Archive for March 2nd, 2013

Historical Revisionism and the Surf Aesthetic: Part One

March 2, 2013

Lets begin with an IQ test.

What were the seminal events of the 1960s?

1. JFKs (aka The Haircut, 60 Second Jack for James Ellroy fans) inauguaral speech in January 20 1961:

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

2. The photos of US troops landing at Da Nang (shades of Mogadishu), South Vietnam in 1965, the first of (some 40 plus) imperial ventures to be reported as a visual television event.


3. The first man on the moon.

The Canned Heat version

The Canned Heat version

4 How about Charlie Manson and/or The Stones when they croaked the Sixties Dream at Altamont Speedway?

Okay, so I cheated, since the seminal event of this watershed epoch was the invention of this contraption.

Farfisa organ manufactured in Osimo, Italy.

Farfisa organ manufactured in Osimo, Italy.

Now, if you were the last member to join your local garage band and really hoped to pull hot babes after the gig, chances are that you got the following instruction: “go buy a Farfisa and perfect the two hand-two finger technique of playing a simple melody, and if you can play in time, you’ve joined the band”.
However, this wasn’t the complete story, since there were other intructions.
Your were told to be well dressed, even if the drummer looked like an escapee from a hog farm. Furthermore, there were those choreography instructions. Remain relatively immobile, no fucking jumping round, since all posturing, scowling and stage leering was the sole property of the singer and guitarist. With the exception of Sly Stone, these simple advices to organ players persist to this day.

Technology is nothing without human imput, namely Bobby, the Franks and Roberto aka Question Mark and the Mysterians.

96 Tears exemplifies my above remarks as well as being one of the seminal moments in the formation of Garage Band Culture, not to forget a royality stream to die for.
The Young Rascals were brilliant understudies with organ melody lines which set the bar, until the appearance of Prog Rock in the late Sixties, when the whole organ sound turned to shit. (See my negative views on Prog Rock via Musicology (One Of Three) – archived 19.6.2012).

There is no logical leap here, but I’m concluding with some Japanese surf tracks which recently caught my attention.
We have already noted that Japan embraced the surf band sound soon after The Ventures toured in 1962 and 1965.
Love the classic two finger melody line in this 1967 track by Takesha Teriuche and the Bunnys.

Terry meets the fan club.

Despite its industrial transformation since WW11, Japan remains very much a traditional society, so it isn’t surprising that the Japanese surf twang persists into this new century.
Chicche covering Pipeline in 2005

A few years later, Chicchi as a teenager. Note the classic organ players stance left side… neatly dressed, little body movement etc.

Now, if you’ve followed this nonsense thus far, you will also have noted that Ms Chicchi plays a Mosrite, so she is not a complete traditionalist as most surf reverb artists rely upon Fenders: Strats, Jaguars and Jazzmasters, and here I refer you to the highly specialised site and this particular post which gives you all the technical information you need to form your own band.

Look, if I continue in this vein, I’ll need counselling.

And, a warm welcome to the recent Japanese readers.