Written by Vincent Minervino
The following column is brought to Pop-Break by Vincent Minervino, organizer of The Asbury Surf Music Festival.
From blues to punk, sci-fi to spaghetti western, there are many sides, moods, vibes, and feels to surf music. I could talk about it for days, weeks, MONTHS even – and barely scratch the surface.
It was a challenge to narrow these down, but – for those new to surf music – here’s a few tunes that I believe will pull you under:
Dick Dale ‘Misirlou’
The opening song to Pulp Fiction, as most people know it, is the gateway drug into the beauty that is surf rock music. The fury of Mr. Dale’s fingers over the frets combined with a killer sax chorus make this song absolutely a “must-listen” surf song in your life.
The Ventures ‘Surf Rider’
Here’s one from the moodier side of surf music. The relaxed groove leaves plenty of reflection room for that bendy, reverb-drenched guitar line. You might recognize The Lively Ones’ version from the end of Pulp Fiction. Maybe we can get Mr. Tarantino to MC the fest next year.
The Challengers ‘Bulldog’
Here it is, that classic 60’s California surf sound! Mix one part blues, one part rock, splash with reverb, and shake over a pulsing surf beat. So refreshing! Put the top down and turn this one up loud!
Los Straitjackets ‘Brooklyn Slide’
In this deep cut, the Nashville mask-clad surf kings showcase the ‘Spy’ surf sound. The dangerous guitar melodies and pulsing bass lines make us all want to put on a slim suit and go fight crime.
Messer Chups ‘Less Playboy More Cowboy’
While Messer Chups is a bit of an enigma to surf music fans, this particular tune takes us to the ‘Spaghetti Western’ side of the genre. Guitarist Oleg Gitarkin lays some of the most intricate and brooding guitar work you’ll ever hear. It’s groovy, dancy, and downright haunting.