abp: surfing

Here’s the Spotify link to the playlist. You’re welcome to recreate it on any platform you choose. Just press play and read along, acting like the voice in your head is the DJ. The times listed are that of the song playing, not the full episode length. I play this with a 5-second cross-fade enabled. Have fun!

Intro

FMF#TrackArtistAlbumYear
1“Bustin’ Surfboards”The TornadoesBustin’ Surfboards1963

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 Hello and welcome to ABP’s surfing episode! Today we’re gonna grind some gnarly waves and get sooooooo pitted, dude! International Surfing Day is typically held on the third Saturday of June, right around the summer solstice. Originally brought to mainland America by Hawaiians and Native Polynesians, the sport saw an explosion in popularity in the 1960s Southern California scene.  With help from a plethora of beach movies starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean’s music, and the beat generation books about heading out West, the sport would become a staple in the area.  

01:10 In honor of the sport and its venue, we’re playing all kinds of surf and beach songs.  We’ll hear songs about the “locals only” mentality, surfing birds, menstruation, a few covers, and some of the most famous surf instrumentals between sets.

01:40 Behind us, we’ve got The Tornadoes doing “Bustin’ Surfboards” from 1962.  The band released one album with this tune included but would never record another.  Quentin Tarantino would later famously use this track in his 1994 cult classic film Pulp Fiction.  

02:10 Kicking off our show is the infamous So-Cal band Surf Punks.  While not making waves in the mainstream, the band definitely had a local following.  The band’s performance of this song live at the Whiskey A-Go-Go was featured in the punk documentary Urgh! A Music War. This right here, is peak 80’s “getting pitted”. So pitted.  Here are Surf Punks with “My Beach”.

Set 1: Locals Only

2“Meet Me At The Beach”Surf PunksMy Beach1980
3“King Of The Beach”WavvesKing Of The Beach2010
4“(I Hate) Surfin’ In HB”D.I.Ancient Artifacts1985
5“Max Can’t Surf”FIDLARFIDLAR2012
6“Surfin’ Bird”The TrashmenSurfin’ Bird1964

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 That was The Trashmen, Minnesota’s most well-known surf/garage group. “Surfin’ Bird” comes from their 1963 album of the same name.  The “bird” combines two other songs to form a medley of sorts; “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” and “The Bird’s The Word”; both by The Rivingtons. The Trashmen would stop releasing material in 1967 until 2013 when they would unite with Deke Dickerson for a four song EP.  

00:40 FIDLAR begged to be heard in their ode to drummer Max Kuehn. If you hadn’t gathered from the song itself, their red-haired drummer not only lacks the balance to execute, but gets real stoned and tries to make it work. “Max Can’t Surf” comes from their debut eponymous LP.

01:10 In our first run-in with Rikk Agnew during today’s episode, we heard D.I. playing a cut from their debut album. D.I. spawned from the Adolescents, but mostly just rearranged the players. Casey Foyer, the Adolescents drummer became D.I.’s singer, with Rikk on guitar. Rikk joined Christian Death in 1982 and released an album along with kicking out his own solo effort. We’ll hear more from that later. In our “locals only” set, we heard “(I Hate) Surfin’ In H.B.” That’s Huntington Beach to all you non-locals.

01:40 Kings of the beach Wavves played us one of their theme songs from the album of the same name. Although the production value is quite different, the song structure between “King Of The Beach” and Surf Punks’ “Meet Me At The Beach” is pretty close.  Close enough that I could picture Wavves covering Surf Punks, could you?

02:10 Some So-Cal alternative rock is headed your way now with Weezer doing “Surf Wax America” from their self-titled 1994 LP. Not to be confused with their self-titled 2001 LP, their self-titled 2008 LP, their self-titled 2016 LP, or either of their self-titled 2019 LPs. Of course, even though they’re all self-titled, they’re all a different color. So that helps. Here’s Rivers Cuomo singing about riding a surf board to work.

