This interview was conducted by Stephen
McPartland of California Magazine with Peter Hood at Atlantics Studio
on December 24, 1978.
PETER HOOD drums
BOSCO BOSANAC bass
THEO PENGLIS lead and rhythm guitar
JIM SKIATHITIS lead and rhythm guitar
(PRODUCER - Sven Libaek]
HOW DID THE GROUP FIRST GET TOGETHER? I'VE HEARD THE STORY THAT YOU ALL
MET IN THE BUS ON THE WAY HOME FROM THE BEACH. IS THIS CORRECT?
Yes. It was a combination of meeting in buses and we also went to the
same school. The one
thing that really started it all was an incident which now looking back,
was very funny. One day,
Theo Penglis and this smaller guy, who we used to call "Little Eddie"
(Eddy Matsonic), were
running away after swiping some guy's apricots or plums from an orchard
in Randwick when they happened to come into this friend of mine's place
where I was. They reckoned they were being chased by a guy with a shotgun
and were really relieved to be inside. They sat down and had a cup of
coffee and we started talking about music. I think this friend of mine
and I had been fooling around with a tape recorder ... I eventually said,
"How about you come over or we'll go over to your place and we'll
have a jam" and that's how it started.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE NAME, THE ATLANTICS?
It came from the old petrol company - Atlantic Petrol. We were walking
around one day trying to think of a group name. We went through names
like "The Eagles". "The Falcons". "The Jet
Streams" -you name it! Then we saw a sign that read, Atlantic Patrol
and we thought. "Well..
you can't get more publicity than that" -having your name all over
the place! Therefore. we
settled for THE ATLANTICS. It had nothing to do with the ocean, a fact
that confused people
later on. A lot of people thought we were an American band, which in one
way was good. Over
the years I've met a lot of disc jockeys who have confessed. "Gee.
I'm sure if we'd known you
were an Australian band, we would never have played your records".
THAT'S SURPRISING BECAUSE YOUR SOUND WAS VERY DIFFERENT TO WHAT
THE AMERICAN'S WERE PUTTING OUT AT THE TIME. YOU HAD A MORE
RAUNCHY AND DRIVING SOUND.
I suppose so. Hopefully, it was different. We spent about a year perfecting
it. We practised to get a different sound or hopefully develop something
WHO WERE YOUR MUSICAL INFLUENCES AT THE TIME?
Everyone I think! The Ventures were a part influence as far as certain
things were concerned.
Then. of course. there was The Shadows.ANY AUSTRALIAN GROUPS OR ARTISTS?
I suppose Col Joy And The Joy Boys, or more specifically, The Joy Boys.
We learned a lot from them. especially John Bogie. their drummer. He was
one of the few blokes around who seemed to know a lot about drumming.
I used to go and watch him like a hawk!
ANYBODY ELSE? WHAT ABOUT THE FOUR STRANGERS? THEIR EARLY SOUND
WAS SIMILAR TO WHAT YOU WERE DOING. THEY LATER EVOLVED INTO THE
SUNSETS AND FINALLY, TAMAM SHUD?
Oh yes, I new them later on. They were good too. However, I don't think
we were particularly
influenced by them though I thought they were great. I think the funniest
band of all was The
Pacifics. I think Nat Kipner put them together In an attempt to match
and swamp us. That's he
called them The Pacifics! He gave them as close as possible the same sound
as us and up them on the bill against us. They weren't that bad either!
Anyway, they disappeared soon after because like anything else, you can't
really imitate someone for too long. Another band I thought were really
good were The Strangers from Melbourne. We saw them emerge just before
Beatles burst on the scene. That was when they were still playing Shadow's
instrumentals and getting into some Beach Boys' material. They were probably
one of the best groups in Australia at the time. At least that was my
opinion. There were really hundreds of good groups and it was very hard
to know who were REALLY good. It was just a case of if people liked you
WHAT WAS THE INITIAL LINE-UP OF THE ATLANTICS? WERE THERE ANY
There was really only one change from the day the group started and that
was Eddy Matsonic's
departure. He left way before we got our established sound. This left
me on drums. Bosco
Bosanac on bass and Theo Penglis and Jim Skiathitis jointly on lead and
rhythm guitar. We also
had a young guy by the name of Kenny Shane as lead vocalist for awhile.
Apart from being the
image of Cliff Richard, he also sounded a lot like him. On many songs,
you couldn't tell the
difference. He was a really good singer, but something happened and he
left to pursue a solo
career. This must have been just after the end of 1962 or just before.
I thought he was great and
it probably would have been good if he'd stayed with us.
SO, BESIDES PLAYING INSTRUMENTALS, YOU WERE ALSO PERFORMING VOCALS?
Yes. We were doing both instrumentals and vocals - Cliff Richard and The
Shadows' material as
well as a combination of some of the things from another band from Europe,
The Spotniks. They
had good technique and a lot of recording gimmicks. plus they were using
a lot of multi dubbing
which even The Shadows were doing. We were performing everything from
Johnny And The
Hurricanes onwards. I think we were doing songs from all the American
bands of the time. We
had worked up a complete repertoire and sound and then we had our own
WHEN DID YOU START RECORDING VOCALS? YOUR FIRST RELEASES WERE ALL INSTRUMENTALS.
Actually, we recorded our first vocal record around the same time we recorded
vocals were not in then. It was called "Count Down Stomp" and
Kenny did the vocal on that.
The record was released as our third single (b/w '.Surfin' Queen").
but died because "Bombora"
was still receiving a lot of airplay.
"MOON MAN" WAS YOUR FIRST RECORDING, FOLLOWED BY "BOMBORA".
WERE THEY RECORDED AT THE SAME TIME?
"Moon Man" was recorded first and "Count Down Stomp"
was done at the recording session
immediately after or shortly before "Bombora". "Bombora"
was already in the can before it was
done. Actually, "Bombora" was written more than a year before
there was such a thing as "Surf
Music". The title was added to it when we realised there was something
happening. The people
who were into surfing suddenly wanted their own music. Whatever it was
that happened, they
made a certain type of music their own and it all became known as "Surf
THE AUSTRALIAN FORM OF "SURF MUSIC" WAS NOT THAT MUCH DIFFERENT
TO WHAT WAS ALREADY BEING PERFORMED AROUND TOWN. MOST OF THE
MATERIAL WAS THE SAME EXCEPT IT HAD "SURF" IN THE TITLE.
Exactly. They started to influence each other by adding the titles or
changing what they already
had. It was a big craze. We were all too young and closed in and so didn't
realise at the time that
it was as big as it was. If I'd known, I would have thought of more ways
to cash in on it.
LOOKING BACK AT THE CHARTS AND MAGAZINES OF THE TIME, IT BECOMES
APPARENT THAT "SURF MUSIC" WOULD STILL HAVE TO BE THE BIGGEST
SINGLE MUSICAL CRAZE TO EVER TAKE HOLD IN AUSTRALIA. FOR EXAMPLE, AT ONE
STAGE-OCTOBER, 1963-SIX OUT OF THE TOP TEN RECORDS WERE SURF RELATED.
