Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Berzerkers - S/Tdotdotdotdotdot
artworkIt's about time!!! This band features the fine writing and playing of Dino Francesconi, a man who's style is unique, and who's blues roots show through his surf sensibility. The Berzerkers started life in the early eighties as Da Monz, a 4 piece that included some surf vocals in their set. They took their name from a moronic rock-n-roll-ization of the mons pubis, their favorite skeletal / anatomical feature. In those heady days, they had a few really killer songs, like the grand Surfin' In The U. S. S. R., and Ten Cent Dance Girl. Along the way to the Berzerkers, they assumed such monikers as Disgraceland, Disgraceland, Dino, Desperate and Chili, Dino de Laurencewelk, and the obvious Identity Crisis. Also along the way, they laid down a healthy sampling of demos with so little reverence for humanity it's frightening. Songs like Bag Lady Of My Dreams, Mali Guano, I Wish You Were A Surf Board, and Surfer Louie all came and went. In the late eighties, they were the stage band behind Richard Berry at the first K-FOG Louie Louie Parade where Dino wore a wet suit on stage, and it was an 80 degree day. There are really three different sessions on this album. The two lead tracks were recorded on an 8 track porta-studio in Dino's living room about 8 years ago. These are the best representation of Dino's image of a surf band circa 1988. Dino still regards them as his best work. Tracks 3 through 8 were recorded in a studio, and show the creative side of Dino's art. Those are followed by a few live tracks from their last performance at KFJC, and display the power and character of the live trio. Never mind that I produced all these tracks, I just love this band, and it's about time they were on CD!
Picks: Sacquito Fria, Chummin', Mermud, It Came In The Wind, Clap Pacific Sang, Mung Taco, In The Bottle, Manana Surf, El Scratches, Meadowlands, Waimea Cruncher, The Eel

Track by Track Review

Sacquito Fria dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One rainy day back around 1988, I spent an afternoon in Dino's abode with my little 8-track cassette recorder, a few mics, and a sound board. Dino wanted to lay down a couple of tunes he had been working on, and I wanted to submit them for What Surf IV (a release that never happened). Anyway, the drummer set up in the living room, the amp was in the bedroom, where I was, and Dino overdubbed the bass lines after the fact via headphones. I kicked the reverb. So, what started life as a 2 song demo, has endured through the years, remaining Dino's favorite two recordings from any and all line ups and sessions. I agree. I've been involved in every other session he's done, and I also find these two tracks to be the best. Sacquito Fria is clearly a melodic and well written song. Dino is a master of counter play with guitars, and the two instruments here are offsetting each other delightfully. The title comes from a condition of the scrotum experienced in cold water, a shriveling as it were. It was originally titled in English (and means) Cold Sack. I would have liked to remix it. I think there are some areas for improvement, but Dino said no, he liked it just as it was. This track was recorded at the same session as "Chummin'" for the same purpose. It did end up on the Australian compilation Sounds From The Inside, and is also included on their first CD, though in a different mix. This is a very infectious track, melodic and very interesting. I kicked the reverb.

Chummin' dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the other track from the 1988 sessions at Dino's place. It is a Dick Dale-ish number, with three guitar parts, all played by Dino. The mix was a monster to do, with lots of activity on the levels to keep focus on just the right guitar parts, but it was all worth while. Really good song, and a solid performance.

Mermud dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Where do mermaids and Mermen come from? Mermud!" - Dino Francesconi 1996.

A thundering number with a nod to the Mermen and the delights of the mythical sea creatures, the sirens of the deep.

It Came In The Wind dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Inspired by a certain waft of odorific windage encountered one aromatic afternoon, this song moves right along with a real sense of motion. Great drums and bass lines support Dino's great writing.

Clap Pacific Sang dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Sophistication enters the world of surf instros. Lots of blues influence, and a dab of pomp and regalia enhance this powerful track. Big, powerful, and splashy.

Mung Taco dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I take sole credit for the name of this track. Dino thought it had a Spanish feel, and wanted a food title. Naturally, I said "mung taco." He liked it, and it was done. Great number with plenty of power and energy.

In The Bottle dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a song that Dino has been doing for a while under several names. Any beer drinker will identify right away. Great club stompin' track.

Manana Surf dotdotdotdotdot
Surf Spanish (Instrumental)

In the mid eighties, there came a cassette by a quirky surf/trash/weirdness band called Da Monz. Evolving and identity searching into numerous other amalgamations, guitarist Dino Francesconi eventually settled on the Berzerkers as a name for the second time, with an all new lineup, and a more surfy/bluesy sound, and no vocals at all. Sporting a monstrous sound, they have appeared numerous times on my show on KFJC. This tracks is from last May's Getting The Sound special, when we narrated the whole process of bringing up a band's sound for the radio. This is a band to watch. They've matured, and are developing quite a reputation.

El Scratches dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dino's introduction says it's all in how you reach for those out of the way zones. A fun song. Recorded live at KFJC.

Meadowlands dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

About 9 years ago, I played a version of Meadowlands by the Vanguards on my show. Dino loved it immediately, pestering me to play it every week for an eternity. It was under the title it has been better known as in Euro rock instro circles, Rocket Man. Dino's arrangement is pretty true to that, but more grodie and the live session adds yet more angst to it. Recorded live at Winter Swell II.

Waimea Cruncher dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another song Dino didn't have a name for. His description of it at the beginning of the track was basically what he told me back in '95 the first time we made a demo of it. We played for a long time with different names, finally settling on the name of the biggest wave location on earth and the gnarliest it-will-kill-you term we could dredge up. It sounds like the name, huge, pounding, ominous, and threatening. Recorded at Winter Swell II.

The Eel dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This song has been in Dino Francesconi's set list for - well - he was playing it when I first met him way back in the early eighties, maybe '84 or before, from the early days with Da Monz. Anyway, it's in E, hence the name. recorded live at Winter Swell II in January 1996.