Intermission

7“Pipeline”The ChantaysPipeline1963

Set 2: Wavy Gravy

8“Surf Wax America”WeezerWeezer1994
9“Tidal Wave”Thee Oh SeesTidal Wave / Heart Sweats – 7″ Single2009
10“Catch A Wave”TriptidesPsychic Summer2011
11“Wave Of Mutilation (UK Surf)”The PixiesHere Comes Your Man – 12″ Single1989
12“Charlie Don’t Surf”The ClashSandinista!1980

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 That was Joe Strummer and The Clash doing “Charlie Don’t Surf” from their 1980 triple LP Sandanista!. The Sandinistas were a political party named after Augusto César Sandino, who led the Nicaraguan resistance against the United States occupation of Nicaragua in the 1930s.  The album would find mild success compared to the follow-up Combat Rock, which launched the band into international fame.  

00:40 Boston band Pixies took plenty of cues from The Clash’s punk rock views.  Black Francis notoriously put out a classified ad seeking a female bass player who liked both Peter, Paul And Mary and Hüsker Dü.  Kim Deal was the only one to answer and showed up without a bass guitar as she had not known how to play.  With the release of the single “Here Comes Your Man” in 1989, the band reworked another track from Doolittle; “Wave Of Mutilation”.  They slowed the song down and gave it a bit of a surf feel, hence the title of the version we played, “Wave Of Mutilation (UK Surf)”.  

01:10 Los Angeles’ psych-surfers Triptides chimed in with a cut from their debut release. Psychic Summer was one of the self-released cassette tapes the band had put out in the early days. The album saw a re-release in 2019 transferring the tape to wax and streaming services. Triptides gave us “Catch A Wave”, not to be confused with the Beach Boys classic.

01:40 Thee Oh Sees dropped a deep cut into our set with “Tidal Wave”. The track comes from the Tidal Wave / Heart Sweats 7″ single released in 2009. If you ever watched the TV series Breaking Bad, you may have recognized this tune. During the episode Salud, (spoiler alert) when Gus presents Don Eladio Vuente with a bottle of rare tequila, they all drink it, get poisoned, and the “heroes” escape. Almost. Either way, cool track for the scene.

02:10 Alright, let’s get into some plagiarism!  The Beach Boys ripped off Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” so blatantly that Chuck Berry now shares songwriting credits with them.  Granted, the melodies are basic and easily identifiable, it is still quite similar.  This happened so much in the early days of rock and roll, that I’m truly surprised there aren’t more cases. I’m happy there aren’t, just surprised. Anyway, from 1958’s One Dozen Berrys, here’s “Sweet Little Sixteen”.

Intermission

13“Wave”Wun Two & CoryaYoWaves2015

Set 3: He Stole My Board!

14“Sweet Little Sixteen”Chuck BerryOne Dozen Berrys1958
15”Surfin’ USA”The Beach BoysSurfin’ USA1963
16”Surf City”Jan & DeanSurf City & Other Swingin’ Cities1963
17”Crimson Wave”TacocatNVM2014
18“Let’s Go Surfing”The DrumsThe Drums2010

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15  The Drums‘ first single “Let’s Go Surfing” was first released on their debut EP Summertime.  The song would get a slot on their debut album a year later and would make it onto a Volkswagen commercial.  That whistling, it’ll get you every time.  Frontman Jonny Pierce cites the Beach Boys as one of his many influences, along with reverb.

00:40 Prior to The Drums’ surf jam, we heard an ode to menstruation from Seattle’s Tacocat.  The song’s music video would put them into the national spotlight after Katy Perry stole their image and shark costumes for her infamous Super Bowl performance.  The band wasn’t too happy about getting ripped off but also wasn’t interested in a giant legal battle over a dancing shark.  To their credit, to me, it totally looks like she lifted that vibe.  

01:10 From a “Crimson Wave” to the blue waves of Malibu, we heard Jan and Dean and “Surf City”. Jan and Dean are credited with pioneering the vocal harmony sound that The Beach Boys would make famous.  Nearly every other song they wrote was about surfing, all the way to Jan Berry’s car wreck. After spending two months in a coma, Berry would work his way up to walking again and eventually make it to the studio a year later.  They recorded an incredibly psychedelic album in 1967 (Carnival Of Sound) that wouldn’t see the light of day until 2010 when Rhino would release it.

