The Surfaris

From Academic Kids

The Surfaris were an American surf rock band formed in California in 1962. They and are best known for two songs that hit the charts in the Los Angeles area, and nationally by May, 1963: "Surfer Joe" (the A side), and "Wipe Out" on the B side of a 45 RPM single.

The original band members were Ron Wilson (drums), Jim Fuller (Lead guitar), Bob Berryhill (rhythm guitar) and Pat Connolly (bass). Saxophone player Jim Pash joined after their initial recording.

Ron Wilson's energetic drum solo made "Wipe Out" the best-remembered instrumental song of the period. "Wipe Out" is also remembered particularly for its introduction before the music starts, a cracking sound (imitating a breaking surf board), and a manic voice babbling "ha ha ha ha ha wipe out". A "wipe out" is a misfortune that can occur in surfing, that is, the surfer falling off the board with physical danger, and/or interrupting the ride prematurely.

The band released a series of records, with only one other single, "Point Panic", having any impact on the charts. (Point Panic is a renowned surfing venue in Hawaii.)

The Surfaris disbanded in 1966 but have periodically reunited and are still active as of 2004, performing and recording, often re-recording their old songs.

Sadly, drummer Ron Wilson died on May 7, 1989, one month short of his 45th birthday. Wilson had released an album of his songs, entitled "Lost It In The Surf", on Bennet House Records of Grass Valley, California, recorded in June 1987. A very small number of cassettes of this album were produced. "Lost It In The Surf" included a cover of "Louie, Louie" with Scottish bagpipes, one of the better versions of this song by the legendary Richard Berry.

Trivia

  • Jim Fuller, the lead guitar on "Wipe Out", "Surfer Joe", and "Point Panic", is known as the "Godfather of Surfguitar."
  • The manic laughing and spoken title at the beginning of "Wipe Out" is the voice of the band's manager Dale Smallen.
  • "Surfer Joe/Wipe Out" was recorded at Pal Studios in Cucamonga, California, USA.

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