The group formed quickly and started gigging almost immediately. "At that time, I remember thinking this is really cool. We're the only surf band in town. The only one in a city of 31/2 million people . . . you can't beat that, and we did really well 'cause there was no competition. I think there are another two surf bands in town. We dig The Blue Moons."

Because of the paucity of local surf talent, the Tiki Lounge Parties necessitate importing like-minded acts, like Tucson's Bata Ire, an old lounge singer, complete with a vibes player. "He's in his 70s and he does the same act and same jokes he did in the '60s," Rhodes says.

Surfside IV just finished a fourth album, tentatively titled Twang-Fu! Produced by James Miles (The Wormwood Brothers, Thee Jaguar Sharks), it works in some eclectic sub-genres, incorporating heavy metal, some Middle Eastern sounds, and even a cover of Henry Mancini's Pink Panther theme from A Shot in the Dark.

The Surfside IV: If you light a tiki, they will come.
James J. Barnett
The Surfside IV: If you light a tiki, they will come.

The record certainly will please surf connoisseurs, but what of a full-blown surf music revival?

"If we're grading [the scale of a revival] from 1 to 10, with 10 being full on, the answer is 2," Rhodes says, laughing. "I sit at home and wonder, are there more surf bands or polka bands? We're in the same boat with polka and tejano bands. It's definitely a musical backwater. It's never gonna die or change much. It's always going to sell beer. We're great sellers of beer."

Not to mention fruity punch drinks with tiny umbrellas poking out of them.

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6 comments
B to the D-H20
B to the D-H20

I've seen Surfside's various incarnations. They've always been good -- but they've never been better. The current line-up is powerful enough to "turn goat piss into gasoline," to borrow a phrase.

Gee Your Surf Smells Terrific!
Gee Your Surf Smells Terrific!

A few additional wee corrections: Trey did not found the Surfside IV, he was actually the last to join the original line-up, and inherited the band after they dropped out one by one to form other bands or pursue other interests.

And the Fat Albert character whose face is hidden is Dumb Donald, not Mushmouth. ;)

The Surfside IV
The Surfside IV

http://surfsideiv.com

Swell article! One wee correction, though, from here:

"Because of the paucity of local surf talent, the Tiki Lounge Parties necessitate importing like-minded acts, like Tucson's Bata Ire, an old lounge singer, complete with a vibes player. 'He's in his 70s and he does the same act and same jokes he did in the '60s,' Rhodes says."

Bata Ire is actually an awesome local Afro-Cuban-Jazz act that is appearing with us at this year's Tiki Lounge Party. Our quote refers to the legendary Hawaiian lounge singer Ernie Menehune who has retired to Tucson. Totally different. And Bata Ire's jokes are not stale; they are totally fresh.

BenGibbard'sHair
BenGibbard'sHair

This group looks really cool, I wish I could make the show this weekend. Does the band have any other gigs lined up in the future?

 

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