Joined: Dec 12, 2006
Posted on Feb 09 2019 11:53 AM
I'm very sad to report that Randy Nauert of the Belairs and the Challengers has passed away from an apparent heart attack. Randy had just lost his Malibu home and the animals of his Zen Zoo in the Woolsey fire last November. Also lost was his vast collection of Rick Griffin art and memorabilia from his days in surf music. What a great loss to us all. RIP Randy.
Joined: Mar 02, 2006
Posted on Feb 09 2019 01:02 PM
Oh, no! He was such a nice guy and a HUGE repository of knowledge and wonderful pictures from that time. I kept up with him on Facebook quite a bit. This is very sad. He did post here at least a time or two in response to something regarding The Challengers, if I remember correctly.
The Mystery Men?
El Capitan and The Reluctant Sadists
SSS Agent #31
Joined: Jul 14, 2015
Near Atlanta, GA
Posted on Feb 09 2019 01:52 PM
Hi Richard, Yes, Randy posted twice here, both times to a thread I started called "Why have The Challengers never made the NSSR Classic Top 101 List?" It was super exciting to see Randy respond, as I am a huge fan of the The Challengers and particularly the track "K-39". I'm so sorry to hear of his passing.
The pages from the Challengers Band gig book from 1962 that Randy posted on Facebook are a wonderful read and a real historical treasure. They are a real time snap shot of the events in 1962 as they were happening.
I loved this post, especially the exchange with his Dad at the end. Priceless:
November 1962 Challengers Band Gig Book
Nov. 2, Palm Park (Whittier) for Mickey Mills $90
Nov. 8, RCA Mastering of Bel-Airs Side Triumph $54
Nov. 10 Sam Riddle Show, KCOP Parade of Hits
Recording session for “Surfbeat” LP (World Pacific Recording Studio) $300
The Challengers recorded the first album of "surf music". Record biz guys came up with the term "surf music" to describe what it was, as opposed to Jazz, R&B, Top 40 and such. It was called "Surfbeat".
We recorded the album in 3 1/2 hours at a jazz studio owned by World
Pacific Records. It was basically a live set of songs that we were performing at dances up and down the Southern California coast.
I think that the next night we did a gig with the Beach Boys at the Hermosa Biltmore Hotel. Admission was $1.00 and the fan club sold sodas.
Afterwards we divided up the money in a coffee shop nearby...one for you, one for you, one for me, until each of us had all our pockets stuffed full with dollar bills. I remember feeling rich!
The album was a huge success (selling 200,000 copies in the first two months!) and when other record labels heard how simple and direct it was, the market became flooded with imitations trying to capture some of the profits. They just put 'surf' somewhere in the title of their album.
There were some good albums too but "Surfbeat" was the first.
AM radio dictated a singles market back then. With the release and success of "Surfbeat" we began the album market for our style of music. This was before album radio, FM Underground and such.
My Dad brought a copy of the newly released "Surfbeat" home, flipped it over, pointed to my name and asked "Is this you?" One of his customers had brought it in. I replied "Yes"... to which he then asked "Is this that same song that you guys play over and over in the garage?"
What could I say, I think that I just smiled and replied "They're all different Dad, you just aren't listening".
My Classic Instrumental Surf Music Timeline
SSS Agent #777
Last edited: Feb 10, 2019 00:09:36
Joined: Feb 26, 2006
Posted on Feb 09 2019 03:22 PM
This is a real shame. From what little I knew of Randy, hecwas a very nice guy who made some incredible music. The Challengers forever!
Joined: Jan 15, 2019
Posted on Feb 09 2019 05:53 PM
Joined: Nov 03, 2006
San Clemente, CA
Posted on Feb 09 2019 07:44 PM
Rest in peace Randy. I was not a close friend, just met him a few times and exchanged emails from time to time. As has been said, he was a great guy and treated you as a friend.
Joined: Feb 15, 2007
Posted on Feb 09 2019 08:32 PM
Matt "tha Kat" Lentz
Skippy and the Skipjacks: 2018-
Otto and the Ottomans: 2014-2015
The Coconauts surf band: 2009-2014
Group Captain and the Mandrakes 2013
The Surfside IV: 2002-2005, 2008-2009
the Del-Vamps: 1992-1999, 2006-2007
Joined: Mar 06, 2006
Wear gloves - I'm in the Rockies
Posted on Feb 09 2019 09:34 PM
Randy had the best surf music history posts on facebook ever! Tons of fantastic photos, and lots of cool stories. I shared several of his photos here over the years, and when I asked him (after the fact) he was cool about it.
I got to meet him and shake his hand at Eddie Bertrand’s benefit.
We were “friends” on facebook. He wished me a happy birthday every year, no matter what. Even this year, after loosing his houseand a bunch of animals ( which were totally his thing). He still made time to send a message.
The original guys are slowly going away, and it sucks.
"You can't tell where you're going if you don't know where you've been"
Joined: Sep 28, 2012
Posted on Feb 10 2019 03:27 AM
Never met him of course, but I did really appreciate all the archival work Randy Nauert was doing. The sheer number of pictures of surf bands from the South Bay he accumulated over the years is a great resource for anyone interested in the look and feel of the 60s surf scene. Here is a link to one album, which also works if you don't have a Facebook account:
There are links to more albums on the bottom of the page (loads more actually).
Los Apollos - cinematic surf music trio (Berlin)
"Postcards from the Scrapyard" Vol. 1, 2 & 3 NOW available on various platforms!
"Chaos at the Lobster Lounge" available as LP and download on Surf Cookie Records!
Joined: Feb 02, 2008
Not One-Sawn, but Two-Sawn . . . AZ.
Posted on Feb 10 2019 07:40 AM
He seemed to be a great guy, and he definitely was in the company of some heavy hitters.
The artist formerly known as: Synchro
When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.