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The Ultimate Surf Guitar?

August 22nd, 2013 No comments

StewMade Guitars - Longboard GuitarA custom guitar builder using the nom de twangue of StewMade Guitars has combined the classic longboard with one of Leo Fender’s finest to create what has to be the ultimate surf guitar!

Too too damn cool.  If I could stand to play a Strat, I’d put something on the block tonight and give Senor StewMade at least two ringy-dingys!

And if this solid specimen of surfanism doesn’t convince you the man knows how to make a plank, you should check out his site for even more proof.

Unreal.


Categories: Random Nonsense, Surf Music Tags:

Report from The Cave!

April 19th, 2013 No comments

After a too-long hiatus, the Surfeci descended on The Cave tonight for a reverberated reunion!

Once the customary grunts and clicks were delivered in greeting, we ran through several songs just to knock the rust off – always an interesting proposition after a long break! – and then got down to the business of writing new tunage.

First up was a dive back into a riff of LFEC’s that we started to get a bit of traction on in the run-up to the Ho-Daddy show.  True to form for the Kilbass, it’s nine measures long, which makes it tough when Six-string only thinks in multiples of four!  It’s groovy like glaciated sediment, though, and SSS took four measures that complemented it and began morphing them into nine that would work even better.

Toying with tempo uncovered a very spy-music vibe, and as Drumbuie started hashing out his preference for associated noise it started to gel into a type of song that we don’t currently have in our catalog.

The really exciting news, though, is that after five years on the shelf, one of our favorite song titles now has an actual song to go with it…

That’s right, folks… we finally wrote “Marmoset Knock You Out!

It is flat-out surf stadium rockin’, no doubt, as if an arena rock intro got smacked by a tsunami and then struck by lightning.  It came together very quickly and by the end of the night we even made a run at playing the entire thing, front to back.  If we ever play a show of nothing but original material that doesn’t start with Rumble, this is guaranteed the opening number.

So just for S&G’s, here are the Top 5 Reasons Why “Marmoset Knock You Out!” is rockin’ tarsiers from here to Sulawesi…

  1. It’s so rockin’, it makes igneous look sedimentary!
  2. It’s so rockin’, we can’t even tell you how long it is because it’s measured in geologic time!
  3. It’s so rockin’, Panbanisha herself called from that Great Ape Trust in the Sky to give it four opposable thumbs up!
  4. It actually went back in time and declared itself the first song we ever wrote.
  5. And finally… It’s so rockin’ that Obama’s already given us a Green Energy tax credit because it’s powered totally by windmills!

All in all a great night in The Cave, and we’re looking to get a gig or two on the calendar soon to shake some walls that aren’t part of a residential dwelling!

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It Came From the Garage!

October 18th, 2012 No comments

We decided to switch things up a bit before our studio session next week and moved tonight’s noise session out of The Cave and into… The Garage!

Like so many surf bands that came before us (or after, rather!), tonight found us busting out the extension cords and plugging in forty watts of fun into the nearest wall outlet that would have us. After keeping things quiet in The Cave for the past few sessions, it was awesome to hear the songs full bore again – particularly the Drumbuie, who always takes full advantage of open air to really throw some stones.

With the exception of Rumble and Dragonmen, we stuck to the six songs we’re running to tape. An impromptu Gorilla session under their belts earlier this week kept Drumbuie and LFEC especially tight – so much so that by the second song I realized I needed to get on the beat or get left behind! Overall, things sounded great, and with a little extra time in the woodshed over the next week, we should be in pretty good shape when the red light starts to blink.

It was also good to hear the song order play out as well as it did. On paper it made sense, but sometimes a setlist can have audible consequences when two songs butt against each other in unintended ways.

Nothing doing for this list, though, so we’re officially locking in the EP as:

1) The Ecola Virus
2) Panbanisha Raises the Alarm
3) Butch Cassowary and the Sundance Echidna
4) Sleepover at Camp Tsavo
5) Surf’s Up at the Cape of Good Hope
6) The Apes of Wrath

As for the title of this disasterpiece… Well, you’ll just have to wait until we get the artwork done to find that out!

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Bargain of the Century!

October 11th, 2012 No comments

Just found out that the greatest television show of all time was recently released in its glorious mammalian entirety as a DVD box set!

“Why, whatever could it be, Six-string Sapien? Do tell.”

Of course I’ll tell, Rhetorical Conversationalist, it’s Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp of course!!

For less than $20 at Amazon, you get over 600 minutes of pure simian craziness, including music videos by Link’s band, The Evolution Revolution!

If you still have no idea what I’m talking about, let’s put it this way… Imagine the original Get Smart series portrayed entirely by chimpanzees who talk! Yes, that’s right… the chimp actors are chimp-synced to actual voices for the whole show. Throw in chase scenes, corny jokes and a fully-fleshed, semi-racist rogues gallery and you’re looking at hours of gasket-blowing good times!

