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Izen Ears

Surf music anyone?

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Just curious.  I play an AV65 jazzmaster & a 2003 AVRI jaguar through both a ‘62 and a ‘64 Showman (with D130fs of course) and a ‘63 reverb tank.  (I’ve also got a ‘62 Twin but no place to really use it at the moment haha!)  I love spring reverb and surf.  My mom grew up in the Bronx and was 19 in 1960 when surf started in Southern CA, and she never heard surf on the radio!  So sad.  I grew up in Hawaii (mid 70s - 80s) and also never heard surf on the radio.

 

Lots of you are in Southern CA and I am super jealous!  They just had a three day surf festival around LA this past weekend.

 

I’d say surf is a style more than a genre, because let’s face it: Wipeout is a rock song, and so is Pipeline, Penetration, etc.  Miserlou however, is a Russian folk song adapted to rock / surf!  That’s my flavor, minor key and dramatic, not 1-4-5 blues jams.

 

Dan Izen

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Oh yeah I know Hunter, he’s a True Fan Of Surf!  (I’m totally not; there’s a ton of surf I find unbearably boring.)  He was at that festival I mentioned above, which is why he couldn’t come to our show this past Sat.  My last outfit played on his show in 2013 and we were so loud it maxed out the mics, and turned the songs into psychedelic fuzz!  It sounded really awesome though...

 

I’m *always* working on Mondays when his show airs, today was no exception.

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My Son's father-in-law plays guitar in what they call a modern surf band.  They're called Wave Invasion.  They mostly do outdoor gigs at fairs etc. out near LA.  They're pretty good!  He also buys and sells guitars and audio gear on line and is an audio engineer.  He's got a lot of nice guitars and amps to use.  Whenever I see him we always have a lot to talk about.  He was friends with the original developers of PZM mics and used to bring prototypes to Frank Zappa's home studio for him to try out.

 

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In my opinion the perfect Surf amp is a vintage Fender Princeton that gets breakup distortion around 6 or 7 on the dial. Good for small medium sized venues. Bigger places you may want a Deluxe or a Showman. Guitars: any single coil or gold foil pickup that sounds reasonably good.

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Gerard-NYNY said:

In my opinion the perfect Surf amp is a vintage Fender Princeton that gets breakup distortion around 6 or 7 on the dial. Good for small medium sized venues. Bigger places you may want a Deluxe or a Showman. Guitars: any single coil or gold foil pickup that sounds reasonably good.

 

 

 

 

I apologize, I was asking strictly about instrumental surf, no vocals.  I really don’t care for much vocal music!

 

I also will 100% disagree about the Princeton, but then again we’re talking about different styles.  The kind of surf I like is CLEAN with zero “hair” or “dirt” or “breakup,” just the normal (awesome) tube harmonic distortion and all the noise that comes with a 6G15 reverb tank...

 

That said, I am gassing pretty hard for a 5f2 Princeton for some reason...

 

I’ll have to reach out to Wave Invasion!  My outfit’s called Blood Reef.

 

Dan Izen

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56 minutes ago, Izen Ears said:

 

I apologize, I was asking strictly about instrumental surf, no vocals.  I really don’t care for much vocal music!

 

I also will 100% disagree about the Princeton, but then again we’re talking about different styles.  The kind of surf I like is CLEAN with zero “hair” or “dirt” or “breakup,” just the normal (awesome) tube harmonic distortion and all the noise that comes with a 6G15 reverb tank...

 

That said, I am gassing pretty hard for a 5f2 Princeton for some reason...

 

I’ll have to reach out to Wave Invasion!  My outfit’s called Blood Reef.

 

Dan Izen

 

You should check out Pat Irwin (B 52s, The Raybeats, Eight Eyed Spy) and his new band, the Pi Power Trio, He's the only one I know of here in NY. I stumbled into a small show last year and it was pretty good and I instantly recognized the sound as an offshoot of The Raybeats. He used a Fender Champ, a Strat and a Tiesco and got nice tones. Go for a Princeton and maybe a Rickenbacher if you can stand the feel (I never bnded with them but I love the sound).

