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!
- 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.
- What city do you claim as your hometown?
We sprang from the mean streets of Van Nuys, CA.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- What kind of music do you say you play?
Surf and Garage. Most people flat line if you try to explain anything beyond that.
- 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.
- Spaghetti westerns or spaghetti meatballs?
Both, but not at the same time.
- What’s your favorite venue to play?
Any place where the people are dancing, jumping around and having a good time.
- Who’s your favorite superhero?
I’m actually more into Creepy and Eerie comics from the 60’s than superheroes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Have you ever actually surfed?
I never go to the beach without my bogey board!
- 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.
- Favorite SciFi movie?
War of the Gargantuas!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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..
Cheers and Reverb!