a complementary if brief surf raiders bio/overview

DO MOST YOUNG PEOPLE know what “surf music” is? That’s REAL surf music, the kind played by a guitar-and-rhythm-section-and-no-singer group! Many people—including non-record col­lecting older folk—think of the Beach Boys’ early har­monies when they hear the term “surf music,” but that was never con­sid­ered surf music by surfer guys and gals (dudes and bun­nies?). 1

In­stru­mental surf music was dom­i­nated by a heavily re­verbed Fender guitar sup­ported by a promi­nent bass line, one of the few pop music genres that placed em­phasis on what was often just a part of the rhythm sec­tion.

By the ’70s, many people didn’t take surf music se­ri­ously, in­cluding the record re­viewers for the Rolling Stone Album Guide.

This music had its fif­teen min­utes of fame in the early 1960s, and then was gone from the radio waves, seem­ingly for­ever.

For most of us back then, this music was heard in the handful of 45s that found their way onto the charts—and there weren’t many!

Such hits as the Chan­tays’ haunting (and now im­mortal) Pipeline, the Sur­faris’ ir­re­sistible Wipe Out, and Dick Dale & The Del-Tones’ Let’s Go Trippin’ (the record that started it all) and Misirlou are what surf music was all about. 2

Then there were the count­less local bands that played all summer long, even if they were con­fined to the dance halls and radio sta­tions of the Cal­i­fornia coast. And there were the records—usually sin­gles on small la­bels with small press runs that few heard out­side of the mu­si­cians’ family and friends.

Records that will never be played on any oldies sta­tion.

Any­where.

Records that only col­lec­tors know about today.

 

DaleDick_BeachParty

Dick Dale and his Fender Stra­to­caster making their pres­ence known in the 1963 Amer­ican In­ter­na­tional Pic­tures movie Beach Party. Re­leased during the Summer of ’63, it was the first of many silly “beach movies” made in the mid-’60s and starred Frankie Avalon and An­nette Fu­ni­cello.

Blast from the past

In 1979, in sunny, funny Azusa, Cal­i­fornia, record col­lector Bob Dalley got the idea of putting to­gether a rock & roll band. After all, what could a poor boy do? But Bob wasn’t in­ter­ested in being just an­other street fighting man: he wanted to find a bunch of guys who wanted to play … in­stru­mental surf music! 

But by the ’70s, surf music was at best a novelty-like blast from the past—a music that many people didn’t even take se­ri­ously. This in­cluded most of the record re­viewers for the taste-making Rolling Stone and other ‘hip’ mag­a­zines, many of whom mis­in­ter­preted a state­ment by the hippest, coolest spade in the world! 3

 

Bob Dalley wanted to bring back some of the in­fec­tious joy of those rel­a­tively young and in­no­cent days.

 

Dalley wanted to bring back some of the in­fec­tious joy of those rel­a­tively young and in­no­cent days, so he began his quest to form a gen­uine in­stru­mental surf band.

Fellow record col­lector Neal Kuzee in­tro­duced him to John Blair’s book The Il­lus­trated Discog­raphy Of Surf Music (1978), a treasure-trove for surf afi­cionados.

This book fur­ther fu­eled Bob’s am­bi­tions: he bought a vin­tage Fender Stra­to­caster with a re­verb unit (just like Dick Dale!) and a Fender Dual Showmen am­pli­fier (just like Dick Dale!).

 

SurfRaiders_photo_publicity

The Surf Raiders n June 1981: Larry Moore (sax), Neal Kuzee (rhythm guitar), Loyd Davis (bass), Dave Ro­driguez (drums), and Bob Dalley (lead guitar).

Help Wanted to form surf band

In Jan­uary 1980, Dalley placed an ad in a weekly paper looking for local like-minded mu­si­cians. Bass player and gui­tarist Loyd Davis and guitar player Steve Tanner were the first to re­spond. One guy called and asked if he had to have blonde hair and blue eyes to be in the band! Bob in­vited him to prac­tice and Dave Ro­driguez be­came the drummer.

By April, the mu­si­cians were prac­ticing in Bob’s garage. As everyone had some ex­pe­ri­ence playing with a group, they were quickly knocking out classic tunes such as Baja, Pipeline, and Wipe Out.

