Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Apemen - Living On Borrowed Equipmentdotdotdotdot
artworkThere was the time that those Viking bonzos the Apemen came to town. They were on an arts grant from their government, qualified by playing at a single gig in Washington. On their way back, they stopped in at KFJC. That's the short version. The long version goes something like this:

Several phone calls traded between my house and the Netherlands resulted in the band agreeing to play at KFJC when they come to America on vacation. They're playing one gig in Washington, so they are bringing just their guitars. At this juncture, they are a four piece band, two guitars, bass and drums. I agreed to set them up with a drum kit, and amps. The drums and bass amp were supplied by the Berzerkers, one guitar amp by Rick Escobar of the Woodies, and one by Uncle Al. Three days before they were due to show up at KFJC, I got a phone call. While on their way to the US, they stopped in England and picked up a keyboard player. Could I arrange for a Farfisa. Well, that was a bit much, but the Berzerkers came up with a keyboard from the infamous Papa Don of "Windsurfing" fame. On the day of the visit, Berzerker Dino Francesconi had brought his Stratocaster just in case.

About a half hour before the Apemen were due at KFJC, I got a call from Oakland. They lost their bass player somewhere. He went to the store three hours ago and never came back. They're going out to look for him. Then the bassist calls and says he's on his way, but doesn't know where the band is. Well, an hour and a half later, they arrive at KFJC. The first words out of their mouth come after looking at Dino's Strat. "Is that the only guitar?" They had come with nothing. Uncle Al races home, returning with his Strat. A frantic phone call to an ex-KFJC staffer got us a bass after about 45 minutes, which was brought over from the East Bay. Then the bass player says "But I'm left handed" to which I replied "you're gonna play it!"

They played the loudest fastest highest energy surf set I've ever seen... crazy men with a vision of surf honed in Holland. With the first tune, Uncle Al and I looked at each other, and we knew it was all worth it.
Picks: Intoxico [Intoxica], Percolator Stomp, Toronado, Crash, Baha Ree-Ba, Crunch, Surf Dracula, Surf Party, Penetration, Pogo A-Go-Go, Moment Of Truth, Camel Cunt, El Tortura, When Johnny Comes Wreckin' Home, Invasion Of The Apemen, Miserlou

Track by Track Review


Intoxico [Intoxica] dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bob Hafner's classic surf party stomp is amped up as only the Apemen can. Monster beer cans with pop-tops drip on the carpet as huge guitar tone dominates the airwaves.

Percolator Stomp dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

There's no Sterno needed to percolate the coffee bubba, just a few seconds of "Percolator Stomp." Excellent, thick, and very powerful.

Toronado dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Toronado" is dedicated to the classic Oldsmobile. The thick over reverbed sound masks some of the intense energy of this amazingly well written surf pounder. A melodic and rhythmic riff drives this home. The keys are suitably low in the mix for the most part.

Crash dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Apemen pummel the Creations' ultra rare surf instro. Right from the intro reverb kick, this is amped up with major edge and garage attack, this melodic and powerful tune is further enhanced by the loudest band on earth. It couldn't be much faster.

Baha Ree-Ba dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Trademarks didn't envision what a few decade would do to their excellent mariachi surf classic. The Apemen scream through this with just about the loudest, fastest, and most powerful ever performance. Egad, what a monster!

Crunch dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Crunch" is one mean surf tune, with a friendly riff. The heavy compressed delivery is perfectly wonderful.

Surf Dracula dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A moronic cry of "Surf Dracula - ha ha ha ha" opens this speedy and rhythmic eastern block tune. Excellent and wailing. The lead guitar drops a line, but hey, it's live rock and roll baby.

"Surf Dracula" is actually a surf-arrangement of a seventies disco-tune called "Soul Dracula" by a "band" called Hot Blood, which was a studio project of the guy behind Boney M.

Surf Party dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bringing edge and power to the Astronauts' movie title track, this is just plain hot! Power and amazing speed.

Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a speedy though relatively standard delivery of the Pyramids' "Penetration," until the third verse takes you into near Mermen territory, with excellent damped plucking. It comes to an unusual shorebreak ending.

Pogo A-Go-Go dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thumping surf punk mosh pit throbbing garage surf anthem... you get the idea. Way cool. The melody riff is just too fun, especially against the almost polka backtrack.

Moment Of Truth dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Larry Weed / Original Surfaris' arrangement of this surf standard is assaulted, shredded, driven to the end of the pier, and stood on end. Yikes! This was just about the most dynamic of the set.

Camel Cunt dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

It wasn't on the set list, and I can't match it with any of their releases, but this is a superb track, full of drive and manic energy. A melodic mid tempo monster. The riff is quite friendly, and the delivery is excellent.

El Tortura dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An excellent title, a huge lumbering sound, and a monster riff. There aren't many like this. The meanness is obvious, with a twist of delirium.

When Johnny Comes Wreckin' Home dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Not since the Lancers brazen garage surf epic of the early sixties has this Civil War classic been so powerfully pummeled. Shreddin' lead guitar, and thick crunch. Raging speed and power.

Invasion Of The Apemen dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Surf riffology dripped over an open garage door in the rain, thick and mean, with a lumbering break and strong drum work. Shreddin' hard, eating sand for the pleasure.

Miserlou dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dutch crunch delivery of thee surf instro. As hot as Dick Dale's 1962 rendition, but very different. The trumpet part is carried by the organ. The boys scream and shout their way through this. It all ends in a howling hail of feedback and a reverb kick. Man oh man!