Still not convinced? In that case, allow me to let the opening theme song to the show do the talking for me.

Natch.

Categories: Random Nonsense Tags:

Dragging Knuckles

August 24th, 2012 No comments

After a long hiatus, the three of us descended into The Cave tonight for a much-needed night of knocking the dust and rust off, bending new wire and stretching new calfskin. These come-back sessions usually start out baboon ugly as we force our hand to play catch-up with the songs we hear in our collective ear, and this one was no different.

This session had additional comedic effect due to our exceptionally low volume. As most of you know, there has been a recent addition to the Surf Bass family, and since this mini-sapien occupies the uppermost catacombs of The Cave we obliged to keep things beneath a dull roar.

For me, this meant plugging into a piece of equipment that has been around since the start of the band – the infamous Kustom KLA-10 practice amp! Let’s just say this – If you’ve never heard rusty, treble-heavy surf guitar through the solid-state glory of a 5″ speak with no reverb, consider yourself fortunate!

As always, surf life begins with Rumble, which we promptly turned into a coffeehouse classic by happily copping to our reduced audible intensity. From there we started working through all our originals, which immediately prompted a string of our best it’s-been-way-too-damn-long idioms, such as:

Who wrote these songs?!
Wait a minute… Isn’t that in A? No?
Wow, I completely missed the on-ramp to that solo.

And my perennial favorite… We only have ourselves to blame!

True to form, though, within a couple songs the rust loosens up, the fingers remember and the songs come back to life. Even our more recent additions to the line-up like Piltdown and Pangea sounded solid – Even a crazy little practice amp from the 80s can’t make that first chord of Pangea sound bad!

After a quick hydro-break we dove back in with some writing. LFEC has had a bass riff lodged in his cerebellum for much too long and was able to lay it out for us. Very cool, with a great vibe, and inkeeping with his hatred of even numbers the main riff covers 9 bars!

It came into the world as a straightforward rockin’ kind of thing. Drumbuie started bumping in and around the bassline and throwing out several different feels, and it’s always a treat to hear what his Congolese mind comes up with.

What really surprised us was a noodly little countermelody my dragging knuckles stumbled into that immediately threw the whole endeavor into a very spy-movie feel. It was one of those great musical moments where something unexpected fits right in and solidifies all the elements on the fringe of a riff that our minds don’t see but our ears can’t help but recognize. Drumbuie’s eyes light up, LFEC starts smiling and we know we’re onto something.

Things really locked in when, on a whim, I threw some crazy fuzz onto the guitar that took the vibe the last 10 yards. I’ve been wanting to write a fuzz song for a while now, and have also wanted to get a nice spy-infused song into our catalog – two birds, one stone much?

To cap off the night, we also discussed moving our madness to a temporary, microphone-laden locality to audibly document things in a permanent, shareable and listenable form and evolving into… Studio Sapiens!

Categories: Band Updates Tags:

Astro-Analog!

August 16th, 2012 No comments

Just placed a pre-order for the new 7″ vinyl from Man or Astro-Man, Analog Series Vol. 1, which is due to be released in the next week or two!

Linkage: http://www.chunklet.com/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_id=104

First new songs from our favorite future surfers in years, and after seeing the band live last year we couldn’t be more fired up. And it sounds like there are several more 7″ pressings in the works, leading up to a full-length album, which is even better.

Chunklet has them for $7.95 plus shipping, so all you hipster homonids with a turntable in your cave need to get on it. As the Kiswahili say… Haraka haraka, chop chop!

Categories: Surf Music Tags:

Dick Dale – Cancer Warrior? Indeed!

August 4th, 2010 No comments

Rewind to last week.  I was making my evening reading rounds of guitar forums before climbing into my arboreal sleeping arrangements, and came across a thread that stopped me cold.  Over on the SurfGuitar101 forum, someone had posted a health update on Dick Dale, who is obviously pretty revered among us surfing birds.  The update consisted of a friend-to-friend email that painted a pretty dismal picture of The King’s health – that he’d been battling through cancer and was getting back out onto the stage, only to have an undetected infection ripping his newly regained health right out of his body.

Reading, and then re-reading, the post, I was absolutely shaken.  It’s obvious that Dick Dale is upheld among all others in the realm of surf and instro guitar.  Despite the fact that Australosurfecus doesn’t sound much like Dick’s style of surf, I personally count him as one of my primary influences on my six-stringed sojourn.  He also holds a special place in the dark Congolese heart of us as a band – In addition to his monster contribution to the core of the genre we call home, our first official outing as a triumvirate was attending a Dick Dale show here in Columbus, Ohio.  All three of us left slack-jawed, and the night stands as one of the best, if not the best, live performance I’ve ever been privileged to witness.

