Massive ‘Surf’ Descends This Weekend To Keep So Cal Cool: Surf Guitar 101 Returns

The 11th Annual Surf Guitar 101 Convention at Alpine Village, Saturday, August 4, 2018, in Alpine Village, Torrance. (Photo courtesy of Surf Guitar 101)

“Do you have a love for traditional surf music played on a Fender Jaguar, straight through a 1963 Fender Reverb tank, then blasted through a blonde Fender Showman? So do the members of Surf Guitar 101!”

UPDATED 8-1-2018 5 p.m. with showtimes – This Saturday, August 4, 2018, from Noon to Midnight, the 11th annual Surf Guitar 101 Convention (SG101) will once again take over The Alpine Village in Torrance.

With 12 bands in 12 hours, with special guests, raffles, and vendors galore, SG101 will once again take place at the Alpine Village in Torrance where attendees will meet bands and Surf Guitar fans from all over the world for the day dedicated to the Surf Guitar.

More story and gallery after the break. 

Surfer Joe (Lorenzo Valdambrini) from Italy. (Photo courtesy of Surf Guitar 101)

Twelve live bands are scheduled throughout the day and include local and national bands, as well as four international bands:

Fascinating Creatures of the Deep (Santa Cruz) 12-1 p.m.
King Pelican (Texas) 1-2 p.m.
Black Flamingos (New Jersey) 2-3 p.m.
Les Agamemnonz (France) 3-4 p.m.
Urban Surf Kings (Canada) 4-5 p.m.
Tribute to PJ 5-6 p.m.
A tribute to The Sentinals (So Cal) 6-7 p.m.
Frankie & the Pool Boys (San Francisco) 7-8 p.m.
The Kaisers of Kalifornia (Argentina) 8-9 p.m.
Surfer Joe (Italy) 9-10 p.m.
Tremolo Beer Gut (Denmark) 10-11 p.m.
The Blue Hawaiians (Los Angeles) 11p.m. -12 a.m.

For the conventions, participating bands will sell their records, t-shirts, and other merchandise, and many of them have new albums and new releases coinciding with the event.

Tremolo Beer Gut. (Photo courtesy of Surf Guitar 101/Tremolo Beer Gut)

As well, several record labels that specialize in surf music will vend, such as Double Crown Records from Washington State, Deep Eddy Records from Texas, High Tide Records from New Jersey, Musick Records from Southern California, Caveman Music out of East LA who specializes and vintage Japanese guitars and amplifiers, and a Japanese distributor with rare imports.

Jeff Hanson, who created the online community in 2006, and the SG101 Convention in 2008, books a variety of surf bands through the Huntington Beach Surf Museum for their monthly shows at the Huntington Beach Pier.

Born out of a desire to create a midday event meet and greet event around another live surf guitar music event, the convention idea included providing access to specialty equipment, seminars, band and music fans, and more live music. But the idea ultimately grew after a Hanson threw a party for a friend featuring several surf guitar bands as entertainment.

Les Agamemnonz  (Photo courtesy of Surf Guitar 101/Les Agamemnonz)

“A friend of mine was turning 50 and…80 people showed up,” said Hanson. “Everyone was like, ‘Wow, this has more bands and more people, so you should do a festival!’ So we were kind of tossing the idea around doing a surf event—like Viva Las Vegas—”

“But it’s hot there, it’s expensive, and there’s no guarantee that people would show up to make it pay for itself,” continued Hanson.

With equipment logistics, travel costs, and simple hot weather concerns, with the smaller venues here available, Hanson said it just made better sense to make SG101 happen in Southern California.

“There are so many bands here, and we have all the equipment here: the drums, the amplifiers, and everything—because surf music uses very specific amplifiers and reverb tanks and stuff—why ship all that stuff there when we could just do it here?,” said Hanson. “Plus the beach is here!”

Frankie & The Poolboys (Photo courtesy of Surf Guitar 101/Frankie & The Poolboys)

Each year, SG101 does a tribute to a different band, where returning members collectively play in tribute.  This year’s scheduled tribute is to 1960’s band The Sentinals. But an additional tribute is now also planned to a member of the Surf Guitar community who has recently been diagnosed with cancer.

PJ—Paul Johnson—of PJ and the galaxies, who was also originally in a band called The Belairs whose song “Mr. Moto” Hanson credits as one of the first surf songs, usually plays SG101 with his band every year.

