At a time when New Wave, Heavy Metal and Pop music dominated, The Surf Raiders did the Surfer’s Stomp to the beat of their own drums and were one of only a handful of bands carrying the torch of traditional Surf music.
Bob Dalley is not only a living legend for writing one of the essential publications on First Wave Surf music, Surfin’ Guitars: Instrumental Surf Bands Of The Sixties, but also for putting his knowledge to practical use and leading one of the premiere traditional Surf bands of the early 80s.
Raiders Of The Lost Surf and Surf Bound helped establish The Surf Raiders as one of the few prime examples of traditional Surf music in the early 80s. They are absolutely essential for any true Surf fan.
In November of 1979 while living in Azusa, California I had an idea of trying to put a group together. I thought it would be neat to find a bunch of guys who had a common interest, instrumental surf music and wanted to play it. Through recording collecting, I met Neal Kuzee who also played guitar. Neal showed me a book written by John Blair called The Illustrated Discography of Surf Music. This was the motivation I needed. I decided to go ahead with my plans of starting a live performing instrumental. I was able to secure a Fender Dual Showmen, Fender Reverb unit and a Fender Stratocaster that I needed to get the traditional surf sound.
I placed an add in a free weekly paper that covered the Los Angeles area. In response, Loyd, lead guitar and bassist from North Hollywood was the first to respond. Guitarist Steve Tanner from Covina called. Drummer Dave Rodriguez from South San Gabriel joined up. We all gathered in my garage one February day in 1980. Everyone had experience playing in groups so it wasn’t long before we were knocking Wipeout, Pipeline and Baja.
The first public appearance of our band was at a party in Covina in June 1980. We called ourselves The Surf Raiders. After a few gigs, Steve moved, so I called Neal and asked him to join. Neal located sax player, Larry Moore, who also joined us. Larry’s appearances with The Surf Raiders really expanded our popularity and surf sound.
Almost from the beginning, The Surf Raiders started recording. Our first record came from a recording session in Neal’s front room which consisted of The Curl Rider, an original instrumental surf tune I had penned and a cover Let There Be Surf. It was pretty cool writing and recording an original surf tune. The Curl Rider / Let There Be Surf single was released on our Surf Wax Records label SW-101.
In June of 1981, Larry Moore left The Surf Raiders for other interests. A new saxophonist, Emmett O’Sullivan was recruited by Neal. Shortly after, in 1982, prior to Linda joining, we recorded our first album Raiders Of The Lost Surf. The songs were a mix of covers and original material. One song, High Wall, was not used but later appeared on a What Surf compilation. Neal then rearranged his tune Point Conception, slowed it down and released it as a single SW-102 titled Point Conception ’63. The album began getting airplay on many rock stations in the LA area including KROQ. Both the album and the group made many appearances on KXLU’s Surf Wave Show hosted by popular surf DJ Jim Dunfrund.
The Surf Raiders picked up a loyal group of fans who were also surfers Erik, Andy, Keith and Doug. These great young men would show up at the gigs, help load in the equipment and set up. After dancing their hearts out, they would help pack everything up and load up the cars.
In 1983, due to the success of Raiders Of The Lost Surf, the group headed back to the studio laying down tracks for their second album Surf Bound. KXLU DJ Jim Dunfrund penned the liner notes for the original release of the Surf Bound album. A short while later Mark Lee Goodsdale, released the two songs, Steel Pier and Shortin’ Board on his Bobbette record label. He also released a very limited edition of Steel Pier pressed in blue vinyl.
1983 was a busy year for the Surf Raiders. They were honored to make an appearance on New Wave Theater playing The Surf Raider from their first album Raiders Of The Lost Surf. We would like to thank all of the people who have supported the Surf Raiders since the beginning. It has been a long and crazy ride!