YET, THE AMAZING THING WAS JUST AS SOON AS IT HIT, IT WAS ALL OVER!
The reason it died so quickly was because of the Beatles. The Beatles
made the next biggest
change in music since rock and roll was born.
IN AUSTRALIA THE SURF MUSIC CRAZE PEAKED IN LATE 1963 AND BY EARLY TO
MID 1964 IT WAS ALL OVER. HOWEVER, IN AMERICA "SURF MUSIC" LASTED
NEARLY TWO YEARS LONGER; AT LEAST INTO LATE 1965.
1 think the music business fizzled it out because they all just latched
onto The Beatles' thing. On
the otherhand, the Americans didn't particularly care which way or the
other what England was
doing. In fact, until that time England really had no influence on America
at all. Even guys like
Cliff Richard could not get hits in the States and he was number one for
something like five or six
years in England. He also had about fifteen records in Australia that
went Top Ten, or close to it.
I think Cliff Richard And The Shadows were voted Top Group for four or
five years in a row here and he could not even dent the charts in America.
So that's why it took longer to dent the
American scene and really wipe out what was going on over there. Australia
much more closely and so when England came in with a big music change,
Australia latched onto
it very quickly.
WELL, "SURF MUSIC" WAS AN AMERICAN CREATION. IT WAS THEIR MUSIC.
Yes, that's true. It was their invention and so they carried it a lot
WITH THE ATLANTICS DEVELOPING THEIR OWN SOUND, DID THE USE OF TWO LEAD
GUITARISTS PROVE A BOON?
Yes. it was reasonably odd to have two lead guitarists in those days (especially
in a quartet) and it did help us because you can play even the same song
with two different guys and never get it to sound the same, which was
good. Not that we did that often, but we always auditioned each guy and
then we would all vote as to who was the most interesting. Theo did all
the super technical stuff because he was really fast. In fact. he was
that good that all the other bands were continually making offers to get
him. We almost lost him at one stage because he was offered more money
and money's always been a good influence.
DURING THE EARLY PART OF THE ATLANTICS CAREER, WEREN'T YOU
INTERESTED IN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING?
Well, I was going to join the Navy as an electrical .... I forget what
they call it now. I had read a
little about it. but I had not taken any courses. Even today electronics
still interest me. The big
trick is knowing how to use it and not necessarily becoming an expert.
I HAVE NOTICED ON A LOT OF YOUR RECORDINGS THAT YOU UTILISED A GREAT DEAL
OF ELECTRONIC SOUNDS AND EFFECTS. WERE YOU PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR
Yes. that was triggered by me. In fact, the whole effect that made "Bombora"
interesting in the
beginning was something that I had come across with Jim Skiathitis. We
would sit around and
wonder what other sounds we could get out of our guitars and out of the
reverb chambers and
echo units. We thought there had to be more there than just all the straight
stuff. Therefore, we'd
sit around and experiment. Guys like Hendrix, who came later playing with
their teeth. thought
what they were doing was revolutionary. Well, we were doing that back
in 1962. When it came to using violin bows like Hendrix, we were well
ahead of that. Jim had this special gold ring which had this certain shape
and he could do a bird whistle kind of thing using this ring and the guitar.
It took the other bands quite a while to figure out just what it was.
All it was was this particular ring and only it could do it - you just
couldn't do it with just any ring. We just found it out one day by accident
while we were experimenting in this Scouts' Hall. I mean. we had everything
from bottle tops, violin bows, pieces of wood - you name it. We just sat
there scraping guitars, tapping guitars, etc.. We even managed to get
a machine gun sound from the guitars using double reverb chambers and
two echolettes. We even tried three echolettes. We tried everything else
that nobody else thought was normal. Our attitude was, "Let's just
try and do it"! As a result, I suppose in our time we came up with
maybe half a dozen top effects that we could use both in the studio and
on stage. We used to perform "War Of The Worlds" live on stage
and if we found we had a really unreceptive audience, we'd hit them with
a nine or ten minute version of the tune. It was something like a 1963
version of "Star Wars"! We'd throw in rocket and spacecraft
noises and that would really shake up the audience. We even used two amps
to get a stereo effect, which made us one of the first bands to have what
you could call a live "stereo sound". We had it rigged up so
you could shift from right to left with just a foot pedal. In 1963, as
far as we knew, nobody else had even thought of it. Gibson had a stereo
amp, but it wasn't quite the same thing. I think they had three strings
on the left or something like that which meant your highs came from one
side and your lows the other. However, we could get a total shift from
left to right. After that we tried what became known as "quad"
where we had the two amps and shifted the speakers and used further volume
separation and control so we could shift our sound from left to right
and further right if we wanted to. That way the sound could travel right
around the stage. Of all the things we did, I think that was the most
exciting. If we'd become as famous as some of the overseas bands, I would
have really felt good because then we would have been able to sell all
that stuff to the rest of the world, if you know what I mean. You know,
an American band that gets to Number One influences the rest of the world.
In our own way, we only influenced a small part. We created sounds, etc.
that people years later started using and when guys like Hendrix started
using the same techniques, well that was exciting because we knew we did
it first - years earlier!
INYOUR MIND, WHAT WAS THE ATLANTIC'S BIG BREAK? OR WAS THEIR ON
I thinkyou would have to say that signing up with C.B.S. was our big break.
In my mind. if we
had not signed up with them then nothing much would have happened. We
had this tough lady
manager, Joan King, who I must admit was very good. I mean she was very
tough, a tough lady.
She took our tapes into CBS, and Sven Libaek, who became fairly famous
in his own right, liked what he heard. Out of all the record companies,
he was the only one to like it. This was probably because he also was
so different. When we went into the other record companies such as Festival,
they kind of didn't like our material because it was so different to what
else was going on at the time. They would always suggest we come back
in about a year's time. Anyway, CBS liked it, got us in and we auditioned
live in Sven Libaek's office. He went crazy and said something like, "We
gotta record you" and so we were signed! I think that was our big
break because without CBS, and the chance to put it down on tape, we would
have died. Sven was definitely the right guy for us. His mind worked that
way - towards something different and that's what we were!
WAS HE HELPFUL AS A PRODUCER?
Like any producer, he certainly was. All the actual musical stuff was
ours, but Sven was the
catalyst. Without him actually saying, "I like that" and "We'll
do it exactly as You say", it would
have been destroyed because if anybody else had come in and tried to produce
it and change it
around, it probably never would have been liked by anyone. Oddly enough,
we actually didn't like the stuff ourselves and that's the funniest thing
of all. When we actually recorded the material, we hated it. It was just
a natural response from us. However. Sven was smart and always said, "Well,
boys, don't try and change it. Don't try and be anyone else except yourselves.
The thing I like is what you've got". That in itself is the greatest
thing a producer can do for you-to bring out your ideas naturally - and
not try and change them or twist them.
WHO DID THE ARRANGING?