The man controls thunder.  That’s the simplest way to put it.  That guitar, those Showmen amps, all of it – you don’t so much hear it as you feel it, pushing you around, rearranging your brain from song to song.

Now to the following night, when I sat down and re-traced my steps to find the posting on Dick’s health, check for updates and write an update here on the Surfecus Site… only to find that the thread was nowhere to be found.

That was pretty scary.

In absence of any mention or reason, I assumed the obvious – that Dick or someone close to him had requested the post be pulled – which made me even more concerned for The Eliminator.  Thankfully, it seems someone from the LA Times was likewise concerned, contacted Dick and ran an article on Dick’s battle with cancer, his push to get back on the stage and the current health concerns that have all us surf guitarists muting the strings.

Dick Dale: Surf guitar king riding the wave back from cancer (LA Times)

Long and short of it, Dick is optimistic and fighting as usual to get back to health and playing for his fans.  Allegedly, he’s set to undergo surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center today, so if you have a minute to send some positive energy – or an uplifting email to dick@dickdale.com – it’d be a great time to do so.

And to any guitarists reading this – if you’re playing tonight, rip off a gliss for the Big Kahuna.  He deserves all the reverberated vibes we can send his way…

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Set List Posted for This Thursday’s Show at EYMC

That’s right, you surfing sapiens!  We’ve just posted the official set list for this Thursday’s show at the EYMC in Powell over on the Surfecus Set List Page.  Its fun, its freshy, its fifteen songs long!

Thursday May 20th,     8pm-9pm
50 W. Olentangy Street
Powell Ohio 43065

We gave it a run-through last week and it pounded the walls of our beloved Cave with reverberate craziness.  Hope to see you all Thursday night!

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Show Report – Surf’s Up at the Peach District!

March 13th, 2010 No comments

Great times in the Peach District last night!  It’s always a cool vibe and a great time at the Dragonfly, but the Peachi Crew went above and beyond last night and made their “Surf’s Up” the most fun we’ve had yet!

We were in the opening slot, with two bands (Tin Armor and The Compressions) to follow, with various comedians and entertainments sprinkled throughout.  We set up and sound checked, then hopped out to mingle among the incoming crowd and admire the ambiance – the Peachi Guys ‘n Gals went all out, complete with a back-projected beach scene on the wall behind the stage, hula hoops and a drink selection that was at the perfect nexus of price and tastiness.  A comedienne was up first to warm things up, and brought everything from a soundtrack (Elvis singing “Be Bop a Lula”, anyone?) to mini-surfboards for instant public tomfoolery.  The Peach District proved once again to be the place where anything goes, as Zach and another Peacher went toe-to-toe in a surf-off on the mini boards.  Leis were doled out to the crowd – which by this point was bigger than any we’ve played to yet – and in short order they were calling out the Surfici to take the stage and get things salty!

We started our set with a straight-shot of three songs – Rumble, Joker’s Wild and our own Tough Crowd in Hartepool – which seemed to do the trick of throwing the groove down right away.  The crowd proved to be a lot of fun from the start – pockets of dancing broke out right away, and beach balls were flying through the air for the entire set.  There was even an appearance by a squirrel/fox-clad gyrator, complete with bushy tail and ears, and I spent the rest of the night kicking myself for missing a chance to make a joke by somehow combining Sciurus niger and a Nut Zippers reference.  You don’t get that chance every day!

Brief Aside:  It’s always fun to watch people cut loose to instro surf, because it seems to bring out the reckless abandon in everyone.  The tried-and-true “stand and nod” works just as it does with more vocalized genres, but something about surf just encourages people to get crazy.  Once one person tosses out the “Hang-Ten Egyptian” move, its like a flag in the sand that anything goes and it’s all good in the Pipeline!

And speaking of Pipeline… Yours Truly had a very un-sentient moment when he didn’t stick the drop-in for the first verse!  Thankfully, if anyone but the three of us noticed it was long forgotten by the mini-solo-bridge before the last time through, as we were treated to a nice helpin’ of “nod-and-rock-approvingly-at-soloing-instrumentalists” – which is always appreciated!

Things really started cooking the last half of the set.  Cassowary was a treat, as we were finally able to throw it out there in all its snarltwangy epicness.  The Apes of Wrath has quickly become a crowd favorite, with the double-drum craziness of the Drumbuie and LFEC pushing the crowd right over the edge, and everyone seemed to enjoy carving up the four final songs and riding it on home with us.

Needless to say we have to throw out a big, seawatery thank you to everyone who came out and surfed it up with us last night.  The three of us have been playing music for years – decades, if I’m being old and honest – and we all agreed that last night’s show was some of the most fun we’ve ever had on a stage.  This was, really, the first time we’ve been able to fully cut our songs loose in front of a live crowd, and having that energy right up against the stage, breathing and breaking and cutting right along with us, was both a joy and a privilege.  We just hope everyone went home with the same amped-up grins you sent us off with!

