Thursday, August 13, 2015

Surf Guitar 101 Convention 8-8-15

I had the great privileged to attend the 8th annual Surf Guitar 101 Convention in Garden Grove California. While the event was restricted to one day of non-stop surf music, the ensuing events were not restricted at all. There were many other venues that presented live instrumental music related to the convention.

Here I am at The Huntington Beach Pier enjoying The Longboards from Bilbao Spain.

My lovely wife of 33 years gave me this trip for my birthday. I flew1st class both ways, stayed at a chi-chi place in downtown Long Beach and had plenty of spending cash for swag. Here is the pool at my hotel, that is the Queen Mary in the background.

Thanks Baby, I ain't coming home....

The convention was held at The Garden Grove Elks Club this year. There was lots of room for the fans, merch tables and a big stage for the bands. You can see a lot of info here:

Jeff 'Big Tiki Dude' Hanson is the promoter, producer, impresario and a musician. Here he is waiting his turn to play on the Surf Guitar 101 member jam.

The convention is held every year and features the best instrumental and surf bands from all over the world. This year they had 2 bands from Spain. They may have been my favorite participants. Here is the line up for this year:

* Davie Allan and the Arrows (50th Anniversary show)(USA)
* The Eliminators(USA/So.Cal.)
* Els A Phonics(Spain)
* Longboards(Spain)
* The Volcanics(USA/So.Cal.)
* The TomorrowMen(USA/Nor.Cal)
* Boss Fink(USA/So.Cal.)
* MoonBase(USA/Atlanta,Ga.)
* Paul Johnson and Friends
*Jim Messina and the Jesters tribute set

There was also the members jam I mentioned earlier, here are some pics from those collections.

These were some interesting combinations that produced some great music. I don't know who most of these people were, but I am sure they are all stellar musicians on the own.

A Jesters Tribute was next on the stage. Jim Messina had a killer surf band before he and Loggins made their great music. Today some of the best surf musicians on the planet took the stage and played some of his hits.

The members of the Tribute left to right; Ivan Pongracic, guitarist extraordinaire and lead for The Madeira; Jonpaul Balak, bass-man in several bands including The Insect Surfers and The Tikiyaki Orchestra as well as a historian, DJ, curator and surf mentor; Duff Paulsen, I don't know a lot about him yet, I will fill in later and John Blair, longtime surf guitar and lead of John and The Nightriders who was responsible for starting the second wave of surf music.

I died and went to heaven; Ivan and John, dueling guitars.

Oh hell yes, and this combo! Ivan and Jonpaul!

Duff was a delightful guy and rounded out this stellar collection of musicians. He and I have something in common, were are both designers in similar fields.

If this was any indication on what the day was going to bring, I knew I would be a happy man.

They played an amazing set punctuated by sudden outbursts of genius. But this was one of 10 acts and the show must go on. Thanks to Jim Messina for writing such great music and the band for doing a killer job of interpreting.

Paul Johnson and friends were up next. He had been asked to join once again. He and his mates played some of Paul's library starting with the early stuff.

They played many a recognizable classic. Paul is one of the most venerated musicians in the genre and the masses treated him accordingly. He was a sweet guy and was friendly to all. From left to right we have: Matt Quilter (Guitar), Steve Pugh (Bass), Paul Johnson (Guitar), Duff Paulsen (Drums), and Marc Burroughs (Guitar).

Paul brought the traditional sound of surf to the gene for forty years. Hell, he and a few other fellows invented it with the band The Bel-Airs. Other endeavors included The Packards, PJ and The Galaxies among others. He has also been a writer, promoter and cheerleader for the genre. And here he was playing for me, just 20 feet away!

The members of the band were some of his former band mates, all legends themselves. Duff Paulsen was playing the drums. Here is Paul on guitar, Steve is on Bass, Marc is also on guitar. The 3 guitar thing was cool.

We were so fortunate to see this great collection of musicians. They were all smiles and made the peeps very happy. Here is Alfredo from The Longboards and my new buddy Dave rocking with the band.

They were super nice guys and very approachable. Connect with Paul here:

Next on was Moonbase from Atlanta, Georgia. They are: George Asimakos - Guitar, Eric Balint - Bass, Sonny Harding - Drums and Chad Shivers - Guitar. Here from their FB page: MOONBASE is an instrumental rock band heavily influenced by the surf bands of the 60's, with progressive leanings.

They played an amazing set of original music that dabbled around the edges of traditional surf. They might be influenced by other bands, but they played music all their own. Connect with them here:

I know Chad from another famous surf band, The Mystery Men? He is one of the biggest surf advocates for the southern USA. He writes his own blog and promotes the genre whenever and wherever he can. He produces a show called the Southern Surf Stomp, a monthly surf showcase at Kavarna in Oakhurst. You can find his blog here:

I was looking forward to this next band. I had heard some of the music on Jonpaul's Show, Fiberglass Jungle and loved the vibe. I was a child of the Ed Roth Era so I was smitten right away. Find Fiberglass Jungle, Saturdays 2-4pm at

The Boss Finks came out with scorching guitars and reverb. Big fun ensued.

The Boss Finks are: Norman "Quarter Mile" Cabrera GUITAR, "Haulin" George Pallow, BASS, Jeff "Race" Carr GUITAR, Len "Crash" Curiel DRUMS. Here is my favorite description from their FB page: Big Daddy Roth meets a wall of Fuzz and Reverb!

'Haulin' was rocking the bass.

The fuzz was making my groin vibrate. I had a buzz in my head and special pep to my step.

