THE CHEROKEES Uprisin’
DISC 4 SAMPLE TRACKS
• THE FROGMEN Beware Below
• THE HOLLYWOOD SURFERS King Of The Stomp
• THE CHARADES BAND Sophia
• CALVIN COOL El Tecolote
• DAVE AND THE CUSTOMS Ali Baba
• JIM HEAD and his DEL RAY’S Harem Bells
• THE FUGITIVES The Fugitive
• THE TORQUAYS The Other Side
• 14. THE TURKS Baja
• ST. JOHN & THE CARDINALS The Rise
Fender twang, drenched in reverb like the sound of a crashing pacific wave.....a frenetic beat played with adolescent abandon.....full of hope, excitement, mystery and a little danger. Surf music is instantly identifiable, a genre that requires only a couple of guitars, bass and drums and desire.
My first exposure to this sound was on top 40 radio in the 60s. Walk Don’t Run by the Ventures.....Wipeout and Pipeline by the Surfaris....and Miserlou by Dick Dale. These bands and a few others were fortunate enough to break through commercially out of the west coast culture. In some ways this culture has similarities to the punk culture of the late 70s. You could start a band with limited technical know-how and get gigs. The formula is simple.....a rocking beat, a rythmn guitar plunking on the low strings, a bass pumping eight notes, and a lead guitar stinging on top with attitude and melody and of course a healthy dose of reverb. You didn’t need a vocalist, you didn’t really need a PA system. Your sound was self contained just by setting up close together and wailing. The first time I ever got together with a few buddies in a garage and played....I’m sure we started with something like Wipeout.
This music is thrilliing to play. It definitely gets your adrenalin pumping.
Before long everyone is looking at each other with joy and smiling “We can do this!!” There is something about the Fender gear also. A Stratocaster or Jaguar plugged straight in to a Fender amp with the reverb turned up just makes “ that sound”. Hearing that music in Florida, where i grew up, transported me to a dream world of fast cars, sunshine and of course surfer girls in a land far away in California or Hawaii. It was intoxicating and exciting. As i was learning to play guitar I searched for other bands that you couldn’t hear on top 40 radio. What you hear on this compilation are many bands that were under the radar, but still making vital music as if their lives depended on it. Even their band names are inspired.....The Vibrants, the Reekers, the Furys, The Runabouts......you can tell these guys were fired up and committed.
There is something about surf music that gets your heart beating faster.....and it still affects me this way all these years later. I hope you enjoy discovering this music as much as I have. Maybe it will inspire you to start a band... like it did for me.
(Tom Petty and the Heartbreaers)
I have been a fan of surf music since the get-go. The excitement of that first wave of surf culture, the Hollywood movies that got it all wrong but made it seem so right, the surf lingo that I don’t think anybody used except Hollywood screenwriters ‘’Hey some HODADS got the Big Kahuna and they’re heading for a cruncher!’’ In all the time I spent in the surf I don’t think I ever heard anybody talk that way, but Im still hoping. This surf music brings me back immediately to the time when surfboards were the size of a small freighter and the line up was empty. I am a big fan of the twang and the reverb and the energy of it all. I don’t think I ever played an amp that didn’t have spring reverb, because how could you slide down the strings and sound like Dick Dale without reverb? Turn it up loud enough and this record can start a swell...and in an emergency the CD itself can be turned into a spare skeg.
SURF-AGE POP CULTURE
This box of Surf Age Nuggets is about the attitude of surfing during the 1960s. In it’s essence it is what Miki Dora was to Malibu. It’s hell on fiberglass, riding on a full tank of hedonism. This is not a trip down memory lane. It’s SURF GUITAR shredding at it’s best from basement born, indie labels. High tide and low-brow - a rip current of reverb, stoked on twang, taking us through a variety of genres. All delivered through Fender Strats, Jaguars, Jazzmasters, Danelectro and Mosrite guitars. Stacatto Nation! Now, these instros are pretty damn obscure. No attempt was made to make this an historical collection. It is the underbelly of the top 40. It is meant to be the companion to Cowabunga! The Surf Box (produced by myself and historian Jon Blair in 1996) as it celebrates the flip side of the hits heard on radio, it’s the unsung heroes of that decade. In the ’50s and early 60s, surfers were mavericks, social outcasts, living for the next wave. This collection reflects that attitude that has always been a “rebel sport.”
