- Surf Music
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In honor of the 60th anniversary of the release of Flashin' Red by The Esquires songseeds records has released a new EP by The Esquires containing all new tracks recorded in the past year.
In 1963 Rick Clingman and Durby Wheeler were transplanted from Ohio into the instrumental surf hotbed of Southern California. Both 14 years old at the time they were instantly mesmerized by the surf bands they heard at the Azusa Teen Club. Within a year they had The Esquires up and running. Rick took up lead guitar and Durby took up Bass Guitar. They recruited a rhythm guitarist and drummer and after a few months of gigging and practice, went into Pal Recording in Cucamonga and laid down the A side Flashin' Red and B side What A Burn.
The Esquires were late to the instrumental surf trend. The week Flashin' Red was nominated as Pick Hit of the Week at some of the local radio stations in S. Cal. The Beatles took the top of the charts and instrumental surf was no longer of interest to most radio music programmers.
In the '90s indie record company Dionysus struck a deal with The Esquires to re-release Flashin' Red and What A Burn and their versions of a number of instrumental surf covers.
Rick: "When Flashin' Red was released radio station KASK in Ontario invited us in to do an in-studio live concert. Part of the deal was that they would record it and give us the tape. That tape provided the cover songs for the '90s release by Dionysus."
Flash forward to 2023. Rick is still at it. Writing songs and recording under the artist name: songseeds.
Rick: "I had always been disappointed that we abandoned instrumental surf so soon. It was the music that inspired me to start playing guitar. The idea of doing a 60th Anniversary remake of the song really got me excited. Then, while working on the new arrangement for Flashin' Red, I discovered a couple of new surf song ideas were floating around inside my brain. Probably the songs I didn't get to write in '63."
In the spirit of the minor trend of covering TV theme songs, Rick put together the idea of doing an instrumental surf version of the theme from the Perry Mason show.
Rick: "I auditioned a lot of TV show themes then searched the internet to see if I could find a good one that hadn't been done in the instrumental surf style. The Perry Mason theme was perfect."
Also on the EP:
Dawn Patrol is a slower mellower surf song that reflects the early morning quest to find the best, uncrowded waves.
King Tide is about surfing the big tides that have been hitting the coasts and the energetic excitement is reflected in the uptempo arrangement.
Though not available to record on the new version of Flashin' Red, Rick recruited Durby to design the EP cover.
Rick: "Durby has been working with graphic design for many years and it was really great to have him do the design and layout for the EP cover."
The EP titled "Flashin' Red Again" is available on all the streaming platforms. Check it out.
RECORDING TECH NOTES
Rick: "When I started the project the first thing I knew I needed was a Fender reverb unit. Found one of the '90s reissue models in great shape.
I used a 2002 American Deluxe Stratocaster on all of the leads and some of the rhythms and a 1980 Les Paul Custom on some of the rhythms.
Although I don't still have the '63 Strat I used on the original Esquires recordings (rats), I do still have my 1966 Fender Precision Bass and that's what I used on all of these tracks.
All of the guitar tracks including bass used the same input chain: Manley DI into an AMS Neve 1073 preamp into an Apogee Symphony audio interface and recorded with Logic Pro on a Mac Studio. No amplifiers or amp sims were used.
For drums I used Logic Pros built-in MIDI Drummer."