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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Surf Music General Discussion »

Permalink The Future of SG101?

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I recently made some comments in the "State of SG101" thread that I'd like to clear up. That thread doesn't seem to be the place to do it, so I started this one.

My name is Chris, and I've been a member here since the beginning of the site (2006?) and was a member of the other instro surf online chat groups before. Cowabunga? Yahoo? I don't remember.

I've spent a fair chunk of the last 23 years talking and playing surf music. I am a proud member of SG101, and looked forward to talking with likeminded people about the music we all love. But, I've noticed in the last 4-5 years (maybe more) that things aren't what they once were. Why? FB has taken it's toll for sure. But this is the place where you could really learn about surf music. And, the info was there to look at later. FB posts disappear in minutes, and the info is seemingly lost once again.

This might be the old man in me talking (I'm 53), but from where I sit, it seems some new members have no interest in anything that came before them. I think to truly know surf music, you need to know the history of it. And SG101 is ground zero for that knowledge. I loved the history aspect of the forum. We learned firsthand from the people that created this music in the 60's. And we (SG101 members) made history. We got Eddie Bertrand out of retirement to play a few more times. We got Paul Johnson to contribute. We got to see Randy Holden! We discovered Eddie B's custom Strat, and got an original Astronauts Showman amp into deserving hands. Some truly great early and mid 2000's bands contributed to the discussions. Satan's Pilgrims, Space Cossacks, Madeira, Mysterymen, The Surge Slacktone, Pollo Del Mar.... Hell, we got a music festival off the ground, and that spawned several more. I got to meet some of my first wave heroes, and even play with a few. I met BigTikiDude! I've had the chance to play some really great shows with people I've looked up to and made friends from all over the world. And it is all because of this website. So, if I get protective, please forgive me.

It's disappointing to see the decline.

When I said it was all a waste of time, what I mean is if the next generation doesn't care about who came before them, then why have we preserved it here. I always thought the knowledge we gained would be treasured and remembered. I'm not so sure of that now. I suppose I got what I needed from the forums, and I'm grateful for that. So it wasn't a waste of time in that regard.

I've been accused of gatekeeping. In some ways maybe I am. If you don't respect us, and don't contribute something of value to the rest of the group, you don't belong. I like new gear as much as the next guy. When that's all there is, it gets old really fast. If you are here only to promote your band, and not contribute anything of substance ever, don't be surprised when you aren't my favorite member, and I rattle your cage. We don't all have to be friends.

I fear the end is near for this site. It bums me out. I had held out hope that it would return to what once was. I check in daily to see what's going on. That will be a hard habit to break.

"You can't tell where you're going if you don't know where you've been"

Last edited: Apr 10, 2023 17:45:46

You are a man after my own heart. I did not perceive gatekeeping, rather simply standards. You have reasons for your opinions. Those other fellows need to chill out and let thoughts be aired.

So last week I got an email announcing that my cats' veterinarian is retiring from clinical practice. That rocked my world. He's pretty much the only person I trust and he will be gone at the end of this month.

The world changes and lots of times those changes suck!

Daniel Deathtide

I appreciate where you are coming from Chris, but I think that we are bridging two issues here. I’ve been listening to Surf since I was a small child, and hearing this very cool instrumental music on the Top 40 station she listened to. I heard First Wave Surf in real time, watched the Beatles on Sullivan and sadly witnessed the subsequent decline of Surf, thereafter.

Things are changing, and the changes are not always to my liking, As a person that works in cyber security on a daily basis, I stay as far away from Facebook as possible. IMO, Facebook has changed things dramatically, and it has chipped into the forum world.

Beyond that, music has changed. I don’t like all of the changes, but music itself, has changed. Very little of music being currently produced is of any interest to me. The Grande Ole Opry doesn’t sound like Country to me, current hits mostly sound like synths and vocal processing, to me. I have no interest in listening to such music, not to mention playing it.

It’s been my observation that some people interested in Surf have a much different idea of Surf music than I do. I see the same thing in the Gretsch forum I participate in. The old guard were into Chet Atkins, George Harrison, the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield, while many of the new guard barely know who those people are. Many of these members discuss artists and songs I am unfamiliar with, but at least they are Gretsch players and that’s good for the cause, overall.

