The Power of East Coast Surf




Featured Band for 

January 2005   


The Acoustic Surf Tones


Band Name: The Acoustic Surf Tones 

Genre: Acoustic Instrumental Surf / Spy / Twang / Latin / Exotica

Geographical Area: CT, MA, RI, NY

Interview with Mike Rosado on 1/1/05 in person


1.  What is the current line-up of your band?

            Mike Rosado, lead acoustic guitar

            Sandy Brooks, rhythm guitar, flute, percussion, saxophone

            Ed Ellis, djembe, percussion


2. How and when did you get started with your band?

I started The Acoustic Surf Tones in 2003 as a side project to my primary surf band, 9th Wave. It was born of frustration with "black out dates" and general unavailability of some of my 9th Wave band members. I wanted to play more often than they were available, both for gigs and rehearsal, so Sandy and I started playing acoustically. Our surfer friend Ed Ellis, a percussionist, had just gotten a djembe (African hand drum), and he joined us. Occasionally we add another percussionist friend, Ludent Tremmel, for live shows to fill out our sound.


3. What bands or music have influenced you most? 

Well, 9th Wave of course (we perform many 9th Wave original tunes). The acoustic sound is mostly influenced by Strunz & Farrar, Ottmar Liebert, Al Dimeola, and a group called Morphine.


4. What is the break down of cover vs. original material in your live shows and/or recordings?

For our live shows and our recording (of a live show), we do about 75% originals and 25% standard surf covers. The originals include both 9th Wave tunes, rearranged for the instruments available, and material conceived specifically for the acoustic group.


5. What recording have you done? 

On November 27, 2004, we performed live in New York City at The Cutting Room. The club recorded us live there, which is our first Acoustic Surf Tones official recording.


6. What is your band's favorite food/beverage?

Sandy's baked goods and champagne.


7. How do you get gigs? 

Mostly through momentum - we play somewhere, they like us, we return for more gigs there. (We started by approaching a few local clubs and restaurants.) Word of mouth helps, as well as 9th Wave's reputation, which opens the door for certain gigs, or for opportunities to play places where 9th Wave isn't the right type of band but The Acoustic Surf Tones would work well.


8. What are the difficulties you find playing your kind of music in your area?

As for many surf/instrumental bands, there is often the issue of "no vocals" (although Sandy sings a few numbers). Some people just don't get the no singing concept. However, at smaller clubs and restaurants where a "background band" sound may be desired, this can actually be a plus.


9. What positive attributes does your band have that sets you apart from other bands (of any genre)? 

Flexibility in both style and availability. As an acoustic three-piece working with minimal equipment, we can mobilize quickly and travel light to pick up shows on short notice. Our flexibility of style (western twang, exotica flute sounds, Latin style guitar & percussion work, as well as surf classics done acoustically) allows us to fit into many different types of venues, including smaller clubs that need a less aggressive sound that an "electric" band.


10. What have you found to be the single most effective promotional tool you've used to further your band's musical path?

9th Wave! As a side project of 9th Wave, we can capitalize on that reputation and name recognition, as well as utilize existing contacts to get a "foot in the door".


11. What's the most interesting performance experience you've had?     

We played an interesting fundraiser for the Windham Textile Museum. Behind us was a giant neon palm tree, as well as an exhibit of vintage Hawaiian shirts (half of which belonged to me!) There was also a display of frog paraphenalia, since the frog is the town mascot. 


12. What do you hope to get out of being a NESMA member? 

We hope to support and unify the surf/instrumental music scene by playing out, sharing & trading gigs, filling out timeslots on surf shows arranged by others (like Unsteady Freddie), and by exemplifying the diversity found in the surf music genre. 

From the surf side,

Mike "Staccato" Rosado, Founder of NESMA


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