Up Close with Bob Dalley
Few Know the '60s Surf Rock Instrumental Scene Better Than Dalley
[Lance Monthly] Bob, what's your age, and day job?
Bob Dalley I am 53 years old. I work for the LDS Church at the Granite Mountain Record Vault in Sandy, Utah, where the original master microfilms of vital records from all over the world are kept. I am a team leader in charge of remastering those original acetate rolls onto a newer poly based film.
[Lance Monthly] How long have you been performing and what instrument(s) do you play?
Bob Dalley I have been playing guitar since December of 1962 and played with a surf band called the Noblemen in 1963. (We named ourselves after the Nobles from "Aki Aleong 7 the Nobles." I knew the bass player and we learned our first tunes from their "Come Surf with Me" album.) I play lead guitar, rhythm and some bass.
[Lance Monthly] How long have you lived in Salt Lake City?
Bob Dalley My family and I moved to Salt Lake City in August of 1989 after a job transfer. I was working for the LDS church as a camera operator in California where I had grown up, and transferred to my current job. I was born in Utah, but grew up in the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California. I have been married to my wife Linda for 30 years. We have two adult children, Robbie, who is currently working on his Masters degree and Melissa, who is in college and working.
[Lance Monthly] So according to my calculations, you were about 14 or 15 when you began playing with the Noblemen. Assuming the band was an all-instro guitar group, was it the Ventures, Dick Dale, or some other band that gave you the inspiration to become a guitarist?
Bob Dalley I had grown up watching my grandfather play guitar at family reunions, but my mother had me take accordion lessons and later clarinet lessons. In December of 1962, I got my first radio and heard "Pipeline" and that inspired me to learn to play the guitar. When I started high school in August 1963, I saw the Victors play at the freshmen “howdie hop.” They played "Baja." The lead was played by a steel guitar player, Bob Alanizr. It was so great. The bass player in the band was the bass player from the Nobles. His name was Paul Geddes. I became friends with the two brothers in the band and they introduced me to a kid on their street who played guitar. We started playing together and then found a drummer. We played "Pipeline," "Surf Rider," "Wipe Out," and some other tunes from the Aki Aleong & the Nobles album. We were never a serious band; we basically learned to play the instruments. I had a few lessons from the guitar player from the Victors’ Jorge Alaniz. He taught me bar chords and I went from there. I did get to play "Tranquilizer" by the Lively Ones with the Victors at a lunchtime concert at the high school, though. It was pretty cool. I also remember seeing the Lively Ones at Pacific Ocean Park sometime in 1963. After about four months, my brother and I started our own band doing some surf, but mostly the current Top 40 stuff like the Beatles and British Invasion artists.
[Lance Monthly] How long did the Noblemen play and what kind of impact did the band make in your California community?
Bob Dalley None
[Lance Monthly] Did the Noblemen record and release any material?
Bob Dalley Nope, not even a rehearsal tape.
[Lance Monthly] What kind of venues did you play?
Bob Dalley Mostly parties for free.
[Lance Monthly] Did you join another group after the Noblemen?
Bob Dalley My brother and I started a band called the Satellites (1964). Later it was changed to the Conflicts, (1964-1967) and then The Iron Horse, (1967-1969).
[Lance Monthly] Give our readers some information on the Satellites. You say that the band went through a few name changes. Was this an attempt to stay in vogue with the rock expressions of the day, and did your playlist along with your gear change dramatically each time your band took on a new title?
Bob Dalley The Satellites were comprised of Bob French on guitar, myself on guitar and my brother Doug on drums. I don't know where it is but I do recall we did try recording "Pipeline" on a home recorder. We still played some instrumentals, but I think we were trying to learn current songs so we could get gigs. Later we had a drummer, Lynn Parkin, join the band and my brother began playing bass and singing more. When Bob French left, a friend of mine, Bill Whitham, joined the band as a guitarist and later his brother joined as the lead singer. We called ourselves the Conflicts because we fought so much. We played a lot of gigs, including a "battle of the bands" at the LA Sports Arena where we had two go-go girls. We didn't win, but it was our first real taste of being on the big stage. It was shortly after this that we upgraded our equipment. I got a Fender Telecaster, my brother a bass like a Hofner, and we bought a Standel Artist amplifier. In 1967, Lynn Parkin left the band and we found another drummer by the name of Dean Hall after auditioning about three other drummers, and he fit in perfectly. I was watching TV one night and watched a new show called The Iron Horse, and decided that would make a great name for a band. We became The Iron Horse, and the best part was that we had four-part harmony with the drummer, my brother, Bill and Sam. We did Beatles, Stones, Bee Gee's, all Top 40 stuff, and later got into Doors, Cream, Iron Butterfly and the rest.
