The Power of East Coast Surf


Featured Band for 

July 2005



Band Name: SPF-4 (The Sun Protection Factor Four)

Genre: Surf-Rock-Instro

Geographical Area: Mass/Rhode Island - Northeast USA

Interview with Dave Kroll by email on 6-22-05


1. What is the current line-up of your band (include band member names)?


Dave Kroll - guitars

Rob Brooks - guitars

Tony Maciag - bass

Craig Nieske- drums


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


The current SPF-4 lineup was put together in spring 2004...although Dave and Rob had framed a similar project the previous summer for a Cape Cod gig that just came shy of getting off the ground. Dave placed a classified ad for a bass player in early 2004, Tony replied, learned some material, then we kidnapped Craig, who had played with Dave and Rob in previous bands. We got our set together in April 2004 and our first gig in July 2004 at a party.


3. What bands or music have influenced you most?


Lots of good music from the past...Beatles, Jimmy Page-Zeppelin, Southern Rock, Metal, Progressive and Punk/New Wave...B-52's had some great riffs...I think having the 60's TV theme songs in our youth subliminally influenced us also...


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


Currently all "originally" arranged covers...traditional surf-instro and some not often covered...with the goal of releasing upcoming originals that are worthy and well crafted for the genre.


5. What recording have you done?


One live studio project...SPF-4: Surf Session 1.  We also frequently record rehearsals and an occasional live show.


6. What kind of gear do you use?


Guitars: Fender Jaguar, Jazzmaster, Stratocaster, Mosrite Ventures, DeArmond Starfire 4 and custom Jetstar, Rickenbacker, Telecasters and Danos U2,U3, & Mod 6...usually a Jag, Jazzmaster and Strat as the basics and the others are guest pieces...


Bass: Fender P-Bass


Drums: Vintage Rogers 4 piece


Amps: Fender 4-10 Concert Reverb, Peavey Classic 30 tweed stack, vintage Ampeg B25 bass amp & 2x15 cab.


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


Dolphin-safe Tunaboats and Paper City Beer...


8. How do you get gigs?


Tony has been great in securing most of our gigs with good networking and follow-up...some gigs have come from NESMA and others were "created" or hunted down by band members. We started out peddling a home recording that Rob produced for a demo and now we use a simple promo kit with the studio CD. As everyone in a band knows, getting gigs can be full time job...just getting return phone calls or emails can be a challenge. We have considered booking agencies for some gigs, since some places only deal with them We are also considering freelance booking persons that would like to help for a piece of the action or an online thing like


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


No too many difficulties, other than trying to sell the genre to someone who "doesn't get it" Usually after a gig, we have made new fans of the genre as well as made someone say "I love this stuff". Being a relatively new band, it can be tough to convince a venue that we can draw a decent crowd...these days many bands don't carry a following like the past, unless you are a regular act somewhere that has a chance to build one. As we sell more CD's we also gain the following.


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


Hopefully we come across as a band that is friendly, easy to work with and a band that combines good playing with good image. We are all serious enthusiasts of the surf-instro genre and we strive to faithfully pay tribute to it in our arrangements along with adding our personal brand of edge. Members of the band are almost always "into something" with this genre, whether it be looking for vintage music, hunting for vintage surf guitars or designing something for the project that relates to the surf music vibe. We hope to come across with the right vibe and a unique image that fits the genre.


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


The CD we recently recorded has been a great PR combination with  Web at this point, including affiliation with organizations like NESMA. We seem to have a lot of virtual tools based around the web now...e-promo, etc. that allow us to extend our presence and connect with more prospects...we just recently sold our CD to folks in Germany and England from our website... There still is nothing like word of mouth and good old networking...Tony has proven that.


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


So far I'd say playing at the top of the dunes at Whitecrest Beach in Wellfleet, MA (Cape Cod) during the 2004 Longboard Surf couldn't beat the environment to play surf music...complete with generator and perfect weather...nothing like playing outside in the warm sun overlooking the ocean....we are trying to put more things together like that.


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


Continued beneficial connections, good gigs and exposure with a great group



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