They list their influence as: Rat Fink! Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, George Barris, Dean Jeffries, Gary Usher, Don 'The Snake' Prudhomme, Tom "The Mongoose" McEwen, "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, "Jungle Jim" Liberman, "Jungle Pam" Hardy, Linda "Miss Hurst Golden Shifter" Vaughn. True Dragster heroes all.

The Boss Finks had a great vibe and the chops to back the Rat Fink concept.

Much to my dismay we had to move on. Try to imagine a new band on the hour, every hour for 11 hours. Not just any band, a fantastic world-class surf band. The TomorrowMen were on next.

I have a special love for The TMen, I have followed them for years. I have made them sculptures, contributed art to their latest CD and have imported them to Seattle for my annual surf show.

Here is my addition to their latest CD. When I thought of Futourism I wanted to go to the last scene in The Planet of The Apes. This is where Charlton discovers he is on the future earth. Here I visit the end of the world as we know it with my wife and a few sunbathers.

Here is the cover of their latest CD Futourism. You can buy it here:

Here is the blog I posted on the surf party my wife and I had two years ago featuring The TMen, Frankie and The Pool Boys, Aloha Screwdriver, The 'Verb and The Evanstones.

Here is a sculpture I made for Ferenc. He is standing in a pool full of water with Barbie digging his suave persona.

The TomorrowMen brought their usual great stuff playing tunes from their new CD as well as their earlier endeavor. They changed outfits tonight. they had on brand new shiny suits from the future.

Alfredo was enjoying the show!

Ferenc is having his usual fun, a beatific smile all across his face.

Treyf was rocking the bass and securing the bottom for the future.

Laika was in back producing his usual phenomenal percussion. One of the things I noticed about all these bands, they all had stellar percussion. Laika was one of the best.

Danny is the lead guitar and writer of most of the tunes The TMen play.

The set was killer and the crowd loved the men from the future You can connect with The TomorrowMen here:

The Volcanics were the next up.  I have all their stuff and am a big fan. They have a traditional frat rock vibe that is refreshing and fun.

The Volcanics are: Frankie - Guitar/Vocals, Jimmy James - Drums/Vocals, David "Whitey" - Bass/Vocals,  and Mark - Rhythm Guitar/Vocals You can connect with them here:

They play high-energy dance and party music that includes vocals (gasp).

Their matching outfits and the trad sound was a fun thrill and a cool change from the last band.

The dancers were up and having fun, this guy was dancing to all the tunes. He was at all the shows, sweet fellow.

High-energy was a apt description, they rocked the house.

I was transported to my college days in the 60's when I was rejected as an applicant for a frat. I ended up going the way of the hippie. But I remember bands like this at the college dances.

They added a vocalist for a tune.

The Longboards were taking the stage and the crazies, er I mean Dave Arnson made his first meaningful appearance.

Does anybody have more fun than David? David is in the Insect Surfers and is quite animated. He is a sweet fellow and we were on a first name basis by the end of the weekend.

It wasn't hard to get up and dancing to The Longboards. I bought their latest CD and I have yet to take it out of my deck. They put the fun into live music.

The Longboards were happy to be here. It showed in every note. They were not satisfied to stand about and play killer surf, they moved!

The Longboards are from Bilboa, Spain. This was the third time I had seen them. I absolutely loved them. The Longboards are: Jordi Porras (Bass) Alfredo Romero (Guitar) Ander Bada, (drums).

You can connect with them here: and here:

Anders was another one of the greatest drummers in the event. He was creative, talented, fun and oh, so active.

Jordi was my favorite musician of the event. He has great love surf, he is an excellent musician and loves to perform. He was also the nicest guy, reaching out to each and every fan that approached.

They had energy to spare. The Longboards soon became the band I looked forward to see, and I was going to see them again the next day.

Spain provided some of the best music of the convention. This was one of the best that that country has to offer. Lucky us to be able to see The Longboards.

Another great band from Spain was waiting in the wings so the boys from Bilbao gave way to the boys from Valencia. Els A Phonics were up next.

Els A Phonics are: Juan Diego Sanchis(guitarra) Fernando Pardo (guitarra) Nacho Arnau (bajo) Eugeni Camacho (bateria). You can connect with them here:

Again with high-energy instrumental, guitar fueled fun.

The Spanish turned out to be the stars of the convention.

The Eliminators were the next to play. They are another venerable surf band playing together for over 20 years.

The Eliminators have helped lead a resurgence of interest in surf instrumental music that was popular during the early 1960s by staying true to the sound while giving the music a modern twist.

The Eliminators are: Joe Kurkowski - lead guitar, Frank Hughes – bass, Bill Swanson - sax, rhythm guitar and percussion and Doug Harlow – drums

They have been on TV, in commercials and are all around global kings of traditional so-cal surf.

This was an amazing set from some true surf veterans.

It was about now that my camera told me I was at the limit. I had 64 gigs of photos just from today. I dumped a few but it was no use. I wasn't going to be able to get anything of the last two bands including the headliner, Davie Allan and the Arrows.

I did get a pic of Davie signing CDs.

I caught him talking with Mel Bergman in the hall.

Here is a couple of fans waiting for Davie.

Least to say he was amazing. It was his 50th Anniversary show. He is a legend in the surf genre. You can connect with him here:

The convention was a smash success. Much music was made, many CD's were sold and massive amounts of swag traded hands. Thanks to Surf Guitar 101, Jeff Hanson, all the guys who donated amps and gear, all the bands and all the participants. I am coming next year, going to bring the wife.

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