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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Surf Musician »

Permalink Playing instrumentals of vocal tunes.

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I want your opinion. How many of you in bands play instrumental versions of vocal songs (secret agent man, paint it black, ect.)? I can understand bands playing secret agent man and so forth, and some of them sound amazing (ex. Vanduras - The Big Hurt), but at what point do you say enough of vocal covers? There are a ton of great surf instro's out there, but some bands insist on adding a good deal of instro vocals in their sets. I wanted your opinion, do you play instro versions of vocal songs or do you stick mainly with surf covers and originals? And is it more of a crowd pleaser to play songs the crowd would be familiar with or does the band really enjoy playing them? I for one cannot stand playing instro versions of vocal songs with a few exceptions.

In our band, the Royal Aces, we have found that mixing in recognizable instrumental covers of vocal songs has been extremely helpful in generating positive crowd response, getting return gigs, etc. With enough twang and reverb, these covers go over well and are fun to play - we even do White Wedding, What I Like About You, That Thing You Do, and End of the World, and a Beatles medley of Please Please Me/This Boy, and they all go over just fine. We're interested in playing fun tunes that result in successful gigs, and have no concern about being 100% surf, although our set list still contains a majority of "certified" surf tunes...

We don't do as much as I'd like. I want to do instrumental versions of "Girl Group" songs. Right now all we do is a Spaghetti Western version of "Sealed With A Kiss".

elreydlp wrote:

We don't do as much as I'd like. I want to do
instrumental versions of "Girl Group" songs. Right now
all we do is a Spaghetti Western version of "Sealed
With A Kiss".

I've always thought "our lips are sealed" by the Go-Go's would make an excellent surf cover. Same with "message of love" by The Pretenders (not a girl group though) with that twangy intro. I'm sure we could come up with lots more.

Pretty tough to argue against doing vocal covers with the success of The Ventures.

https://www.facebook.com/index.php?lh=9353f9155b5ff32e14c998495fd00da4&#!/rich.derksen.7

I enjoy hearing Surf Bands' rendering of vocal tunes. There are a lot of vocal tunes out there there lend themselves very nicely to a surf style. It's also really fun to get obscure or ironic with surf interpretations and see how long it takes the audience to catch on. People love it when we do Electric Funeral (listen to it through "surf ears" sometime, you'll see what I mean) or the Hokey Pokey. And we're constantly learning others. Right now we're surfing up "Beat It"

I've found it best to scatter them sparingly through a set list though. Otherwise some drunk bozo or group of chicks begins to think it's karaoke and next thing you know, they're climbing on-stage trying to grab the patter mic.

Reverb, man!
http://reverbnation.com/roarshark

My band The Mighty Landshark! does a surfed-up version of Saw Her Standing There which usually gets a great response. Kind of a surf revenge for the Brtish invasion. We also do an instro of Roy Orbison's moody, escalating wonder Runnin' Scared... Use a little long throw delay and a lot of bi-tones to fill in for the big vocal part. Every now and then I'll hear a tune that sounds ripe for a reworking.. those tend to be the ones we do.

It make for a nice change up..we do California Man and She She Said She Said as well as some others

www.northofmalibu.com

I've always liked the idea of vocal tune surf covers. It keeps it interesting for the audience that may not be as into surf. Especially where I am in Wisconsin. Not a lot of surf bands around here.

I just heard a surfed up version of the Misfits' Halloween that I'm going to learn.

I'm hoping to start up a surf band in the next few weeks, so I'm loving this thread. It's cool to see what songs some of you are doing, gets my wheels turning.

How many guitars are enough?

Just one more...

Monument Music

Here's another video example: when Sonichris was handling bass for us, he had the superb idea of doing an instrumental version of "Please Please Me" (we used Link Wray's version as a model), and here's a live clip of it. The crowd response you hear at the end is typical when we do this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2szWkZIx_o

Last edited: Feb 14, 2012 12:18:31

fenderfan wrote:

Here's another video example: when Sonichris was
handling bass for us, he had the superb idea of doing
an instrumental version of "Please Please Me" (we used
Link Wray's version as a model), and here's a live clip
of it. The crowd response you hear at the end is
typical when we do this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2szWkZIx_o

www.northofmalibu.com

Interesting thread to me as we do lots of vocal covers - it worked out well for the Ventures. Enjoyed the videos by North of Malibu and Royal Aces above, nice. Around here (Richmond, VA) it would be really tough to get many jobs playing nothing but surf, so we mix in our version of vocal tunes. Below, "A Whiter Shade of Pale", and "I Love Her". recently we worked up "Honkytonk Women" and "You Didn't Have to be So Nice".