It was all done collectively. We'd pass votes and that was it.
WHAT ABOUT THE ACTUAL WRITING AND CHOICE OF MATERIAL?
Oddly enough, I got a bit edgy about it all. I was the first to really
start writing. I wrote the first song we ever did, "Moon Man",
although Theo, Jim and Bosco were also starting to write. I
was lucky because I was the one who seemed to trigger off the hit-type
sounds. I don't know
what it was, but it just came out of my head. I influenced Jim because
he wasn't really a
songwriter at that time. He really didn't like songwriting. I had already
written "Bombora" almost
twelve months before it was released. However, I got Jim involved in it
and we finished it off
together. The same with the follow-ups. I'd always start them and then
finish them off with
ONCE YOU HAD ESTABLISHED YOUR OWN SOUND, WERE YOU STILL BEING
INFLUENCED BY OTHER BANDS?
No. Once we got our sound we virtually stayed with it. We were greatly
influenced by bands
before we actually hit our sound and once we seemed to get our own sound,
at least one that
people seemed to like, we figured it was no use trying to follow someone
else anymore because
what we had then was what everybody seemed to want. Therefore. we stuck
with it and only
changed it very slightly, but always keeping the same basic frame-work.
Then, when The Beatles
came out everything changed. That sort of killed it anyway.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ATLANTICS WHEN THE BEATLES HIT?
We then started doing vocals! We started getting into things similar to
The Beatles, just like
every other band in the world. It was just another case of being influenced
by what was happening around us-everything from The Beatles to Merseybeat.
Still. we tried to change it and inject some of our own originality, but
it didn't work. Therefore. we went back to doing some instrumentals. Actuallly,
the biggest thing that killed it for us was the fact that we were making
a good living for a long time by just performing live. There were thousands
of people who seemed to want to see us as we were. In fact, people would
walk out disgusted if we didn't play all of our earlier hits. Well, we
got fairly lazy and didn't care too much about getting hit records because
we were able to pack the people in and perform to full houses and make
money and have a good time doing it.
NONETHELESS, YOUR STAGE ACT MUST HAVE CHANGED SOMEWHAT FROM
WHEN YOU FIRST BEGAN PERFORMING?
Yes. We were doing, a lot more vocals, but we never did any of the standard
surfin'-type vocals. We did all the instrumental-type material, but not
the vocals although we did do a few Beach Boys' things - but not very
well; nowhere near as good as other Australian bands of the time although
they were good enough for the stage because people liked the songs themselves.
IT WAS AROUND THIS TIME THAT YOU TEAMED UP WITH JOHNNY REBB. DID HE JOIN
YOU OR DID YOU JOIN HIM?
Well. it was kind of a business thing. He was doing well in the business
and by then so were we,
so we figured why not try a combination of his act and ours and see what
happens ... He was a
really good rock 'n roll sort of singer as well as a performer. It didn't
matter that much if his voice wasn't perfect because it worked for rock
and roll and the material we were doing.
DID YOU STILL CONTINUE TO RECORD AS SEPARATE ACTS OR WAS IT MORE A JOINT
We recorded together and separately and also under other names! I think
THOUGHTS was one of our other names. This was around 1965-1966 when we
Atlantics brought up the old surf image. Therefore, we figured we'd try
a different name. This
way people would have to judge the music for the music's sake and not
go by the group name.
DO YOU CONSIDER THE RELEASES ISSUED UNDER THE "JOHNNY REBB"
MONIKER AS YOUR RELEASES?
Well, we backed Johnny on all his releases after he joined us. It was
just our manager's (Sid
McDonagh) idea. I think we all agreed to it because we had a sort of unanimous
happening. If we all agreed on something, then we did it. If we didn't
agree, we'd usually argue it
out. We agreed to use Johnny Rebb's name because it sounded interesting
and a lot of people did already like him. It was also another way of trying
to peg us apart; using a different name to draw a different interest.
However, we still had a small problem. Whereas I mentioned before that
people tended to associate The Atlantics' name with a surf image, other
Johnny's name with the 1959-60 rock and roll era: the period when he had
all his big hits.
Therefore. that was just as bad as far as carrying the weight of an old
reputation goes. He was
known as "The Gentleman Of Rock", so that sort of tended to
destroy his rock and roll image a
bit. Basically. it was all just a different way of packaging in an attempt
to overcome the problem.
THEREFORE, ANYTHING THAT CAME OUT UNDER THE NAME, "JOHNNY REBB",
FROM ABOUT 1963 ONWARDS WAS ACTUALLY THE ATLANTICS AS A GROUP?
Yes. it was all of us and in most cases it was also written by us. From
the moment "Bombora"
was a hit until 1970, we were together as a group.
DID YOU CONTINUE TO PLAY THE SAME STYLE OF MUSIC?
The same ... well similar. Here's an example ... You've heard "I
Put A Spell On You" ... Well that was getting into The Animals sound
(Alan Price wrote it) and Johnny was great at doing The
Animals material. Therefore, you can see a change was taking place by
comparing "Bombora" to
The Animals! We did all of their material, so that was another sound we
were getting into and
that was nothing like surf music. They had everything from songs like
"The House Of The Rising
Sun" to "When I Was Young", where incidently they began
using the violin bow trick on the
guitars - you know. the cello bomp. bomp, bomp. bomp, plus I think they
were also using
something else on the guitar that gave it a sort of raunchy. raspy clicking
sound. So really, The
Animals were our kind of band. They were really soul, gutsy, the whole
thing and then there were other bands like The Ivy League - really multi-harmony
bands. We were doing some of their material even though we couldn't do
The Beach Boys' songs that well. However, with Johnny, our vocal capacity
improved and we were able to achieve a pretty good multi-harmony sound.
He was capable of handling either high or low which really helped us out
a lot. Jim Skiathitis (Jim Addams as he was called later) was really good
at putting on a John Lennon voice, so when it came to doing a John Lennon
type vocal, Jim was excellent. In fact, on some of the songs it was real
hard to tell the difference. So in all, we weren't bad at doing a Beatles'
imitation or an Animals' imitation. As I said, we began to get into harmonies,
more of the Animals' style. I don't know what you call it; they were calling
it rhythm and blues at the time. We were also doing a whole heap of other
things, mostly everything off the charts. We found that type of formula
worked really well.
SO INACTUAL FACT, THE ONLY REASON YOU BECAME LABELLED AS A "SURF"
BAND WAS BECAUSE OF THE SUCCESS OF "BOMBORA"?
That's right although we were into surfing itself. I mean, I was into
it back in school during 1960-
61. I was one of the first guys to put lemon juice in my hair - I had
much more hair then. I was
the traditional surf nut. whatever they want to call it, even before "surfie"
became a well known
term in Australia. I was a surfie before the word became established as
far as the music was
concerned. Sofor me, getting into surf music was only a natural progression.
