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 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!

Astrochrist Surf Band: Cosmic Gospel Surf Music in Dallas, TX

We are beginning a series of interviews with surf bands. Our first interview is with Astrochrist from Dallas, TX. Check it out now! Here even!

Astrochrist Surf Band from Dallas, TX
Astrochrist Surf Band from Dallas, TX

We are beginning a series of interviews with surf bands. Our first interview is with Astrochrist from Dallas, TX. Check it out now! Here even!

  1. How long have you been playing together?
    One earth year.
  2. What city do you claim as your hometown?
    The Sovereign Nation of Texas is our current base of operations.
  3. Do you have any nicknames?
    Sometimes Reverend Dangerwood goes by Susan
  4. What songs come up on shuffle on your ipod?
    What is this ipod of which you speak? Shuffle? Tell me more!
  5. If you had the chance for some interstellar travel, what planet would you colonize?
    We’re actually colonizing yours right now, take us to your babes.
  6. What kind of music do you say you play?
    Cosmic Gospel Surf Music
  7. Tell us about everybody’s gear.
    Father Edna Strange plays his elegant white Telecaster through a purple Marshall Halfstack. Crimbot 5000 plays a Harmony Bass from the 80s (it’s surf I promise) through an Ampeg SVT. Reverend Dangerwood plays, among other things, an Epiphone dot with righteous lipstick pickups through a Fender DeVille (2×12). Brother Bob plays some delightful Pearl kit that I can’t remember right now with a Chad Smith signature snare that has just been set up and resnared for added freshness.
  8. Spaghetti westerns or spaghetti meatballs?
    Westerns! How can you think about pasta when the banditos are running off with our party liquor?!
  9. What’s your favorite venue to play?
    Hot Rod shows like The Round Up in Central Texas
  10. Who’s your favorite superhero?
    Captain Reverb
  11. Are there any other surf bands we should check out?
    The Surf Coasters from Japan kick all kinds of ass.
  12. If all of your band members were in a knife fight, who would win?
    Brother Bob, his mother is a tiger… a fucking tiger
  13. Have you ever actually surfed?
    Sure, on the internet
  14. Favorite surf guitar song?
    I’m not really into picking favorites, but off the top of my head I’ll just say “Chunder” by Friends of Dean Martinez.
  15. Favorite SciFi movie?
    “Blood Freak…” okay it’s actually a bad horror flick, but it’s got some science bs.
  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?
    If I weren’t broke myself I’d just take him straight to the liquor store and start shoppin.’
  17. Do you drink beer while you play?
    No, silly. My hands are full of guitar, but in between songs, yes.
  18. When is your next tour?
    After college is over.
  19. Have you released an album lately or do you plan to release an album anytime soon?
    Currently in production. Hopefully it will be done soon.
  20. If you could make a worm hole to any time and place, where would you go?
    I would go find Andrew Jackson and punch him in the dick.

-Rev Dangerwood

Astrochrist Surf Band from Dallas, TX
Astrochrist Surf Band from Dallas, TX
Astrochrist Surf Band from Dallas, TX
Astrochrist Surf Band from Dallas, TX
Astrochrist & Zardoz
Astrochrist & Zardoz

Dick Dale Tour Dates 2009

With shows starting tonight, there’s a new set of tour dates for Dick Dale. He’ll be performing with his son Jimmy, who I believe plays drums. Here are the dates:
August 26, Wednesday  –
Stephen Talkhouse  – Amagansett, NY.
August 27, Thursday  – The City Winery – New York, NY.
August 28, Friday – The Birchmere – Alexandria, VA.
August 30, Sunday – The Rams Head – Annapolis, MD.
September 9, Wednesday – Santa Monica Pier – Santa Monica, CA

Los Straitjackets Surf Band & Popular Surf Albums

Los Straitjackets have a new album out, “The Further Adventures of Los Straitjackets.” It’s their 12th studio album, and apparently it’s a straightforward classic surf album.

First, the cool stuff.

  1. It’s got a great album cover.  It looks like they are battling some sort of swamp creature.  Swamp creatures are underrated in general.
  2. It comes with a trading card for each member of the band, revealing their superpower.
The Further Adventures of Los Straitjackets
The Further Adventures of Los Straitjackets

The not cool stuff is that I haven’t heard the album yet, so I can’t comment on it.  But I’ve read a few reviews, and most are good.  That’s probably better than my opinion anyhow.

At any rate, this lead to noticing the album is #5 is “Surf Rock” sales on Amazon.  That made me wonder what the heck is outselling it right now.

Here’s the list:

  1. Sounds Of Summer – The Very Best Of The Beach Boys ~ The Beach Boys
  2. Beach Boys – 20 Good Vibrations, The Greatest Hits (Volume 1) ~ The Beach Boys
  3. Echoes of Nature: Ocean Waves ~ Echoes Of Nature
  4. Death Proof ~ Various Artists
  5. The Further Adventures of Los Straitjackets ~ Los Straitjackets
  6. Pulp Fiction: Music From The Motion Picture ~ Various Artists
  7. Today/ Summer Days (and Summer Nights) ~ The Beach Boys
  8. The Ventures Play Telstar — The Lonely Bull and Others /(The) Ventures in Space ~ The Ventures
  9. Classic Disney, Vol. 1: 60 Years of Musical Magic ~ Disney, Classic Disney (Series)
  10. The Very Best of the Ventures ~ The Ventures

First, Amazon needs a better defition of surf rock music, with Classic Disney and Ocean Waves making the list.  Second, the Beach Boys are rich!  How nice is it to have 3 of the top 7 selling surf albums 40-something years after starting your band?

