The Surfaris

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July 7, 2008
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Please note: This page has not been updated since July 8, 2008. We decided to keep it online because we think the information is still valuable.
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 The Surfaris
The Surfaris. Courtesy of the artists.

Article

The Surfaris - It doesn´t come better than that

What is the sound of surf, in reality? In musical terms, it’s crashing cymbals, thrashed tom-toms, twanging guitar and the sound of teenage dreams being fulfilled. The Beach Boys? Bah! With the exception of drummer Dennis, the Wilson brothers never set foot on a beach, and main man Brian would have capsized a surf-board as soon as look at it. It would indeed have been a ‘wipe-out’, to quote The Surfaris’ first and greatest hit.
Formed in 1962 while the members were still at school (sax player Jim Pash was all of twelve years old), The Surfaris composed their legendary contribution to rock’n’roll history in fifteen minutes, when they were requested to come up with a B-side at their first ever recording session. Drawing upon drummer Ron Wilson’s (no relation to those other Wilsons) drum riffs for his school’s marching band, they mastered it in two takes, adding the sound of a breaking surfboard and the requisite weirdo vocal intro. Unknowingly, The Surfaris had created what was to become a legendary piece of American popular culture.

In 1963, their single was in the American Top 40 for ten weeks. International offers came flooding in. The band’s school commitments prevented them from accepting many of them but nonetheless they toured Japan, Hawaii and Australia as well as the US. Their manager found them a major record deal but then signed his other band in their stead, and recorded an album under The Surfaris’ name. When The Surfaris heard their songs on the radio performed by another band, they were not happy surfers. Perhaps in response, one of the band got married (at the age of seventeen), various members left, the Beatles announced the British Invasion and it was all over.

Well, at least until they were rediscovered by a new generation. In the seventies, the New Wave crashed onto the shores of rock, at that point staring deeply into its own navel. Capturing the zeitgeist with their thrashing guitars and drums, The Surfaris became the darlings of the nothing-over-three-minutes punk-pop brigade. Was there ever a punk band which didn’t include ´Wipe Out´ in its set?

If the mark of cultural acceptance is pop-cultural visibility, The Surfaris have it in spades. Their tunes (more accurately, their tune) appears in a slew of global box-office hits including ‘Dirty Dancing’ and ‘Meet the Parents’, it’s been used to sell untold products including cars, soft drinks, cameras and fast food, it features in video games and childrens’ toys, and The Surfaris have finally been inducted in the Surf Music Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Rock Walk. Their magnum opus ‘Wipe Out’ was declared by Guitar World magazine as one of the ten most influential rock songs of all time, and it doesn’t come better than that.

What is a ‘surfari’? It’s the lifelong quest for better surf, and the best surf in Berlin is to be found at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt on July 10th. Featuring original guitarist (and co-composer of ‘Wipe Out’) Jim Fuller, The Surfaris live set contains 30 songs, and lasts for 90 minutes.
Author: Martin Gordon

Bio

From the very beginning, the Surfaris were at the centre of the music hurricane that had the dancers stomping away on California’s beaches. Alongside Dick Dale, the band around guitarist Jim Fuller was the decisive force behind instrumental Surf music. Their very first recording ‘Surfer Joe’ (1962) rose high in the Billboard Charts. And with ‘Wipe Out’, the Surfaris produced the ultimate number one Surf hit.

Band members: Bob Berryhill/guitar (from 1962-66); Pat Connolly/bass (from 1962-65); Ken Forsi/bass (from1965-66); Jim Fuller/guitar (from1962-66); Jack Oldham/bass (from 1966-67); Jim Pash/sax,guitar (from1962-67); Guy Watson/guitar (1966) and Ron Wilson/drums (from 1962-67). Ron Wilson died in 1989 and Jim Pash in 2005.

Works

Wipe Out

Published Audio,
2005
Album

Hit City ´65

Published Audio,
1965
Album

It Ain´t Me, Babe

Published Audio,
1965
Album

Surfaris Play

Published Audio,
1964
Album

Hit City ´64

Published Audio,
1964
Album

Fun City USA

Published Audio,
1964
Album

The Surfaris Play Wipe Out

Published Audio,
1963
Album

Wipe Out

Published Audio,
1963
Album

Singles

Published Audio
1964 Murphy The Surfie/Go Go Go For Louie´s Place 1963 Wipe Out/I´m A Hog For You 1963 Point Panic/Waikiki Run 1963 Wipe Out/Surfer Joe 1962 Wipe Out/Surfer Joe

Projects

This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.

WATER MUSIC

Summer Open Air Festival

(10 July 08 - 27 July 08)

Www

The band´s official website