[Lance Monthly] Any recordings by the Satellites?
Bob Dalley As I said, there is a lost tape with "Pipeline" on it.
[Lance Monthly] Any recordings by the Conflicts?
Bob Dalley There is a tape around with us doing "Oh Susanna" as done by the Byrds, and "Glad All Over," recorded in the garage.
[Lance Monthly] Any recordings by Iron Horse?
Bob Dalley Yes. We entered a "battle of the bands" where they recorded the band. We received an acetate with us doing "This Boy" and "Get Out of My Life Woman.” Later, we recorded at Sound Record Studio and laid down tracks for "Light My Fire," "In My Own Time," "96 Tears," "Time (Has Come Today)," and "Back In the USSR." The songs were never released until 1982, when Dave from Moxie Records in LA released a five-song EP. The Iron Horse broke up during the summer of 1969.
[Lance Monthly] What's your brother's name and what's he doing today?
Bob Dalley My younger brother, Doug, started out on guitar like me, then switched to bass guitar. He played drums in school but he liked playing bass, too. He also developed into a great vocalist. My brother still plays with his band and spends a lot of time recording, playing, and rehearsing.
[Lance Monthly] What transpired musically with you after 1969?
Bob Dalley I entered the Navy in November of 1969 and did nothing musically until I was on Midway Island in 1970. I played with some other enlisted men in a band that played every week at the club on base. I played bass in the band and the one song I got to sing was "Surfin' Bird." When I got out of the Navy in 1973, I was asked to play in a band called Joshua. I didn't play in a band again until I organized the Surf Raiders in 1980.
[Lance Monthly] What inspired you to form the Surf Raiders and was the band strictly surf rock instros?
Bob Dalley All through the years, from the time I first heard "Pipeline" on the radio, I loved surf rock instros. In 1979, I saw an ad for a group called the Surf Punks. And for whatever reason, I decided that it would be nice to start a band playing instrumental surf music again the way it had been played originally. At that time, I had mentioned to my father that I was going to start playing guitar again and he told me he had just talked to a lady who had an old electric Gibson and amp, and was going to throw them away. The next day, I had a guitar and amp. I still had a few of my old surf records: a Challenger album, an Astronauts single with "Baja," so I spent some time relearning those songs. Then I started looking for equipment.
I bought a Dual Showman head from the newspaper and later an empty Dual Showman cabinet with the legs and knobs. Another ad in the local paper led me to a brand new 1962 Fender Reverb unit that had been in a closet since that time, and shortly after that I bought a 1979 Fender Strat. Then I used the newspaper to run an ad looking for musicians for a surf band. That is how I found Loyd Davis, who became the bassist for the band. Steve Tanner, a guitarist, found my ad in the local music store. After about twenty calls, I got one from Dave Rodriquez, who asked if he had to be blue-eyed and blonde to play drums in the band. That was the beginning of the Surf Raiders. Later, I found out about John Blair from another record collector, Neal Kuzee. John had released a book on surf records and an EP. Later, I found out about the Evasions from San Diego. The surf music revival began in full swing.
[Lance Monthly] List the members of the Surf Raiders and the gear they used.
Bob Dalley Bob Dalley lead guitar, Fender Strat and later a 1963 Fender Jaguar, Fender Dual Showman with Altec Lansing speakers and a 1962 Brown Toluxe reverb unit.
Loyd Davis - Loyd was actually a great guitar player but for the Surf Raiders he chose to play bass. He used a Fender Precision bass, and a homemade bass amp that worked great.
Steve Tanner used a Fender Strat and a Fender Twin Reverb Amp
Dave Rodriguez - I don't remember what kind of drums he used.
Neil Kuzee replaced Steve Tanner in about March of 1980. He had two Fender Jaguars, red and blue, a mid-sixties black face reverb unit, a large showman amplifier, and later found a Dual Showman.
We used a couple of sax players, but my wife Linda came in the band on keyboards playing the sax parts. She just used a small keyboard and a Fender Twin Reverb amp.
[Lance Monthly] How active were the Surf Raiders and what kind of venues did the band play?
