The Surfaris

The Surfaris

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Instrumental surf music was unique during the sixties, developing within the culture of the sport and attempting to convey the feeling and rhythm of surfing through music. This music was a regional phenomenon known mostly to the west coast of Southern California. ( Dalley, Gold Mine)
One group to emerge to international status was the Surfaris from Glendora, CA writers, recording artists and performers of the hit song, Wipe Out.surfaris

During the recording session in late 1962, it was suggested that a gimmick sound indicating a wipe out off a surfboard be emulated. The final result was the sound of cracking boards and that crazy laugh for the introduction. The song was written quickly on the spot, because a B side was needed for Surfer Joe. The single was born that night at Pal Studios in Cucamonga, California. The four members recording were Bob Berryhill, Pat Connolly, Jim Fuller, and Ron Wilson.

Wipe Out was initially released on an independent label named DFS. It was picked up by Dot records where it became a million-seller and MCA and Universal have licensed it to different labels for distribution, like Varese Sarabande and Rhino. Wipe Out has been covered by artists such as the Ventures, drummer for The Scorpions, plus others, and has been widely used in commercials and movie sound tracks such as Meet the Parents, starring Robert de Niro and the animation, Surf’s Up.

Bucky Covington

Bucky Covington

Bucky CovingtonBucky Covington is that most remarkable of entertainers—a man known and loved as much for his engaging personality as for his formidable talent. The talent has shone through multiple hit singles that helped push his debut album toward gold status, and will continue to shine with the release of his sophomore album GOOD GUYS on September 11, 2012, with first week sales’ proceeds going to Help The Good Guys and the International Association of Fire Fighters. His undeniable likeability and his ability to wear his stardom as comfortably as his jeans has done the rest. Both come together on stage, where the long-haired North Carolinian with the rocker’s charisma and the country boy charm thrills old and new fans alike as he criss-crosses the country.

With his first album, Bucky earned a place in the forefront of a new generation of country singers. He became the best-selling debut artist of the class of 2007, with the best first-week sales and highest Top 200 debut for any male country artist in 15 years. He appeared on Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel Live and many others, became part of the Country Sings Disney project, and appeared in Hannah Montana: The Movie. Now, with his second, he leaves behind newcomer status and emerges as one of the true standouts in contemporary country music.

Honeymoon Suite

Honeymoon Suite

Honeymoon SuiteHoneymoon Suite

Johnnie Dee and Derry Grehan, the principal and founding members of Honeymoon Suite, met when introduced by manager Stephen Prendergast in 1982. Deciding to work together, they formed Honeymoon Suite with Grehan’s former Steve Blimkie And The Reason’ band-mate Dave Betts on drums, plus an anonymous keyboard player and bassist.

In 1983 they decided to enter the Homegrown Contest put on yearly by Toronto’s Q107-FM radio station so Prendergast approached his friend and producer Tom Treumuth to produce a song for them. Based on the buying public’s response, “New Girl Now” won the contest and Bob Roper at WEA Canada was so impressed with the song and response that he signed the band right away.

Personnel conflicts eventually arose and the keyboardist was replaced with Toronto bred Ray Coburn. Although a session player named Brian Brackstone played bass on the album, the band soon found themselves a permanent bassist named Gary Lalonde. Originally scheduled for release on Valentine’s Day, the milestone first album was released in June of 1984.

Throughout 1983 and 1984 Honeymoon Suite toured Canada and the US, consistently headlining club gigs and opening for such acts as Billy Idol, April Wine, Laura Branigan, Jethro Tull, The Kinks, and Bryan Adams. In 1984 the band was nominated for the ‘Most Promising Group’ Juno Award but did not win.

Propelled by the success of more singles from the album, 1985 saw the band begin to headline gigs throughout Ontario and the rest of Canada. A highlight was the presentation of an award at the 1985 Junos. By this time the first album had achieved platinum sales status. Almost 22 years later the album has now sold over 400,000 units in Canada alone.

Honeymoon Suite’s second album was released on Valentine’s Day 1986. ‘The Big Prize’ featured a rare appearance by Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson. It went platinum in Canada almost immediately and started selling steadily in the US. Tours in the States that year included opening stints for Heart, .38 Special, ZZ Top, Journey, Starship, and Saga. The band also headlined a sold-out show at the Kingswood Music Theatre just north of Toronto. Ray Coburn left and was replaced by Toronto whiz-kid keyboardist Rob Preuss (formerly of the Spoons). 1986 also saw the band win a gold award for ‘Best Live Act’ at the World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo, the ‘Group Of The Year’ Juno and headline more dates in both Canada and some northern States.

