Posted on Nov 19 2018 05:21 PM
As a latecomer to this board, and born way too late to ever have heard surf on the charts, I LOVED reading this thread. Paul Johnson. Wow. I fantasize about DD showing up here too. It’s wonderful, no, it’s INSANELY COOL that we still have these giants and originators with us!
The difference of opinions about the origins is fascinating. I’ve always thought Walk, Don’t Run was a surf song, even though I heard that they stated they were not a surf band. I figured that’s where all those other, non-surfy songs came in that they did.
Vocals! I agree with the surfers that “real” surf is instro. I also think “surf rock” is a lot different than “surf,” because it can have vocals. These are my distinctions, since I just don’t know enough people who are actually into surf. It really is hard to define. L
I have a lot of thoughts about surf. Most recently that it’s a perfect “modern” format for Middle Eastern music. (Modern meaning rock.) That poppy / bluesy 1-4-5 surf is okay, but so vanilla. Compared to Miserlou, Bombora, or The Wedge, all that major key stuff feels lacking to me. I grew up (and still am!) a Jew, so I was a wee witness to those dramatic scales several times a year. I was exposed to those darkly emotional scales and song structures, so maybe that’s why regular rock and blues is just boring to me. You can hear that in many of my surf tunes. My stuff is either super dark and dramatic, or doo wop level poppy. But never the 1-4-5 blues progression thing. (Except for one song whose purpose is to mislead!)
Now I’m searching through “1st wave” surf and realizing how different my own style is. I’m trying to defeat my snobbiness and really hear what was going on. I realized immediately that I must broaden my personal definition of surf.
Btw regarding punk - I always thought it was a fact that Malcom McLauren saw The Ramones in 1974, then went back to England and formed the Sex Pistols in the same way boy bands are created. He just threw some dudes together and told them to learn instruments and play a certain style. He wanted to get rich by managing a controversial band. I think? And, Chuck Berry was punk as fuck.