By nature, I’m a purist. When my age peers were studying Hendrix, I was studying Wes Montgomery. When I started playing as part of my income, I quickly realized that my job was to entertain the audience, not educate them. I think of it as a privilege that I can play some Surf, because it’s something I want to play, and something that audiences usually enjoy. In Tucson, it’s unlikely that a pure Surf band would find many opportunities to play, so we combine Surf with other period music, and the audiences seem to like it.

The problem with gatekeeping is that gates keep people out. We need more people to become interested in Surf Music, and we have to let newcomers in. We can’t expect everyone to relive 1962. To the 40 and under crowd, Pulp Fiction is an old movie. Their interest in Surf is more like my interest in Jazz and Big Band Swing. I loved that music, even when I was in my teens, but my understanding of it was limited, at best, until years later. We can’t expect people newly interested in Surf guitar to walk into a forum with the knowledge and experience of someone that has been interested in Surf for decades.

Likewise, we can’t expect that newcomers to Surf guitar are going to walk in carrying a Vintage Jaguar, a Blonde 6G15 and a ‘62 Dual Showman. For one thing, the supply of vintage gear cannot increase. By definition, there are no new ‘60s Fenders being made. There are a lot of great guitars being made these days, some great amps, and all sorts of effects options that would have been unimaginable 60 years ago.

I would certainly opine that the Brownface Showman amps, early offsets and 6G15s are the sound of much early Surf, but it’s not the only good sound. A few years back, I heard a self-described Instrumental Rock band that sounded great, including the Surf tunes. I heard them from several blocks away, when they were playing an outdoor gig, and when I got to where I could see the band, I was surprised to see that the lead player was on an ES-335 and playing through a Deluxe Reverb. Was it “vintage correct”? No, but it sounded good.

As a matter of personal taste, I don’t care for distortion. I don’t mind light, natural overdrive, but as far as my tastes are concerned I prefer clean and clear sounds, for pretty much every genre. I personally don’t understand someone using a high gain, distorted amp to play Surf, but that’s me. If someone else feels differently, they don’t have to ask my permission.

I see Surf as a subset of Instrumental Rock, which itself is a subset of Rock n’ Roll. My interest follows right down that chain. I enjoyed hearing early Rock n’ Roll and, because of my love for guitar, I loved Instrumental Rock, and saw Surf as an extension of that. I have come to understand that Surf music has a cultural element, which I would be unlikely to comprehend as a small child hearing Pipeline played on WDGY in Minneapolis (which is quite a distance from SoCal, both geographically and culturally). Nonetheless, we appreciated the music and loved it.

DeathTide wrote:

You are a man after my own heart. I did not perceive gatekeeping, rather simply standards. You have reasons for your opinions. Those other fellows need to chill out and let thoughts be aired.

So last week I got an email announcing that my cats' veterinarian is retiring from clinical practice. That rocked my world. He's pretty much the only person I trust and he will be gone at the end of this month.

The world changes and lots of times those changes suck!

Nothing is static, in this world. Veterinarians, Surf Music, Fender guitars, reverb tanks; everything changes. Change can really be painful. Last year, I took my cat to the vet and he told me that he was retiring. He was a trusted professional whose services I truly appreciated, and I’m hoping that his replacement is as likable.

If you think about it, Surf Music is an amazing success story. It has endured for over 60 years now, and still retains its identity. There are very few things from the early ‘60s that are a part of life today.

Music changes and evolves. Jazz grew from its New Orleans roots into Swing and then forward into BeBop, Cool Jazz, and more modern variations. In the ‘60s, some Rock bands began to incorporate some elements of Jazz. This could be seen as corruption of Jazz, and that is how I would have seen it, at one time. My sentiments have changed regarding this, and I accept this for what it is.

In the late ‘60s, on into the ‘70s, clean guitar sounds with prominent reverb was rare in the Rock world, the only exception coming to mind being the guitar solo in the Doors’ Riders On the Storm. Country used that sound, especially the Bakersfield variety, but in the Rock world that sound was quite passé. Since the ‘90s, a lot of clean, reverb-laden guitar music has been created. It’s not necessarily Surf, but it could be considered an influence, just as Jazz influenced some ‘60s and ‘70s Rock.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.

