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Friends and guitar music fans:
I am happy to tell you that I have a new band ‹ Paul Johnson & Friends ‹ and that this new band is about to make its DEBUT PERFORMANCE this coming weekend at the COFFEE GALLERY BACKSTAGE in ALTADENA.
I have hand-picked some of the top players from within the surf-instro genre to work with me at this endeavor of love. Accompanying me on the CGB stage for our first public performance will be:
As Ron & Matt are both adept at playing both the guitar and the bass, the plan here is to have them trade off between the two instruments, thus lending greater variety to guitar sounds within the band. The group's repertoire will include all the usual surf and rock-instrumental classics, as well as my own catalog of original tunes. The goal for Paul Johnson & Friends is to move the genre forward with new ideas for the music, while remaining faithful to the original style that defines the surf-instrumental genre.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26, 7 PM
THE COFFEE GALLERY BACKSTAGE
2029 LAKE STREET, ALTADENA (about 2 miles north of the 210 Fwy)
You should make reservations NOW ‹ shows here often sell out in advance; there are only 50 seats available in this intimate venue... but every seat is up close and personal and the sound is great too, making the CGB the IDEAL venue for what we do!
Tix: $18 - call 626/798-6236
More info at the CGB website.
7TH ANNUAL SURF GUITAR 101 CONVENTION
Saturday, August 9, 2014
The Starting Gate
5052 Katella Ave.
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
These days, just about everyone is familiar with the twangy, reverb-drenched plunk, undulating whammy bar and machine-gun staccato commonly known as “Surf Guitar.” It’s become one of the staple sounds chosen to set the mood for commercials, television programs and feature films by music supervisors and sound designers the world over. Whether it’s conjuring the feelings of Summer, the beach, the old West, outer space, a desolate desert, or the adventures and intrigue of an international super spy, that quintessential “Surf Guitar” sound is somewhere in the background.
Lesser known, however, is the fact that there are legions of fanatics spanning the globe that share a deep passion and sometimes obsession for this 50-plus year old Southern California art form. These die-hard fans keep the genre and its associated culture very much alive and thriving through internet communication, annual meetings, specialty radio programs, and an ever-growing network of performers, collectors and instrument aficionados. Since 2006, the single most important internet resource for everything Surf guitar has been Surfguitar101.com, and for the past 6 years, its official annual convention has been the most important gathering in the United States for anyone interested in this very specific musical style.
2014’s 7th annual Surf Guitar 101 Convention is slated to be the greatest and most well-attended to date. Headlining this year is none other than local Southern California legends Slacktone (slacktone.com), the Surf trio considered by many to have set the bar for all modern Surf bands with their jaw-dropping display of technical proficiency, attention to tone and sheer power. Making their way down from Seattle for a very special reunion performance comes The Boss Martians (facebook.com/bossmartians), who exploded onto the scene in the early 90s with their traditional sound featuring organ. From Japan, for the first time in many years with another historic reunion performance is The Surf Coasters (surfcoasters.com), one of the most prolific of all Surf bands, releasing upwards of 25 recordings since their formation in 1994. Debuting their brand-new full-length album Wiki Waki Woooo comes The Kilaueas (facebook.com/thekilaueas), all the way from Germany, who have been thrilling audiences with their energetic live shows and impeccable vintage tones. Making their California debut is The Supertones from New York, one of the longest running modern Surf bands, a staple of the East Coast scene since 1988. Back to the convention from Northern California to wow audiences once again comes instrumental supergroup Frankie & The Poolboys (facebook.com/frankieandthepoolboys), whose latest album The Adventures of Cap’n Coconuts has been consistently high on international critics’ lists. Up from the San Diego area comes first-wave legend Tom Stanton leading his trio The Surf Kings, who’ll present their special brand of heavy, moody Surf. And last, but certainly not least comes the intensity of power Surf trio Threesome (threesomeband.com), fresh off of a European tour in support of their latest EP, On Tour. Live performances will also include an all-star tribute to first-wave pioneers The Atlantics of Australia, featuring members of The Madeira, The TomorrowMen and Insect Surfers, and a special showcase by one of the originators of Surf music, the creator of “Mr. Moto” himself, Paul Johnson.
In addition to the live performaces, the all-day event will feature a Surf music marketplace, with one of the greatest vending areas of Surf-related CDs, records, books, magazines, posters, clothing, instruments, accessories and other collectibles anywhere! Of special note will be in-person signings by Sven Kirsten, who’ll be signing his new Taschen book Tiki Pop, and Dominic Priore, who’ll be signing his new book Pacific Ocean Park: The Rise And Fall of Los Angeles’ Space Age Nautical Pleasure Pier. Confirmed vendors also include Double Crown Records, Surf King Surf Wear, Dionysus Records, MuSick Recordings, Reverb Junkies DVD, Pounding Surf DVD, Paul Johnson and many more!
And, true to the old saying that there’s something for everyone, thanks to the generosity of major sponsors such as Fender, D’Addario, Eastwood and others, attendees will not only have the opportunity to receive free products, but also enter raffles to win exceptional prizes such as actual Surf guitars! Up for grabs will be a Fender Classic Player Jaguar set up by Slacktone’s Dave Wronski, an Eastwood Sidejack DLX in greenburst, a custom Atomic Brain pedal by Nocturne, and a deluxe accessory package from D’Addario, among many other wonderful prizes!
Bring the kids, listen to the amazing live music, shop ‘till you drop and meet and greet some of Surf music’s most important personalities, all within steps of a full kitchen and bar, in the air-conditioned comfort of Los Alamitos’ Starting Gate. It’s reverb-drenched fun for the whole family! Tickets available at the door.