An amazing amount of instrumentals emerged from the 1960s. There was an undercurrent of indie labels willing to cash in on the action. And, there were plenty of bands ready to take the money and play. Hell, this was the first time that music, sport and teenage lifestyle came together. Blame it on Gidget. Instrumental bands popped up in virtually every state in the nation and all over the world. Now, everyone had an ocean across the USA. Bands didn’t need a singer to take the spotlight. They concocted a “twangy” mixture of 50s, post ’58 rock & roll minus the teen idol baggage. It was pretty basic and pure. Bill Doggett and a slew of R&B groups paved the way during the 1950s. Bill Justis crafted a simple tune that had a solid groove. “Raunchy” topped the charts in 1957. By definition, “raunchy” was a slang term for, earthly, slovenly, vulgar, and sexually explicit. Teenagers always had their secret language. No matter, the song was a hit. By the late 1950s instrumental bands were on the rise. On AM radio they got played prior to the news at the top (and bottom) of the hour, as they could easily be faded. Duane Eddy was responsible for manipulating Country and R&B into something new with his low-note, reverberating guitar style. His first Jamie Records album was titled, Have Twangy Guitar Will Travel. His anthem, “Rebel Rouser” finally brought the guitar front, center and loud. While Duane was a clean -cut kid from Arizona, Link Wray was prowling the back alleys of North Carolina looking for inspiration. In the day, “Rumble” was banned from radio stations but it remains a juvenile delinquent tour-de-force and still stands as one of the best instrumentals of all time. Even Jimmy Page will wax nostalgic on the importance of this song. Link’s “Jack The Ripper” was surf music before most people knew the sport existed. By the Summer of 1960, the Ventures put their precision guitars way up front on “Walk Don’t Run.” The Fireballs from New Mexico hit the charts with “Torquay” and “Bulldog.” The Bel Airs had a hit with “Mr. Moto,” which, unwittingly captured the feel of surfing and still remains a classic, propelled by the sinewy guitars of Eddie Bertrand and Paul Johnson. “Moon Dawg” by The Gamblers and other bands started cracking the charts with a new, melodic sound. None of this would have been a craze had not been for the movie Gidget in 1958. We all wanted to ride waves on colorful surfboards, and live a bohemian lifestyle. It took a few of years but suddenly in 1961, everyone was discovering surfing. If you were a dedicated surfer in the ’60s (as was I), you belonged to a new club. I still remember coming back from the summer break of 1961 to see the one-time, JD hipsters with a “greaseless” new look. White Levis, Pendletons, Jack Purcell sneakers, and surf movies at The Santa Monica Civic!! – Paradise FOUND…in Southern California. The “laid-back” lifestyle was here to stay. Surf music was perfect for virtually anyone. The sport was so pervasive that it was literally everywhere - on comic books, in movies and television. Even Mr. Ed, Gilligan, Batman and The Flintstones cashed in. The buttoned-down minds of Madison Ave. jumped in with cigarette and alcohol ads. There were even surfing slot machines… and of course, those stylish Fender ads from the mind of Bob Perine. We dug the sound from low-fi AM radio on the beach or where ever a transistor radio would go. “Jungle Fever” by Dick Dale was an underground track rarely heard but featured here. Dick is honored here with a two page spread of vintage posters. “Misirlou” is the perfect instrumental and inspired many bands to copy Dick’s style (check out The Emotionals version on Disc 2). All this was the soundtrack for a new wave of teenagers flocking to the beach on PCH in woodies, slathered with Coppertone and zinc oxide. The ocean was mecca especially in the warmer climates. AM radio was ready to capitalize on the scene. Surf partys replaced sock hops. No band captured the feel of dropping in on wave quite like The Chantays. “Pipeline” was an instant hit. Melodic and moody with an undulating ocean-like rhythm. Surf music was a blank canvas, it suited the hot rod, custom culture as well as the space age, horror movies, insects, spy-fi and “spaghetti westerns,” and a laundry list of off-kilter, kooky subject matter…all covered in twang. As long as you had the signature rhythm and melodic reverb, you had an abstract piece of audio art that could fit diverse genres. Alas, by 1966 the scene faded. The last hold out were The Elite UFO (Disc 4) who in 1966 demonstrate how far the genre has come by taking the basic “Tequila” riff from surf and then to garage/psych all in 3:20! Many of these bands grew their hair, dropped acid and added fuzz guitar, snotty vocals and morphed into the psychedelic scene.
Surf Age Nuggets traces the “ethos” and attitude of surf music from 1959 to its monophonic demise in 1966. From long boards and short hair to short boards and long hair, this collection celebrates the lesser-known bands. They pioneered the sound. Raunchy, trashy and twangy, they deserve their place in Rock history.