The Ghastly Ones: Spooky Surf Garage Music from Van Nuys, CA

Today’s Surf Guitar interview is with The Ghastly Ones, a very popular surf band from Van Nuys, CA. These guys are awesome. With song themes revolving around monster movies and graveyards, it is very easy to describe their music as spooky. I love their devotion to surf ideals: awesome gear, awesome tone and references to monsters, planets and werewolves. Well, maybe not every surf band writes about werewolves, but we think all surf bands should consider it!

Spooky Surf Band: The Ghastly Ones from Van Nuys, CA
Spooky Surf Band: The Ghastly Ones from Van Nuys, CA

Today’s Surf Guitar interview is with The Ghastly Ones, a very popular surf band from Van Nuys, CA. These guys are awesome. With song themes revolving around monster movies and graveyards, it is very easy to describe their music as spooky. I love their devotion to surf ideals: awesome gear, awesome tone and references to monsters, planets and werewolves. Well, maybe not every surf band writes about werewolves, but we think all surf bands should consider it!

  1. How long have you been playing together?
    Garrett “Dr. Lehos” and I started the band around the summer/fall of 1996. We used to practice and write songs while watching Russ Meyer and 60’s monster movies on TV in my living room.
  2. What city do you claim as your hometown?
    We sprang from the mean streets of Van Nuys, CA.
  3. Do you have any nicknames?
    Garrett is Dr. Lehos, I’m Baron Shivers and Dave is Capt. Clegg. We don’t call each other these nicknames mind you. We just thought it would be more interesting for the album credits plus they go with the undertaker vibe.
  4. What songs come up on shuffle on your ipod?
    Stuff like The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Jan and Dean, The Ventures, the Ramones, The Shangri-La’s, Chuck Berry. I listen to about 80% music from the sixties and fifties, 15% music from the seventies and eighties, and about 5% or maybe even less of music from now.
  5. If you had the chance for some interstellar travel, what planet would you colonize?
    Planet Draculon, of course! Although, I hear the girls on Venus are quite nice.
  6. What kind of music do you say you play?
    Surf and Garage. Most people flat line if you try to explain anything beyond that.
  7. Tell us about everybody’s gear.
    Garrett plays mostly Mosrite, but he’s known to play Burns, Yamaha and Fender now and then. I have a ’67 Ludwig. And Dave plays a Keyboard that he built that he calls The Rasputone.
  8. Spaghetti westerns or spaghetti meatballs?
    Both, but not at the same time.
  9. What’s your favorite venue to play?
    Any place where the people are dancing, jumping around and having a good time.
  10. Who’s your favorite superhero?
    I’m actually more into Creepy and Eerie comics from the 60’s than superheroes.
  11. Are there any other surf bands we should check out?
    There are a lot of really good ones now, but my favorites are Satan’s Pilgrims, Jackie and The Cedrics and The Dynotones.
  12. If all of your band members were in a knife fight, who would win?
    Geez, I would hate to see that happen but it’s come close.
  13. Have you ever actually surfed?
    I never go to the beach without my bogey board!
  14. Favorite surf guitar song?
    Tuff to answer but I’ll say… Bikini Drag by The Pyramids. That’s the first thing that popped into my head.
  15. Favorite SciFi movie?
    War of the Gargantuas!
  16. If you saw Mothra standing on the sidewalk asking for change, would you give him a buck or tell him to get a real job?
    I doubt Mothra would ask for change. He’s too busy destroying Tokyo.
  17. Do you drink beer while you play?
    Beer is a key ingredient to a good surf sound, but too much and the audience will definitely disagree with you.
  18. When is your next tour?
    We played more shows this year than ever. We just got back from playing a festival in Nottingham, England and everyone is pretty burnt out, so we’re going to take a break from shows till next year.
  19. Do you plan to release an album anytime soon?
    We have a brand new 4 song, 7 inch vinyl EP coming in mid-October. You can get it at www.ghastlyones.com
  20. If you could make a worm hole to any time and place, where would you go?
    If that were possible I would love to be a teenager in SoCal circa 1963 to witness the original Surf Music boom..
Spooky Surf Band: The Ghastly Ones from Van Nuys, CA
Spooky Surf Band: The Ghastly Ones from Van Nuys, CA
Spooky Surf Band: The Ghastly Ones from Van Nuys, CA
Spooky Surf Band: The Ghastly Ones from Van Nuys, CA
Spooky Surf Band: The Ghastly Ones from Van Nuys, CA
Spooky Surf Band: The Ghastly Ones from Van Nuys, CA

Cheers and Reverb!

