Wednesday, May 16, 2007

THE LONE SURFER AND HIS SUPER PALS!

Remember the early 90s surf revival boom? Sure ya do. There was this fella Mike Lucas here in the SF Bay Area doing his darndest to help it along, vis-à-vis a great instrumental surf combo called the PHANTOM SURFERS, some quasi-legit LP releases of old & rare 60s surf monsters, and various one-off projects like this one, THE LONE SURFER AND HIS SUPER PALS. Far as I know it, the band wasn’t really a “band” in the conventional sense of the word, more a conglomeration of pals from then-current acts like THE MUMMIES and THE TRASHWOMEN, among others, with Lucas at the helm.

There was one small-batch 45 of revved-up, reverb-dosed surf crunch from them, pressed up in 1993. It was called “Church Key/Horror Beach”, and it was recorded live at San Francisco’s Chameleon Club. I happened to be in attendance that night, but if memory serves me correctly, I left the premises before they got on as headliners (or perhaps as the mop-up act), as I missed the best part of the night. That was when the band started taunting a pal of mine, one Michael Ashby, who happened to have hair down past his shoulders and was thusly regaled as a “hippie”. As the tale was told to me, Ashby bravely and verbally fought back for a while as things became more heated, before finally being coaxed to the stage and actually PAID TO LEAVE THE CLUB by the band, for the crime of being a benevolent hippie in San Francisco. Different times, hunh? He actually left the club a few dollars richer, whereupon he came to the place we were drinking that night and told us the story (and hopefully bought us a beer with his new earnings). Much of their repartee is captured on this 45, posted here for your listening pleasure (there’s also a photo of Ashby being paid off on the cover of the single!).

Play or Download THE LONE SURFER AND HIS SUPER PALS – “Church Key”

3 comments:

Michael Lucas said...

Long time listener, first time caller.
To fill in a few of the blanks (too bad it can't be done so easily on important historical matters, just on crap like the Lone Surfer disc), the Phantom Surfers were scheduled to play the Chameleon on whatever night this was recorded. When Dick Dale wound up coming to town the same night, one member thought we wouldn't even get enough people to fill the Chameleon, even though Dale had played SF a few months before. Long story short: he went to see Dick Dale for the second lame time in six months and I press-ganged Elka, Tina,and Russell into a couple of rehearsals so we could fulfill the cardinal rule of show business (show going on).
Michael Ashby was doing some quasi- or actual heckling (I was later told by a mutual friend that he was good-naturedly yelling, "You're not the Phantom Surfers!" but I couldn't tell what he was yelling). Since the musical amalgamation wasn't that sharp, I welcomed the opportunity to make some show and dumped whetever abuse I had handy on him (I wouldn't have given him grief just for having long hair: this wasn't 1977, after all, or even 199? when the Phantom Surfers somehow got the tag of being a "skinhead" band at Epicenter) and offered to refund his admission money ($3, as I recall) if he'd leave. He came on stage and seemed to want to engage in some banter while I continued my Don Rickles routine, but Tina started the "Leave! Leave!" chant and that pretty much determined the course of things. I was also told by the same mutual friend (Carolyn Keddy, unless my memory is failing more than usual) that he hadn't actually paid to get in. Sven-Erik of Planet Pimp was recording the show, planning to put it out as a loss leader cheapo single, but the whole heckling/ejection drama made him think it worthy of full retail price.
AND THAT'S THE REST OF THE STORY!
Did Michael A. ever get a copy of the single?

Michael said...

Hooray!

I was going to email Jay that his Alzheimer was coming on hard, but then I saw Mike Lucas’ reply. Mike got it right. I was the noxo that started heckling that they were not the “Real” Phantom Surfers. It was in good fun, I was having a blast, but as it escalated it got even better. Mike’s abuse was A+, so when I said “I want my money back” and he started reaching for his wallet, how could I NOT go up there and take the cash? After the “Leave, Leave” chorus Mike’s stellar finish was “Hey you fucking hippy, Ted Nugent is playing across the street!” Just as I was walking out the door with my fist of cash held high, I heard Mike yell: “Hey, I just realized, he was on the guest list. Carolyn, you owe me three dollars!” He was right.

Great fun. And no, I never got a copy of the single, but I always would play it on the juke at the Purple Onion…

Michael Lucas said...

I've got a couple of copies in a dusty corner. You can have one...for $3! It's like an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.