So another great time at the Peach District, and we look forward to reverberating the walls of the Dragonfly again in the near future!

— The Six-String Sapien

Categories: Band Updates, Live Shows Tags:

Practice Report – Waves A-Comin’!!

November 17th, 2009 No comments

Another great practice tonight, with some big steps forward in solidifying the new songs. As per our usual, we started out with Rumble as a warm up – The Drumbuie has deep, tribal lovings for starting out with Link Wray’s 4-chord masterpiece, and who am I to argue with such blatantly superior logic?! – and then kicked into Can’t See the Loris From the Trees. Loris has officially grown up, left the strepsirrhine embrace of its family and is now scavenging for insects on its own. We’re now in the phase of finding small, individual tweaks to further polish things up. For my part, I’m trying to work an occasional double-pick flurry in here and there, and I recently acquired a delay pedal (analogue, natch!) that’s found sparing-but-effective use in a brief interlude – I just set the knobs to replicate the signature echoes of the Olduvai Gorge, stomp it on and let my phalanges do the talking!

The spaghetti-laden madness that is Butch Cassowary and the Sundance Echidna is also coming into its full cigarillo-chomping glory and we Surfians are loving it. This is currently my favorite song to play, partially because it has that just-dug-out-of-the-archaeological-dig-site freshness to it, and partially because of the orchestration it has; The song exists in four different tempos, so we rely heavily on feeling the dynamics between the three of us as the mood takes different turns. The really interesting bit is that by chance none of the shifts are set by the Drumbuie – two are marked by the Chilean, and two by my own simian self. Orchestral music is the obvious parallel, but it reminds me more of the old bluesmen like John Lee Hooker who completely threw meter out the window and would shift tempos mid-song into whatever best fit the mood of the passage. Knowing the rules to break ’em, and all that.

It also doesn’t hurt that the song kicks all kinds of rainbow mandrill posterior!

We spent some time grooving through the soon-to-be-named original. Pretty straightforward – The Drumbuie and the Chilean are locked in and solid, so no major changes there. I think I’ve worked out the timing issues on the short solo in the middle, I just have to reach a quorum with my hands as to what exactly is going to happen. The biggest thing is that, with the final arrangement locked down, this might be our shortest original yet. We haven’t timed it, but as written I’m guessing it’ll clock in around 2:30 or so – about average by traditional surf standards, but way undercut for us. We’re totally fine with that, by the way – a little cladogenesis can go a long way!

On the Process of Tri-nomial Nomenclature: We get a lot of laughs and questions about our song titles, so I thought I’d venture a quick aside to give all you surf fans a look inside our process. Through continued, various bouts of verbal parrying, quip and portmanteau we have amassed a list of nearly 300 song titles that’s still growing. One of us will come across an article regarding a new species, a prehistoric find or anything related to the natural sciences, fire it around and immediately it becomes fodder for the title list. With some songs, the initial melody or concept is distinct enough to warrant a name right away (the aforementioned Butch Cassowary, for instance), while others are much tougher to nail down. The last of this recent batch of originals has been one such tough customer – it has a very distinct groove and feel, but it doesn’t archetype at all and hasn’t made an obvious title grab to any of us yet. After practice tonight, we sat down and really gave the list a working-over, and the title that rose to the top was To Zaire is Human. As long as all three of us agree – we very much work off the Musketeers principle when it comes to band decisions – then the Kilbass etches the title in the records of our people and we begin the long, slow process of remembering to call the song by its newly-acquired name.

And that’s how an Australosurfecus song gets its name!

The real work for tonight’s session was in finally rocking through The Apes of Wrath, which has become a monsoon-caliber example of percussion done powerfully right. Having set down the rough arrangement at our previous practice, we dove into stitching it all together and working out the transitions between segments. The song was written with drums in mind – a bit of a throwback to The Ventures’ Let There Be Drums – so the guitar/bass stuff is very modular and can be chopped, arranged and combined in any number of ways. The result? If you’re a fan of percussion, particularly the tribal-flavored variety, I don’t see how you won’t love it to toe-tapping pieces, and if you happen to be indigenous to the forested depths of greater Congo as is our Drumbuie, you should feel right at home.

To finish the night out, we played through Walk Don’t Run, just to remind our digits how to digitize it, and Invasion of the Dragonmen, just because it’s way more fun than you should be allowed to have in 2 minutes and 17 seconds.

All of this will hopefully have us riptide rollin’ and ready for our gig on Dec. 16th.

“What was that?” you say? “A gig on December 16th?!

‘Tis rumored, ‘tis true… Check back for a formal announcement, straight from the Sapien’s mouth, right after the Thanksgiving holiday!

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