A few names were tossed around, in­cluding Surf Riders and Curl Riders be­fore they set­tled on Surf Raiders. But after only a few gigs, Tanner left. The Surf Raiders needed an­other guitar.

And then Bob re­mem­bered that Neal Kuzee played guitar—and Neal loved surf music! In De­cember, the new group débuted at punk em­po­rium Madame Wong’s West. Shortly after, Larry Moore joined the group as the first sax player.

 

SurfRaiders_Shape_surfer

The die-cut pic­ture disc of Erika/Azra SH-01, The Surf Raider, was done in dif­ferent color vinyl. On a few, Dalley col­ored the image by hand. This one is on black vinyl with char­acter hand-colored. Note that the blonde surfer dude owes a nod to Rick Griffin’s Murph the Surf car­toons of the early ’60s. This image has be­come an un­of­fi­cial mascot for the Surf Raiders. 4

Revival of surfin’ USA

The Surf Raiders’ live per­for­mances were the heart of what they did, and the au­di­ences at their gigs were full of screaming and dancing kids who had never heard in­stru­mental surf music. Still, the guys talked about making records.

The first Surf Raiders record—a 45 rpm single, naturally—came from a recording ses­sion held in Neal’s front room: the A-side was The Curl Rider, an orig­inal tune penned by Dalley; the flip-side was Let There Be Surf, orig­i­nally recorded by the Chev­ells in 1963.

Around the same time that the single was re­leased on Dal­ley’s own Surf Wax Records in early 1981, live ver­sions of the two songs were also re­leased on Surfin’ 81.” This was an extended-play album (EP) re­leased on Moxie Records and fea­tured six songs recorded live at the Ice House. And both records were get­ting air­play on the local radio sta­tions.

The records also came to the at­ten­tion of col­lec­tors and en­thu­si­asts out­side the US., in­cluding sev­eral glowing ar­ti­cles in the Aus­tralian mag­a­zine Cal­i­fornia Music.

So nat­u­rally plans for an album were started.

 

SurfRaidersSW104ps

This copy of the pic­ture sleeve for Surf Wax 104, Gum Dipper Slicks / Squad Car, was signed by rhythm guitar player Neal Kuzee. No­tice that the art­work again em­u­lates Rick Griffin’s Murph the Surf of the early ’60s.4

Raiders of the lost surf

In June of ’81, Moore left and Em­mett O’Sullivan was re­cruited as the new sax­o­phonist. In Au­gust, the Raiders laid down four­teen tracks at The Garage, a recording studio in West Covina run by Pat Wo­ertink. The songs were a mix of oldies and group orig­i­nals.

After the ses­sion, Gum Dipped Slicks and Let There Be Surf were rere­corded in Bob’s garage while Scratch was recorded live at Knott’s Berry Farm. These record­ings be­came the basis for the group’s first album.

In late 1981, the group re­leased three new sin­gles from these ses­sions: Point Con­cep­tion ’63 / Crash (Surf Wax 102), Un­known / Point Con­cep­tion (Surf Wax 103), and Gum Dipped Slicks / Squad Car (Surf Wax 104).

The Raiders shopped their album around to sev­eral com­pa­nies that had the record col­lec­tor’s market in their sights, in­cluding Rhino and Bomp. But as both com­pa­nies had their own surf groups (Jon & The Nightriders and The Wedge, re­spec­tively), the Surf Raiders re­leased their album on their own Surf Wax Records.

In Feb­ruary 1982, RAIDERS OF THE LOST SURF was re­leased, the title was a very clever homage to Steven Spiel­berg’ Raiders Of The Lost Ark, the biggest hit movie of 1981. Having an album re­ally es­tab­lished the group: they found them­selves working every weekend at places as di­verse as Knott’s Berry Farm and the Whisky-A-Go-Go!

In March, the Surf Raiders recorded their second album, SURF BOUND. Two songs from that al­bum’s ses­sions (Shortin’ Bread and Steel Pier) were not used but turned up later on Bob­bette Records as a single.

Changes in the group’s per­sonnel con­tinued: O’­Sul­livan left and was re­placed by Linda Dalley, who played the sax parts on key­boards. Kuzee left and Tom Mon­crieff be­came the new rhythm gui­tarist. He had played with both Stevie Nicks and Walter Egan’s bands and was re­cently a member of the Mal­i­booz.