2018-03-03-857.jpg

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Oh, what a fun thread, not sure how it fits with the rest of the forum but so what, I love it.

When I think surf I thing Ventures. I always love the sound of those large brown face Fender amps, the big white piggybacks or brown combos with presence control. That and an old 6G15 is a match made in tone heaven.

Here's a great video of the Ventures doing "wipeout" live ( not sure what kind of post treatment this recording got but anyway, it's great

 

Ventures - Wipeout live in Japan 1966

 

Being from Europe I have a fondness of what I'd call Euro Surfbands like the Shadows or the Spotnicks from Sweden

Check out these outfits.

 

The Spotnicks - Rocket Man ( 1962)

 

In the end it doesn't matter if you use Fender amps or Vox AC-15s and 30s like Hank Marvin did

 

The Shadows - Apache (1960)

 

There are tons of contemporary Surf bands, most of whom I don't care for. These guys are an exception.

Amps are Fender Princeton (nonreverb model), Fender Tweed deluxe and 6G15 Reverb 

 

Blue Stingrays - Gold Finger

 

I agree that Surf is more a style than a genre, something that can creep in and enrich all kinds of music, kinda like Blues which by itself doesn't do that much for me but I like it as a style. I like the adaptations of old traditional tunes like Miserlou, Hava Nagila. I play a little guitar on the side so I tried my hands at a version of the Klezmer classic "Di Zilberne Khasene" ( (The Silver Wedding )  I recorded this a long time ago with very basic recording gear ( 2 mics and an interface), but I thought it'd be fun to post so be gentle. 1960 Fender Concert 5G12, 1962 Reverb Unit 6G15, Old blackguard tele made from parts.

 

Di Zilberne Khasene

 

 

 

 

 

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About 25 years ago, there was something of a surf music revival here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lots of interesting bands doing a lot or a little surf-style music with what seemed to me to be a healthy mix of respect and disregard for their predecessors. My favorite of those bands was The Hi-Fives ("We like suits from 1964 and amps from 1965," or something like that). But more straight-ahead instrumental were The Mermen. And they're still around, though less "pure" surf. Good stuff, imo. 

 

(Side note: I'm gathering parts to make a Fender 5E3(ish) Deluxe(ish) amp. The goal is to do as much from scratch as possible... that seems obtainable since people have shared SO MUCH information about that amp online, and if I need to bail on a complete DIY, there are lots of parts, cabs, etc. available. Should be fun!) 

 

Here's a tune from their first album. Dig it:

 

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Surf Music had an early following in Japan and still has a following today which I find interesting (every time I go to Japan I always hit up record stores and it's crazy how much $$$/¥¥¥ the albums there go for although they are always in pristine shape!).  I always find the concert of The Ventures in Japan in '65 to be really well done from a sound standpoint (supposedly only with 3 track tape!) and also visually interesting for just being a bunch of guys in suits on a stage rocking out!

 

From the liner notes "Recorded at Tokyo Kosei Nenkin Hall, March 5, 1965.  Mastered from the original 3-track master sessions tapes"

 

 

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One of my faves, surf music and instrumentals from Peru 1960s.They got into vocals later, and as such, a spectacular and hilarious vocal resulted in making their single 'Il Monstruo' into a Garage Rock classic.

 

 

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13 hours ago, codyman said:

Surf Music had an early following in Japan and still has a following today which I find interesting (every time I go to Japan I always hit up record stores and it's crazy how much $$$/¥¥¥ the albums there go for although they are always in pristine shape!).  I always find the concert of The Ventures in Japan in '65 to be really well done from a sound standpoint (supposedly only with 3 track tape!) and also visually interesting for just being a bunch of guys in suits on a stage rocking out!

 

From the liner notes "Recorded at Tokyo Kosei Nenkin Hall, March 5, 1965.  Mastered from the original 3-track master sessions tapes"

 

 

Yeah, I linked to that video myself in my earlier post. The footage appears to be staged ( one microphone downstage) but the audio might be live with enhancements. I think drums are overdubbed, they sound too good to be true, especially when compared to the very limited bandwidth of the audience cheering at the beginning which then crossfades very quickly to full fidelity ( canned????) Cheers.  At 3:07 one guy's lone shadow crosses from right to left .Weird stuff.