01:40 The Beach Boys’ Chuck Berry ripoff, “Surfin’ U.S.A.”, preceded Jan and Dean. Of course it was a blatant ripoff, it was on purpose. Brian Wilson had the idea of listing all the cool surf spots much like Chuck would list what was happening from city to city in “Sweet Little Sixteen”. So Brian asked his then girlfriend’s brother (who was a surfer) to give him all the hot surfing spots. They put the the list to lyric and the rest is history.  

02:10 Next up, we’re all about the beach. Starting things off is New Zealand’s Scared Of Girls. The Auckland band released a debut EP in 2017 called SUCK and followed it with the “Waihi Beach” single in December of that year. One of the songs from that EP, “Beach Teens”, channels surfing’s most famous guitar riff a la “Miserlou”. See if you can spot it. Here’s Scared Of Girls with “Beach Teens”.

Intermission

19”Wipe Out”The SurfarisWipe Out1963

Set 4: Sand Of The Beach

20”Beach Teens”Scared Of GirlsSUCK2017
21”Beach Rats”The GrowlersHung At Heart2013
22”Beach Sluts”HowlerAmerica Give Up2011
23”Beach Whatever”Surf CurseSad Boys2013
24”Beach Porn”The FrightsDead Beach EP2013

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 The Frights didn’t have intentions to become a full-time band when they played a one-off Christmas show in 2012, but after an audience member approached them in hopes to sign them, they decided to go with it.  Hailing from So-Cal, The Frights incorporate all kinds of genres into their garage rock sound. After the release of the Dead Beach EP in 2013, the band would head to the studio to record their second LP, which was produced by Zac Carper, the frontman of FIDLAR.  

00:40 It only has 6 songs, but the 2013 release from Surf Curse, Sad Boys, is apparently a debut album. Devil’s in the details I suppose. Nevertheless, the duo from Reno slipped into the 20-teens garage revival scene in hip fashion.

01:10 Howler wedged our “beach block” with “Beach Sluts”, the lead track from their debut America Give Up.  After breaking up in 2017, lead singer Jordan Gatesmith formed Wellness. Wellness doesn’t have quite the same garage feel, but puts out great indie “slacker” rock, if you will.  

01:40 SoCal beach goths The Growlers hold the annual Beach Goth festival in Oak Park, CA every year around October.  The band has seen a shift in sound from their early days of surf/psych/garage rock to a more pop-based sound. The Growlers saw some lineup changes in 2020 after allegations came out of sexual misconduct involving them and women within their circle. Whatever happened, I hope they can learn and grow and more importantly, let’s hope the victims or affected parties are listened to and respected.

02:10 The next set blasts off with a rocket…to Russia. The Ramones’ 3rd LP Rocket To Russia was released just 18 months after their debut hit the shelves. “Rockaway Beach”, from that LP, would become the band’s highest performing single ever; proof once again that Billboard charts are not an indicator for great music, just popular music. “Rockaway Beach” is a fantastic track, but The Ramones’ best? Up to you. Rocket To Russia also featured The Ramones covering The Trashmen’s “Surfin’ Bird”. Alright, take it away Dee Dee…1! 2! 3! 4!

Intermission

25”Surf Bat”45 GraveSleep In Safety1983

Set 5: Barrel Rolls

26”Rockaway Beach”The RamonesRocket To Russia1977
27“Surfers Are Back”The BarracudasDrop Out With The Barracudas1980
28”Nude Beach”Peach Kelli PopPeach Kelli Pop III2015
29”Surfin’ Away”Vivian GirlsSurf’s Up EP2008
30”Suzy Is A Surf Rocker”The CrowdBeach Blvd Compilation1979

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 The Crowd hail from Hunting Beach, or “H.B.” as D.I. stated. When Posh Boy Records put out the famous Beach Blvd compilation in 1979, they included five tracks from The Crowd, five from Simpletones, and five from Rik L Rik. The rare cassette version, though, would include the debut Redd Kross EP featuring Greg Hetson. “Suzy Is A Surf Rocker” comes from that comp.

00:40 Before The Crowd we heard a Ramone from New York City singing about surfing. No, it wasn’t those Ramones. Cassie Ramone formed Vivian Girls in 2007 with Kickball Katy and Frankie Rose. After releasing their self-titled debut LP in 2008, the band pushed out a few singles not included on the album. One of those singles, “Surfin’ Away” would get a 1000 copy press and not be included on future albums.

