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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Surf Music General Discussion »

Permalink Tommy Bolin & surf?

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I was just reading about Tommy and learned that the first band he was in was called The Miserlous. This would have been '63-'64 when he was about 13 years old. Naturally I wondered if they were a surf band. Does anyone know?

I read Greg Prato's book on Tommy Bolin, "Touched by Magic", and in it, his brother Johnnie said that Tommy played drums, steel guitar, and keyboards, early on, before he went all-in, on guitar. Johnnie also said that Tommy listened to the Ventures,a lot, and liked surf music. Johnnie said that, at one point, Tommy had a Mosrite guitar. That said, I couldn't find any mention of the Miserlous, or that any of his early bands were surf bands.


Last edited: Nov 05, 2019 01:21:40

RIP Tommy B...…..his work on Billy Cobham's Spectrum is a "MUST LISTEN" for any serious guitar student.

Can I have everything louder than everything else!

Tommy was only 13 years old in 1964 when he left a garage surf band calling them selves The Miserlous for a Beatles type cover band Denny and The Triumphs. That happened a lot in 64 and 65, a lot of Surf players jumped ship and put on Beatles wigs after the three Ed Sullivan shows with John, Paul George and Ringo on it.

Neil Young was in a instrumental type Ventures - Surf Band but saw the hand writing on the wall in 1963 where the first Beatles single was released the year before in Canada, so he switched gears before most did. There is a long list of rockers that started out in Surf Bands, too long to list really. They either were garage bands or actual performing bands.

Richie Blackmore played in a Surf band in London for about 5 minutes as well pre Beatlemania. Its Ironic that Tommy replaced him in Deep Purple in 1975. RIP Tommy.

Last edited: Nov 06, 2019 21:34:40

Re: Ritchie Blackmore. The Outlaws were not a surf band. I never seen much evidence that surf music was a thing in the UK in the 60's, it was simply not known until later. The Outlaws were Joe Meek's (of Telstar fame) band, put together for his various projects and to be his version of the Shadows.

Just because a band is a guitar-based instrumental band does not make it a surf band.

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"It starts... when it begins" -- Ralf Kilauea

These are a couple of the Blackmore songs that get thrown on surf compilations, though they aren't really surf either:

Yeah I was referring to Riche Blackmore in The Lancasters, and the one single broke into California in 1965, so that's why it was included in a compilation album. But he wasn't in that band very long and the Surf scene in London as far as bands go lasted maybe a year at best in a big way till the British Evasion bands took over in about the same time frame and areas. but they were trying to break into the Surf market though.

Ok people forget this, but The Beach Boys were the number one band world wide in 1963 and had many top ten singles in London for over a decade, which was the primary driver for all these type bands. They even topped The Beatles at that time. That's why they recorded Live In London 69 years later being the city was so good to them as a fan base etc. Keith Moon was a huge Beach Boys fan and even went on stage with them in 1973. He was in a band called The Beachcombers that played Surf & R&B type vocal and instrumentals like many bands there in 1962 and 63. A Surf Band from Australia called the Detours played London which was the band The Who actually were referring to causing them to change from that name. It was a Australian Surf type band not from the USA like history has it down. Just so many stories like that. Not sure if The Beach Boys are considered Surf, but most people worldwide do, so I include them here.

People forgot about the movies with all the instrumental Hawaiian style music in surf related movies in the late 1950's early 1960's that spread like wildfire around the world, so that's why there was so many instrumental bands start up everywhere about the same time post 1961 Cold War years. On top of that many studio players started out making sound tracks for these movies that were instrumental (literally) in what we call the Surf Era. If you want the root source of what we call surf music, it was primarily spread and inspired by teenage focused beach-surfing theme movies. So many songs were inspired by TV and movies in this genre not to have any impact or influence. Mr Moto, Pipeline, Peter Gunn, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, just so many songs linked in that way. And everyone jumped on the bandwagon with it's influence. Surf started by imitating the movies in reality. Has more to do with Hollywood than most other influences at that time. Don't forget Western's were really big in film and TV as well. so you have a lot of other influences as well.

Calabunga dude Cool

Actually that surfer slang term came from the Howdy Doody children's TV show in the 1950's that was originally a Indian word used a lot by Chief Thunderthud on the same show and was worked into a song as well.

Dick Dale performed Smoke On The Water, how ironic, I never thought of that till now.

Ok we got Tank Reverb, Fender Guitars, Orange County, The Lindy hop or what we call the Surfer Beat now, but outside of that what else is surf music? its a mixed bag, too hard to define in reality, can any define this genre?

To me Surf is a hybrid of, Spanish Guitar, Country and western (Rockabilly, Late 1950's Rock n Roll, Big Band influences, Some blues notes thrown in as well here and there, and many more influences as well.

That's how I see it anyway.

Sam, I respectfully disagree that the Beach Boys were the # 1 instrumental influence in the UK. The Shadows were, by far, the biggest instrumental influence in the UK. Blackmore, and most of the top UK guitarists have said, repeatedly, that the Shadow's Hank Marvin was the guy who was their main influence. Ditto for Neil Young & the Squires, in Canada. Keith Moon is the only one from over there, that I've read was into the Beach Boys. And with him, it was more of the vocal tunes, than instrumentals. He especially liked the Gary Usher hot rod songs, but he liked surf a lot, too. I'm sure that nearly everybody over there heard the Beach Boys, but I doubt that they were much of an influence. And whatever influence that they had probably came later. My two cents...


I wasn't talking about instrumental wise, but influence of forming or promoting beach rated music in London during 1963, both vocal and instro.

I like The Shadows version of Apache though Cool

The Lancasters were not a real band, just a quick studio project that recorded those two songs and then disappeared. The single was released in the US, but it clearly has zero to do with surf music.

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