It was funny that
everyone called us a surfing band. I suppose we were all genuine, more
specifically me. I and
another friend from school, who wasn't in the band, were both true dyed
in the wool surfers as per the American formula even though we didn't
know they were doing the same thing over there. Anyway, we got labeled
as a surf band purely because of that. However, we did change: I mean
anyone who has heard "I Put A Spell On You" live would never
think we had anything to do with surf music. Our recorded version was
not as good because they had no multitrack recorders inAustralia at the
time. The best we ever got was two track. They were using four and eight
track in England and that meant you could do better recordings over there.
Another reason was we had only just perfected the song and we developed
it much better later on. Johnny did it really wel1 and it would tear the
house down. We had another song called, "Lonely Guy", but that
never did get released. We recorded it at E.M.I.. but they weren't into
that sort of thing at the time. It was a real screamy-soul-rock-blues
type thing. The flip was "What Kind of Lovin'".
WAS THERE MUCH MATERIAL RECORDED BY THE ATLANTICS THAT DID NOT
Oh yeah, there was a lot of stuff. In fact, it was that far ahead of its
time that was the rotten thing. It was almost a year later before the
same type of material began filtering through. Creedenc
Clearwater Revival's material was a good example and once again, Johnny
Rebb was the best I've ever heard (and probably still is) when it came
to doing the Creedence voice copy. In fact, the two guys had similar voices.
That is Johnny's true vocal sound, so when their stuff eventually
came out, we could do it like a carbon copy and as a result, while they
were successful, we had a lot of success with it! This was around 1968-69.
As you can see, we had a lot of styles and that was the story really.
HOW LONG DID THE GROUP STAY TOGETHER?
The group lasted from around 1961 until 1970. We really would have kept
on going except for the fact we all wanted to do slightly different things.
These were not musical in nature, rather
concentrated in other areas and that sort of meant we wouldn't have the
time to be in the band. As a result, we decided to split up.
WHY DID YOU LEAVE CBS? WAS IT A DRAMATIC DEPARTURE OR A MUTUAL
Well, there was only a slight drama - in the sense that C.B.S. must have
realised (or thought
anyway) that we'd run our route for them and they couldn't see the thousands
of dollars rolling in
anymore. We also wanted to start spending a little more time in the studio
and this they didn't
think worthwhile. Therefore, we HAD to break loose. We figured that if
we were going to spend
our money, then we might as well spend it ourselves and that's just what
we did. We went to
outside studios, for awhile and that was costing us a fortune, so as I've
said before, we thought
we had a fairly good sound, so we said to C.B.S.. "Will you let us
go" and they said "Yes".
DID THE GROUP CONTINUE RIGHT UP TO THE SPLIT IN 1970? IF SO, WHAT WAS
YOUR LAST RELEASE?
Yes. After leaving CBS, we formed our own company and eventually Ramrod
stood for Rebb-Atlantics-McDonagh-Record-Organization. The group's last
release was a thing
called "Light Shades of Dark" Parts One and Two. It had as its
initials. L.S.D.. It was fairly
inventive, but we weren't to happy with it. We did have a couple of minor
hit vocal records - not
in Australia and this is a funny story. Around 1967 to 1969 we recorded
the first version of "I Just Can't Help Believin'" which became
a #1 hit for B.J. Thomas and Elvis as well. We got the
original demo from the song's composers - we always got this demo stuff
Anyway, we had cut the first version which wasn't bad I must say; actually,
it was bloody good,
but like now and like it was then, there's always a limit. There's maybe
only one, two, or three
bands that can get their material played. I hate to say this, but its
the same old story. If you took twenty Australian records I only one will
stand a bare chance of getting airplay and our version of "I Just
Can't Help Believin"' was one of those that got dumped. Anyway, we
sent the thing to
America and B.J. Thomas heard our version and did a virtual carbon copy
of our vocal
arrangement and added a few strings and brass and came up with a number
one hit record. The
same thing also happened with another band, The Music Explosion. Again
we received a demo
from overseas, this time from England. We completely re-arranged it, but
again our version was
ignored in Australia. Therefore, we sent it to America and it was covered
by The Music
Explosion, yet their version was worse than ours and it managed to hit
the number two spot on
the charts. The song was "Little Bit '0 Soul". We also had a
couple of other things that we did
cover versions of - that is brand new recordings taken from the originals
- and our efforts
triggered overseas re-recordings. We once again had access to the original
demos! Anyway, the
entire episodes were quite interesting because at least they showed us
that we were on the right
track. At least our choice of material was not bad!
EVEN WITH THESE "FAILURES", YOU DID MANAGE TO HAVE YOUR RECORDS
Yes and that's a thing we haven't touched on. Our records have been released
in just about every country in the world, regardless of language. There's
no language barrier with most of our
material. Guys have travelled through Italy, and told me they found "Bombora"
on juke boxes
and then other guys have said, "Jeez man, I was in Europe in such
and such a year and
you wouldn't believe it, but your bloody record was on the_air! You know,
I didn't think you
guys got there". I've personally have South African versions of "Bombora",
I've got Japanese
versions. I've got... the funniest thing of all are the other groups doing
it. You know, I've
got a Dutch version, a French version, etc and that's a real good feeling.
Every artist gets
such a feeling when he thinks that other artists are doing his material.
DIDN'T YOU TOUR JAPAN AT ONE POINT IN YOUR CAREER?
Yes, but that didn't really count. I think America is the only place to
go and stay. Do what the Bee Gees did; go there and stay until you make
YOU NEVER WENT TO AMERICA?
Well no, not in the sense of going there to stay.
DIDN'T THE DENVERMEN TRY THAT?
I don't really know. The Denvermen were sort of friendly and not friendly
at the same time. They
wouldn't tell you much. They were real secretive kind of guys. In fact.
they were real funny. When they rehearsed. which was at the same place
we did - Griffith Hall in Kingsford - they would skulk around and make
sure we were nowhere near and able to see and hear what they were doing.
Actually, we didn't care less! Even if they sat and watched us, we wouldn't
have cared because there was no way in the world that they could play
what and how we played.
THERE DEFINITELY WAS A CONTRAST IN BOTH GROUP'S STYLES
That's right, but they were funny like that. They were always very secretive.
If we came over and
looked at their equipment, they would become a little cagey, you know,
trying to keep us away.
They were all nice guys, but very secretive. They just wouldn't let us
near their equipment to see
what they were using.
YOU MENTIONED EARLIER THAT YOU WERE INFLUENCED BY JOHN BOGIE, THE JOY
BOYS' DRUMMER. WERE YOU INFLUENCED BY ANYONE ELSE FROM
AUSTRALIAN BANDS OF THE TIME?
Yes, Dave Bridge. The reason he was an influence was because he was one
of the few guys in the world who tried to be pure technical at that time.
He was so technical that you had to be a real virtuoso-type of guitarist
to be able to play like him. For example. "Dark Eyes" was one
of his songs we played. It was a song that we got the most requests for,
particularly from other
musicians. Naturally, our version was different to how he performed it,
but it was still based on
his kind of fast moving skill. We also did a few of his other songs live
on stage because he did
have some real good ones. Dave was another guy who if he had gone overseas
and stayed there, could have become world famous. Even though he played
a lot like Chet Atkins, he still was . different and in many ways ...
better! Dave was a real rock and roll version of Chet, you know, the real
finger picking sound. He could have been great ... well GREATER!