For album number three, the band went to Los Angeles in the winter of 1987 to record with Ted Templeman (Little Feat, The Doobie Brothers, Van Halen), and while there Dee was hit by a car at L.A.X. airport breaking his leg in several places and requiring surgery for a ten inch pin to help the leg heal properly. While recovering in hospital, Doobie Brother Michael McDonald was brought in to help out with the recording sessions; he wrote lyrics and sang back up on one song. The results of all the hard work was ‘Racing After Midnight’, a slightly harder-edged more guitar oriented album that spawned a European tour with Status Quo and a headlining tour of Canada.

Problems then surfaced with long-time management company Head Office and after the group left the fold, keyboardist Ray Coburn returned to the band in time for WEA to release a ‘best-of’ compilation in 1989. Betts and Lalonde then took their leave and Coburn, Dee and Grehan began writing together again.

The trio returned to the studio in 1990 to craft ‘Monsters Under The Bed’ with Paul Northfield producing. The album featured Steve Webster ( from Billy Idol’s band) on bass and Jorn Anderson on drums. Singles like “Say You Don’t Know Me” and “The Road” did well in Canada. Some US success did come their way as songs got placed on TV’s ‘Miami Vice’ and two movie soundtracks, ‘Lethal Weapon II’ and ‘One Crazy Summer’.

In the very exciting news department the original band has reformed and is currently on tour all summer and fall! Touring activity along with other honeymoon suite info can be found at honeymoonsuite.com

In other recent activity a new Best of album has been released on Warner in Canada as part of their Essentials series. A new Best of Honeymoon Suite DVD featuring all their videos and live concert footage is also scheduled to be released by Warner this fall.

Songwriting has also wrapped up for a brand new studio album that will be recorded this fall and arrive early in 2008. A European/Japanese deal has already been signed with the prestigious Frontiers label and negotiations are now underway for a North American release.

The Ventures

The Ventures

The Ventures are considered the most successful instrumental combo in rock and roll history. Charting 37 albums from 1960 to 1972, The Ventures “big guitar sound” has made them an instrumental institution. Guitar Player magazine called them “the quintessential guitar combo… who influenced not only styles, but also a generation’s choice of instruments.”

The band formed in 1958, when Don Wilson and Bob Bogle met on a car lot in Tacoma, Washington. The Ventures self-released several singles on their own Blue Horizon label, including what would become their signature tune, “Walk Don’t Run,” in 1960. Reissued nationally by Dolton Records, the song became a #2 hit, selling over 2 million copies.

From 1962 onward the band released Venture classics, Surfing, The Ventures in Space, and a slew of other hit albums and singles including Theme from Hawaii Five-O, Pipeline, Wipeout, and Telstar culminating with the band’s induction into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

The Ventures current line-up is Bob Spalding (popularly known as “The 5th Venture) lead guitar, Leon Taylor (son of original drummer Mel Taylor dec.1996) drums, Ian Spalding (rhythm guitar), and Lucas Griffin (bass guitar).  Bob Bogle passed away in 2004, and although he no long tours, Don Wilson remains as a musical/performance consultant for the group.

Swamp da Wamp Memorium

Swamp da Wamp Memorium

For the fans of Gig Michaels

Gig Michaels of Swamp da Wamp died a few hours before birthday. So many folks are asking what happened?  Gig Michaels, the larger than life lead singer of the southern country rock blues band Swamp da Wamp passed away last at 8:03 p.m., on January 3, 2016 just hours before his 52nd birthday.

What happened?

Many fans and followers are wondering what happened to their beloved larger than life performer and hopefully this will help explain it.  Michaels had been treated for Bronchitis since October, 2015.  In mid December he took a fall that injured his knee which made him sedentary.  During that time it is believed that he also caught the flu.

All of these events combined to cause the perfect storm and right before Christmas, Michaels was admitted into the hospital for treatment for pneumonia. On the 2nd day into his hospital stay he was admitted into the ICU for respiratory distress from the pneumonia and later diagnosed with advanced COPD.  After fighting for 12 days in ICU, and fight he did, his body was just too weak to go on.

Michael’s with his band Swamp da Wamp recently released their CD, That Easy.  Plans for the music video for his next single, “Changes,” were in pre-production with a company in Nashville, with the video slated to be shot in McMinnville, TN in the spring.   It would be a dream come true or LAST WISH of GIGS for that video and single to be released.  He had such high hopes for “Changes.”

As many of you know, Swamp da Wamp has fan clubs all over the world in countries such as the Netherlands, Italy, Russia, Brazil, Sweden, India, France and the UK which is a testament to their burgeoning international popularity. Swamp da Wamp music can be heard on over 65,000 Touch Tunes jukeboxes across the U.S. Several songs have been licensed for use in video games by the gaming giant Xbox.