Last edited: Apr 10, 2023 21:41:11

I heard a surf song on the radio the other day, "Wayward Nile" by the Chantays: I smiled a bit to my self as I drove along... most folks don't listen to "random radio" anymore... that's where surf truly shines: when it interrupts everything else and punctuates and demands attention... surf and Bach are eternal in my book...

dp wrote:

I heard a surf song on the radio the other day, "Wayward Nile" by the Chantays: I smiled a bit to my self as I drove along... most folks don't listen to "random radio" anymore... that's where surf truly shines: when it interrupts everything else and punctuates and demands attention... surf and Bach are eternal in my book...

That’s exactly what it was like when I was a child. Surf might have been played every hour or two, interspersed with the Top 40 material of the day. We waited for these songs to come out, and we were delighted when we heard them.

Over the last few months, I have spent a lot of time practicing some Surf songs, with attention to optimizing technique. Some has to be Rock n’ Roll technique, but there’s room for some great arpeggios, and there is a degree of connection to classical LH technique. I now use Surf as a way to keep my long arpeggios in shape, and have even experimented with using Surf as a way to practice RH classical technique, although my PIMA skills are no longer what they once were.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.

At one time in history, older people really hated on younger people because the young kids of the '50' and _0's could care less about their teenage dads going off to war, about music that was orchestrated and not electric with long haired punks playing loud devils music. Kids wouldn't do what the government said they should do, they stuck up for their own beliefs, questioned authority and thought for themselves. In fact, it go so bad in those olden times people were killed over it. Imagine that. The universe is always moving forward. It does want us all to move along with it, it really does. But it won't stop for anyone.
I do have to say, in the short time I've been on here the most fascinating post I read was the one on the history of the Surfari's recording Wipe Out and how they seemed to have been blatantly robbed. I never knew any of that and it would be great to see more of that. Also there's a few other covos of some early recordings/one off bands and songs, like Pintor, that only rarely come up on here that I wish were more frequent.

twangster99 wrote:

The universe is always moving forward. It does want us all to move along with it, it really does. But it won't stop for anyone.

This is a great truth. As I said in an earlier post, Surf has been incredibly successful to have lasted 60 years, and still be recognizable. No one knows what the future will hold.

We live in a time of upheaval and such upheaval will reflect in the arts. Translated: I expect music, overall, to get worse, before it gets better. Fortunately, because of the Internet, special interests can be shared with like minded people, and this is exactly what makes forums like this so valuable. We need meeting places where people can keep things like Surf Guitar alive, where bands can announce recordings and where newly interested people can find us, via the search engines.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.

I still think it’s a good place to learn and share. Young blood may discover out the classic legacy here and we old guys may learn a lot from them. I am surely against any gates here. I want a variety of people and meanings here and will be soon bored discussing cult classics or gold standard gear, that I sure love. But there is so much more than this in surf music now! When I search Bandcamp or listen to surf radio - wow!

The main problem is that new surfers are not visiting the old style forums, they dwell somewhere else, and this is a big job to attract and keep them, more of a marketing task.

I really don’t want this forum to become a Zoo for endangered breeds, where you should not mention non traditional stuff and especially the word “rock” cause inhabitants may be frightened. In this case yes, better archive it.

Waikiki Makaki surf-rock band from Ukraine

New Single is out!

https://waikikimakaki.bandcamp.com/album/rhino-blues-full-contact-surf-single

Waikiki Makaki

https://linktr.ee/waikikimakaki

Lost Diver

https://lostdiver.bandcamp.com
https://soundcloud.com/vitaly-yakushin

Last edited: Apr 11, 2023 01:27:59

I've found myself using forums more and more again over the last year or so. I haven't posted here for quite some time, but I'm getting tired of FB and my FB-surf-related-comments there should go here instead!
Thanks for keeping the site going, Brian!

