Feature for September / October 2016
Band Name: The Acoustic Surf Tones
Genre: Acoustic Surf / Lounge / World Beat
Geographical Area: CT / MA / NY
Interview with: Mike & Sandy Rosado in person on August 30, 2016
Last Interview date: Jan. 2005
Band Formed in 2002
NESMA member since 2003
1. What is the current line-up of your band?
Mike Rosado – Lead guitar
Sandy Rosado – Rhythm guitar, flute, saxophone
Paul Tanner – bass
Ryan Tanner - percussion
2. Has your line-up changed since your last interview?
The original line-up of this group included Mike & Sandy (who have since gotten married), and Ed Ellis on djembe. Over the years we have had various other percussion players enhancing the rhythm section, such as Mike’s daughter and Ludent Tremmel. We added a bass player quite a while ago, Paul Tanner, and he came with his son, Ryan, who was very good as a young percussionist, but is even better now that he is an adult. Ed and others still occasionally add additional percussion for us, but the primary line-up is now a family affair – husband / wife (Rosados), and father / son (Tanners). Paul and Ryan are members of another NESMA band, The Crustaceans, and Mike and Sandy are members of another NESMA band, 9th Wave.
3. Since your last interview, has your music taken on new or different directions? If so, how?
Our music continues to be a mixture of 9th Wave original tunes re-envisioned for a lighter, acoustic feel; classic surf tunes; and original tunes Mike writes specifically for AST. With a lighter sound, the flute and saxophone become more prominent. The original tunes have been taking on a more world beat / exotic flavor. Future directions include trying to incorporate some vibraphone action (Sandy’s newest toy), veering even more into the tiki / exotica field.
4. What NESMA bands have you had an opportunity to perform with, or share a show with?
have played with various bands on Unsteady Freddie’s Surf Rock Shindigs. We also
enjoy participating in an annual Car Show in Manchester CT that sports a NESMA
stage, thanks to Paul Tanner. We have performed with such CT surf bands there as
The Aquatudes, The Crustaceans,
9th Wave, and the now-defunct
North Shore Troubadours.
5. What bands of any genre have you played with or networked with?
As The Acoustic Surf Tones we more often play private parties, art shows or charity events. Locally we often play with an eclectic rock / world music band called Echo Uganda.
6. What is the breakdown of cover vs. original material in your live shows and/or recordings?
70% originals, 30% covers
6a. Has this changed since your last interview? Is so, how?
The split probably hasn’t changed, but we have more and different originals to pull from now.
7. What recording have you done since your last interview?
In 2011 we recorded a “live” album in studio titled "Desert Caravan", including 10 original tunes – that recording included the current line-up plus Ed Ellis on djembe, and Mike’s daughter on hand percussion – a 6-piece band.
8. Where does your band typically practice?
At the Beach House (Mike and Sandy’ basement, conveniently located just 40 miles from the beach!)
9. What does your band typically wear for a performance?
Hawaiian shirts / tropical dress or sometimes flame wear.
10. Do you ever have additional performers on stage with you (such as an occasional additional guitarist, saxophone, dancers, etc.)?
Additional percussion sometimes – at our most recent gig Dick from The Aquatudes helped out on percussion, and Magic Wanda hooped and danced for us.
11. How do you continue to get gigs?
Usually through local connections, to play local private parties or charity events. We also utilize our NESMA connections to play at Otto’s and with other CT surf bands on various shows such as car shows and clubs.
12. Approximately how often do you perform out?
Usually about 3-4 times per year – some years more, some less.
13. What have you found to be the single most effective promotional tool you've used to further your band's musical path?
NESMA and networking with other bands, especially The Crustaceans and 9th Wave, and other CT surf bands.
14. What's the most interesting performance experience you've had since your last interview?
We’ve done several interesting benefit gigs, but a particularly memorable one was Earth Day 2007 – we played outside at a local University. It was about 40 degrees – we could barely play, our fingers were so cold! We were hiding around the corner of a building to get out of the wind. Mike’s daughter, age 6 at the time, kept leaving her drum to go off-stage and drink hot cocoa with her grandmother. Someone told us we looked like homeless people, with our hoodies and fingerless gloves...
15. What have you gotten out of being a NESMA member so far?
Well, this is difficult to answer, since we (Mike and Sandy) were the co-founders of NESMA back in 2002. We run the organization and the website, part of which includes conducting these monthly interviews!
Personally, we have gotten so much out of NESMA over the past 14 years. We have made connections to wonderful people, musicians, and bands who share our love of surf music. We have seen the genre grow in the eastern U.S., and we have also had opportunities to meet traveling surf bands from other countries, such as Finland, Russia, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Canada, and more. We have heard a LOT of great music, and seen bands grow and mature and add new original music to the genre.
16. Have you had opportunities to promote NESMA? If so, what have you done?
Yes of course – we promote NESMA to all the surf bands from our region that we meet who are not already members, so recruitment. Also we run the website and require members to link to it from their band websites for greater visibility. We created International Surf Music Month every June, which is another vehicle to promote NESMA and the genre, including the International Surf Music Month Facebook page. We provide stickers and business cards to members so THEY can promote NESMA. Etc…
17. Do you have any suggestion on how NESMA can grow?
Some ideas we are working on:
- The next member band networking compilation recording (probably in an online format)
- A physical convention of some kind for members
18. Anything else?
Be who you are. Traditional instrumentation for surf music is only part of the story. We believe using non-traditional instruments and arrangements broadens the boundaries and enhances the genre, and helps you hear the music in a different way.
From the Surf Side -
Mike & Sandy