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Here's a little of Wave Invasion from their FB page.  Vincent Motel, my son's father in law primarily plays a Wilson which was developed by one of the founders of the Ventures.  Looks a lot like a Mosrite.

 

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16 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

Dude, go for broke: Twin Reverb!

 

Ya, perhaps a bit more surfy, but two things make me not want to attempt one of those:

 

1) Twins are complex, so more room for me to screw up.

I am trying to DIY it and not just build a kit. A metalworker friend will help me bend/fashion the chassis, I making the cab, etc. No, I'm not making the tubes or speakers, wiseguys. 😉 But I need to limit the chances that I'll end up with nothing.

 

2) I'm from the era (or area) of school-age guitarists plugging their new Strats into Twins fitted with new JBLs. That harsh sound is still ringing in my ears. I've had an unfounded hate of Twins ever since.

 

My first amp was something I "helped" my boss build during a summer job when in junior high; an old suitcase with some solid-state thing feeding a flat styrofoam speaker. It was fine for solo practice but I thought it sounded crappy when cranked (in retrospect, it probably sounded AWESOME. Sigh; youth). When I needed something louder, that same boss pointed me to an old Fender Bassman; I thought it looked stupid; 10-inch speakers and a dumb tan burlap covering... But it was cheap because who wanted Bassman amps back then? And when I plugged in... DAMN! I took it to practice; my bandmates laughed "that looks like my grandma's suitcase" the drummer said (sigh; drummers)... But when I plugged in... DAMN! I still sucked, but my tone --no thanks to me-- was awesome.  Oh on topic: We played the Hawaii Five-O theme song (not well, but loud so that evens out).

 

So anyway, if I get this first amp to work without electrocuting myself, I'll next try something like a small Gibson GA-5, maybe a Bassman, or probably something Britishish with EL84s... But that wouldn't be surf, would it? 😉

 

Fun thread Izen... Sorry for the diversion here...

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3 hours ago, Jim Feeley said:

 

Ya, perhaps a bit more surfy, but two things make me not want to attempt one of those:

 

1) Twins are complex, so more room for me to screw up.

I am trying to DIY it and not just build a kit. A metalworker friend will help me bend/fashion the chassis, I making the cab, etc. No, I'm not making the tubes or speakers, wiseguys. 😉 But I need to limit the chances that I'll end up with nothing.

 

2) I'm from the era (or area) of school-age guitarists plugging their new Strats into Twins fitted with new JBLs. That harsh sound is still ringing in my ears. I've had an unfounded hate of Twins ever since.

 

My first amp was something I "helped" my boss build during a summer job when in junior high; an old suitcase with some solid-state thing feeding a flat styrofoam speaker. It was fine for solo practice but I thought it sounded crappy when cranked (in retrospect, it probably sounded AWESOME. Sigh; youth). When I needed something louder, that same boss pointed me to an old Fender Bassman; I thought it looked stupid; 10-inch speakers and a dumb tan burlap covering... But it was cheap because who wanted Bassman amps back then? And when I plugged in... DAMN! I took it to practice; my bandmates laughed "that looks like my grandma's suitcase" the drummer said (sigh; drummers)... But when I plugged in... DAMN! I still sucked, but my tone --no thanks to me-- was awesome.  Oh on topic: We played the Hawaii Five-O theme song (not well, but loud so that evens out).

 

So anyway, if I get this first amp to work without electrocuting myself, I'll next try something like a small Gibson GA-5, maybe a Bassman, or probably something Britishish with EL84s... But that wouldn't be surf, would it? 😉

 

Fun thread Izen... Sorry for the diversion here...

I don't think Twin Reverbs are more surfy at all. They have that scooped midrange that all Blackface/ Silverface Fenders have and the Reverb can't "drip" nearly as good as the three-knob 6G15 Reverb Unit. It needs to be a brownface style higher powered Fender to get "that" sound. That '62 Twin amp the OP is mentioning would be very surfy if paired with the 6G15.