Keep it ol'school and support your local internet forum, ehh Big Grin

El Twitter
El Ray
El Ray on Bandcamp
El Twang on YouTube

Last edited: Apr 11, 2023 03:07:36

I attribute all this to Covid. Everything has changed since Covid and the surf forums are no different. The FB forums are pretty dead too. People have changed. I can't explain it but before Covid, a thread on FB would go on and on. Now most people ignore. Post new music, goes ignored. It is what it is.

The Kahuna Kings

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Kahuna-Kings/459752090818447

https://thekahunakings.bandcamp.com/releases

In my neighborhood right now, it seems most garage band sorts of folks are either playing some version of "metal", or more frequently, "nortenas and mariachi"...the guy who lives in the house behind ours is a dedicated "beat mixer" in his shed...the dope beats emanate repetitively and waft over the neighborhood floating on the aroma of sinsemilla... the musical tastes of young folks are ghettoized and siloed by things like streaming services, genre-fication, and social media algorithms. The music world is over-priced, over-hyped, over-marketed, overly-segmented... but what isn't these days? Nonetheless: surf never really was any of these things... surf to me always just seemed a labor of love, the only real reason to play it was the sound and the power ... I mean, even Dick Dale struggled throughout his time here to make a living at it , and as we all know, he was instrumental in the development of surf as we know it...

Last edited: Apr 11, 2023 07:40:43

synchro wrote:

The problem with gatekeeping is that gates keep people out. We need more people to become interested in Surf Music, and we have to let newcomers in. We can’t expect everyone to relive 1962.

Agreed. More importantly, we can't expect everybody with an emerging interest in surf music to know it off the bat, nor should we expect them to consume the entire history of the forums and I suppose surf music in general before posting. That is pretty much the definition of gatekeeping, and gatekeeping is not just frowned on because it's rude, it's because it keeps people from getting inside.

I do think there may be an difference in how knowledge is acquired these days. In the age of information being shot at you through a firehose, I don't think most people go find a book or a dependable concentrated source to obtain organized knowledge from, they merely choose which firehose will blast their brain with the stuff they want. People get their information from uncited images with text on them and take them as truth. Disorganized morsels, factoids they can pick up in 5 seconds.

Good luck convincing them to do otherwise. I think the best shot you have to grow the genre is to try to shove some information in front of them and hope they catch it. Give them enough and they might get hooked and convince themselves to do a deep dive the old fashioned way.

As far as old stuff goes, I get tired of focusing on the same old surf giants. Is anybody else collecting 45s? It doesn't feel like it. There's unmined history out there that I never see discussed outside of a few members. I've collected instrumentals from Malaysia that I've never seen on a compilation. I don't share it because I don't get the sense that there are like-minded treasure hunters.

If we're complaining about lack of care as to what came before, how about what comes now? There's a TON of great stuff out there right now and I certainly haven't seen many people devote this many keystrokes to a single release. I mean, even if you refuse to take the time to listen to something unfamiliar, Pollo Del Mar just released an album. Bomboras are about to release one. Sundazed unearthed an unheard Chantays record that's coming out. And that's just from the names we already know. Good luck building a scene if you're going to focus on the people that came before it, not the people in it.

And what a weird time to bring this up when it springs out of the forum threatening to close. I clicked this expecting discussion of contingency plans.

Storm Surge of Reverb: Surf & Instro Radio

Last edited: Apr 11, 2023 08:32:46

Let me rephrase my last paragraph a little: this feels like as our ship is sinking, somebody wants to discuss our daily ship operations.

Storm Surge of Reverb: Surf & Instro Radio

synchro wrote:

Things are changing, and the changes are not always to my liking, As a person that works in cyber security on a daily basis, I stay as far away from Facebook as possible. IMO, Facebook has changed things dramatically, and it has chipped into the forum world.

Great post, great insight, great wording and thanks for taking the time to put these thoughts into words for the rest of us to share. Kudos.

eltwang wrote:

... I'm getting tired of FB and my FB-surf-related-comments there should go here instead!

Agreed and agreed! Looking forward to hearing more from you.

Even on larger forums, surf topics can be easily overlooked and buried in just a day or two, which makes SG101 an invaluable place for this community.