Bob Dalley Between 1980 and 1988. We played a lot of places, almost too many to count. We played many local clubs [including] the park in Covina, California. We played up and down the coast of Southern California, Malibu, The Country Club with Jon & the Nightriders & Dick Dale, The Whisky A Go Go several times, Knotts Berry Farm, Madame Wongs East and West, The 321 Club . . . man I should make a list. We played on the same bill with the Surfaris a few times, as well as Dick Dale. At the end, it was mostly parties, which were great! The band ended in 1988 when I decided to devote my time to complete my book, "Surfin' Guitars - Instrumental Surf Bands of the Sixties," which was published in October 1988.
[Lance Monthly] Recordings?
Bob Dalley Surf Wax 101 The Curl Rider/Let There Be Surf 45rpm (I) 4/81
Moxie1039 Surfin' '81. Live. 7" EP PS (I) 7/81 Curl Rider/Let There Be Surf/Wild Weekend/Squad Car/Church Key/ Gum Dipped Slicks
SurfWax 102 Point Conception '63/Crash 45rpm (I) 11/81 SurfWax 103 Unknown/Point Conception (LP version) 45rpm (I) 11/81
SurfWax 104 Gum Dipped Slicks/Squad Car 45rpm PS (I) 11/81 Erika104 Little St. Nick/blank 33 1/3 PS (V) 12/81, One-sided Christmas shaped disc on green vinyl
SurfWax SWST 1001 Raiders of the Lost Surf. LP (I) 4/82 The Curl Rider/Let There Be Surf/Rampage/Surf Raider/Crash/Pier Shootin’ Squad Car/Tsunami/Unknown/Swami’s Reef/Point Conception/Gum Dipped Slicks/Scratch
GNP/Crescendo GNPS 2152 Bustin' Surfboards. (Various Artists.) LP/CA/CD (I) 7/82 Includes The Curl Rider
Rhino RNLP 054 History of Surf Music Vol. 3. The Revival. LP/CA (I) 8/82 Includes Crash and Point Conception '63
SurfWax SWEP 1002 California Surf 7" EP PS (I) 8/8 Steel Pier/Egyptian Surf/Surf Drums/Surf Party/Surfin' Elephant
Azra051 Monster Mash/blank 33 1/3 PD (V) 9/82 One-sided pumpkin shaped picture disc
Azra/Surf Wax SH 01 The Surf Raider/blank 33 1/3 PD (I) 9/82 One-sided Surf Raider shaped logo disc in various colors
SurfWax SWST 1002 Surf Bound LP (I) 5/83 Surf Bound/Totally Tubular/Egyptian Surf/Beyond/Hit The Surf/Raider Jam/ Wave Walk’N/The Ranch/Hott Foam Rider/Long Ride/K-39/El Surfboard
IndependentWorld Independent World Vol. 1. (Various Artists.) CA (I) 1993 Includes Wave Walk ‘N
BobbetteRecords 373 Steel Pier/Shortnin’ Board. 45rpm (I) 1984 Unreleased material from the Surf Bound LP
SurfWax SWST 1003 On The Beach. LP (V,I) 1984 Baha-Ree-Bah/Penetration/Suicide Point/Ali Baba/Curl Rider "84"/ Mr. Moto/ Bangalore/Mizerlou/Sunset At Makaha/Church Key/Long Boards At San Onofre/ KUK; SurfWax 106 Surf Busters/Long Boards At San Onofre 45rpm PS (V,I) 1985
Bobbette Records 373 Steel Pier/Blank. 45rpm (I) 1985 One-side limited edition 45 in blue vinyl
Surf Wax SW45-100 Pipeline/Waikiki Run. 45rpm (I) 1985 Condor Classix 9109 Surfin' Fever. CD (I,V) 1991
USA The Curl Rider/Surf Raider/Rampage/Swami's Reef/Crash/Golash/ Squad Car/Unknown/Point Conception/Gum Dipped Slicks/Scratch (live)/Goofy Foot (live)/Surfin' Elephant (live)/High Wall/Steel Pier/ Wave Walk'N/Long Ride/K-39/Suicide Point/Bangalore/Sunset At Makaha/Long Boards At San Onofre/KUK/Let There Be Surf/Tsunami. Bacchus Archives BA 0703 Live At The Whisky A-Go Go 6/24/82
7"EP PS (I) 1993 Pipeline/Squad Car/Midnight Run/High Tide/Steel Pier/Gum Dipped Slicks/ Scratch/The Wedge. (This was a two 7" EP set.)
NPR 9412 NPR'S International Beach Ball. Vol. 1. (Various Artists.) CD (I) 1994 Includes Wave Walk 'N/Point Conception '63; GNP Crescendo Sampler Vol. 4. 40th Anniversary 1954-1994. (VA) CD (I) 1994 Includes The Curl Rider
CMUSIC Sampler 2 Sounds From The Inside Vol. 2. (Various Artists.) CD (I) 1996 Includes Long Boards At San Onofre
We are also on Cowabunga: The Surf Box Set by Rhino Records with Wave Walkin'. I was also an associate producer of that box set.
