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Surf Rock


I can’t think of a better place to start Garage Rock month than with Surf Rock. After the death of Buddy Holly and the drafting of Elvis to the war, then later to Vegas schmaltz rock, pre-fab four arrival, surf rock was at its peak.

This was the counter-culture of the early 60’s. Kids on the beach surfing and ducking B-Movie creatures from the sea. It was psycho beach party and beach blanket bingo and the music was like something from another planet. Like far out man.

Guys like Link Wray, a 50’s rockabilly rebel and Dickie Dale were the pioneers of the surf rock sound. Loud twangy guitars with just a bit of fuzz to make it dangerous. Link Wray would later join Robert Gordon in the late 70’s for a rockabilly revival. Saw them a few times back then. Amazing shows.

Mostly instrumental in sound but even more in setting the path for what was to become the greatest surge of garage rock.

I love this music and it makes me feel like I am back in time to a place I was too young to remember.

There are quite a few decent compilations of the surf rock explosion. But if you want to get a real feel listen to bands like The Iguanas (featuring drummer James Osterberg, later known as Iggy Pop), The Swanks, The Wailers, The Lively Ones, The Markettes.

You can also find this music on just about any Quentin Tarantino soundtrack. He knew how to mix surf rock with his film genre.

Surf rock made its way into the mainstream with Jan & Dean, The Ventures and of course The Beach Boys but it was the early sound that I still find so appealing.

Here are a couple of staples:

Link Wray – Rumble

Dickie Dale – Misirlou

The Lively Ones – Pipeline

The Wailers – Tall Cool One

The Iguanas (feat. Iggy Pop) – Surfin’ Bird

The Swanks – Ghost Train


About Stevie GB

60 year old stand up comedian from Long Island. My approach to comedy is telling the truth about being married, middle aged and living in the suburbs. I enjoy making people laugh without making them feel uncomfortable. My act is clean and clever. Featured in Newsday and on News12. Winner of the Huntington Arts Council Laff-off, 2006. 3rd place winner of LI Press Best of LI 2011, A regular on The Long Island Comedy Festival for 9 consecutive years. Opened for Dennis Miller, Louie Anderson, Kevin Pollak, Bobby Collins, Bob Nelson, Uncle Floyd, Kevin Meaney, and many more.

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