ElMonstroPorFavor wrote:

As far as old stuff goes, I get tired of focusing on the same old surf giants. Is anybody else collecting 45s? It doesn't feel like it. There's unmined history out there that I never see discussed outside of a few members. I've collected instrumentals from Malaysia that I've never seen on a compilation. I don't share it because I don't get the sense that there are like-minded treasure hunters.

I've discovered some of my favorite surf/instro music through SG101, and found that some of my favorite bands aren't mentioned here much if at all. It's a great resource all around.

--
Hypersonic Secret's first single "FLIGHTLINE" is out now! (also avail on streaming services)

Last edited: Apr 11, 2023 09:54:59

dp wrote:

In my neighborhood right now, it seems most garage band sorts of folks are either playing some version of "metal", or more frequently, "nortenas and mariachi"...the guy who lives in the house behind ours is a dedicated "beat mixer" in his shed...the dope beats emanate repetitively and waft over the neighborhood floating on the aroma of sinsemilla... the musical tastes of young folks are ghettoized and siloed by things like streaming services, genre-fication, and social media algorithms. The music world is over-priced, over-hyped, over-marketed, overly-segmented... but what isn't these days? Nonetheless: surf never really was any of these things... surf to me always just seemed a labor of love, the only real reason to play it was the sound and the power ... I mean, even Dick Dale struggled throughout his time here to make a living at it , and as we all know, he was instrumental in the development of surf as we know it...

A few years ago, I told a coworker in his early 30s that I played guitar and was in a band. He immediately assumed that I played Metal. When I told him that I played Jazz, Country and Surf, I don’t think he even began to understand what that meant. His experiences would have led him to believe that anyone that played a guitar was playing Metal. Based upon his life experience, Jazz guitar, Surf guitar and classic Country would be little more than a curiosity.

Surf, perhaps somewhat uniquely, has endured as well as it has because of the appeal of clean, powerful guitars with reverb. That sound seems to cross generational boundaries quite well, and has an appeal that doesn’t require context, to be appreciated. It was perfect for the soundtrack of Pulp Fiction, not because Pulp Fiction had anything to do with Surf culture, but because it sounded great. I didn’t begin liking Surf Music because it was Surf Music, I liked it because it sounded great, no matter what it was called.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.

So I guess we can ask ourselves some hard questions here...

  • What do we want out of this site?
  • What can we do to help? (be it financing or web development)
  • How can we take some of the burdens off of Brian?
  • What other offshoots of the site might bring more traffic?
  • How well will this forum transfer to an updated forum platform?
  • Are there other forums we can borrow ideas from?

I know I go through periods of activity and inactivity with various forums that I belong to.

I'm sure there are more questions to be answered.

I'm with Futureboy. But we need people that understand IT, and I'm not that. I'll keep monitoring to see how to help.

Surfcat

From Atlantis with Love - Released - July 2023
Agent Octopus-Spotify
Christmas on the Beach - NEW SINGLE Dec 2023!!
Agent Octopus-Apple Music
Reverb Galaxy - Angle of Attack CD - BANDCAMP

Surf, the most dangerous of all musical genres...

futureboy wrote:

So I guess we can ask ourselves some hard questions here...

  • What do we want out of this site?
  • What can we do to help? (be it financing or web development)
  • How can we take some of the burdens off of Brian?
  • What other offshoots of the site might bring more traffic?
  • How well will this forum transfer to an updated forum platform?
  • Are there other forums we can borrow ideas from?

I know I go through periods of activity and inactivity with various forums that I belong to.

I'm sure there are more questions to be answered.

I may try to contribute with marketing, communications, smm, content and generally bringing relevant traffic to site and forum. But if we now consider it to be a product of promotion, first we need to be clear with:
1. What people we want to attract
2. What we offer them
3. What we want from them
And some more basic questions like “do we really need it and why?”

Waikiki Makaki surf-rock band from Ukraine

New Single is out!

https://waikikimakaki.bandcamp.com/album/rhino-blues-full-contact-surf-single

Waikiki Makaki

https://linktr.ee/waikikimakaki

Lost Diver

https://lostdiver.bandcamp.com
https://soundcloud.com/vitaly-yakushin

The mode of this site is quite anachronistic. That should not offend anyone here, I bet. Wink I dig it. I don't use it as much as I used to. Then again, it should not be expected in the age of real-time social channels. This fulfills a different purpose than TikTok or whatever, and for that I am glad.