DID THE FINAL REALITY OF REALISING IT WAS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE, AT
THAT TIME ANYWAY, TO MAKE IT REALLY BIG IN AUSTRALIA INFLUENCE YOU TO
CURTAIL THE ACTIVITIES OF THE GROUP?
Well not really. The decision or the reason why I gave up music was totally
a non-musical one. It
was sort of a personal reason. I decided to redirect my energy into recording
studios and other
types of things, like hairdressing salons and all that. I would never
have given up music. My next
step would have been to go overseas or bust. There's no way I would have
stayed in Australia.
Even when you sell a lot of records here, you're still nowhere!
TURNING ATTENTION TO YOUR RECORDINGS, YOU RECORDED A TOTAL OF
THREE ALBUMS FOR CBS. WHAT CAN YOU RECALL ABOUT THEM?
They were all released in a matter of a year of each other. After THE
EXPLOSIVE SOUNDS OF THE ATLANTICS-the third one-C.B.S. issued THE ATLANTICS
GREATEST HITS. It was just a case of trying to make sales while the name,
"The Atlantics", was really hot. We probably should have kept
on recording more material, but I think we left C.B.S. shortly after the
release of the "Greatest Hits" package and that was our own
fault for not recording more lps. As I mentioned before, we got on the
road and sort of stayed there. We found we were entertaining people while
performing live. The recording thing was our mistake because people were
always coming up to us and saying, "What's the matter with you guys!
Why don't you record more lps because there are still people who want
to buy them". We just didn't realise because we were totally involved
in the performing medium, especially performing our earlier material.
That was a lesson we learned and a lesson a lot of bands of today should
learn. When anyone starts to think, "Jeez ... I'm sick and tired
of doing that old song" or "I don't want to do this or that
anymore". well that's it. Ask anybody if they had the chance to go
out and see, let's say The Beatles, perform again; what would they want
to hear - new material? Of course not! They would want to hear all their
favourites--the oldies from the early to mid sixties. I mean, those songs
were a part of your life, and that's a big thing. We never forgot that
lesson, even though sometimes you didn't really fell like playing "Teddy
Bear's Picnic Stomp", "Bombora", or a drum solo, especially
after you'd played everything from The Animals to The Beatles. You know,
you'd done all this really good material and they liked it, but they still
wanted to hear our hits and a drum solo by me! Sometimes we were just
too exhausted to do it. We always got requests for a drum solo which was
becoming reasonably famous at the time. Well, what do you do? If you send
them away disappointed you've
blown the concert. So, do or die, we always did everything they asked
for and if they didn't want to hear any of our new stuff, then we would
throw all the new stuff out and do all the old things; all the hits. You
had to learn what to throw to the right audience and that's what I think
we did pretty well.
AS FAR AS YOUR EARLIER MATERIAL WAS CONCERNED, PARTICULARLY THE
CBS RECORDINGS, WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TITLES OF THE TUNES AND THE
In a couple of cases, CBS was, but most of the time it was our suggestion.
Every now and then
they would throw in one of their own and if we liked it, we'd take it.
I think EXPLOSIVE
SOUNDS was Sven's title. The song titles were all our own.
HOW DO YOU FEEL KNOWING THAT THE BOMBORA LP IS STILL IN CATALOGUE AFTER
ALL THESE YEARS?
It's an amazing thing. Royalties are still coming in. It seems to sell
in spasms, probably after
people hear "Bombora" on the radio or maybe they're just replacing
an old copy of the lp. The
unfortunate thing about the lp is that is was never released in stereo
because E.M.I. never had the facilities (It was recorded at E.M.I.'s studios)
and that's another reason we left CBS. We formed our own record company
and then worked in the best facilities available. Most of this later stuff
we leased out to other labels and that's why you'll find our material
on so many different labels. It's funny because I still meet guys at the
top in radio stations who say they were influenced in one way or another
by us. This is nice to know because it proves that our influence was there
all the time.
AFTERWARD: THE ATLANTICS, AN AMERICAN VIEW
By John Blair, surf music historian and lead guitarist with the surf/instro
band, JON & THE
NIGHTRIDERS. (Riverside, California - 1979)
I've heard a number of surf-styled instrumental groups of various foreign
origins - England,
Japan, Scandanavia, etc.-and THE ATLANTICS appealed to me more than the
In the first place, their sound was not what I would call a "surf"
sound at all; close but not really
there. Perhaps I'm prejudiced toward the California surf sound, but then
that's where it all started
anyway ... right?
The Atlantics' sound is definitely exciting, tight and clean, but lacks
that "punch" that the old
Fender reverb used to provide for capturing a certain feeling or sound.
The Atlantics used reverb
all right, but it sounds rather altered, changed electronically. In fact,
Peter Hood's knowledge of
electronics, which he used with the group to define their sound, probably
contributes to the
difference between them and the Californian bands of the same time period.
I think another point worth mentioning is The Atlantics use of fairly
intricate guitar melodies and
chord patterns. The end result is not as simplistic as most Stateside
surf bands, implying that The
Atlantics were probably more proficient musicians than most of their contemporaries
in the States. The closest sounding American surf band to The Atlantics
would probably be The Challengers.
This is part of an interview done by Stephen McParland on February 28th,
1988 with Atlantics members Bosco Bosanac, Peter Hood, and Jim Skiathitis
and discusses the group's instrumental singles for CBS during 1963-65.
WHAT WAS THE CONCEPT BEHIND "MOON MAN"?
BOSCO: Peter. who wrote it. loved The Spotniks! He was also into a lot
of science fiction.
PETER: There was a riff that had a spacey type of sound in it. Really.
there was no big
story why we called it "Moon Man". If there was ... none of
us can remember it!
JIM: On the original recording. which did not make it to the single. we
PETER: This was even before "Wipe-Out", so the vocal introduction
was an original idea by us.
DID "BOMBORA" HAVE ANOTHER TITLE OR WAS IT ACTUALLY WRITTEN
PETER: We wrote it one day when we were going to go to the (Sydney) Easter
Show in April and it rained. I was going to indulge in my favourite delicacy.
Dairy Farmers' flavoured
milk. but it rained so we sat down and I said, "we have to write
a song". So we started
writing "Bombora". It was written at Jim's place. We both picked
out the tune 'with our
guitars. I played the first piece and that's how we got it started. Then
we needed another piece and I introduced something I had written at least
previously - which became the middle part. I was never able to put it
it was a middle to a song, never a beginning or an end. So we put it all
we came to the conclusion that it was a very dynamic sounding piece of
music and as
such it needed an equally dynamic sounding title.
JIM: Did we title it or did Sven (Libaek) title it?
PETER: No, no. We titled it. In fact. Joan King (our manager) was helpful
in that respect. She sort of went through a few titles that she'd dug
out of surfing magazines.
