Recently discovered in the secret vaults of a most unusual library on a far distant planet in a remote galaxy where time curiously is stuck at precisely 22 seconds past midnight, RAE Multimedia proudly presents the orginal digitally recorded and mastered songs of The Surf Whammys, the L.A. surf band that started it all, somewhere, sometime in the future. Click on "The Surf Whammys: History" to learn more about the band.
And Now Ladies And Gentlemen . . .
TKO Radiographic Productions in conjunction with Meias Incorporated broadcasting live from the Blue Ballroom located in beautiful downtown Prague, Czechslovakia proudly presents Milford Whittle and his Finger Puppet Marching Band recording their hit polka tune, "She Likes To Play (Her Little Kazoo)".
Thus begins the new collection of rock and roll songs composed, recorded, and produced by the Surf Whammys over the span of a few months in the late spring and early summer of 2007 based on the idea that it might be fun to do a surreal satire to mark the 40th anniversary of the release of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (Beatles), a great idea in theory but one which quickly was abandoned when the band discovered that sounding like the Beatles tended to require everyone to know how to play instruments and sing, skills that were not among the more obvious talents of anyone in the band at the time. So, the Surf Whammys embarked on a different plan, which was to line their underpants with aluminum foil and then to play and sing whatever popped into their minds, based on the idea that the aliens from outer space would beam ideas to them, a strategy which proved to be much easier and considerably faster than actually taking the time necessary to learn how to play and sing like the Beatles.
With only a few exceptions, each of the songs on the album was composed and recorded start to finish in a typical 8-hour session, which began with the appearance of a pattern of rhythm guitar chords, beamed to the band by the aliens from outer space who currently are circling our planet in their spaceship in a low-Earth orbit for no obvious reason other than they might have misplaced a bit of mirror matter and cannot make more popcorn until they find it.
Once the band could focus on reality for long enough to memorize the chords, they then would record the rhythm guitar tracks in stereo, typically playing a Fender® Stratocaster®, Gibson® Les Paul Canary Catalina, or Rickenbacker® guitar. Next, since the chords for a song essentially define everything, another instrumental part soon would appear, which tended to be drums, because it is easy to play drums to a rhythm guitar chord pattern, especially if the drumkit has a lot of cowbells.
After listening to the rhythm guitar and drumkit tracks a few times, lyrics start appearing, and in a very short time the song begins to come together, at which point a melody arrives, which also is recorded on the spot--noting that everything is recorded at most in three takes (but usually in one take), which maps to just playing the part or singing the melody without having any advance idea about much of anything, which is a bit strange, but it works when you discover how to attune yourself to the ongoing sounds of the universe. It also gives the song a realistic sound when all the instruments and voices are performed separately, which is important, because even though the Surf Whammys are pretty smart, they never really grasped the idea that they all could play at the same time together without doing a lot of rehearsing, and the fact of the matter is that if you rehearse too much, you tend to lose the spontaneity which travels with having no idea what you are doing.
Perhaps the most important step is to pull everything into a coherent unit, which is done by composing and playing the bass guitar part on the fly--playing it more in terms of texture--since, the bass guitar provides counterpoint to the melody and adjusts the timing of the rhythm guitar and drums, in the sense of having a bit of fun with pushing or pulling the feel and synchronization of the rhythm. This is all the easier when the bass guitar player has only been playing for a few days before joining the band, previously having focused much of his attention to making strange noises with a rubber band.
The rules are very simple:
(1) Line your underpants with aluminum foil and learn how to set your antenna so that it receives the virtually constant broadcasts beamed to Earth by the aliens from outer space.
(2) Start playing whatever appears to make sense, preferrably without having any advance idea what you are doing, recording everything in one take onto stereo tracks whenever possible, since music sounds better when there is some of it in both ear buds when you listen to it on an Apple® iPod® or iPhone® .
(3) Make it sound good by adding a lot reveberation and echo when you do the mixing and mastering.