It could use some improvements, of course. Then again, what can't use improvement? Nothing difficult and worth anything comes to mind right offhand.

I would be happy to lend a hand, if needed. Have some skills. Have some money. Perhaps a division of labor is in order, so that Brian does not have to shoulder the entire load and can get on with living his life? He has paid more than the fair share of his dues, TBQFH. Just a thought...

SSIV

Last edited: Apr 11, 2023 14:08:34

ElMonstroPorFavor wrote:

synchro wrote:

The problem with gatekeeping is that gates keep people out. We need more people to become interested in Surf Music, and we have to let newcomers in. We can’t expect everyone to relive 1962.

Agreed. More importantly, we can't expect everybody with an emerging interest in surf music to know it off the bat, nor should we expect them to consume the entire history of the forums and I suppose surf music in general before posting. That is pretty much the definition of gatekeeping, and gatekeeping is not just frowned on because it's rude, it's because it keeps people from getting inside.

I do think there may be an difference in how knowledge is acquired these days. In the age of information being shot at you through a firehose, I don't think most people go find a book or a dependable concentrated source to obtain organized knowledge from, they merely choose which firehose will blast their brain with the stuff they want. People get their information from uncited images with text on them and take them as truth. Disorganized morsels, factoids they can pick up in 5 seconds.

Good luck convincing them to do otherwise. I think the best shot you have to grow the genre is to try to shove some information in front of them and hope they catch it. Give them enough and they might get hooked and convince themselves to do a deep dive the old fashioned way.

As far as old stuff goes, I get tired of focusing on the same old surf giants. Is anybody else collecting 45s? It doesn't feel like it. There's unmined history out there that I never see discussed outside of a few members. I've collected instrumentals from Malaysia that I've never seen on a compilation. I don't share it because I don't get the sense that there are like-minded treasure hunters.

If we're complaining about lack of care as to what came before, how about what comes now? There's a TON of great stuff out there right now and I certainly haven't seen many people devote this many keystrokes to a single release. I mean, even if you refuse to take the time to listen to something unfamiliar, Pollo Del Mar just released an album. Bomboras are about to release one. Sundazed unearthed an unheard Chantays record that's coming out. And that's just from the names we already know. Good luck building a scene if you're going to focus on the people that came before it, not the people in it.

And what a weird time to bring this up when it springs out of the forum threatening to close. I clicked this expecting discussion of contingency plans.

There’s an old saying that generals always make preparations to re-fight the last war. We, and by we, I mean pretty much every person on the planet, are facing a situation that has never existed before, and we are bombarded with information sources, all competing for attention, and some of this information is accurate and reliable, but much is not. We can’t move forward expecting the “rules” that worked 60 years ago to work today.

I honor Surf Music, as it existed in the early ‘60s, and truly love it. I would love if Surf Music were more popular. But the forces that made Surf happen when it did are no longer in play. Electric guitars really hit their stride in the ‘50s. That had to happen, but Duane Eddy came along, used a water tank for reverb and invented his sound. Others emulated his sound, and reverb same into demand as a product, and not just a studio effect. Then came the 6G15 and all the piece were in place.

Sixty-one years later, a lot has changed. Simply stated, about the only thing that hasn’t changed is the guitar itself. We can’t recapture a situation that no longer exists.

I have a tank, and it sounds very good, but I can get excellent reverb, these days, from a pedal. Is it the same as a tank? No, it isn’t, but I think it’s only reasonable to expect that newcomers to Surf are not going to use the same equipment that was available 60 years ago.

If you had mentioned Surf music in the ‘70s, you probably would have gotten a blank stare from most people, with the exception of a relative handful of people who remembered it from the ‘60s, and most of them would have thought you were referring to The Beach Boys. Surf Music has more popularity now than it has had in a very long time. IMO, the best way to take advantage of this, is to bring new people into Surf Music, instead of driving them away.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.

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