Our school also had two 70's Fender twin Reverbs ( the 135 watt model) with JBL speakers, those amps sounded good with midrangey Humbuckers but painfully piercing with single coils and nobody is playing surf music on a 335 or les paul AFAIK.

 

the "old" bassman was a tweed then? Awesome amps, I'm lucky enough to own one, but not the sound of surf music IMO.

EL 84 amps were used by those Euro surf bands I was mentioning earlier, Shadows, etc.

 

BTW, does anyone know what amps the ventures used on their Japan Tour? This pic shows some odd contraptions for amps.

 

Ventures_LiveInJapan65.jpg

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Yay there are other surf music fans here!  I dunno, some of the best threads are others who share common interests on unrelated-to-the-board subjects.  I am still hoping to hear from say, RVD or some other dinosaur here who may have stories about 1960 - 1963 and surf music.  (Love you Rich!)

 

Before I continue, if any of you want to join a forum of folks who love surf, join up here.  (I’m DeathTide!)  Actual surf legends have posted until they died on there.

 

https://surfguitar101.com/

 

So, I’ve been pouring my energy into this 10-month per season, 24-hour-long-ep series these past few years, and I have no debt and no kids.  A little over a year ago I realized I had the means to seriously upgrade the rigs!  Enter: Reverb.com.  Oh yeah...

 

2 hours ago, Werner Althaus said:

I don't think Twin Reverbs are more surfy at all. They have that scooped midrange that all Blackface/ Silverface Fenders have and the Reverb can't "drip" nearly as good as the three-knob 6G15 Reverb Unit. It needs to be a brownface style higher powered Fender to get "that" sound. That '62 Twin amp the OP is mentioning would be very surfy if paired with the 6G15.

 

Oh heck yeah that 6G14-A 1962 Twin + the ‘63 tank is a great tone, but once I started playing Showmans through the 15” tone ring, the Twin kinda went to bed forever.  Those low E string palm mutes feel like they’re coming from the deepest depths with the 15”.  My current 3x15” Showman stack absolutely destroys, but I do wonder if adding a 12” or pair of 12” speakers would help somewhere.  I used to play with 2x Showmans and 2x Twins haha!  Now it’s just two Showmans.

 

I also have a 1970 Twin that’s just got the beefiest tone, it’s like a gut punch.  The other Twins sound completely different, but all are stock OTs.  (Got a ‘72 and a 120w ‘74 that cannot break up at all - we put the organ through it!)  The tone is solid throughout all four though, but I completely agree about the on-board reverb.  I have a few Surfy Bears but the tube tank sounds way better, warmer and more full.

 

Have you seen the trick where you reroute the Twin reverb output through the normal channel?  (Just need a RCA F to 1/4” M adapter.)  With this the “reverb” pot = dwell, the normal channel volume = mix, and the tone pots work instead of the single 6G15 tone knob.  Haven’t tried it since I read about this after I already had the tanks.  Hey have you tried the silverface mid 70s tanks?  They have four tubes.  I got a ‘76 tank truly in like new condition (in the box with the hang tag) and it’s a very different reverb.  Super super dark and scary, but no drips!

 

Just yesterday I removed the 1964 Showman from the stack - I prefer the brownface tone all around.  Now the stack is the ‘62 Showman + a 6G14 clone made by Carl’s Amps (which sounds SO GOOD, no old caps n cracked solders!).  The Showman is dry, no reverb (but what a tone!) and the 6G14 is wet.  Soooooo wet; the drip is just massive.  I have it at 10-10-10 (heh heh), because with the dry amp I can still hear every stroke.  The sound recharges my soul.

 

22 hours ago, Jim Feeley said:

(Side note: I'm gathering parts to make a Fender 5E3(ish) Deluxe(ish) amp. The goal is to do as much from scratch as possible... that seems obtainable since people have shared SO MUCH information about that amp online, and if I need to bail on a complete DIY, there are lots of parts, cabs, etc. available. Should be fun!) 