You also know that the remaining Swamp da Wamp members are passionate about our nation’s Veterans and they’re ardent supporters of Native American Heritage Association (NAHA). They are honored to have performed on all three of NAHA’s famous “Rock Legends” cruises alongside legendary acts such as ZZ Top, Foreigner, Alice Cooper, Molly Hatchet, Marshall Tucker Band, Pat Travers Band, Artimus Pyle Band and the The New Lords.

The band is committed to promoting the anti-bullying movement, working closely with international organization Stopbully.com. Just recently Stopbully.com has adopted Swamp’s “I Am” as their anthem.

The members of the band are currently grieving the loss of their leader and need a little time to themselves to heal and regain their footing.  To find out more and keep updated, you can visit the website and like them on Facebook.

Michaels is survived by his brothers, sisters, mother, father and son.  The spokesperson for the family (Lori – Gig’s sister) has determined that Gig will be cremated with a memorial in the warmer weather being considered.  Friends and fans should continue to follow his Facebook pages for more information on that and more news in days to come.

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Biography

The band Swamp da Wamp is the brainchild of frontman, lead singer and main songwriter Gig Michaels. He founded the seven-member band in 2006. He’s almost as well-known for his remarkable stage presence as he is for his unabashedly deep, gritty vocals. A natural showman, in his boots and signature leather hat the six foot-five Michaels’ commands (and gets) the undivided attention of every audience he’s in front of.

Swamp clearly appeals to a broad demographic: they’re part rock and part country – with a dash of the blues. They’re shared billing with rock legends like Alice Cooper, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38 Special, Foreigner, Paul Rogers, Blue Oyster Cult, Shooter Jennings, The Outlaws, and The Marshall Tucker Band and country greats such Craig Morgan, Toby Keith, Craig Wayne Boyd and countless others. Swamp da Wamp has released four well-received albums containing all-original material. Their fifth album is a compilation of fan favorites. They’ve also released several singles.

“Miss Becky,” a song off of their first self-titled album SwampDaWamp, spent 10 weeks on XM Country charts, entering at #16 and reaching #4.  The 2011 release Short Stories from a Long Road features musicians from legendary bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Black Crowes.  Swamp has performed on five music-themed cruises, including all three of the world famous Rock Legends Cruises. They’ve won the prestigious title “Best Rock Band 2013” at the famed Carolina Music Awards.Their newest single, “My Drinking Song,” and other selections from their catalogue are currently getting play on local and internet radio stations across the U.S., Europe and Australia. The video for “My Drinking Song” is now being shown on Music Mix USA, a Florida based video show seen on Broadcast TV from Miami to Los Angeles.  Music Mix USA is seen weekly in 126 million plus households in over 150 Markets on CBS, NBC, Fox, AMG, TUFFTV, AMGTV and MyFamilyTV affiliates around the USA.Swamp da Wamp’s current music catalogue can now be heard on over 65,000 Touch Tunes jukeboxes across the U.S. Several songs have been licensed for use in video games by the gaming giant Xbox.

Percy Sledge Memoriam

Percy Sledge Memoriam

Percy Sledge

It is with great sadness that we must say goodbye to a true soul legend, a humble family man, and a beautiful human being.
‘The King of Slow Soul,” Percy Sledge passed away peacefully early this morning at his home in Baton Rouge Louisiana surrounded by his wife Rosa and their children after a long battle with cancer.

Just short of his 75th birthday this November (Nov 25, 1940), Percy rose to international stardom in the early 60’s when people around the world first heard his unmistakable voice on the timeless hit “When A Man Loves A Woman” and won the hearts of millions.

Since then he continued to record numerous albums and perform for his legions of fans around the globe until early last year.

The Sledge Family wishes to convey they are truly grateful for all the love and support from all his fans and friends.

Percy is survived by his wife Rosa and 12 children, as well as a brother and sister.

Jimmie Van Zant Memorium

Jimmie Van Zant Memorium

Jimmie Van Zant passed away at the age of 59 of Liver Cancer at a private residence in hospice care surrounded by family and friends. The southern rockers Facebook page put up the announcement shortly after his death on Thursday, April 7, 2016.

It is with a very heavy heart that we inform you that Jimmie Van Zant has passed away today holding his wife’s hand. His very close friends, Steve & Sue Prindel were alongside Jimmie & Zohra, as Jimmie transitioned. We ask that you keep Jimmie, Zohra and all of his loved ones in your thoughts & prayers. We also ask that you respect their need for privacy in this very sad and difficult time. Thank you. God bless you and let the Freebird Fly !!!

Van Zant was on the Liver donor list for a few years awaiting a new liver but that did not happen in time to save his life. Jimmie was cousins to Lynryd Skynyrd fame, Ronnie & Johnny Van Zant as well as cousins with 38 Special’s Donnie Van Zant.