WHOSE IDEA WAS IT TO PUT A SURFING TITLE TO IT?
PETER: We just sensed there was something new happening in music. We couldn't
quite categorize it and then all of a sudden we realised. We knew the
Americans had just jumped onto this new musical form - SURF MUSIC - and
we were the first Australian band to pick up on it.
It was a powerful form of music and it suited our musical outlook. I wouldn't
"cashed-in" because I don't remember any conversations where
the idea of "cashing-in" was brought up. It seemed a natural
thing for us to do. It was a little like Moon Man You asked us why the
title "Moon Man". It was just because I liked space things.
Why associate ourselves with SURF. Well heck, I used to hang off Maroubra
Beach rocks and play chicken with the waves. We all liked the beach, so
it was a natural progression. It was a reflection of our lifestyle. [JUST
AS THE CALIFORNIA SURF MUSIC SCENE WAS A REFLECTION OF THE AMERICAN/CALIFORNIA
BAND MEMBERS LIFESTYLES.] If a guy had been crazy about cars. then the
concept of car songs or songs about cars would have been an obvious development.
[WHICH WAS THE CASE SHORTLY THEREAFTER FOR A NUMBER OF AMERICAN GROUPS.
RECORD PRODUCERS AND VOCALISTS.) In summing it all up, what it boils down
to is that we were writing music to fit what we perceived as being the
new force it music. It's true "Bombora" may have been written
by accident (because we were intending to go to the Show and it rained),
but once we realised we had hit upon a dynamic style, we continued with
it. What could be more dynamic or exciting than the ocean?! Godly enough,
as I remember, "Bombora" was even considered to be called "The
Crusher"/. but then we agreed that "Bombora" said it all.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO TEAM IT WITH "GREENSLEEVES"?
PETER: It had always been one of my favourite tunes when I was a kid.
I'd always loved it and so we decided to record it because it had a nice
WHEN YOU RECORDED "BOMBORA". WHAT ELSE DID YOU DO AT THE SESSION?
PETER: We did four songs - "Bombora". "Greens I eeves"
.... I can't remember the other two. We always tried to do four songs.
Sven basically gave us three hour sessions in which we tried to do four
songs. That was our basic work schedule.
THE CONCEPT FOR AN ALBUM HAD NOT BEEN BROUGHT UP AT THIS POINT ... OR
HAD IT? YOU MENTIONED EARLIER THAT AT THE "MOON MAN" SESSIONS
YOU ONLY CUT THE TWO SONGS ... SO PERHAPS YOU ONLY CUT THE TWO SONGS AT
THE "BOMBORA" SESSION. THERE REALLY WAS NO NEED TO CUT ANYMORE
BECAUSE You HAD NOT YET ESTABLISHED YOURSELVES STRONG ENOUGH TO WARRANT
AN ALBUM OR EXTENDED SESSIONS.
PETER: That's true. The album idea came after "Bombora" hit.
It's also possible that at the session we failed to meet our four song
quota. I do know they always pressed us to record as many as possible.
WAS STUDIO TIME BEING BILLED AGAINST YOUR ROYALTIES?
PETER: No. They just paid us a percentage and took all the costs.
WITH "THE CRUSHER". WAS THE IDEA TO PRODUCE A SIMILAR SOUNDING
PIECE TT"EMBORA" IN AN EFFORT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ITS SUCCESS?
PETER: It was structured similarly. but it was not a "cash-in".
It was more a case of us
liking the style. It was a thundering style. Believe me, to actually perform
the tunes.even today. makes the entire stage rock. We were just into that
thundering-rolling sound. That BECAME OUR SOUND. "The Crusher"
was written and recorded as part of our "flow". Once we started
writing anything we thought we liked and would be a good follow-up - in
the same thundering
style - usually became a follow-up. "The Crusher" was not written
as a follow-up to
"Bombora". More simply, it became a follow-up.
WHAT ABOUT "HOOTENANNY STOMP"? WHAT WAS THE IDEA BEHIND WRITING
AND RECORDING THAT?
PETER: "Hootenanny Stomp" was written to try and diversify our
style into things Theo (PENGLIS) liked: the real American. almost banjo.
style of guitar picking. The Chet Atkins related material we recorded
later was a direct result of Theo's taste in music
We actually enjoyed playing the song and I still like listening to it.
In fact, when it was released and for a short time. I actually thought
I liked it better than "The Crusher". However, it was just a
mood I was in and it soon wore off.
THEN THERE WAS "WAR OF THE WORLDS" WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY TITLED.
--WORLD WAR THREE
PETER: Yes. I had always wanted to write about the classic nuclear confrontation.
HAD YOU RECENTLY SEEN THE 1953 FILM THAT STARRED GENE BARRY IN THE LEAD
PETER: No. I was just totally interested in the idea. At one time I e4en
considered becoming a nuclear physicist ... before music wiped all that
out! Therefore, I was aware of the entire scientific thing and even today,
"War Of The Worlds" is still very significant. Nothing much
has changed. The tune was simply my interpretation of what such a war
would be like. The music to me conjures that image of moroseness and seriousness
of a World War Three.
WHO ACTUALLY CHANGED THE TITLE TO "WAR OF THE WORLDS"?
JIM: C.B.S. They didn't like the title.
PETER: That's right. They didn't like it so we changed it. That way it
THE FLIP OF "WAR OF THE WORLDS" WAS "THE BOWMAN".
WHERE DID THAT IDEA ORIGINATE.
PETER: Theo wrote that and it was. In many ways. an accident. We only
called it "The Bowman" because it just happened to have that'sound
(like the "twang" of a bow - remember the start of the old Robin
Hood television show) in it. The song was written and then titled.
"RUMBLE AND RUN" WAS YOUR NEXT SINGLE AND AGAI N IT WAS A HOOD-SKIATHITIS
.PETER: That's right. We were influenced by what I called "Marlon
Brando music". You remember the film THE WILD ONE"? The motorbike
image. Well. "Rumble And Run" was our musical interpretation
of that film. You have a "rumble" and jump on your bikes and
"run" You can hear in the middle. the sound of a bike taking
off and the sirens of the cops chasing the bikes. It was basically a thematic
song ... a little bit of atmosphere.
WELL THAT WAS MUCH THE SAME CONCEPT AS "WAR OF THE WORLDS".
IT WAS ALSO THEMATIC.
PETER: Exactly! It was also one of the very few times (if not the only
time) we had a title first and then we wrote the tune. This was because
I had a definite idea of what I wanted to write about.
"THE WILD ONES" COMPLETED THE "RUMBLE AND RUN" SINGLE.
WERE THEY CUT AT THE SAME SESSION?
PETER: No. Actually, much different sessions. Even though the idea seems
similar. I think
you'll notice that the melody is much sweeter and more melodic. I think
"Rumble And Run" is a much more violent type sounding melody;
like the battle in "War Of The Worlds". It was supposed to represent
a fist fight. On the otherhand, "The Wild Ones", at least to
me, projects the image of riding along the highway. Theo wrote "The
Wild Ones" and we would often associate him with Marlon Brando because
he used to wear this big leather jacket. Unless he contradicts me. I think
the song was probably an offshoot of us calling him "Marlon"
from time to time.