The Secret Samurai: Instrumental Surf Music from San Diego, CA

Today’s surf band interview is with the Secret Samurai. They are a 3-piece instrumental surf band from San Diego, CA. They are just coming off a recent tour, so we caught them at a great time. By the way, they recently played a show at San Francisco’s Hotel Utah with top surf bands Daikaiju, Pollo Del Mar and the TomorrowMen. I would have loved to see that show!

The Secret Samurai: Instrumental Surf Music from San Diego, CA
The Secret Samurai: Instrumental Surf Music from San Diego, CA

Today’s surf band interview is with The Secret Samurai. They are a 3-piece instrumental surf band from San Diego, CA. They are just coming off a recent tour, so we caught them at a great time. By the way, they recently played a show at San Francisco’s Hotel Utah with top surf bands Daikaiju, Pollo Del Mar and the TomorrowMen. I would have loved to be at that show!

  1. How long have you been playing together?
    Steve and Ryan have been playing together for about 15 years. For 10 years in Surf Report, and most recently with The Secret Samurai. Bill, our drummer has played with us for two years.
  2. What city do you claim as your hometown?
    San Diego
  3. Do you have any nicknames?
    Ruhar, Steve-O, and Bilbo
  4. What songs come up on shuffle on your ipod?
    Anything from Mahavishnu Orchestra to The Madeira
  5. If you had the chance for some interstellar travel, what planet would you colonize?
    Titan, because it is the only moon in our solar system to have a dense atmosphere and is rich in carbon-bearing compounds.
  6. What kind of music do you say you play?
    Instrumental
  7. Tell us about everybody’s gear.
    Ryan plays a Fender ’62 AVRI Stratocaster and Jazzmaster depending on mood through either a ’67 Dual Showman or ’63 Vibroverb Reissue. Steve plays a Frankenstein P-Bass through a Gallien-Krueger 800RB Amp and Ampeg 4×10″ Cabinet
  8. Spaghetti westerns or spaghetti meatballs?
    Ennio Morricone is my lord and personal savior.
  9. What’s your favorite venue to play?
    Bar Pink in San Diego, Hotel Utah in San Francisco
  10. Who’s your favorite superhero?
    Silver Surfer, of course
  11. Are there any other surf bands we should check out?
    The Madeira, The TomorrowMen, Pollo Del Mar, Los Twang! Marvels, The Barbwires
  12. If all of your band members were in a knife fight, who would win?
    Bill, due to his lean profile, he would be nearly impossible to strike
  13. Have you ever actually surfed?
    Yep. Surfed pretty actively for a couple of years, but haven’t in quite a while so I’m only partially legit.
  14. Favorite surf guitar song?
    Impossible to answer, but for the sake of argument, a tie between Return of the Space Cossack by Los Twang! Marvels, The Rattler by The Huntington Cads, and Undercurrents by The Madeira.
  15. Favorite SciFi movie?
    Star Wars. I know boring, but it is what it is.
  16. If you saw Mothra standing on the sidewalk asking for change, would you give him a buck or tell him to get a real job?
    I would give Mothra whatever he wanted. I’d tell Godzilla to get a real job though.
  17. Do you drink beer while you play?
    Not as much as I used to. I’m a pretty moderate drinker these days. The reduction has lowered my suck ratio on stage.
  18. When is your next tour?
    We just finished touring actually, so it might be a while.
  19. Have you released an album lately or do you plan to release an album anytime soon?
    We released Gun-Sho-Gun in Feb. 2008 and have enough material for another album. Just need to find the time and resources to put another one out. Hopefully we’ll be able to get our sophmore out in 2010.
  20. If you could make a worm hole to any time and place, where would you go?
    To the Columbia 30th Street Studio, New York City, 1959 during the recording sessions for Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue album. I would want to witness absolute perfection just once.

