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Feature for October 2011



Photo (c) Judy West - clockwise from top left: Tom White (Capt. Combover), John Prendergast (JP), Bruce Scott (Bitchin Bruce Boardbuster), John Cahill (Johnny Pacific)

Name: Beach Combovers

Genre: Surf Instrumentals

Geographical Area: Boston / Cambridge MA

Interview with: Tommy White by email on 10/2/11

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

Bruce Scott - Bass Guitar

John Cahill - Drums

Tommy White - Lead Guitar

John Prendergast - Rhythm Guitar


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

I started rehearsing about 3 years ago with drummer John Cahill. I heard through the grapevine that JP (John Prendergast) played guitar and organized 60's style music jams so I asked him to join us and he brought his friend Bruce Scott.



3. What bands or music have influenced you most?

I'm an electric guitar nut and really liked to listen to lead guitar breaks on popular music when I was growing up. If I had my way back then, I would just take out the vocals and just put in more lead guitar. I think the guitar is one of the more expressive instruments out there. With the string bending, single note runs, chord solos, effects pedals, amp tones, feedback and whammy bar there's a lot of ways to make interesting sounds.

Going way back I found my uncle Ed's stash of early 60's record which I really liked to listen to (and still do). He had Dick Dale, Chuck Berry, The Fireballs, The String-A-Longs and Duane Eddy.

So the late 50's and early 60's guitar instrumental aspect is right up there in our "Venturesque" approach along with my broader listening spectrum which includes big bands, jazz, country, Latin, punk etc.

The cool thing about guitar/intro surf is I can include all the musical elements I enjoy.


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

Maybe 60 percent covers and 40 per cent "surfified" songs from my old bands Unnatural Axe, The Mighty Ions, The Fabulous Billygoons and The Beachmasters. So would those also be covers?



5. What recording have you done?

I'm constantly videotaping our shows to get more songs up on YouTube.

We already put up Mr. Moto, Banzai Washout, Apache and Sleeth Mitchell's Salome with more to come soon.

We are also working on some recordings at Total Mayhem Studio in Randolph (MA). We hope to finish these up in the winter. We were recorded live at the Midway by Warren Family Films and maybe something will show up from that.



6. What kind of gear do you use?

JP and I have tried various amp combinations and right now use Fender Frontman and Roland Microcube Amps. The guitars we are using right now are the Fenders - Strat, Jaguar, Jazzmaster and my old Fender Lead 1.

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

Surf, turf, and beer.



8. How do you get gigs?

I just go up and ask.

I'm interested in playing family-oriented events in outdoor places, benefits and early slots in local nightclubs. So I look for things happening and talk to the organizers to give us a shot. We've played Malibu Beach in Dorchester, The Roslindale Farmers Market, The Alzheimers Walk on the Esplanade and a beach party in Salem. Surf music goes over well with all ages and who doesn't get revved up for "Wipe-Out"?

Mr. Mickey Bliss books us at his Club Bohemia on a regular basis. He has been a great help to keep us and many other bands active in the local scene.

We also have got some things from posting videos on YouTube and our Facebook page .


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

Most of my difficulties are self-imposed - I wish I had more energy to do more - bookings, networking and practicing.



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

We are usually not too loud and like to make things fun.

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

YouTube followed by our Facebook page.



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

While every show has it's own special moments we recently got to perform with the Belly Dance Troupe Al- Jawary Al Hassan at the Danny Amis benefit organized by Rich Wenger and Tsunami of Sound. Due to scheduling conflicts we didn't have a chance to rehearse with the dance troupe but everything synced up seamlessly. We did "Sleeth Mitchell's Salome", "Surf Rider" and a slow version of "Miserlou" where the dancers performed with swords. We hope to do this again sometime



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

We want to support our fellow surf bands by attending their shows and organizing events. We would also like to post our schedule up on the NESMA page – how’s that work?

(NESMA member bands should send their upcoming shows to for posting on the Upcoming Shows page - ed.)



14. Anything else?

Surf music is alive and well in Boston and we had a great surf music season up here which kicked off with a local surf music feature in the Boston Herald. The Beachcombovers were honored to meet and play this summer on the bill with Tsunami of Sound AND The Spytones. On my own I also saw The Big Wipeouts, Matt Heaton & The Electric Heaters, Deke Dickerson and Memphis Rockabilly (who usually include a guitar instrumental in the set).

(Also - If you want to hear more classic surf music - go to a Walgreens. Every time I go in there I hear great stuff on the Muzak system. Today I heard Bruce and Terry and past trips included the Ventures and The Marketts.)


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