[Lance Monthly] During your active days with the Surf Raiders, can you give us some interesting examples of some unusual occurrences during your gigs?
Bob Dalley I think one of the most interesting was when we were playing at a club in Silver Lake in LA. It wasn't a great night, but people were dancing and having a good time. We were playing "Squad Car" with sound effects (sirens etc.). Just then, the bouncer bolted away from the door and ran across the dance floor with some guy chasing him with a knife. That was quite the experience.
I remember playing at a wedding and Loyd, the bass player, had somehow run into Phil Pruden, the sax player from the Challengers. He invited Phil to come to the wedding reception at which we were playing. He even brought his sax, and I remember him playing K-39 with us and a couple of other Challengers tunes. That was a great moment, also.
Another moment was when we were playing at Aviation High School. We started playing our opening song "Surf Party" by the Astronauts, and they opened the doors and the kids just came running in and started dancing. A few of them dove onto the floor and skidded up to the front, and popped up dancing and slamming.
One more: We opened for Jon & the Nightriders and Dick Dale at the Country Club in Sherman Oaks. I don't know what happened, but it was an extremely great set that we played. It was one of our first gigs without Neil Kuzee, as he had been replaced by Tom Moncrieff. The kids were yelling and screaming, dancing in the aisles. When we finished up, the kids kept yelling and stomping their feet, demanding an encore. We couldn't believe it! The stage manager kept waving us to get off the stage and the kids got louder and louder. Finally we played another number and left the stage while the kids were still making noise. It was incredible. It was one of our finest moments.
[Lance Monthly] Are you actively playing today?
Bob Dalley Yes, I still play guitar. After I published my book, I didn't have my guitar, amp, reverb or my record collection any more as I sold it all [in order] to publish the book. I had also started having trouble with carpel tunnel and couldn't play anymore. After moving to Utah in 1989, I thought my guitar days were over until I had the operations on my wrists and got the feeling and strength back. Since then, I have played surf instrumentals and the ‘60s top 40 stuff I had done in the sixties, only this time I was also singing! I did manage to get another Fender Jaguar (1965). I bought a single Showman with two 15" cabinets that had been covered with the flat blonde toleux at one time, and later recovered in black. It had belonged to Pat Wilford, the guitar player from the surf group, The Hustlers, out of La Mirada, CA. You can see him playing through the amp on page 134 in the second edition of my book, "Surfin Guitars." I picked up a reverb unit from Armin Brown and I was back in business. Over the last six years, every other year, I have taught a class on instrumental surf music for a guitar camp sponsored by the University of Utah. Hopefully, I have inspired a guitarist or two to start playing surf music.
[Lance Monthly] You are well known among the instrumental surf fans as a writer and historian of the surf rock genre. Please give our readers some insight on what you have published, including your very informative "Surf Music U.S.A." fanzine and where these publications can be found.
Bob Dalley I have referred to my book, "Surfin' Guitars - Instrumental Surf Bands of the Sixties," many times. The book is still in print. I have a couple of copies for sale. I have some back issues of "Surf Music USA" available. I am winding down "Surf Music USA" and will only be publishing a couple more issues. Interested parties may email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about the issues or the book. I have written liner notes for old and new surf CD's, and have had many stories published in other instro mags. When I go look through the issues of these magazines like "California Music," "Pipeline," "RPM," "The Collector," and others, I cannot believe that I had contributed that much to surf music. Maybe not as much as others in the genre, but I did a lot to help promote surf music.
[Lance Monthly] What, in your opinion, is the future of surf rock instros?
Bob Dalley I foresee it continuing as new bands are discovering it and trying to play the old tunes and write new tunes. I thought that 1988 was the end of surf rock instros, but with "Pulp Fiction," labels reissuing old surf albums on CD, and the new bands and their CD releases, I believe it is going to be around for a long time. All the genre needs is to get a break on commercial radio and it will be bigger than ever.
[Lance Monthly] Your final thoughts.
Bob Dalley Since I heard "Pipeline" on the radio for the first time, I knew that instrumental surf music was going to be in my life forever. I am glad to have played a small part in the revival of the music and the documentation of the bands that played it. The Surf Raiders were a very high point in my life and have given me many memories to recall as I listen to the music. I hope others follow and keep the guitars wet with reverb and the music alive forever.