Anyway – let us know if you’ve listened to “The Further Adventures of Los Straitjackets” and tell us what you thought in the comments.

Jesus Christ Surferstar Album!

So, if your favorite musical genre is religious surf music, you finally have an album to buy.  I can’t believe this is an album, but here it is – Jesus Christ Surferstar.

At first I figured it was just a funny name for a surf album, but it’s actually a surf version of the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical.  Really.

Also surprising, it’s good. It was released in 2003 and it has a few surf bands I recognize.

Take a look here: http://cdbaby.com/cd/jcsurferstar

Jesus Christ Surferstar Album Cover
Jesus Christ Surferstar Album Cover

Track list –
Overture – Daikaiju
Heaven On Their Minds – Urban Surf Kings
What’s The Buzz – Waistcoats
Strange Things Mystifying – Prawns With Horns
Then We Are Decided – Breakfastime
Everything’s Alright – Susan & The Surftones
This Jesus Must Die – Atomic Mosquitos
Hosanna – El Ray
Simon Zealotes – Pipelines
Poor Jerusalem – Lava Rats
Pilates Dream – 3 Piece Suit
The Temple – Ward 69
I Don’t Know How To Love Him – Crime Factor Zero
Damned For All Time / Blood Money – Babyshaker
The Last Supper – Hypnotic IV
Gethsemane (I Only Want To Say) – Surfones
The Arrest – HiFi Ramblers
Peter’s Denial – Fabulous Planktones
Pilate And Christ – Capacitors
King Herod’s Song – Susan & The Surftones
Could We Start Again, Please? – Noseriders
Judas’ Death – Johnny Vortex
Trial Before Pilate – Supertones
Superstar – Atlantics
Crucifixion – Longhorn Devils
John Nineteen Forty One – Aqualads

Also, how odd is it that this album has a band called “Babyshaker?”

The Modelos: Canadian Cowboy Surf Band

I ran across “The Modelos” for the first time this weekend. If you’re not familiar with them, I think you will enjoy taking a listen. I found them on their MySpace page, where they’ve got several sample tracks.

Apparently they are from Vancouver, Canada, which means they are likely to smell like a moose and push some universal health care on you.  Otherwise, they are a great sounding rockabilly/surfy/spaghetti western band, with a mix of insturmental songs and songs with vocals.  They’ve got two albums out now.

"Saddle Justice" by The Modelos
"Saddle Justice" by The Modelos

Junior Brown Surf Guitar Medley

Not really a video, just pictures but with the sound.  Regardless, it’s great country artist Junior Brown playing a great surf medley on his crazy custom-built “guit-steel.”  He puts on a pretty entertaining show.

Los Coronas (Spain’s Top Surf Band) Play at SXSW

Surf music has its roots in California from the 50’s and 60’s, but has an interesting following today internationally.

One band worth listening to is Los Coronas, apparently the top surf band is Spain.  Their sound is a mix of 60s surf sound, Spaghetti Western, and Spanish melodies.

Los Coronas, Spanish Surf Band
Los Coronas, Spanish Surf Band

Los Coronas played at SXSW 2009, which came to an end just recently.  Unfortunately, I believe they are already done touring the U.S.  If you saw them – tell us what you thought.

Here’s a video timesuck for you:

Setting Up Pandora Surf Music Stations

If you’re not sucking down your company’s broadband by streaming Pandora radio all day, you’re missing out.  Pandora is a great site for listening to free music, based on the artist or song you specify.

Setting up a station depends on the type of surf music you like.  Most all popular bands are available, so if you simply enter your favorite band, that will work fine.

Personally, I like to create stations with multiple artists, to make the music a little diverse.  At least, I think that’s how it works.  Here are some tips I’ve found:

  • Songs work better than artists. A song has a specific sound, a band can have many sounds.
  • Do you want a 60’s “clean” surf guitar sound, or do you want a dirty sound?  If you want both, create two different stations or your one station will sound muddled.

For an old-school surf station, try:

  • The Ventures
  • “Surf Rider” by the Lively Ones

For a clean station, try:

  • “Pacifica” by Los Straitjackets
  • “Blue Venus” by the Blue Sting Rays (also good for a slow, get your wife in the mood station)

For a crunchier sound, how’s about:

  • “Eliminator” by Dick Dale
  • “Son of DaiKaiJu” by DaiKaiJu
  • Link Wray

A more swing sound:

  • “Can You Dig It?” by Los Straitjackets

Lots of reverb:

  • “Mystery Meat” by Man or Astro-Man?
  • “Rebel Rouser” by Duane Eddy

What are your Pandora station suggestions?  Or any other internet radio stations?