Thanks to Ryan Ruiz from the Secret Samurai for the interview. Also, I think the Secret Samurai have some of the best show fliers around. Here are a few:

Surf Band Fliers: The Secret Samurai from San Diego, CA
Surf Band Fliers: The Secret Samurai from San Diego, CA
Surf Band Fliers: The Secret Samurai from San Diego, CA
Surf Band Fliers: The Secret Samurai from San Diego, CA
Surf Band Fliers: The Secret Samurai from San Diego, CA
Surf Band Fliers: The Secret Samurai from San Diego, CA

Cheers & Reverb!

The Malamondos Surf Band: Psycho-A-Go-Go in Greensboro, NC

For our next interview, we present The Malamondos from Greensboro, NC. I really like these guys. They definitely have that surf vibe, but there is also a nice dose of psychobilly attitude in their sound as well. And the guitar tones are killer! The Malamondos also have a badass vocalist (Hunny Goodnight), and they play a self-described ‘psycho-a-go-go’ style of music. Check them out if you find yourself in North Carolina.

Psycho-A-Go-Go Surf: The Malamondos from Greensboro, NC
Psycho-A-Go-Go Surf: The Malamondos from Greensboro, NC

For our next interview, we present The Malamondos from Greensboro, NC. I really like these guys. They definitely have that surf vibe, but there is also a nice dose of psychobilly attitude in their sound as well. And the guitar tones are killer! The Malamondos also have a badass vocalist (Hunny Goodnight), and they play a self-described ‘psycho-a-go-go’ style of music. Check them out if you find yourself in North Carolina.

20 Questions from SurfGuitar.com, obviously the most popular site on the internet

  1. How long have you been playing together?
    The Malamondos as a band has been around for 7 1/2 years, with the current line-up being in place for 2 1/2.
  2. What city do you claim as your hometown?
    Greensboro, NC
  3. Do you have any nicknames?
    Nah, but we all have stage-names…Hunny Goodnight, Van Serpico, Mick and Max Diablo. Our go-go girls are simply M1 and M2.
  4. What songs come up on shuffle on your ipod?
    Good god…too many to mention by song title…as artists go there’s a lot of garage (old and new), surf, punk…along with other stuff. I have like 24 days worth of songs on there.
  5. If you had the chance for some interstellar travel, what planet would you colonize?
    The one inhabited by big-hair 60s gals!
  6. What kind of music do you say you play?
    Psycho-a-go-go.
  7. Tell us about everybody’s gear.
    I (Van) have a stable of Hallmark guitars…Swept-Wings, Stradettes and 60 Customs. I also have a Phantom Teardrop and a Reverend Ron Asheton signature. I also have most of the recent Dano reissues. I do an A/B/Y amp setup with a Tone King Meteor II and a Dr. Z Maz NR 18. Our bassist primarily uses a Jerry Jones and a Hallmark Swept-Wing with an Ampeg combo. Our drummer has the John Bonham set.
  8. Spaghetti westerns or spaghetti meatballs?
    One while watching the other.
  9. What’s your favorite venue to play?
    The Garage in Winston-Salem, NC.
  10. Who’s your favorite superhero?
    Dr. Strange
  11. Are there any other surf bands we should check out?
    Killer Filler, The Noseriders…those about the only other surf-type bands we’ve played with. Plus Southern Culture on the Skids usually have one or two great instrumental surf songs on their albums. Same with The Queers.
  12. If all of your band members were in a knife fight, who would win?
    Probably Hunny. She can be brutal!
  13. Have you ever actually surfed?
    Hell, I can barely swim.
  14. Favorite surf guitar song?
    Church Key.
  15. Favorite SciFi movie?
    Hmmmm…tough one…I’m more of a horror guy…I guess Star Wars.
  16. If you saw Mothra standing on the sidewalk asking for change, would you give him a buck or tell him to get a real job?
    Get a job and stop dusting everyone!
  17. Do you drink beer while you play?
    Yup. PBR…nice and cheap.
  18. When is your next tour?
    We really can’t go out for tours, plus people just don’t make it out to live shows like they used to. We tend to play out three or four times a month, though.
  19. Have you released an album lately or do you plan to release an album anytime soon?
    Yes, we’re writing the album now. Looking at recording early next year, with the album being released on a new label called Spider Baby that I’m starting with Joe Queer.
  20. If you could make a worm hole to any time and place, where would you go?
    Mid-60s England, most likely, but I’d split my time there and in the US.
Psychobilly Surf Band: The Malamondos
Psychobilly Surf Band: The Malamondos

Cheers!