Surf Pop: The New Wave

WAS ANY underground music more quickly and thoroughly mediated by outside forces than surf music? On the cusp of the ’60s, California’s coastal teen subculture was still a-borning when major movie and record companies swooped down to claim their percentage. Yet in spite of the gold rush, there were still enough obscure, self-taught SoCal rockers left to keep a wild strain of instrumental surf pop alive. Garage bands started trying to steal surf music back from the corporate philistines beginning with the manic protopunk performance of the Pyramids in the film Bikini Beach. But not until 30 years later, with the equally subversive deployment in Pulp Fiction of classic surf instrumentals like “Miserlou” and “Surf Rider,” could the surf-punk movement feel vindicated by mainstream recognition of what it was really trying to do. Continue reading “Surf Pop: The New Wave”