OUR BLOG CHRONICLES A MUSICAL JOURNEY
The basic story line is, even though he never played guitar before and had not played a musical instrument since tuba in elementary school band, Bill T received an electric guitar after he was 60 -- as a joke. From then on, despite a musical talent deficit, he tried to learn instrumental surf music but at first could not find an instructor. He met Paul the Pyronaut -- a surf guitarist a couple of generations younger. Over a few years they wrote some original songs. The Lava Pups eventually emerged from Bill T's imagination. A CD was recorded to check something off of his bucket list. Then the CD had to be performed live. And -- voila -- we had a band! The Lava Pups were a reality. For how long, who knows?
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Editor’s Note: These chronicles started out as “letters” from Sierra Surf Music Camp. But the notes and rough drafts written at the time of camp were longer than any letter. We hope that you are not exhausted yet. The good news is that we are nearing the finish.
As the No Name IV unplugged, the grand finale was minutes away. Paul the Pyronaut, who was camp co-director and Birthday Boy the night before, had stacked the deck for the last band. He combined three of his young prodigies who had played together several times with a young bass player who has chops. They were previewed the night before when they were on stage with The Pyronauts and the Surf Camp All-Stars.
The crowd was buzzing as the last band of the night plugged in. Dusty Watson -- their coach -- introduced his band of precocious young musicians. They dubbed themselves “The Sneaky Tikis.” Recognizing the skill to which we were about to be treated, Dusty announced into the microphone, “I’ve already signed them a management contract.” Egged on by Paul the Pyronaut and their parents, the campers, instructors, and spouses cheered after the introduction.
Paul’s students -- Lucas Kuhn, Lukas Brodie, and Robbie Longacre -- with Greg Trujillo on bass were ready to play. In fact, Lukas and Robbie were eager to play since the concert began a little more than two hours earlier. They had been moving and fidgeting about and were unable to sit still. Amazingly, none of their energy had dissipated.
The Sneaky Tikis launched headlong into “Mike’s Barracuda,” an alternate-picked, high energy original written by Bob Bitchin’ of the Pyronauts. One common thought filled the heads of everybody in the audience from proud parents to fellow campers to instructors: “These kids are really good!”
Energy filled the amphitheater. Alternate picking. Tremolo picking. Glissandos. Incredibly strong drums and bass -- a rhythm section mature way beyond the years of the players. Lucas and Robbie exchanged leads as the Sneaky Tikis blasted through their set. “Mike’s Barracuda.” “Penetration.” “Pipeline.” “Miserlou.”
Somewhere along the line, these kids had had stage presence tutoring. No guitar face lessons were needed. They strutted their stuff. As they finished “Miserlou,” the Sneaky Tikis let us know that they are part of the future of instrumental surf music. They held their hands above their heads and shouted, “Fourth Wave. Fourth Wave. Fourth Wave.”
Standing ovation. Camera flashes. The audience moved toward the stage. Paul the Pyronaut was with the band exchanging high fives. He was as proud of his prodigies as their parents.
Everybody emoted a collective “wow!” The future of instrumental surf music is in good hands.
The applause and cheers continued and were building. Clearly, the night was not over.