Martin Cilia writes:
When I brought my band to California from Australia last year I had plans to record a film clip of Mrs Moto, from my 2013 album "Going to Kaleponi", hopefully with Paul Johnson. I ran it past him and he agreed.
We decided to film at Huntington Beach. It was the perfect day for it. We got some great footage along and under the pier and also live as part of my set. Afterwards Paul surprised me by asking if we'd like him to edit the clip. We jumped at the chance to have him do it.
Paul went above and beyond - sourcing live audio of us playing the song onstage (thanks Chrome Oxide) and some extra footage from the Purple Orchid (thanks Unsteady Freddie -- would you hire a cameraman called "unsteady"?).
We love the clip. I hope you do too.
If you or anyone you know would like to own the Fender De Ville amp that I've been playing through over the past ten years or so, please see this post in the "for sale" section.
Just a note to let you know that I'm making myself available for such things as giving guitar lessons, coaching young surf bands in getting their act together, producing your band's next CD (or playing guitar on your studio project), etc. etc. If this is of interest to you, please see my more detailed post in the "Classified: Musicians and gigs wanted" section. Thanks! — pj
Coming SOON: One of those “ya gotta be there” events...!
A rare and special So Cal appearance by AUSTRALIA’S #1 surf guitar star, MARTIN CILIA. Martin has been championing the surf sound down under as lead guitarist for the great Aussie surf band, THE ATLANTICS, and he is clearly one of the best $#&%*! surf guitarists to be found anywhere.
Now, for the very first time, Martin will be making musical waves here in California. There will be TWO local opportunities to catch his act — one in the LA area and one in Orange County — both featuring Martin playing with California surf guitarist Paul "Mr Moto" Johnson from the seminal surf group the BELAIRS.
Friday, March 9 in Hermosa Beach — at SUZY’S Bar & Grill (1141 Aviation Blvd, Hermosa Beach). Tix are a mere $8 at the door; show starts at 9 PM. Also on the bill: Banned from the Beach.
Sunday, March 11 in Huntington Beach — at Don the Beachcombers (16278 PCH). No cover; show starts around 6:30 in the “Dagger Bar.” Martin & Paul will be backed in this show by drummer Dusty Watson and bassist Matt Quilter. Come early for a casual “meet ‘n greet” with Martin, featuring a jam session with Matt Quilter and his “wave machine.” (Pre-show activities commence at around 5 pm; note: Don’s serves excellent food and drink.)
More about Martin:
Prior to 1961, Southern California kids didn’t hang out at the beach all that much; you’d be more likely to see them cruising in their cars, hanging out at the ice cream / root beer drive-ins, or dancing to 45 rpm records at sock hops. Live music was a rarity, and there was no such thing as “surf music.” In short: prior to 1961, there was no “California surf culture” as we know it today.
But the new trend was on the rise that year: with the advent of lightweight foam boards, surfing caught on big with the beach-area kids; by summer this had grown into a major cultural explosion — a mass youth-movement complete with it’s own styles, mannerisms and slang.
Going into that memorable summer of ‘61, I was 15 and a fledgling guitarist with a fledgling band (the Belairs) that emulated the sounds of the rock-instrumental heroes of the late ‘50s (Duane Eddy, Link Wray, The Fireballs, Johnny and the Hurricanes, the Ventures, etc.). When we heard that a lot of these new young “surfers” were driving thirty miles south to Balboa on the weekends to hear somebody named Dick Dale play similar stuff, we decided to throw our own dances locally. The result was like jumping onto a speeding train!
We had never given the slightest thought to calling ourselves a “surf” band. But at our first dance that summer, which drew about 200 beach-area kids, a prominent local surfer came up to me and said: “Wow, man — your music sounds just like it feels out on a wave! You oughta call it ‘surf music’!!” By summer’s end we were filling halls with 1500 fully “stoked” surfers who were doing just that: over the summer they had embraced our music (along with Dale’s) as their own, and now they were calling it “surf music!”
Marty Klenz, known as Baja Marty to many of us, has been very ill. Several months ago, he went to the doctor with severe pain in his side. Doctors have discovered many complications, the most frightening of them, cancer. The news is overwhelming for Marty and his family; disheartening for the surf community. Marty is currently treating Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma with chemotherapy. Because of his current condition, Marty cannot work. With utilities and other expenses, medical bills are an unwelcome, but necessary evil in the mix. In an effort to help Marty during these critical times, we have put together this event to raise funds for "Baja" Marty. For those who do not know Marty, he has been a long-time surf music fanatic. Given the name "Baja" Marty from his favorite tune recorded by the Astronauts (written by Lee Hazlewood), many people in the community know and love him. Please help!
A benefit show is planned on Saturday, October 8, 11:00am - 7:00pm at The Starting Gate, 5052 Katella Avenue, Los Alamitos, CA.
Here is the lineup:
Paul Johnson played a reunion of his post-surf folk-rock band 'The Everpresent Fullness' Sun Jun 12th at the 'Rhino Pop-up Store' in Westwood, Los Angeles. Abetted by 2 'youngsters' on drums and vocals/melodica/harmonica, the original singer/guitarist, bassist and lead guitarist Paul did a very tight set of their signature songs from 1966. It was definitely folk-rock, a few touches of blues, and Paul explained to the audience how their then record label 'White Whale (who also had The Turtles) was grooming them to be the West Coast's answer to The Lovin' Spoonful. It was explained to the audience that the release of their one big single was screwed up by the original writer (not in the band) disliking their arrangement and preventing the release! Also included in the set were a few Dylan tunes, and PJ even played a beautiful sounding electric 12-string on one song. i had never heard any of the material before, I only knew OF the band, but i was not disappointed in the least. The last number I joined surf author Dominic Priore in boppin to the beat by the side of the stage! Hopefully PJ will continue to a few more Everpresent Fullness gigs around town!!