 

Oh dude, you really thumped my heart with a hammer.  I want to learn how to build and service tube amps, so badly.  I want to build a harmonic vibe / 6G15 box (six tubes?) eventually.  You’re so right about kind folks helping with builds!  I frequent OSG, TDPRI, and TalkBass and there are so many knowledgable folks there!!  Even a fellow who is high up in Mesa, who is active and helps the littlest guys.  I need to set up a permanent shop area.  I was thinking a Champ or non-reverb Princeton would be a good first project.

 

Best of luck on your journey!!!

 

22 hours ago, codyman said:

Surf Music had an early following in Japan and still has a following today which I find interesting (every time I go to Japan I always hit up record stores and it's crazy how much $$$/¥¥¥ the albums there go for although they are always in pristine shape!).  I always find the concert of The Ventures in Japan in '65 to be really well done from a sound standpoint (supposedly only with 3 track tape!) and also visually interesting for just being a bunch of guys in suits on a stage rocking out!

 

 

I was shocked to learn that in Tokyo, there is a guitar store that exclusively sells jazzmasters!?  Yeah man Japan does love 60s guitar music!  I mean, whattabout those amazing 90s garage bands?!  Guitar Wolf, Teengenerate, 5, 6, 7, 8’s, Mad 3, etc.

I agree that the sound on that Venture Live record is great!  Three tracks TOTAL?!!!  No way.  It’s so weird that they constantly claimed to not be a surf band...  I guess they wanted to avoid being caught up in “pop” music.  But lots of their stuff feels very surfy.  I want to try a 60s Mosrite but I feel confident that I will not like playing it.  For two reasons, firstly because apparently they can barely handle 10s, and I currently play with 13s.  Secondly because the strings are super close together.  My finger tips are a little fat, but my knuckles are pretty bulbous.  I’m sure the tone would be heavenly though...

 

Dan Izen

I forgot to add that Werner - that Spotniks song and video is really great!!!

 

There’s a megathread on SG101 about gems from the dawn of surf with tons of super obscure songs like that.  I just posted that on there, so thanks for that!

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Still lusting for a cream 2x12 Bassman, even thought I have no need for it.  My best sounding amp was a Tremolux with a custom cab with a vintage JBL 15" in it (that's "vintage" in 1967).  Worst amp was a Baldwin B1, although better once I swapped in an Ampeg 15".  Not sorry that one was stolen. 

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7 hours ago, Werner Althaus said:

Our school also had two 70's Fender twin Reverbs ( the 135 watt model) with JBL speakers, those amps sounded good with midrangey Humbuckers but painfully piercing with single coils and nobody is playing surf music on a 335 or les paul AFAIK.

 

I think part of the deal is that those JBL speakers, though harsh when new, have, like many of us, mellowed with age. Also, how do they sound with a Mosrite? 😉

 

 

7 hours ago, Werner Althaus said:

the "old" bassman was a tweed then? Awesome amps, I'm lucky enough to own one, but not the sound of surf music IMO.

 

You know that old amp was pretty beat up. IIRC, it had been gigged a lot back in the day, then modded/repaired, then just stored at my boss's friend's house. Could be that it was some post 1960 amp where someone had replaced the tolex with tweed (I remember it looking kinda bad); don't know what else had been changed. It probably wasn't the exact same model that caused those English blokes to say, "I say old chum; we should 'borrow' this design for our own amps." I replaced some tubes during my time with it... But compared to other amps in my circles, it sounded cool. Again, late 1970s; we knew nothing. And no, not surf. I sold it in 1980 (have I mentioned we knew nothing?).

 

BTW- I'm going to start a Guitar Amps thread (hope that's cool with you Izen).

 

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6 hours ago, Izen Ears said:

 

Have you seen the trick where you reroute the Twin reverb output through the normal channel?  (Just need a RCA F to 1/4” M adapter.)  With this the “reverb” pot = dwell, the normal channel volume = mix, and the tone pots work instead of the single 6G15 tone knob.  Haven’t tried it since I read about this after I already had the tanks.  Hey have you tried the silverface mid 70s tanks?  They have four tubes.  I got a ‘76 tank truly in like new condition (in the box with the hang tag) and it’s a very different reverb.  Super super dark and scary, but no drips!