01:10 Allie Hanlon started Peach Kelli Pop in 2009 as a solo project. The band’s name comes from a song title on Redd Kross’s 2nd official album, 1987’s Neurotica. That album is said to have been inspired by Saturday morning cartoons and breakfast cereal, e.g. “Frosted Flakes”. Allie’s inspirations include the anime cartoon Sailor Moon. I think I’m seeing a connection now. That was “Nude Beach” from PKP’s 3rd self-titled album.

01:40 London garage/surf revival band The Barracudas dropped in with a b-side from their 1980 His Last Summer 7″ single. “Surfers Are Back” originally showed up as the b-side, but was actually put on the US version of The Barracudas debut LP Drop Out With The Barracudas in lieu of “Campus Tramp”.

02:10 Popping off our final set is the 1960s Australian group The Delltones. Originally forming as a doo-wop group, the band shifted to surf rock after the US rock n’ roll sub-genre fad spread across the Pacific Ocean. Their cult classic “Hangin’ Five” from 1963 would launch them to national stardom and would also make waves in America.  Oh, by the way, it was also featured in Aussie actor Mel Gibson’s first movie Summer City. Here’s The Delltones with half the wave power of hanging ten.

Intermission

31”Power Surf”Jerry Cole And His SpacemenSurf Age1963

Set 6: Everybody’s Goin’ Surfin’

32”Hangin’ Five”The DelltonesSurf ‘N Stomp1964
33”Surfside”Rikk AgnewAll By Myself1982
34”Surf Combat”Naked RaygunThrob Throb1984
35”Surfin’ Cow”The Dead MilkmenBucky Fellini1987
36”Surfin’”The OrlonsEverybody’s Goin’ Surfin’1962

00:10 (music fades low for voice-over)

00:15 “Surfin’ is the only life/The only way for me/Now surf”. Simple as that. That was the Philadelphia R&B group The Orlons doing a Beach Boys cover from the 1962 surf rock compilation Everybody’s Goin’ Surfin’. The Orlons are perhaps best known for launching the Watusi dance craze with their single “The Wah Watusi” in 1962. Ahh the 60s dance fad craze. Mashed Potatoes, Watusis, Twists, what a time to be alive and be a dancer!

00:40 Keeping things in Philly, we turn to The Dead Milkmen next. They were part of the obscure bands that got lumped in with hardcore punk during the early 80s scene. The Milkmen didn’t have loud, fast songs filled with aggression, but rather with filled their sound with sarcasm and clean guitars. “Surfin’ Cow” from their 1987 LP Bucky Fellini graced the final set.

01:10 I’ve seen surfers on Lake Michigan in thermal suits and ice cold water. I’m still not sure what the draw is though. Chicago 80s punk path-pavers Naked Raygun were perhaps the most prominent early punk band of that scene. With “Surf Combat” off of Throb Throb, the band takes shots at the glitz and glamour of the 80s. “Muscle Beach is now Pork Chop Hill” is such a fantastic, metaphoric line.

01:40 In our final Rikk Agnew run-in for the day we heard a track from his 1982 solo debut All By Myself. Rikk and Casy Royer spent some time in Social Distortion in the band’s early days before splitting off and forming the Adolescents. It’s amazing how connected that So-Cal punk rock scene was. Everyone was in everyone else’s band at some point. Rikk’s tune “Surfside” accompanied The Orlon’s R&B jam.

02:10 And that, surfers, is the end of the swells. The tide is low. The crests are flat. It’s time to go home and wipe the sand off your feet. Thank you very much for stopping by and riding some waves with me today. I look forward to seeing you here again next time!

02:15 (music plays and fades out)

Outro

37”Spudnik (Surf Rider)”The VenturesSurfing1963

Check out my List for all of the releases featured!


5 thoughts on “abp: surfing

  1. 00individual June 22, 2017 / 12:27 pm

    This is impressive! Kudos for a fun, fact-filled Surf Fest!

    Like

    • Nick FMF June 22, 2017 / 12:39 pm

      Hey, thank you! Glad to hear you enjoyed!

      Like

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