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My Weekend of Surf Shows Review (Chantays Eliminators Boardwalkers Ghastly Ones)

(Read on for Jeff Bigtikidude's weekend of show reports. This report covers The Chantays, The Eliminators, The Duotones, The Relics, The Boardwalkers, and The Ghastly Ones. --BN)
Hey all,
First off I didn't make everything that was happening, Even I can't make them all. ha ha. So sorry to the Pacific Headhunters for not making their Fri and Sat night gigs. These guys are a young 20/21 year olds that look to be promising. But need to join the Forum. Myspace isn't the only web world.

So Saturday I went to the Chantays/Eliminators/and Duotones gig in San Clemente. This was a goodbye party for Rocky's surf shop. A South Orange County surf store that's been around for a long time, and has sponsored some of the surf bands around.

First up was the Chantays. How to say this without being rude....??? I was not into them at all. I have seen them play very well, and sounding pretty surfy for old dudes, trying to recapture their youth. But this was not one of those nights. Brian Carmen is still out ill, and Gil Orr was sittin in with them. Ricky, the new hot shot guitarist, didn't have his usual space age guitar, instead he was playing a gold Les Paul?? Sad to say, and Even Paul Johnson was bummed to see/hear this. Not one of the Chantays guitarist had a reverb tank. and I bet the built in wasn't turned up much either. They did a mix of old,new(90's) and classic rock/oldies vocal songs. I was waitng for sweet death to take me away. Ok it wasn't that bad, But just not a surf band at all.....Sad.

But considering this was a party, most of the Non surf crowd people liked them alot. So what do I know? Just not what I wanted to see.

Next up was a surprise appearace of the Duotones, that is Paul Johnson and Gil Orr playing 2 guitars, with no Bass, and no drums.

They did mostly first wave songs, a few standards (Lonely Bull, Sleepwalk,etc) and some of the newer songs that they have written recently (Baja Nights being a really good one). They sounded pretty good. I like seeing them in a quite resturant or art gallery better than a loud bar with a party going on though. Paul and Gil are great ol' guys, always very personable and friendly. Paul is the number 1 surf guy in my book. For those who don't know they have 2 cds, 1 acoustic, and 1 electric, available on Pauls website, I believe.

Next up was a very rare apperance of the Eliminators. Apart from private party gigs, they just don't play out publicly that much. I usually only get 1 or 2 chances a year to see these guys. They played for about 2 hours. Joe playing a Strat thru a Fender Concert amp (usually he uses a Showman, but this place was too small for that) and a reverb tank. Preston was playing a Fender Jag, thru his modern Fender custom amp (nice to see him with the Jag instead of his cutom shop Tele with Fender Bigsby knock off trem). Jazz bass, sax and drums also. They did about 2/3rds 1st wave covers, and a few party songs (tequila,and the likes), but their originals are what I lke to hear and they even played 3 (I think new songs - one with a rockabilly Flavor). They were ON!!! the Place was goin nuts, between 5 and 40 people dancin all during their set. Sax wailing away. These guys sound like your quintissential 60's surf band. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

I heard a rummor that they might be releasing 2 seperate cds soon. Don't know what the deal with that is. Maybe one of covers, one originals, not sure??? Just wish they would play out more. They are doing the Huntington Beach Pier in the summer (forgot which month- Linda!!????). Listened to the New Madeira and Nebulas on the way home that I had finally picked up from Ran (thanks again dude).

By the way that was Ran's first tiime seeing the Chantays and Eliminators. I think he'd probably agree on my comments on the bands.

Sun. Morn. got up ears ringing. It wasn't from the show, as I was kinda behind a wall off to the side of where the bands had played. Musta been from the ride home with the Maderia, and Nebulas cd's cranked up. (damn fine work boys, me like mucho).