 

Raiders_Lost_LPc

Raiders)LostSurf_surfwax

First press­ings of Surf Wax SW-1001, RAIDERS OF THE LOST SURF, were pressed on marbleized-blue vinyl for a ‘surf-colored’ record! This is prob­ably the most sought-after Surf Raiders record and can easily sell for more than $100 in NM con­di­tion. Later press­ings on translu­cent blue and black vinyl are worth con­sid­er­ably less.

Girls on the beach are still within reach

In April 1984, the Surf Raiders re­leased their last album, ON THE BEACH, which in­cluded vo­cals for the first time, with Bob and Linda singing on sev­eral tracks. As Mon­crieff was un­able to make the ses­sion, the Davie Allan sup­plied rhythm guitar and added some vo­cals.

The sax parts were played by 19-year-old Brian Thompson. He had sent a demo tape of his surf band the Sound Waves to Dalley, which led to an in­vi­ta­tion to play on the album. He also made a few gigs as a Surf Raider be­fore moving on.

While they cut no more records, the Surf Raiders con­tinued per­forming live as a 5-piece en­semble, with orig­inal mem­bers Bob Dalley, Loyd Davis, and Dave Ro­driguez along with Linda Dalley and Tom Mon­crieff.

In Feb­ruary 1988, Loyd’s job re­quired him to move to Texas. As Bob re­ally didn’t want to start over with an­other bass player, he in­stead dis­solved the Surf Raiders.

 

SurfRaiders_FeverCD

If you want an af­ford­able in­tro­duc­tion to the wet world of the Surf Raiders, find a copy of the com­pact disc SURFIN’ FEVER. It con­tains twenty-five tracks from the vaults of the Surf Raiders.

The Surf Raiders then

The orig­inal group on the first Surf Raiders records was a quartet: Bob Dalley, Steve Tanner, Loyd Davis, and Dave Ro­driguez. There were six other mem­bers of the band that played on records or in live per­for­mances. Here is a break­down of the group’s per­sonnel with their pri­mary in­stru­ment and the years in which they par­tic­i­pated:

Bob Dalley, lead guitar                                             1979           1988
Steve Tanner, rhythm guitar                                   1979           1981
Loyd Davis, bass guitar                                            1979           1988
Dave Ro­driguez, drums                                             1979           1988
Larry Moore, sax­o­phone                                           1980           1981
Neal Kuzee, rhythm guitar                                       1981           1983
Linda Dalley, key­boards                                            1981           1988
Em­mett O’­Sul­livan, sax­o­phone                                1981           1983

Tom Mon­crieff, rhythm guitar                                1983           1988
Brian Thompson, sax­o­phone                                    1984           1985

The mu­si­cians were not con­fined to their pri­mary role: the rhythm gui­tarists often took leads and one even honked on sax oc­ca­sion­ally.

“Be­tween 1980 and 1988, we played a lot of places, al­most too many to count. We played up and down the coast of Southern California—Malibu, The Country Club, The Whisky-A-Go-Go, Knott’s Berry Farm, Madame Wong’s East and West, The 321 Club.

We played on the same bill with the Sur­faris a few times, as well as Jon & The Nightriders and Dick Dale. In the end, it was mostly par­ties, which were great! The band ended in 1988 when I de­cided to de­vote my time to com­plete Surfin’ Gui­tars.” (adapted from Mu­sicDish)

 

BobDalley_photo

“Since I heard Pipeline on the radio for the first time, I knew that in­stru­mental surf music was going to be in my life for­ever. I am glad to have played a small part in the re­vival of the music and the doc­u­men­ta­tion of the bands that played it. I hope others follow and keep the gui­tars wet with re­verb and the music alive for­ever.” (adapted from Mu­sicDish)

The Surf Raiders now

Dalley has kept in touch with or tracked down sev­eral former Raiders. Here is an up­date on a few of them:

Bob Dalley pub­lished a Surfin’ Gui­tars in Oc­tober 1988, a book on in­stru­mental surf groups of the early ’60s. In 1989, he and Linda moved to Salt Lake City. Due to a pair of carpal-tunnel op­er­a­tions, Bob had to take time off from playing. So in­stead he started the Salt Lake City Surf Music Ap­pre­ci­a­tion So­ciety, pub­lished their monthly newsletter Surf Music USA, and even had a show de­voted to surf music on public radio in Utah!

