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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Best-Of SG101 »

Permalink Eddie "Mr. Rebel" Bertrand in the news

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Corky Carroll: The story behind Eddie and The Showmen

Eddie Bertrand is a surf guitar legend. About a month ago, I got an e-mail telling me that he was making a comeback.

So I got a hold of Eddie himself and asked him to tell his story in his own words. The following is The Eddie Story by Eddie.

"I began listening to Duane Eddy when I was 12. I had a six-string acoustic guitar and worked out the melodies from his records.

"About a year later, I started surfing. My first time on a surfboard was at Torrance Beach. I spent a lot of time surfing the South Bay beaches including Haggertys and Rat. After that, I surfed all the hot spots from Huntington Beach to Santa Barbara.

"Just after I started learning guitar, I met a guy named Paul Johnson on the school bus. He was also learning how to play the guitar. We got together at each other's houses and played our guitars. As we started playing together, we also started writing songs, one of which was 'Mr. Moto,' the first record The Bel Airs put out.

"I've been told that Malibu surfer Lance Carson, who was in the movie 'The Endless Summer,' heard 'Mr. Moto' and said, 'That's surf music.' After 'Mr. Moto' was released, The Bel Airs played TV shows and various venues in California, one of which was the Rendezvous Ballroom in Newport Beach. The weekend The Bel Airs played at The Rendezvous Ballroom, by the second night, I had blown the single speaker in my Fender Bandmaster amp.

"I knew where the Fender plant in Fullerton was so I decided to take my amp to Fender in hopes of meeting Mr. Fender. I had a thought that it might solve the problem if he could put two speakers in the cabinet instead of one.

"Leo was kind enough to see me, invited me into his office and said, 'How can I help you son?' I then told him of my thought about placing two speakers in the cabinet.

"After a brief moment of contemplation, he said to me, 'Leave your amp and cabinet here. I'll give you something to use in the meantime. Come back in two weeks.'

"When I went back, The Bandmaster had two 12- inch speakers and sounded awesome, and I thanked him with all my heart. Leo said to me, 'Please don't tell anyone as this is not a production amp.'

"However, with stage lights, people could see there were two speakers. Thus, the Fender Bandmaster with two 12- inch speakers became a production amp.

"After a short stint with The Bel Airs, Paul and I had a disagreement about our sound because I wanted to use a Fender Reverb Tank and create a bigger sound and Paul did not. So, I left The Bel Airs, taking Dickie Dodd with me to form a band that became Eddie and The Showmen. By the way, Paul and I have remained good friends through the years.

"I considered Eddie and The Showmen to be a 'surf band.' In fact, one of the songs I wrote, 'Toes on the Nose,' with the ascending guitar lines, I visualized as I walked to the nose of the board. I thank John Severson for the song title as it was one of the sections in Surfer Magazine.

"Eddie and The Showmen played weekly at a place called the Retail Clerks Hall in Buena Park. These shows were put on by Reb Foster and the Police Protective Association of Buena Park. Reb Foster was the program manager at a L.A. radio station called KRLA.

"To promote their current singles, Reb would have the artists come play the Retail Clerks Hall with Eddie and The Showmen. Artists included The Righteous Brothers, Sonny and Cher, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Coasters, The Rivingtons, Beach Boys and many more. I felt it a privilege to play with these stars.

"My biggest thrill of all is when Eddie and The Showmen did a concert at The Hollywood Bowl in front of more than 10,000 people and shared the stage with my all-time hero and mentor, Duane Eddy. It just so happened that when we were trying to leave, the police had to surround us in a circle to get us past the screaming fans. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

"In 2007, I have returned to my roots to play pure clean surf music as I did in the beginning. I was invited to play at the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum.

"I can't believe the compliments I received from Internet Web sites, and

"It was huge. I am humbled by it. Thank you to my surf music fans all over the world."

He told that way better than I could have.

Corky Carroll is a three-time international surfing champion. Read his "Ask the Expert" column at Send ideas, suggestions, donations or rude comments to him by e-mail at

That's a cool mini bio and story, he used a 6G7-A Blonde Bandmaster?
or was it a 3-ten combo tan Bandmaster?
Eddie rules Worship


The Verbtones
The Verbtones @ FaceBook
The Verbtones @ ReverbNation

Kyle, I would guess that the BM that Eddie refers to may have been an early blonde piggyback with the 12" tone ring cab. But I don't think 2-12's would fit in one of those (30x21x11.5, according to Teague & Sprung) the mystery continues!

aka WoodyJ
The Mariners (1964-present)
HulaHounds (1996-2004, 2014-present)
The Surge! (2004, 2011-2012)
X-Rays (1997-2004)

Woody I woudn't mind using one of those 1x12 tonering cabs with my '62 BM they are pretty rare.