Headed down to The Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach for the first Sun. of bands playing almost every sun from Now till Oct. whoo hoo!! This new band is called the Relics. Linda heard of them thru her Dentist. They are basically a older Blues/R&B band that's been around 7 years, but recently started doing some surf on the side after they found out about the modern revival. They started off as a 3 piece, with the guitar player, playing a jag/stang thru a reverb tank and a showman. Kinda crunchy with not much reverb. A few originals, and a few covers. Kinda Link Wray meets surf sound. Pretty good drummer and bass player for older guys. Not showy, but solid. Then a 2nd guitarist joined them, with a star thru a small Blues deville with an extension cab. But the lead player switched to a Jag, and boom there was the surf sound. Bright, ringing, drippy. Wow what a difference. Jag/stangs suck!!!. They did a bunch more 60's covers most know, a couple lesser known. 2 highlights were a spooky version of Highwall by the Wailers, and Rockula by Los Straitjackets. Finished up with the obligatory (not really, but.. heard thousands of times at the Museum) Wipeout and Miserlou. I was fairly impressed. I wasn't sure what to expect and was a bit apprehensive. But good Call Linda. Nice to see some new bands once in awhile. Even if they aren't 1000% what we like. Pretty good turn out for the first show of the season in the parking lot. Thanks to my buddy Baja Marty, and new pal Tim (aka HB kahuna) and John, Linda Miller's husband for helping with the cahirs and sun shades set up and break down.

After that I jammed up to Long Beach to Busters Beach House, to catch a bit of a friend's Hawiian/tiki style band (slide steel, ukulele, and stand up bass). The band is called the Smokin' Menahunes, (which is Hawaiis version of a Leprichan). They were playing a show for the Tiki crowd. The show started at 4 and went till 7:30, but I left at 5:45 to go to The Dumb Angel Gazette (All Summer Long) magazine release party.

That started at 6 pm in Newport beach in an old brick Building from the early 1900's. Kinda neat, but very crowded. First up was the Boardwalkers. They started out in the early 90's as a fairly trad. band with little twists here and there. But over time have become very psychedellic/progressive/wierd. I like them either way, but "some" don't , I think they kinda had a feeling Dominic Priore (the mag guy) wouldn't dig the Psyche side, and played it pretty trad, all covers, some very obscure though. All Dan had for effects was a reverb tank, Fuzz pedal (used on about 5 songs) and a old analog delay pedal. With a Strat thru a Twin with a single 15 (forget the name of them). They played about an hour or so. Marty Tippens on Drums (Great Job Marty). And Mark Hoeschler on Fender Jazz Bass.

Next up was Billy Hinsche (sp?) from Dino, Desi, and Billy. I didn't dig this guys folk music, I went outside after 3 songs. Ran or Kristena will have to give a review of him. haha

Last was the Ghastly Ones. They now have as a full time member, Dave Klien of the Bomboras(drummer) on spooky organ now. I'm horrible with Ghastly ones songs titles, but they played almost 2 hours I think, doin a mix of stuff, from their 2 cd's. Some 60's tunes like Cat on a Hot Foam Board, by the New Dimensions, Fuzzy and Wild by the Ventures, Yuzo's twist, by the Jap eleki guy Yuzo (insert last name). Also they did some new songs, from their next cd. Good crowd response, some new fans. One of the Guitar players from Daikaju stoppped by on his way from SD to LA going to LAX to fly home after being in So. Cal. for a wedding. Also bassplayer from the now defunt Infrareds. Dano from the Dynotones, Jellybean from Jackie and the Cedrics. Ran and our buddy Alan came up from San Diego. Kristina and her husband Rudy, So. Cal. trad Nazi's the Kanaster brothers Mark and Brent. And a few new fans to surf I've met thru the groups, and the forum were there.

Whew, what a weekend! And I didn't even do it all.

But there is always next weekend in So. Cal., the land of many surf bands, and shows.

Till next time, your faithful reviewer without pad or pen.


This story has 6 comments.


I'll add my 2 cents to Jeff's review:

First off, I did enjoy the Chantays. If nothing else, we were watching a bit of surf music history. I have to agree with Jeff though. No tanks & a Gibson Les Paul on lead? OH THE HORROR! Some things are just not meant to be. As much as I enjoyed it, it wasn't the same without Brian Carmen thundering away on his Strats E string, reverb to the max just dripping. I'd love to see them play "old school."

What can you say about Paul & Gill? I even heard several other very accomplished guitarists complimenting Paul Johnson's Guitar playing.

The Eliminators...... These guys smoked! The only reason they are not better know is possibly their own lack of self promotion.

Preston Wilson was great as a front man for the group. Loved the vintage mic. Preston played a nice tribute to Paul Johnson saying if it wasn't for Paul & DD there would be no bands like The Eliminators. He also went on to say if not for DD Paul would have been the king of the surf guitar. Very nice.

Joe Kurkowski was nothing short of amazing. The sound & musicianship were second to none. He played a simply amazing rendition of Sleep Walk & without a slide. Stunning.