http://youtu.be/vAkN0VUKI8E

http://youtu.be/3qKb1AhZJG0

Last edited: Feb 15, 2012 04:37:05

ripley,

not to be off - topic but have you heard of the Crimson Ghosts? Ive seen them play up here in MI at the Crofoot in Pontiac. They opened for Los Straitjackets, theyre a strictly instro-surf band of Misfits covers where they arranged the lead as the vocals. I have a cd of theirs called "Earth EP", its pretty B.A.!!!

Also, I always wanted to do Offsprings - Come out and Play and few Nirvana songs.

Knarle Tide

http://www.facebook.com/knarletide
http://www.reverbnation.com/knarletide

I can hear a surf version of Martha & The Vandellas "Heat Wave"

We like the idea a lot. We play instro version on vintage hits from Belgian singers. For example : we play "Dominique" originaly sung by Singinf Nun (Soeur Sourire in French).
It's funny because people don't necessary recognize the song at first but they know the melody and that is catchy enough to get them into "regular" instro surf music.

Monkey Ju

Pirato Ketchup
Clepak - Surf Shows Promoter

We do an instro version of a Greek folk song and it's cool 'cause it's recognized around here Smile

I am considering a side-project doing intrumental covers of 80's - 2010's popular songs with strong melodic lines and interesting chord progressions. Essentially I'd like to do what the Ventures and the Shadows did. If you keep an 'ear' (and mind) for them, there are tons of popular songs that scream to be instro-covered!

However I doubt the audience would welcome such a band nowdays. I think it'll be fun for the band and especially for the lead guitarist but the crowd/audience may not be so enthusiastic about so outdated a concept.

What do you guys think? Is there a place for the Ventures/Shadows of the 2010's?

https://dirtyfuse.bandcamp.com/ - New 10" vinyl out!

Last edited: Feb 17, 2012 05:30:30

Yes, I think there's a place. A small place, but a place. Look at bands like Me First And The Gimme Gimmes, Hayseed Dixie, Rock Sugar, Richard Cheese, Big Daddy, or even Weird Al. All of them take music from one style and lyrics from another. That's how such a band would be seen today, as a mash-up. Granted, it's not how we see the Ventures and the Shadows, but it's likely that's how such a band would be seen today.

And the key is that, like most of the bands I've mentioned, you ahve to be damned good in the first place to pull it off well.

Mr. S, I'll definitely have to check them out. I'm a big Misfits fan. Thanks for the heads up!

I think that Offspring song would be really cool. They actually have a few that would be good too. Check out Pay The Man.

How many guitars are enough?

Just one more...

Monument Music

RaistMagus wrote:

I am considering a side-project doing intrumental
covers of 80's - 2010's popular songs with strong
melodic lines and interesting chord progressions.
Essentially I'd like to do what the Ventures and the
Shadows did. If you keep an 'ear' (and mind) for them,
there are tons of popular songs that scream to be
instro-covered!

However I doubt the audience would welcome such a band
nowdays. I think it'll be fun for the band and
especially for the lead guitarist but the
crowd/audience may not be so enthusiastic about so
outdated a concept.

What do you guys think? Is there a place for the
Ventures/Shadows of the 2010's?

80's tunes are very popular covers among the gypsy jazz players lately. One example is Robin Nolan's "Tainted Love," which is a fantastic album that was recorded live and the recording session was streamed as well. Two guitars, upright bass, and some extremely cool arrangements! Tainted Love, Every Breath You Take (as a swinging bossa!), Don't You Want Me Baby, Take On Me, and more. Ludovic Beier released a similar album last year "Pop Swing & Fire" with covers of Michael Jackson, EWF, and others.

Robin Nolan - Tainted Love

Yeah believe it or not, a lot of your early 90s grunge/alternative/rock has A LOT of surf influence in the rhythms, drums, and leads as well. Get rid of the distortion and add gobs of drippy, splashy reverb and you got yourself some dandy surf tunes lol!

Knarle Tide

http://www.facebook.com/knarletide
http://www.reverbnation.com/knarletide

I like the covers chet atkins did. They were always well orchestrated.

Last edited: Sep 08, 2012 20:50:36

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