Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Shockwaves - Live on KSCUdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is a CD-R written from an off-air cassette of a live show at KSCU, Santa Clara University to help in their fundraising. It's been in a box for almost 15 years. When I came back across it, I fondly remembered some bright moments in the show. While it's an important document of the band's legacy, it's also marred by numerous performance errors. It also suffers from being mixed on headphones in the hall on unfamiliar equipment without benefit of a soundcheck. The band here is Frank Novicki - guitar, Jon Kohlman - guitar, Randy Hyden - bass, Stretch Riedle - drums.
Picks: Walk Don't Run, Penetration, Downhill Curl, Lee's Hearse, Telstar, Miserlou, Squad Car, Batwipe, Squad Car, Squad Car, Pipeline, Let's Go Trippin', Green Onions, Sleep Walk, Stingray

Track by Track Review


Walk Don't Run dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Frank Novicki's big whammy arrangement of "Walk Don't Run" is all surfed out without being the '64 version. Fine energy and splashy tone, coupled with a solid though relentless rhythm section, it's tuff and very fun.

Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jon Kohlman's "Penetration" always seemed a little stiff to me, at least as it opened. By the time they launched into double picking and feedback, it came a live and became quite intense.

Downhill Curl dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This was always among my favorite songs from this band. It's a brilliant medley of "Downhill Run" (Shoutless) and "Curl Rider" (Surf Raiders), both of which rely on a galloping beat and rhythm. The leads are marred by a few errors, but the spirit is rich. At its peak, the Shockwaves performance of this tune was unstoppable.

Lee's Hearse dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I dubbed this "Lee's Hearse" because it is a merger between "The Hearse" and "Baja," two fine Lee Hazelwood songs. The transition between the two is magical, and the power when delivered correctly is undeniable. While sloppy, this does show what Frank Novicki's arranging capabilities were. The huge reverb crash as it slide back into "The Hearse" is most grodie.

Telstar dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Telstar" is fired off in doubler picked surf style, with a blend of the Humans and the Lively Ones arrangements. Jon Kohlman delivers his garage attack with no mercy.

Miserlou dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A false start does not mar this fire and ice performance of "Miserlou." Fire in the lead guitar, ice cold water in the rhythm section. Very garagy.

Squad Car dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jon Kohlman's Euro siren adaptation as Frank Novicki launches into Paul Johnson's classic foretells of the fire to come. Tuff, fast, powerful, and dangerous.

Batwipe dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of the earliest mergers of "Batman" and "Wipe Out," and there were several back then, is fun, if not a little cheesy. The bright spot is Jon Kohlman's howling feedback and edgy guitar.

Squad Car dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jon Kohlman's Euro siren adaptation as Frank Novicki launches into Paul Johnson's classic foretells of the fire to come. Tuff, fast, powerful, and dangerous.

Squad Car dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jon Kohlman's Euro siren adaptation as Frank Novicki launches into Paul Johnson's classic foretells of the fire to come. Tuff, fast, powerful, and dangerous.

Pipeline dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Shockwaves made "Pipeline" into one monster of a song, with intense guitar and hard driving playing. fast and very garagy, with a ton of energy and no limits. Very cool.

Let's Go Trippin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Frank Novicki's harsh guitar tone is perfect for this Dick Dale classic, taking the rock original into intense surf territory. The riffs in the break lean a little bit on "Suzie Q," but the energy is pure surf.

Green Onions dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Shockwaves always did one of the surfiest interpretations of "Green Onions." Frank Novicki's splash and brittle tone somehow brought it squarely onto the waves, while Jon's "King Bee" guitar scratches gave it a primal edge.

Sleep Walk dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Santo and Johnny's "Sleep Walk" just doesn't translate well from lap steel, though it is delicately dribbled out here.

Stingray dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jon Kohlman's howling feedback intro warns of the garage edge to come. Riffy yet catchy, this was written by bassist Randy Hyden. Relentlessly ugly and magnetic.