“We don’t know if he going to be able to make it to the event or not,” said Hanson. “But the guys that were going to be playing with him are still going to be doing a tribute to him.”

“This event celebrates surf music in all forms, from the instrumental tunes that influenced the forefathers, to the bands that created and developed that unmistakable sound, to the current domestic and foreign bands today, either carrying on the tradition of instrumental surf ‘n’ drag tunes in their pure form or progressively changing the face of the genre. There is something for everyone!”

SG101 is an event by the Surf Guitar community for the community and Surf Guitar Appreciators-at-Large.

Primitiva Diva Hairflowers, to be in the Aloha Loft at the 11th Annual Surf Guitar 101 at Alpine Village. (Photo courtesy of Laura Harper)

Hanson said Marie King, General Manager and bartender at the Tonga Hut, comes to the event each year just to mind ticket sales at the door.

Laura Harper of PrimativaDiva, an Etsy artist, came to sell her handmade hair flowers and jewelry at last year’s SG101 and is helping create a new feature at the convention this year. With an idea similar to the International Tiki Market that existed at the recently closed Don the Beachcomber, the balcony areas of the Alpine Village will become the new Aloha Tiki Loft Vendor Lounge at the Convention.

Hanson, recalling an observation from Harper, said ”’You know, your event is very guy-centric. Maybe, if we get [more Tiki vendors] to sell, then it might appease some of the women.'”

“And it kind of went over well!,” said Hanson, where now Harper plans a good mix of 15 plus vendors in the Aloha Loft.

The Aloha Tiki Loft Vendor lounge will feature tiki ceramics, island wear, jewelry, art, and unique and rare finds from Tee-Ki Togs Jewelry, TikiGuy Studios, Kentiki, Black Sands Tiki, Vintage clothes, Hawaiian Imports, TikiBongos, Tiki Al, GogoTiki, Sara Barger Ceramics, Buzz Rhino, Paige Harmon  Vintage Clothes, Surf City Hawaiian Shirt, Outline Island, TikiPops & Ohana, as well as Harper’s PrimitivaDiva Hairflowers and Hatfobs.

Headlining are the Blue Hawaiians, who played locally and heavily in the 80’s and 90’s during the return of Swing.

“They’re a ‘Chris-Isaak-meets-Surf’ kind of lounge-y sound,” according to Hanson, where he hopes their set at SG101 will open the convention up to a wider music audience.

Blue Hawaiians at the 11th Annual Surf Guitar 101 at Alpine Village. (Photo courtesy of Surf Guitar 101)

Hanson is also hoping that SG101 will provide more of an avenue of respect and appreciation for surf music in the ways that garage or rockabilly has been afforded.

“I kind of came to this realization—I love garage music and rockabilly—but surf is my main thing,” said Hanson.  “I always feel like people who are into rockabilly and garage know what surf is, but kind of look down their nose at it like it’s like the ‘red-headed stepchild.’ Like ‘You’re cool in your vintage, but you’re not as cool as us.'”

Ginger bashing aside, although the So Cal weatherman predicts that it will continue to heat up this week, this weekend is still destined to be the coolest.

Weekend Cool

Friday, August 3, 2018

Purple Orchid in El Segundo will give a taste of four of the Surf Guitar bands playing SG101 as an unofficial pre-opening to Saturday’s event.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The 11th Annual Surf Guitar 101 Convention is at the Alpine Village Steinhause, 833 W. Torrance Blvd. in Torrance, 90502. Entry is $40 CASH AT THE DOOR for 12 hours of bands and access to the Aloha Loft for adults 18 and older and doors open at 11:00 a.m.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Surf Dogs in Huntington Beach has the Summer Surfest to round out the weekend.

See other stories on Surf Guitar 101:

10th Annual Surf Guitar 101 Convention Happening Now!

The 9th Annual Surf Guitar 101 Convention Comes to Alpine Village this Saturday

About Monique A. LeBleu

Monique A. LeBleu is a writer, photographer, videographer, and shameless foodie and wineaux. A love of film history and a background in film production, post-production, and film theory provide unique insights into her movie reviews. As well, a background in technical theater fuels her passion on all-things theater. As a foodie, living in the ever-growing and diverse culinary landscape that is the City of Los Angeles feeds her never-ending pursuit of the perfect comfort food—the world's best Mac n' Cheese!
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