YOUR NEXT INSTRUMENTAL RELEASE WAS "TEENSVILLE". A VERSION OF
CHET ATKINS' 1960 AMERICAN HIT?
PETER: Yes. That was once again, Theo's influence. He liked it and so
we ended up recording it. The flipsie was "Boo Boo Stick Beat",
another Chet Atkins' hit. This time, I thought. 'Let's do something a
bit different.' The idea was to try and revive an old thing by injecting
some new ideas into it. We added a few bottle sound effects and tin cans
.... a kind of hollow-log sound effect. It was mainly recorded as something
to entertain, rather than any other reason. We performed it on stage and
it always went over well because the guys would come out on stage with
bottles and tin cans and all types of shakers. It was a good audience
song. It probably sounded better when we did it live than how it ended
up on record.
AFTER RELEASING THE TWO NON-ORIGINALS - "TEENSVILLE" AND "BOO
BOO STICK BEAT". You RETURNED TO RECORDING A FOLLOW-UP OF ORIGINALS
- "GIANT" B/W "MIRAGE". WHAT WERE THE STORIES BEHIND
THESE TWO TUNES?
PETER: "Giant" was one of those amazing songs that you actually
write in a matter of minutes.
We were all sitting around at our rehearsal hall one day - the whole four
of us sitting there - playing around with this melody when all of a sudden
"W-H-A-C-K". the song seemed to write itself. I remember, within
ten minutes we had a working song. We then spent the rest of the day honing
it up. We never had to work on that song ever again. Initially, it was
titled "Flight Of The Banshee" because it sounded like it had
this super power to it. "Banshee" is Irish for a female spirit
who used to scream and wail in a very loud and powerful manner. We then
thought about a big supersonic jet. but eventually we just settled for
"Giant" because it still had that "big" sound about
it.THEREFORE. THE TITLE "GIANT" SIMPLY REFERS TO THE SOUND OF
THE TUNE AND NOT ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR. IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH A BIG
WAVE. SIMPLY THE SOUND OF THE RECORDING ITSELF.
PETER: Well, thinking about it now .... both.
JIM: I also think we changed the title from "Flight Of The Banshee"
to "Giant" because C.B.S. did not like the former title. I thought
it was a better title.
PETER: It was and I think C.B.S. liked "Giant" more because
it still retained the idea that it could refer to giant waves. After all,
the single was being issued during summer. Therefore. the title made then
happy because it "referred" to giant waves and it also suited
us because the title still retained the sound and feel of what "...Banshee"
was in the first place.
LISTENING TO THE FLIP OF "GIANT". JIM'S "MIRAGE'. IT IS
OBVIOUS THE TUNE DOES NOT REFER TO THE MIRAGE JET, BUT TO WHAT SOME PEOPLE
SEE IN THE DESERT - A MIRAGE.
PETER: That's right. To us it had an eastern sound to it and -so we eventually
settled upon a title that suited the tune.
AFTER THE "GIANT" SINGLE APPEARED. ONLY TWO MORE ATLANTICS'
SINGLES WERE RELEASED BY C.B.S.. BOTH OF THESE CONTAINED NO GROUP ORIGINALS.
WHY WAS THIS?
PETER: Well. some of the tunes were things we performed live that went
over very well with the audience.
WELL OBVIOUSLY. RECORDING "GOLDFINGER" WAS MOST OPPORTUNE BECAUSE
THE-FILM WAS A HUGE SUCCESS, AS WAS THE VOCAL VERSION OF THE TUNE BY SHIRLEY
PETER: We were performing it and it sounded good to us when we did it.
We also thought we would like to do a "Bond" theme.
WAS IT ACTUALLY RECORDED AS A SINGLE RELEASE OR SIMPLY A SONG AT A SESSION?
PETER. As a single release. We always liked it and we had this weird guitar
that sounded so-o-o-o-o huge on stage that we just enjoyed hearing the
guitar and the sound for ourselves.
YOU TEAMED "GOLDFINGER" WITH "BUMBLE BOOGIE". ANY
PARTICULAR REASON FOR THAT?
PETER: Not really. "Bumble Boogie" goes back a long way because
we always tried to play it back in our-more teenage years. It was in our
repertoire and it always went down well with the audience. It's a technical
number and we always wanted to record a technical number that had a good
audience reaction. We did it for many reasons.
OBVIOUSLY YOU WERE NOT CONCERNED SO MUCH ABOUT SONGWRITING ROYALTIES?
IF YOU HAD BEEN, YOU WOULD HAVE ISSUED MORE OF YOUR OWN MATERIAL AS SINGLES
INSTEAD OF USING OTHER PEOPLES COMPOSITIONS?
PETER: No. we never thought that way. If we liked something. we'd put
AFTER "GOLDFINGER" CAME "PETER GUNN". THIS WAS OBVIOUSLY
ANOTHER CROWD FAVOURITE?
PETER: Right. We had it in our repertoire and we found we could get a
good sound out of it.
However. to be quite honest. we really copped out on "Peter Gunn".
We never really did it the way we should have done it. We bummed out.
The middle part, where the guitar solos were meant to be, just fell dead
flat. I don't know what happened. We must have had a bad day in the studio.
Also. at this point in our careers, weren't we trying to shake the "surfing
image" by Introducing a broader spectrum of music into the act?
WELL. WAS IT BEGINNING TO WORRY YOU; BEING LOOKED UPON OR CLASSED AS A
PETER: Yes. I suppose it was starting to become a bit of a problem.
JIM: We had been performing the material for at least three years.
PETER: I guess the point is, we were already playing other forms of music
before we became known for our "surf" tunes and we continued
to perform these all through the "surf" era. but our big hits
were the "surf" tunes and I guess many people thought that was
all we did. For us, recording these tunes was a change because it was
something different. I don't think for us it was an overt attempt to change
our image; more a case of introducing something new and to let people
know we could do other material.
HOWEVER. IT WAS ONLY YOUR ORIGINALS THAT BECAME HITS. THE LAST TWO SINGLES
- "GOLDFINGER" AND "PETER GUNN" - VANISHED QUICKLY.
PETER: That's true. but as I said before. all those songs - "Goldfinger".
"Bumble Boogie". "Peter Gunn" and the flip, "Chief
Wooping Koff". were things we had always liked. always played and
the audience always seemed to love them. We could have written more original
material. but we simply decided to record some tunes that were already
audience winners. "Chief Wooping-Koff". for whatever stupid
reason. always went well because of that Indian beat in it.