Doug Marlow just thundered on the drums keeping the band together. Brilliant. Almost Jungle drum sounding at times it you know what I mean & I mean that in a good way.

Frank Hughes on bass was like a human metronome. Eyes closed a lot of the time really into the music.

Bill Swanson on percussion & sax, WHOA! To say this guy can play the tenor sax may be the understatement of the year. On Punta Baja he just rips.

The crowd was really into them. There were only some brief periods that the dance floor was not full.

This a really strong band that I think is an absolute MUST see in person. I highly recommend their CD's. They have tremendous future potential.

The Eliminators play the Huntington Beach Pier June 4 along with Jeff's fav The Insect Surfers, The Detonators, Boardwalkers & Marauders. I would encourage all to try & attend even if you have to make an over nighter out of it. Surf City has lots of good places to stay & there is an excellent selection of clubs & restaurants.

There is also a possibility that the Eliminators will play a huge event this July. More on that in the near future.

For those that were not there, you REALLY missed it!

HBkahuna | 04-Apr-2006 15:38:35 | Flag

Hey Hb, of course there are many sub genres and styles of surf. And I like many of them. But as I've said before, old dudes from the 60's sounding like a 70's or 80's bar band, trying to play surf, just doesn't swing it for me. Not saying they should stop playing. just my opinion on thier sound. I've seen the Chantays many times in the 90's really kick ass. Just wish they still would.


bigtikidude | 04-Apr-2006 19:05:18 | Flag

Ok, For the most part I agree with Jeff. Chantays - didn't like, though I did get a little excited when they played Pipeline (just because it was them, or half of them, not because I like seeing bands play this song).

DuoTones - havn't seen them in a while, and enjoyed it a lot. Paul is a great guy.

Eliminators - finaly got to see them live. They really did a good job of making everyone (well not us, sausage-fest-surf-nerds) dance. But, I had a little feeling of "corporate band" - meaning, the type of dynamic you get from a band that does mostly parties where they play a lot of known covers and standards - good musicianship, not a lot of feeling. I enjoyed their originals much more. I also enjoyed their cover of "Moment of Truth". This is where I felt they shined. When they went into "tequila" and "La Bamba" I was trying to block it out.

All in all, an evening well worth the drive from San Diego.

Sunday: The Boardwalkers played a set of mostly trad covers, and as Jeff said, they sounded good. I liked hearing "Crash" and "Bombora" (Atlantics). I 've never seen Marty play the drums so well. Good job! The folk singer guy was not helping my food go down easily. His grilfriend had the nerve to come over after his show and try to hawk some cds on our unsuspecting table-mates. I was just aching for her to try to sell me some, but lucky for her she didn't take the bait. The Ghastly Ones (the reason I came down from San Diego and took monday off) played a very energetic set, although it was clear the place was too small for them. Norman(the drummer/singer) was located just in front of a mirror that reflected high frequencies straight to his ears. The guitarist was playing 1 foot away from Alan's face. Nevertheless, they played a lot of old favorites, and new songs that were good, including good vocal tunes. Some tunes that I remember - Ghastly Stomp, Los Championes De Justicio, Haulin' Hearse, Mysterion, Spooky (Diablo's Theme), Werewolves on Wheels, He's Coming, Everybody's Doin' the Ghastly Stomp, Cat on a Hot Foam Board, Fuzzy & Wild, Yuzzo's Twist. Instead of Nacrobella, their usual Go-Go dancer, they had 2 dancers that I saw performing with Deke Dickerson's All Star band.

That's about it I guess.


kick_the_reverb | 06-Apr-2006 11:11:59 | Flag

I want to thank you guys for taking the time to post these reports. This is exactly what I was hoping would happen with this new site!!!

Brian | 06-Apr-2006 11:18:20 | Flag

I just hope everybody reads them.
I find it kinda weird being seperate from the forum, and by the lack of responses to most reviews. I wonder how many people read the stuff on the front page of the site. Not a critique, just a question.


bigtikidude | 10-Apr-2006 16:16:31 | Flag

The Chrome Oxide Hour features live recordings of recent shows I have managed to attend. Parts of the Relics, Boardwalkers and Ghastly Ones performances are available to listen to as podcasts at:

The schedule for listening to The Chrome Oxide Hour can be found at:

Chrome Oxide

chromeoxide | 14-May-2006 11:09:31 | Flag

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