Feature for November 2017
The AmpFibians revisited
Band Name: AmpFibians
Genre: Surf Inspired Rock
Geographical Area: Cincinnati OH
Interview with: Dave by email on 10/24/17
Last Interview date: 4/2010
Band formed: 2007
NESMA member since: 2010
1. What is the current line-up of your band?
Our current line-up includes the two original members since 2007 - Dave "Swag" Davies, Mosrite electrophonic guitar, and Tom "Squid" Coates, drumsman - and from 2015, father and son duo Ron "Squat" White, electrophonic guitar and Eli "LockJaw" White, electrophonic bass guitar.
2. Has your line-up changed since your last interview? If so, how?
Our line-up has changed several times since we formed The AmpFibians. We've had 3 bass players move on for various reasons. As a 3 piece band for almost 8 years we wanted to explore having a second guitarist to create a bigger sound and add a little variety. We asked Ron about guitar and Ron said Eli would be interested in taking on the bass; we began jamming, and things have worked out well. Both Ron and Eli are well-seasoned players, originally the founding members of The Maladroits, Cincinnati's "Godfathers of Surf".
3. Since your last interview has your music taken on new or different directions? If so, how?
Although we've pretty much stayed the course with our new line-up, having a second guitarist has added a fuller sound and mixed sharing lead duties back and forth to keep things fresh and interesting.
4. What NESMA bands have you had an opportunity to perform with, or share a show with?
Being in Cincinnati we're on the fringe of NESMA territory but have had the pleasure to share the stage with many brethren of the NESMA alliance including several times with 9th Wave, SP4, Atomic Mosquitos, Aqualads, Cocktail Preachers, X-Chromatones - and all the ones I'm forgetting!
5. What bands of any genre have you played with or networked with?
Networking is what it's all about and helpful in every way. Any time we can book a show with other surf instro bands is a plus (such as Intoxicators, Revomatics, Spy-Fi, Team Void, Roger and the WrayBands) and anytime we can book a show with non-surf instro bands is also a plus so we can enlighten new potential fans of surf.
6. What is the breakdown of cover vs. original material in your live shows and/or recordings?
Since we have a hard time learning cover songs, learning original material seems more productive. 95% of our material is original. Our original song list gets longer with time and we will always play some of the classics (Pipeline, Penetration, James Bond, Secret Agent Man, etc.)
7. What recording have you done since your last interview?
Since our last interview here we've recorded quite a few new CD's and EP's worth of music. Our list of CDs: Spies in Love (2008), It's Alive!! (2009), Wild Watusi Weekend (2011), Live At MOTR (2012), The Surf Guitar Heard Round the World (2014), Enigma of The Deep (2016), Rolling Stones Compilation Surfin’ Jack Flash Cordella Records (UK) Track 14 “Under My Thumb” (2014).
8. Where does your band typically practice?
We don't need to rent a practice space....we usually practice in Ron's basement.
9. What does your band typically wear for a performance?
We like to have a look that portrays us as a unit to stand out from the crowd. Lately we've been wearing black pants, groovy Thai silk shirts ordered from Thailand and WIGS. The looks from people are priceless! Hopefully people lighten up and have a better time because of our stage show.
10. Do you ever have additional performers on stage with you (such as an occasional additional guitarist, saxophone, theremin player, dancers, etc.)
We've had guest keyboard players occasionally and enjoy a surprise guest once in a while. We're always willing to hold try outs for Go-Go girls!
11. How do you continue to get gigs?
Getting gigs for us seems to be becoming easier; we've actually had venues contact us for a change. Surf fans are the best and if they can steer us to a contact we'll take that too. We'll go just about anywhere within reason - we're always looking to expand our horizons.
12. Approximately how often do you perform out?
Even though we all love playing out, we wouldn’t want to play every weekend. We usually play only once or twice a month.
13. What have you found to be the single most effective promotional tool you’ve used to further your band’s musical path?
Promoting can be a part time job (it wears us down) and I would have to say Facebook is the preferred method presently. It's pretty easy to go worldwide with a touch of the keyboard. Keeping the gig radar up is always important, and lots of schmoozing! We don't have a dedicated website other than ReverbNation and Facebook.
14. What’s the most interesting performance experience you’ve had since your last interview?
One of our most memorable performing highlights would have to be Crispy Bess' Instro Summit in North Carolina. One long weekend of reverberated bliss, new and old friends, and enlightenment. Playing in the 28 guitar Link Wray Rumble tribute was my personal high point.
15. What have you gotten out of being a NESMA member so far?
Being a band associated with NESMA is a fine way to keep fresh and motivated to carry the Surf Instro torch. Most people have no idea that Surf Music even exists; anyone who has caught the surf bug can check out a link such as NESMA and see this music and lifestyle is bona fide!!
16. Have you had opportunities to promote NESMA? If so, what have you done?
We're always interested in promoting surf music any chance we can - NESMA is a direct link to a whole new world.
17. Do you have any suggestion on how NESMA can grow?
I know NESMA is worldwide and networking couldn't be any easier. Keeping current and relevant will attract new fans. Most people love this music - they just need to discover its wonderful benefits.