The Surf Coasters are an exciting Japanese surf band. Check out their rock version of “Flight of the Bumblebee” below:
The Ventures are one of the classic surf bands, and “Walk Don’t Run” is one of the most classic surf songs. Because of the lasting popularity of the song, it’s one that’s been covered numerous times. Below are a few covers of “Walk Don’t Run” that I found worth a listen.
Here’s the original version by the Venture if you need a refresher:
Now here’s a version from guitar great Chet Atkins. It’s a cool acoustic, jazzy version:
And here’s a ukele version of the song, which is also very enjoyable. It’s done by a felt bear and rabbit apparently:
Another acoustic version, but with more guitar parts. This is by the California Guitar Trio, but the sound quality is pretty lousy:
And the final one, this is more of an update to the original version. It’s by the Shadows, and I like this version the best:
Give us your opinions on the best covers of this song.
The band of the week is a great group called the Vanduras. It reminds me of Vandelay Industries, so that’s already a good start.
The only album the Vanduras appear to have released was 2002′s In The Dark. The music is composed and most instruments played by father & son Geoff Brandin and Gary Brandin.
The album is hardly the up tempo, guitar-centric usual offering of the genre. It’s got a very laid back vibe, mixing ambient music, surf, and also western element. In The Dark is instrumental, with very prominent pedal steel parts, lending to the western feel.
I imagine the plan for the album went something like this:
“Hey I think we should do an album together.”
“OK. How about we play surf music?”
“Perfect. Hey do we have time to down some whiskey and pop a handful of Valiums before we go into the studio?”
“I don’t see why not…”
Just take a look at the band photo and guess what kind of music they play. How often do you see a Telecaster, cowboy hat and lap steel guitar in surf bands?
Interestingly, Gary Bradin is also in a well known contemporary surf band, the Blue Hawaiians. They are definitely worth checking out as well, and we will certainly write a post about them in the future.
Let us know what you think of the Vanduras.
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, 2009 (Wednesday) – Stephen Talkhouse – Amagansett, NY.
August 27, 2009 (Thursday) – The City Winery – New York, NY.
August 28, 2009 (Friday) – The Birchmere – Alexandria, VA.
August 30, 2009 (Sunday) – The Rams Head – Annapolis, MD.
September 9, 2009 (Wednesday) – Santa Monica Pier – Santa Monica, CA
A lot of credit is given to Quentin Tarantino for reviving interest in surf music. With the release of Pulp Fiction, one of my favorite movies, the soundtrack was a big seller and full of surf music. The album included songs by Dick Dale, the Lively Ones, the Centurions and the Tornadoes.
The Philadelphia Inquirer said that Pulp Fiction “reinvigorated surf rock.” Inspired by the soundtrack, surf music started showing up in places like commercials, making surf music hugely popular again.
According to a recent interview, Tarantino uses the music to help influence his writing:
“When I actually sit down to write something, I go to my music selection and start finding the songs that will be the beat of the movie, the rhythm of the movie. In the case of Jackie Brown, it was ‘70s soul. In the case of Pulp Fiction, that would be surf music. That helps inspire me. Even as I start writing and going further on it, playing that music transports me into a movie theater. I feel like I can see it on a screen.”
During another interview, he gave his thoughts on surf music specifically:
“I’m using surf music as the basic score – from the 60′s, Dick Dale style. I don’t understand the surfer connection to surf music. To me, surf music just seems like rock n’ roll Ennio Morricone music, rock n’ roll spaghetti western music, that’s what it sounds like.”
What guitars do popular surf rock bands play? Several come to mind – Fender Stratocasters, Jazzmasters and Jaguars, Mosrites, and Danelectros. Not only do they usually have a certain sound, but they also have a certain look. You don’t see a lot of Flying Vs in surf bands.
Let’s take a quick and unprofessional look at what popular bands of different eras played:
- The Ventures – Fender Strats, Fender Jazzmasters, and Mosrites
- Dick Dale – Fender Strat
- Surfaris – Fender Strat
- The Beach Boys – Fender Strat
- Duane Eddy – Gretsch
- Link Wray – Les Paul Goldtop, Gibson Firebird, Supro Dual Tone
- The Shadows – Fender Stratocaster
- Man or Astroman? – Silvertone Hollowbody, Epiphone Coronet, Hofner Hollowbody
- The Mermen – Fender Stratocaster
- The Blue Stingrays – Fender Jaguar (I think)
- Los Straitjackets – DiPinto Galaxie
According to the book “Guitar Rigs” by Dave Hunter:
“Fender’s Jazzmaster and Jaguar have been the dual lodestones of the retro surf crowd.”
That certainly seems to be true.
Just from this small sample, Fender Stratocasters have been amongst the most popular as well. Today, of course, you have many more choices than early surf bands. All in all, I’d say there’s more than a couple of different “classic” surf guitars and rigs.