YOUR BIGGEST HITS - AND THE TUNES YOU ARE MOST REMEMBERED FOR - WERE YOUR
ORIGINALS AND IN RETROSPECT HAD "WAR OF THE WORLDS" NOT BEEN
"BLACKLISTED" BY MANY STATIONS, YOUR LIST OF HITS WOULD HAVE
BEEN GREATER. AFTER "WAR OF THE WORLDS" FAILED, YOUR CHART SUCCESS
WAS ALL BUT OVER, YET YOU MANAGED TO ISSUE FIVE ALBUMS ON C.B.S.. EVEN
GROUPS WITH MORE SINGLE HITS DID NOT GET THE CHANCE TO ISSUE AS MANY ALBUMS
AS YOU DID.
PETER: Well. that just goes to show you how popular we actually were;
even if the stations weren't playing our singles. "War Of The Worlds"'s
failure to take-off was a real disappointment. See. everyone was not into
that thing of reality then. Because of the title. many refused to play
IN SOME RESPECTS IT WAS NOT COMMERCIAL.
PETER: Actually. it was/is the type of thing that needed to be part of
a movie soundtrack. Oddly enough, "War Of The Worlds" and "Rumble
And Run" can be joined together to make a hybrid-type soundtrack.
Although they were written and recorded at two different times, they are
in many respects very compatible tunes.
SPEAKING OF "WAR OF THE WORLDS". WHAT DO THE BIRDS (HEARD IN
THE TUNE) SYMBOLISE?
PETER: Well. everything had been wiped our except a few birds. If you
read about Noah, the first living thing to appear after the flood was
a bird and so it was only fitting that they would also be the last to
go. Plus ... birds (albeit doves) are a symbol of peace!
Back to Top
From Ivan's Email Interview
The stuff with many '>' symbols in front
was Jim's original text; my
replies to him have only one '>' in front, and then his latest comments
have no symbols in front.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2001 01:01:24 +0000
From: Jim S <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: ivan's question about your gear back in the early
What a pleasent surprise this is. I have been meaning to email you for
ages but just never seem to be able to get around to it for one reason
It is great to hear from you and I look forward to many interesting
chats in the coming months. Altough I don't know if I can handle too many
questions about the old days cause the old memory ain't what she used
I am a little pressed for time today so I will try and answer some of
questions but if there's any that I can't handle I will ask for help from
some of the other guys and get back to you on them.
> > >In the very early days we only used the Fender amp for
> > >probably also used reverb more then. But after we got our
> > >had two ac30's), one was a piggy back, we started to use
> > >more and more because we liked the warmer sound of the vox.
> > >used less and less reverb and more and more echolette.
>Interesting! When you used a Bandmaster, was Theo using an AC30? Did
>buy the Voxes later, or were they given to you as part of the endorsement?
We actually bought the Voxes ourselves but I am just trying to remember
what we used to do. I know for awhile we only used the Fender for leads
and one Vox (the piggy back) for rythym. Theo and I used to swap sides
all the time depending who was playing lead. The piggy back was not a
good lead amp. I am sure we only used it for rythym until we got the
other vox which I used all the time for lead...(I think...???)
We were also one of the first groups to use a stereo effect on stage
our amps. We split our lead into 2 amps, one on either side of the
stage. So we used the Vox AC30 and the Bandmaster for that and the other
Vox was the rythym...I am sure there is more to all that but I can't
recall at the moment.
>Did you move away from reverb because it doesn't sound quite as good
>AC30s (which is what I found), or because you just wanted a different
I think that we basically wanted a different sound. Everybody was using
that bubbly reverb sound. Especially for surf music. I was in fact that
real American/Californian sound synonymous with surf music. So we just
wanted something else. I think also that it was just a matter of
blending our great love of The Shadows and their sound with this new
style of music that was emerging.
> > We actually had 2 klempts and in some
> >songs we joined them up and ran one into the other.
>Do you remember which ones? I'm guessing "War of the Worlds"
>(Stomp on Stomp)", at least.
Yeah you've guessed perfectly. I can't remember all the songs but certainly
"War of the Worlds" and "S.O.S" were 2 of them.
> > >I know what Ivan means because now even with all the technology
> > >days we just can't seem to capture the exact sound that
we are after
> > >or that is actually coming out of our amps.
>It's funny, isn't it? I think those sounds were simply the sound of
>the 'primitive' recording equipment, which colored the sound quite
>unlike the modern equipment which is very pure and neutral. However,
>being all tube recording gear, it probably colored it in ways that
>quite like today!
> > >That schreeching treble that Ivan speaks about is certainly
> > >we play live but I think we probably try to avoid it for
>Hmmm, well, let me rephrase that - I believe it was the treble that
>your sound the agression and drama, and I totally dig it! I don't
>it was unpleasant in any way. I think that's what made you stand out.
>often think of it as analagous to (or even an evolution of) Hank's
>from '60-'61 - stuff like Man Of Mystery and The Frightened City.
>it was beautiful, and you should definitely EMBRACE it, rather than
>it, for recording!! In my mind, it's as big of a part of the Atlantics
>the rolling toms and the echo.
Again, interesting comments and observations. I will give it some thought
and talk about it with the guys and Martin and we may look at 'Embracing'
it, as you say.
I must say though that sometimes on stage my vox is just so sharp and
trebly that it sounds awful to me.. on stage that is. Some nights I just
can't get it right. It seems to vary with the different venues too.
> > >I think the biggest difference is that we now use mainly
Vox but back
> > >then most of our stuff was done on Fender which of course
had a much
> > >sharper sound than the vox. If you listen to some of our
> > >and especially a lot of the Vocals (say around 1965 to 69)
> > >that the sound was quite different already by then.
>It's funny you bring that up, cause over the last week I've been listening
>to a lot of your '65-'69 stuff, and greatly enjoying it. I gotta say
>you guys were REALLY good at that as well, and it's a shame that you
>couldn't break through with it. The only explanation I have is that
>it wasn't quite as original and distinctive as your instro stuff.
>influences were a bit more obvious there - the Animals, the Who, Jeff
>Beck, Cream, etc. But fine, fine songs nonetheless.
Yes, those exact bands were very big influences on us. We, or maybe I
should say I, loved them, so I guess our vocals were not as original as
they should have been.
> > >Now, our old stuff sounds awful to us cause its so thin
and tinny. It
> > >was the sound of whatever the sound engineer got on that
> > >day.
>I have to agree about some songs, that their sound quality leaves
a bit to
>be desired. But you also have to understand that the sound quality
>listener is also a part of the mood and the ambiance of the song,
>better or worse. I really think it's possible that those songs wouldn't
>be as special if the recordings were completely clean and full. I
>that to me all of those songs are special exactly as they are. I really
>love, for example, the second album, and I think it's one of the most
>perfect instrumental albums of all time, exactly as it is! I'm probably
>in the freakish minority, but there you go.
You make some very interesting statements and observations about our
and your knowledge on our 'stuff' is very extensive and most flattering.
thank you for being such an ardent admirer.
Anyway I really must go so I'll say bye for now. Thanks again for taking
time to write and I will look forward to hearing from again real
soon. Please accept my best wishes for a great xmas and new year for
you and family.
Bye for now
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