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Laramie Dean plays a ‘Hella’ Surf Riot

3 October 2010

By Maribel Santoyo

laramie deanVery few in history can boast about a “Grade A” caliber apprenticeship. Plato. Aristotle, maybe—and a few others that just elude the memory right now. But with absolute certainty, Laramie Dean can. He was, after all, indoctrinated by the “King of Surf Guitar” Dick Dale.

If at this point you’re wondering who “this Laramie Dean character is”, you’re forgiven. But if you must ask who Dick Dale is, we might have to backhand-smack you and explain how he essentially pioneered and popularized “surf guitar” in the 1960’s, turned it into a cult genre, and made excessive guitar reverb the “cool” effect it is today. Reverb is, frankly, always welcome anyway.

See, years before Quentin Tarantino put Dick Dale’s surf hit “Misirlou” back onto the hipster radar with his 1995 cult film Pulp Fiction, a very young Laramie Dean was still holed up in his room learning the staccato chords to an elementary version of “Pipeline” by The Chantays.

And, much like most other New Yorkers then, the then aspiring guitarist said he was still relatively oblivious to the sunny, west coast sounds of surf rock, surf punk, or any other member of the “surfus genus” gene pool until he incorporated it into his own performance repertoire. That is, when the guitarist got his claws on some new music.

“I knew some guys who were working with Rhino records, original owners, friends of those guys…. first thing I was exposed to was a Link Wray tape, some Ventures, and surf guitar comps,” said the surf guitarist from L.A.

After a little over a decade, Dean has shared the stage with just about every notable punk act to include Agent Orange, the Queers, Fishbone, the Misfits, and Anti-Flag, to name a few. But it was when he began collaborating with Joe “Queer” of the Portsmouth, New Hampshire punk group The Queers (of “Noodle Brain” fame) that he and Joe (Queer) decided to take a drive to Portland, Maine to catch Dick Dale at a show, he said. After paying a second visit to Dale’s ranch with his wife, Dean finally befriended the maestro and the rest is history.

After 100 shows under the scrutiny of the legend himself, Laramie Dean put together an LP titled “Surf Riot” with probably a similar, furious inspiration that possessed Jack Keraouc to pound out “On The Road” on a roll of telegraph paper in a few days.

“I wrote it in my friend’s room over a Friday and a Saturday… right after touring with Dick Dale, sorta like he used to do when he was touring with the Deltones,” he said.

And if the hairs on the back of your neck aren’t standing on end by the end of a Laramie Dean set, then maybe you should seek meaning elsewhere. But his surf punk reinterpretation of classic tracks like “Ghost Riders in the Sky” and “Pipeline” will make the show at Badland Billiards next Saturday, Oct. 9 more than worth it. Important to note is that Dick Dale’s son Jimmy, who’s been playing drums with his dad since he was, as Dean puts it, “a little freakin baby,” will be playing, too. Local openers The Slicks, The Rusty Bishops, and Pushback! come on first.

Shoot some pool, crack open a Pabst Blue Ribbon before the show you hipster you, and have a grand old time “79915 Style”.

What: Laramie Dean

Where: Badlands Billiards, 7792 Franklin Dr

When? Oct 9, 2010