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Surf music anyone?

Izen Ears

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On 11/11/2019 at 8:02 AM, hobbiesodd said:

For a raucous and raunchy surf/garage/punk/rockabilly hybrid, I adore the sound of Poison Ivy and her 1958 Gretsch (6120?) weighed down with heavy strings. When I saw them live she had blackface amps on stage but I remember her saying somewhere that she uses smaller rigs for recording sessions.

Anyways here’s some of that original Psychobilly sound:





While I absolutely love that band, and that TONE rules, but the drummer reversed the beat and I cannot handle it haha!  Very much not a jag / JM tone there, but that Gretsch sounds incredible!  It’s all midrange...  And to my ears that’s a super brownface-ey tone.


On 12/2/2019 at 3:04 PM, Sam Mikelic said:

This is one of the most unexpected and best threads I have ever read! haha!  Living in Huntington Beach today, it's truly great to hear some of the history of the era as it pertains to that genre of music. Very cool, thank you all for sharing your stories!  The topic of "sound" certainly goes far far beyond the more boring conversations of freq scanning and which are the best lav expendables, right?


Sam M.

Orange County, CA

AAAAAHHH  I want to live in California!  You are sooooo lucky, if you like surf.  Hopefully you went to SG101 and signed up?  Every year the site dude accepts user submissions and puts out a comp.  Mostly home recordings and Garage Band-type but also a few bands.  Blood Reef got #9 this year.  (You can’t access the comps until you register!)


Dude, you could go to the annual SG101 convention in August!!!!  I may go next year.  I wanna meet some of the surf forumites.  I don’t know if I can take more than one hour of live surf music though.  It’s three days long.


Truth is - I don’t like much surf!  Most of it is played out blues or jazz formulas without the pounding rhythm I crave.  I’ve decided that Blood Reef is a “Horror Punk Surf” band, not even close to a traditional surf band.


Hey you know what?  I believe surf is a style and NOT a genre.  In the 60s it was pop music, now it’s either traditional or non-traditional.  We’re waiting on my guitar skills to catch up and then we’ll record.  In the meantime, go join SG101 and DL the comps!


Also - I really want two brownface Vibrasonics now, just in case we have to travel.  (Or of course, we play a bigger venue with good sound reinforcement, but that will probably never happen!)  The 6G13 circuit, a 50 watt version of the holy 6G14 circuit.  I need two a) for backup, but primarily b) to bi-amp.


Anyhow - yes all my favorite threads here have been about weird sound stuff!  And horror stories, I love those.  Sadly, I don’t really have any.  Yeah a couple of gear failures and some public embarrassment but nothing close to a real horror show job...  One time I almost fought a DP but he wised up and started respecting us haha!


Dan Izen

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  • 2 months later...

Of historical interest:

We Look Back on the Day Surf Rock Died Because They Were All Playing Electric Guitars on Surfboards




To many, February 3, 1959, will forever be known as “the day the music died.” But for fans of surf rock, that moniker would be taken by an even greater tragedy just five years later.


Today we look back on August 30th, 1964, the day that four of surf rocks biggest stars died tragically while playing electric guitar on surfboards.

Mudge Peters, Scoop Willson, Ponz “Grifter” Heartman and Slaps Coughlin will forever be known as the kings of surf rock. Hard Times has tracked down surviving friends, family, and bandmates of “The Groovin’ Four” who bore witness to their gruesome death. What follows is an oral history of that infamous day:




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Haha!  But there is a fascinating (to me) account of the surfer who posed surfing with a Fender’s fancy new model - The Jaguar.




But the cold curtain of truth is that 1964 WAS the year that surf died.  Thanks to those British dorks.



On 2/21/2020 at 9:28 PM, Jim Feeley said:

Of historical interest:

We Look Back on the Day Surf Rock Died Because They Were All Playing Electric Guitars on Surfboards




On 2/25/2020 at 1:37 PM, S Harber said:

The bands Howler and The Frights ring as present day surf where I'm from.


Not sure about the surf connection but The Frights are great!  So full of emotion.  And she plays a mustang!  Howler isn’t my bag, way too cool for me.  But thanks for the post!  I’ll be checking out The Frights catalog now.


Looks like the SG101 annual fest may not happen this year now.

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1 hour ago, Izen Ears said:

Haha!  But there is a fascinating (to me) account of the surfer who posed surfing with a Fender’s fancy new model - The Jaguar.




(1) Holy crap! There's a whole forum devoted just to surf guitar!


(2) Holy crap! That discussion about who's in the picture goes on for five pages!


(3) Well, considering it takes place in a forum devoted just to surf guitar (see: (1) Holy crap!), I guess the length of the discussion is understandable.


(4) My concerns about my own fascination with trivia are now mollified. Thanks Dan!


(5) That's all pretty cool Dan.

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A bit random but a surf-ish underrated gem of a soundtrack is from the 1996 film "Broken Arrow".  So-so action film but the soundtrack has Duane Eddy on guitar.  Unfortunately I don't see it on any music streaming services but I guess it was released again on CD in 2011.


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13 minutes ago, Izen Ears said:

And HERE’S One of the coolest things I’ve ever heard of an airport sponsoring.  This little museum is insane! Anyone in San Francisco can go, they don’t have to take a flight.




The SFO Museum does fantastic work. I have friends who are curators at two of the big-deal museums out here (SFMOMA and De Young) and they consider the SFOM people true colleagues who do good work. Because they do!


18ish months ago, SFOM had a great exhibition on Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records. I just stumbled upon it and was SO glad that I was early for my flight and got to absorb the exhibit. They had his Magnecord tape recorder and explained how that recorder was crucial to his work. Also had lots of other cool artifacts:



I have pix of that exhibit somewhere. But google points me to some here:



SO ANYWAY, based on that, I'd guess the surf music exhibit is really well curated and does much more than just say, "Golly, those guitars sure had lots of reverb." 


Thanks for the heads up Izen! Come on out for a visit.

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