October 31, 2013

The Surfmen - Ghost Hop (1962)

California native Ray Hunt and his friends formed a surf rock band in 1960 called The Expressos. After a short period, the band renamed themselves The Surfmen and signed to a local label, Titan Records, which primarily dealt with instrumental and surf rock acts. The band featured Ray Hunt on lead guitar, Nick Drury on rhythm guitar, Randall Anglin on bass, Tim Fitzpatrick on drums, and Armon Frank on saxophone. As “The Surfmen,” the band’s most popular song was probably “Paradise Cove,” released in 1962. The same year of that song’s release saw Ray Hunt part ways with the group, which abruptly had a domino-effect on the remaining members. Hunt was replaced with Jim Masoner; Nick Drury left the band and was replaced with Ed Chiaverini; Randall Anglin was replaced with Ron Griffith; and finally Armon Frank, who left to join Dick Dale & The Del-Tones, was replaced with Joel Willenbring. Since the band’s drummer Tim Fitzpatrick was the only remaining original member of the band, he and his newest bandmates decided to rename themselves to The Lively Ones.

Heard below the featured story is the flip side to The Surfmen’s “Paradise Cove.” Released in the first half of 1962, the record featured the original lineup of The Surfmen: Hunt, Drury, Anglin, Fitzpatrick, and Frank. The song was written by Ray Hunt and released on Titan Records.

A Special Edition post with Jerry LaFavor of The Expressos!

Today's exclusive story comes from Jerry LaFavor, the drummer of the surf band The Expressos. Jerry was kind enough to submit a bit of backstory about his band, which would eventually evolve into The Surfmen and The Lively Ones.
A Bit Like You And Me and readers,

Here is how I remember it when I was there. We started with a band called The Emeralds, pictured below on a business card. The musicians in that group and pictured there are: Jerry LaFavor (me), drums; Ray Hunt, lead guitar; Nick Drewry, rhythm guitar; and John Blankenship, keyboard. As an aside, Ray Hunt was the best man at my first wedding.

We added a bass player, Del Ward, later on, changed our name to The Expressos, and released a record called "Teenage Express," which you can still hear if you Google the band/song. Our name was changed by our Manager, Aki Aleong, who arranged to get our song pressed and also got us on TV shows like The Wink Martindale Saturday Night Rock & Roll Party. Below is a picture from the Wink Martindale show we did from the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium. My friend took this picture off his TV the evening we were performing. Frankie Avalon and Della Reese were also on this same show. You can Google Aki Aleong and see his long list of musical/acting credentials.

Jerry LaFavor, drums; Del Ward, base; John Blankenship, piano; Nick Drewry, rythum guitar; and Ray Hunt, lead guitar
Note: Wink is hiding behind the piano thinking he is out of the camera’s view…

I left The Expressos to work with an R&R group named Tommy Winters and The Del Reys. I knew Ray went to The Surfmen, but I [mistakenly] thought he moved on to The Lively Ones (which I thought of only as a name change). I played with Eddie Day Chiaverini in those days and I know he was with The Lively Ones. In fact, I have tried to get a hold of him in recent weeks, but to no avail.

Seen above is our sax player, Lewayne; Jerry LaFavor (me) on drums; Larry Carlton on lead (who, today, October 30, 2013, is one of the top ten jazz guitarists in the world); and Tommy Winters. I did not see or hear from Ray Hunt after this [point in time].

Below is an article from the October 2013 Issue of Vegas Voice about me and my band, Age Restricted. Think about this: I started playing drums in my high school band at fourteen and today, at seventy-four, I am still doing the same thing. And you know, someday I might even get it right.

Click to enlarge.

A big 'thank you' to Jerry for taking the time to share his memories with us. Thank you very much, Jerry!

To listen to Jerry's group, The Expressos, check out this video on YouTube.
To listen to Jerry's current group, Age Restricted, check out Jerry's YouTube page.

And now that you've enjoyed this exclusive story, why not check out what other exclusive stories we've received?

album art

The Surfmen - Ghost Hop (1962)

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