For sev­eral years, Bob had a reg­ular monthly column in Gold­mine mag­a­zine. He has helped put to­gether nu­merous com­pi­la­tions, many of which fea­ture the Surf Raiders. Bob was also a con­sul­tant on many projects over the years, in­cluding the COWABUNGA! boxed set for Rhino.

Linda Dalley now has the time to pursue her hobby of hanging wall quilts and teaching piano.

Loyd Davis moved back to LA in 1989 and formed the Sul­tans of Surf with Dave Ro­driguez and Neal Kuzee.

Neal Kuzee re­tired from his high school teaching po­si­tion and oc­ca­sion­ally per­forms with the Sul­tans of Surf.

Tom Mon­crieff and Annie McLoone formed McLooney Tunes and have won sev­eral Clio Awards for their music for com­mer­cials.

Dave Ro­driguez kept busy for a while playing with the Sul­tans of Surf, the Hill­billy Soul Surfers, and a va­riety of other groups. Alas, his cur­rent where­abouts un­known.

Any­body knowing the where­abouts of the other former mem­bers, please send the info to me via the Com­ments sec­tion at the bottom of this page.

 

FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is of Florida-based power surfer Peter Mendia. “Peter is one of the surf in­dus­try’s most beloved goofy-footers known for his show stop­ping cut­backs, for packing mas­sive bar­rels and for putting it on rail like none other. He is the per­fect com­bi­na­tion of high per­for­mance and lifestyle surfing, mar­rying ath­leti­cism with fun.” (Surfer)

Fi­nally, This ar­ticle is a rewrite of an au­to­bi­o­graph­ical piece written by Bob Dalley and used else­where by him for pro­mo­tional pur­poses. I don’t in­tend this to be de­fin­i­tive; it’s com­ple­men­tary to the ar­ticle on Bob’s book Surfin’ Gui­tars and the Surf Raiders’ discog­raphy and price guide. Be the first on your block to read the com­plete “Lord of the Surf” trilogy here on Rather Rare Records!

1. Surfing Gui­tars And In­stru­mental Surf Bands Of The Early ‘60s
2. Surf Raiders Discog­raphy & Price Guide
3. A Com­ple­men­tary If Brief Surf Raiders Bio/Overview

 


FOOTNOTES:

1   A better ques­tion is prob­ably, “Do most young people give a damn about any music older than six months?” Hell’s Belles, an even better ques­tion is, “Do most young people give a damn about any­thing older than six months?”

2   Even the Beach Boys cut in­stru­mental surf tunes for their first two al­bums, in­cluding rude ver­sions of Capitol Records label-mate Dick Dale’s Misirlou and Let’s Go Trippin’ (the latter re­fer­ring to phys­ical trips that kids took to The Ren­dezvous to hear Dale, not trips on the astral-plane).

3   It was long be­lieved that Jimi Hen­drix cackled over the demise of surf music in the song Third Stone From The Sun, where he is heard to say, “And you’ll never hear surf music again.” Re­leased on his first album ARE YOU EXPERIENCED in 1967, the song is an ex­per­i­mental in­stru­mental with a brief spoken part that rep­re­sent the per­spec­tive of an in­vading alien with su­pe­rior tech­nology.

After com­mu­ni­cating with his su­pe­riors re­garding his po­si­tion in time and space, he ru­mi­nates about the life on the planet be­neath him, which is the third planet from the sun:

Strange, beau­tiful, grass of green,
with your ma­jestic silken seas,
your mys­te­rious moun­tains I wish to see closer.
May I land my kinky ma­chine?
Al­though your world won­ders me,
with your ma­jestic and su­pe­rior cack­ling hen,
your people I do not un­der­stand.
So to you I wish to put an end
and you’ll never hear surf music again.

That is, the alien ap­pears to have de­cided to ex­ter­mi­nate hu­manity, thus de­priving us of all plea­sures, in­cluding lis­tening to surf music.

 

Griffin_Murph2

4   Rick Griffin’s surfing art of the early ’60s was pop­ular around the world due his ubiq­ui­tous surfer dude Murph the Surf being the mascot of The Surfer mag­a­zine, “The In­ter­na­tional Surfing mag­a­zine.” Below is the cover of the August/September 1962 issue with Murph in all his splay-toed glory! 

 

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i don’t think wyoming ever had a surf group but the 4 cor­ners kinda did.

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