When we left off I’d just added a DeArmond pickup to my Harmony folk guitar. Then I was invited to play in a band. We called ourselves “The Avengers” after the popular TV show (not knowing that a group in Orange County calling themselves “The Avengers VI” were already releasing great records). Of course, we played “Wipe-Out,” “Miserlou,” “Pipeline,” and all the great hits. And for that, I needed “real” equipment. I.e., Fender equipment. So off I went to Sherman Clay in Sacramento, with money earned from a summer of hard work on the family farm, and came home with a reverb-ready kit consisting of a Fender Mustang guitar and Vibrolux amp. (See below for photos of similar gear. Wish I still had mine.)
Surf music enjoyed a brief time as king of the hill, somewhere between Bobby Vee’s “Take Good Care of My Baby” (1961) and the Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show (February 1964). The best part about it was … no vocals! When you’re 14 and your voice is still doing strange things, instrumental-only is a real blessing.
Then came the British Invasion, and we felt compelled to purchase a microphone and start singing. But that’s for another story.
As the singing pop groups ascended, some folks figured that surf music was dead and buried. But it never really died. For proof of its durability, tune in to Luxuria internet radio (www.luxuriamusic.com) any Saturday afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00 for Jonpaul Balak’s wonderful “Fiberglass Jungle” show. Surf music from back then, not-so-far back then, and NOW. Great music, and lots of fun from your host. (Jonpaul also plays bass with the fabulous Tikiyaki Orchestra for you tiki/exotica fans.)