Calhoun Surf

Recently I’ve been getting into classic vintage surf rock. People like Dick DaleThe Astronauts, and The Ventures. This has come about from getting back into the Dead Kennedys and noticing a very surf/rockabilly sound to the guitar work. I did some reading and indeed the Dead Kennedys guitarist, East Bay Ray, came from a surf/rockabilly background.

While getting into the sound I’ve been also picking up and playing around with the guitar Gabriel was given by a family friend which he’s been slowly learning. Trying to work out the surf rock sound I found an article about Danny Amis from Los Straitjackets which included the tabs for Calhoun Surf which I’d not heard before. The tabs were written by Danny himself so I assume they’re pretty accurate.

So I spent an evening listening to the song and going through the tabs and the next evening spend a couple of hours recording a two-part rendition on my laptop using Audacity as a multi-track recorder. The laptop kept crashing so recording it took a few takes. Then cleaning up the background noise. Finally, I experimented getting the lead guitar to sound surf “wet” with a bit of tremolo and reverb. But clumsy but gets a feel of it in there.

Overall, while the original sounds rocky and pacey, mine ended up sounding kinda wistful and melancholic.  It was a bit from the jaggedness of the laptop keeping crashing and having to re-record, but I kinda like the way it turned out.  Might try again and see if I can get a version more faithful to the original.

If anyone wanted a listen of the rough cut recording it’s shared on Soundcloud.


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