The Verbtones
The Verbtones @ FaceBook
The Verbtones @ ReverbNation

Yeah, ditto on that! I've actually never seen one in person, but they do exist. That would be a great small venue/recording rig, wouldn't it?

aka WoodyJ
The Mariners (1964-present)
HulaHounds (1996-2004, 2014-present)
The Surge! (2004, 2011-2012)
X-Rays (1997-2004)

Thanks for posting this Tim. That's good stuff Thumbs Up

The Secret Samurai Website
The Secret Samurai on Facebook

Man oh man that would be killer for the gigs and recording, have you ever heard what they sound like? nice big full sound?

The Verbtones
The Verbtones @ FaceBook
The Verbtones @ ReverbNation

Off topic I know, but, There was a blonde '61 Showman head with 1x12 tone ring cab on ebay last week. The auction ended at like 6 am CST on Sunday morning and it went for around $1750 + $100 shipping. It wasn't in mint shape either. I stayed up to bid on it and missed it by a pretty substantial margin.

The Exotics 1994-Current
The Chickenshack -

I haven't had time to read all the posts, so forgive me if I stumble over someone's earlier input.

As Woody said, the very early bandmasters came with one 12" tone ring cabinet. They blew speakers, hence the 2-12 upgrade. Also 2-12's will fit fine in the 30" wide cabinet. The showman, as we all know was also available with the single 12 tone ring, but came originally with the JBL D-131 speaker, later the D-120. This is the cabinet that the Astronauts used. I have only run across one single 12 tone ring cab and when Woody and I figured out what it actually was, the store had sold it and shipped it to Michigan if memory serves me right.........ed

Traditional........speak softly and play through a big blonde amp. Did I mention that I sill like big blonde amps?

Hi Guys.......
My BM was stock until I blew the single 12". Leo used the original cabnet, just simply added a second 12" spkr., and messed with the amp head a bit. If I am not mistaken, the speakers were maroon back or blue back jensens. This much is for sure, there were no chrome covers on the speakers as with most JBLs. It was the first one Leo ever built. He had asked that I not say anything as it was the prototype and not a production amp. You could still see the speakers when stage lights hit the amp, so it obviously became a standard. Was modified early 61' I believe. Hope this helps shed light on the Any other questions or comments, please contact me at
Your interest honors me...Thank you so much,

Holy smokes! this a great forum or what?!!!

aka WoodyJ
The Mariners (1964-present)
HulaHounds (1996-2004, 2014-present)
The Surge! (2004, 2011-2012)
X-Rays (1997-2004)

thanks for posting that HBKahuna. Too cool, it's great to see EB get recognition again.

Rules to live by #314:
"When in Italy, if the menu says something's grilled, don't assume it is."

Holy smokes! this a great forum or what?!!!

And it keeps getting better and better.


Thanks Tim, and Thanks to Eddie for the Great tunes.



Eddie for us it's a big honor to have you here and thanks for the great insite on Your Bandmaster rig.

And thank you Tim for posting Very Happy


The Verbtones
The Verbtones @ FaceBook
The Verbtones @ ReverbNation

Last edited: Oct 04, 2007 18:38:55

Thanks for joining the forums Eddie! Worship Worship Worship

The Secret Samurai Website
The Secret Samurai on Facebook

It's a huge honor to have you here Eddie. Do you mind if we ask you some questions, maybe in another thread?

Site dude - S3 Agent #202
Need help with the site? SG101 FAQ - Send me a private message - Email me

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

I will be glad to answer some questions Brian. This thread or another. I have been extremely busy these past weeks......But I will watch for the questions. I very much appreciate the interest.
And will be as active as I possibly can on sg101.

It's an honor for me as well,

It's a real thrill to have you here, Eddie! Thanks for humoring us all.

Here's a question for you: why call your band the Showmen if you were using a Bandmaster? (Hmmm, Eddie & the Bandmasters? It's actually not that bad. Smile ) Did you switch to Showman amps once you split with the Belairs? Single or Dual?

Thanks! And thanks for all the great, great music.

The Madeira Official Website
The Madeira on Facebook
The Blair-Pongracic Band on Facebook
The Space Cossacks on Facebook
The Madeira Channel on YouTube

Another question:

What notable contemporaries of yours went on to success in other genres of rock music as the popularity of surf music waned? Any interesting stories about them?

Danny Snyder

aka Mycroft Eloi of The TomorrowMen
aka Shecky Shekels of Meshugga Beach Party

Please check out our latest album FUTOURISM, it's a deluxe box set with original artwork from 10 artists and a bonus download sticker.

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