Posted on Mar 09 2014 04:13 PM
This thread pretty much died out a couple of years ago, but being new to the site, and just finding again my 45+ year plus old connection to surf it caught me eye and brought some thoughts to mind.
Some of the stuff some here dislike I am entirely unfamiliar with. My surf knowledge is almost totally limited to what I heard when a very unsophisticated just-into-my-teens.
Thus things like Pipeline and Wipeout are key. And hearing them (or again playing them) is for me a blast.
But that said, and giving it even a little thought, I can understand the reactions to them among true surf cognoscenti. Lets face it - they were teen tunes. A 'groovy' hook that ingrained itself in kid's minds -- something that a good hook is supposed to do! But they were little more. They couldn't be! Not in the days of disc jockeys who'd listen to the first ten seconds of a new record and in those few seconds give it a put it on the platter, or put it in the trash decision. Those guys knew what their audience liked -- and that it was unsophisticated -- and that was that.
Later in life, if we continue with an interest (any interest) we begin to see and judge by different standards. Not necessarily better standards, if you'll allow, just different.
In this surf is somewhat like other shredding styles of guitar music. What grabs fans is no longer anything as trite as a simple melody or hook, but mind-blowing technique.
One can compare it to sex. To a 14 year old just getting a chance to "do it" is enough. And expectation beyond the standard length of a 50s radio hit -- 2 min 20 seconds max -- well, its just impossible. (perhaps embarrassingly so if you remember back) The really good stuff you learn later. But sometimes (alas) the love is gone and we find ourselves looking for new kicks -- things that would have not only not appealed to us as an early teen, but perhaps even grossed us out.
Hope I'm not grossing anyone out with this comparison!
To me who has been there and done that with so much in life the appeal of simplicity is great. I spend hours trying to understand what Bach did in the Goldberg Variations. Surf guitar to me is presently the other end of the spectrum.
A few months back I bought a bunch of the Ventures albums that I loved as a young teen and my first reaction was "ugh." But here's a funny thing. Instead of simply stopping there I kind of forced myself to listen to them while I was doing chores -- things like stacking firewood or sweeping floors. Brain dead time. And you know what, the grooves caught me again. Enough at least for me to remember why I once was so ga gah over them.
"If I can just play Walk Don't Run" that'll be enough for me!" I said that at age, what, thirteen? But then my eyes and ears opened to yet greater possibilities. I expect the same will happen to me again. Now... to the 76 Twin Reverb I just had restored and that shiny new Surf Green `50s Strat...
Still rockin' after all these years!
Last edited: Mar 10, 2014 08:19:09