Thanks to a determined underground of surfers, musicians, filmmakers, fanatics, and historians, surf music finally gets its day in the sun.
Surf Beat: Rock ’n’ Roll’s Forgotten Revolution (Backbeat Books, $19.99) uncovers the story of the emergence of surf music as first a local, then a national and international phenomenon, and its subsequent waves of popularity through the ensuing decades. Broken down into five “Summer Stories,” surf music authority and author Kent Crowley drops readers into the sand. With close-up stories of Bob Keane, Ritchie Valens, Frank Zappa, and more, readers will nearly smell the vinyl of a fresh cut Gold Star record and feel the sun on their faces.
These are the stories of spring reverb and tremolo picking, of Orange County and the Californian sun, of surf music’s life and the greatly exaggerated reports of its death. Surf Beat is the first book to
· Examine The Beach Boys’ incubation as artists in the genre of surf music, the controversy over whether or not The Beach Boys were a legitimate surf band, and to the degree which they were responsible for the demise of the idiom in the mid-60s
· Explore Frank Zappa’s career as a record producer and engineer, especially in chronicling the missteps leading to his infamous 1965 obscenity arrest that led to his career as one of America’s most formidable First Amendment Rights crusaders
· Discuss how surf artists such as Dick Dale, The Belairs, The Tornadoes—despite the fact they were comprised primarily of high school boys—assisted Fender in developing their key guitar and amplifier designs
· Reveal surf music’s place as a leading component of the larger and more diverse music scene erupting along Southern California’s coastline in the 50s and 60s that spawned blue-eyed soul, folk rock, and sunshine pop.
Kent Crowley (Fontana, CA) took his first guitar lesson from Norman Sanders of The Tornadoes (the first band to chart a surf-themed instrumental hit) and has performed in many of the music clubs in this book. He writes about music for numerous publications such as Vintage Guitar and Shakin’ Fever. He researched Bob Keane’s The Oracle of Del-Fi and edited Hollywood’s Gold Star Studio founders Stan Ross and Dave Gold’s upcoming Gold Star Album. He has consulted on Freak Out in Cucamonga, an upcoming documentary on Frank Zappa’s Pal Studios/Studio Z.
6” x 8 ½”Backbeat Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Groupwww.backbeatbooks.com