Thursday, 24 January 2013

Surfer Joe Summer Festival 2013

So, we now know the line-up for the Surfer Joe Summer Festival 2013, which runs from Friday June 21st to Sunday June 23rd.
This is probably the world’s foremost festival of instrumental surf music and organiser Lorenzo Valdambrini once again deserves credit for putting together a stellar bill for the event, with fifteen bands over the three nights, including a rare European opportunity to see legendary Australian surf band The Atlantics, with The Apemen, The Bradipos IV, Surfer Joe & his Boss Combo and Dave Arnson's second-wave veterans, the Insect Surfers, also looking especially appealing.
The venue is once again the Terraaza Mascagni, beside Surfer Joe’s Diner in Livorno, Italy and this year there will be three stages, a main stage on the Tearrazza, a second stage in the garden of the Diner and a third stage inside the Diner itself, with Lorenzo promising non-stop live music.
Full line-up as follows:
Friday – from 8:00pm with live music from 10:00pm
  • Tony Dynamite & the Shootin’ Beavers
  • Speedball Jr. 
Saturday – from 5:00pm with live music from 7:45pm
  • The Mullet Monster Mafia
  • The Spaceguards
  • Les Agamemnonz
  • The Apemen
  • Diabolico Coupe
  • The Atlantics
  • The Bradipos IV
  • Les Agamemnonz – night set
Sunday – from 5:00pm with live music from7:30pm
  • Ukulelics
  • Tonomats
  • Alwaro Negro
  • Surfer Joe & his Boss Combo
  • Dave & the Pussies
  • Insect Surfers 

There will be all the usual stalls and exhibits, plus food and drink provided by the Diner. 

Visit the festival website for further details, including on how to find the venue and on where to stay in Livorno. 

Get booking those flights now!


Women in Surf and Instrumental Music

I received an email from guitarist Zoe McCullough recently, urging me to check out her band, The Crickettes, which I did. I would urge you to do the same.

The Crickettes are quite unusual in the world of surf and instrumental music, in having an all female line up; the only other such bands I can think of are The Neptunas, who operated around California in the 1990’s and The 5, 6, 7, 8’s from Japan, who are still going strong, but who only play some instrumentals (although they play them in a splendidly ferocious manner). Do let me know if you can think of any others.

What also marks Zoe out is that she’s a lead guitarist, which puts her in fairly rarefied company these days, alongside Susan L. Yasinski, formerly of Susan and the Surftones and now performing as Susan Surftone, while Marisol Yolanda was a fine rhythm player in Los Twang Marvels.

It’s a bit easier to find women playing bass in surf bands: Lada Furlan Zaborac of The Bambi Molesters, Tine Camilla Lind of El Ray, Dolly Sunmakers of The Sunmakers, Catherine Gray of the late lamented Space Cossacks, Hula Girl of Hungarian band Cowabunga Go Go and Hiromi Jones of The Space Agency are all notable. Actually, special mention should be made of Hiromi, since she now also appears to be playing lead guitar in The Get Smashed (who are essentially The Space Agency, but playing one another’s instruments!).

No trawl through women in surf should be complete, of course, without mention of Kathy Marshall, The Queen of the Surf Guitar, a teenage sensation who shared the stage on many occasions with Eddie and the Showman in the 1960’s and reputedly once also blew Dick Dale off stage. The shame is that only those who were there have ever had the chance to hear Kathy Marshall play, since the only recordings made of her have never seen the light of day. However, she does feature in the documentary The Sound of the Surf, which was previewed at the 2011 Surfer Joe Summer Festival in Livorno and which I can’t wait to see in full.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Gerry Anderson

To those of us of a certain age, the TV programmes produced by Gerry Anderson during the 1960's will always remain firmly fixed in our minds and I was very saddened to hear of his death on Boxing Day.

Compared to some of the computer aided trickery available today, of course, Anderson's "supermarionation" looks a little clunky, but it cetainly transported me to a completely different world, a million miles removed from the grey Sunday afternoons of my childhood, where the Mysterons genuinely frightened the life out of me, with their creepy floating circles of light and spooky voices.

Everyone will have their own favourite show, whether it be Fireball XL5, Thunderbirds, Stingray, Captain Scarlet or Joe 90, while some may also be taken by his later live action work, although this never held the same charm for me.

In later life I would thrill to the sound of The Lost T-Shirts of Atlantis covering the theme from Firbeball XL5 at God's Little Joke in Clapham and later still I would come to know a man so obsessed with Anderson's work that he named his two children after chracters from his shows.

All of this has very little to do with surf and instrumental music, of course, athough The Shadows (and Cliff Richard) did put in an appearance in the Thunderbirds movie, Thunderbirds Are Go and many of the theme tunes do lend themselves to surf-ish treatments. A surf bands of the world cover Gerry Anderson themes album anyone? Oh yes, we think so.

Just loving the Burns guitars, by the way!

RIP Gerry and thanks, from my eight year old heart.