 

I forgot to add that Werner - that Spotniks song and video is really great!!!

 

There’s a megathread on SG101 about gems from the dawn of surf with tons of super obscure songs like that.  I just posted that on there, so thanks for that!

Hi, Izen

Yes, I am familiar with the rerouting trick, I have no use for it since I don't own BF/ SF Fenders. I had a '65 deluxe reverb once, wasn't all it's cracked up to be, at least not for me, I traded it for a washing machine and I believe I came out of that ok as long as I ignore the fact that the washer is long gone and old BFDRs sell for stupid money now. I haven't tried the  mid 70s tanks, sounds like a very different animal.

 

And yes, that Spotnicks stuff is great, the sound of my misspent youth. 

 

 

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I loved the Dick Dale interview  ---  so interesting when he talks about the relationship with Fender, also the affect that the wood used with the guitar creates a sound, and being a drummer he played the guitar like he was playing drums. Reminds me of how John Entwhistle (bass player for The Who), an accomplished French Horn player, played French Horn music on the bass guitar.

 

I always liked The Ventures - Walk - Don't Run  ---  so many great instrumentals at that time.

 

 

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As someone who grew up and was involved in SoCal culture as it happened, I find it hard to segregate its elements. Hot Rod music and Surf music and East LA rock and the 50’s rock n roll of Chuck Berry et al and the Beatles and Stones version of his songs are all intertwined into the fabric of the era. The explosion of garage bands throughout region in post ww2 SoCal and the glue of top 40 LA radio bred so much cross pollination that everyone influenced the other. Cars, Music, Girls, Surf, and yes more Girls is what we all shared together. Add Leo Fender and the fantastic products his company made shaped the sound of SoCal like it did country music. I grew up in Fullerton where Fender was started and made its most iconic guitars and amps. Our every evolving band had gear that would cost $100,000.00 in todays market, but then every band did. More than the gear, the energy of our youth culture erupting were creating genre’s heard far and wide. One thing they all had in common was they were made to dance to, which the girls did and therefore we did too.

CrewC

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On 8/10/2019 at 9:36 AM, old school said:

As someone who grew up and was involved in SoCal culture as it happened, I find it hard to segregate its elements. Hot Rod music and Surf music and East LA rock and the 50’s rock n roll of Chuck Berry et al and the Beatles and Stones version of his songs are all intertwined into the fabric of the era. The explosion of garage bands throughout region in post ww2 SoCal and the glue of top 40 LA radio bred so much cross pollination that everyone influenced the other. Cars, Music, Girls, Surf, and yes more Girls is what we all shared together. Add Leo Fender and the fantastic products his company made shaped the sound of SoCal like it did country music. I grew up in Fullerton where Fender was started and made its most iconic guitars and amps. Our every evolving band had gear that would cost $100,000.00 in todays market, but then every band did. More than the gear, the energy of our youth culture erupting were creating genre’s heard far and wide. One thing they all had in common was they were made to dance to, which the girls did and therefore we did too.

CrewC

 

YEAH!!!!!  Thanks for posting this is fascinating!!!  Man!  I am jealous.  If you were there at that time, you could have found f-ing prototypes!!  They do that, every so often a guitar factory will dump a few one-offs and prototypes into local music stores.  I’ve even read about folks regularly finding guitars and parts in dumpters!

 

I have some questions if you don’t mind, sir.  Did you notice a big difference after the Beatles broke?  Do you remember any shows or bands in particular?  Where were you the first time you heard Penetration?  Do you know how cool I think being there was?!!  Am I ever going to travel in time and see surf on tv?

 

In other news, I’ve lost two cats in the last six months, super sad.  But weirdly, I’ve also composed two super awesome new-heights type of surf songs!  Maybe when the band gets some good versions I’ll post em.

 

Dan Izen

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