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ABC Radio RareCollections: Australia surf music in the ’60s

ABC Radio


20 June, 2011 9:37AM AEST

RareCollections: Australia surf music in the ’60s.

1963 was a big year for surf culture in Australia. David Kilby and Jordie Kilby speak to Tex Ihasz (Denvermen), Peter Hood (Atlantics) and songwriter Joe Halford about the music of that year.

Midget Farrelly was winning surf contests around the world and teenagers were flocking to the beaches to try the sport for themselves. While Dick Dale, The Beach Boys, The Chantays and The Surfaris were releasing classic singles like Pipeline, Wipeout and Surfin’ Safari in the U.S, a handful of local bands were developing a homegrown soundtrack for the action

The Denvermen – Surfside – HMV Records

The Denvermen formed in 1961 and quickly drew attention around Sydney for their distinctive and polished sound. The band had a family connection to a local music store and so had access to the latest equipment including an Echolette effects unit which quickly set them apart. In 1962 the New Zealand born pop star Johnny Devlin became their manager. Their first single was unsuccessful but their second, Surfside, with its sampled surf SFX throughout was picked up by local DJ’s and hit number one on the Sydney charts in January of 1963.

The Atlantics – Bombora – CBS Records

The band named themselves after a brand of petrol (rather than the ocean) several years before they began developing their surf sound. A bona fide classic, Bombora was their second single and it was produced by Sven Libaek who knew it was a hit the moment he heard it. Oddly enough for a surf track it was released jn the middle of winter 1963. Its success saw it released overseas in countries like Japan, England and South America. It was single of the week in Cashbox magazine upon its release in the U.S.

Stompin’ At Maroubra – Little Pattie – HMV Records

Songwriting team Joe Halford and Jay Justin came up with this hit for Little Pattie at the end of 1963. The Stomp was a dance craze popular at surf clubs and beaches around the country. Johnny Devlin, Jimmy Hannan and Tony Brady were just a few of the stars of the day who released stomp singles in late ’63 and into 1964. The other side of the single was the memorable He’s My Blonde Headed Stompie Wompie Surfer Boy. Pattie was only 14 when the record was released.

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Gig review: The Atlantics at The Vault


Whenever you see a legendary band, there’s heaps of excitement, though it’s mixed with a tinge of nervousness – what happens if they’re just a bunch of old blokes going through the motions, with no mojo or stage presence? This was in the back of my mind last night when I checked out The Atlantics, and I’m stoked to say they were AWESOME!

The venue for the evening was The Vault in Windsor. I banged on about the place after I saw Ash Grunwald there, so I won’t bore you with the details – suffice to say it’s a great venue and the food is tops.

Proceedings  were started by Glenn A. Baker, Aussie rock guru. He introduced the band and hyped up the crowd. He reminded us of the historical significance of the band, and how we were privileged to see some living legends perform right before our very eyes. And yes, he was wearing his trademark funny little hat.

The Atlantics set was fantastic. I think what really hit me was how powerful, how primal the music was live – cranked up and hitting you right in the chest. Sure the guitar was amazing, but the pounding drums rolled out an intoxicating and hypnotic surging rhythm. You know those days at the beach when there’s a storm front coming through, the wind is picking up and the waves are pounding onto the shore? There’s a tangible sense of energy and foreboding in the air, and man the sound just keeps coming. That’s the vibe you get right in front of the stage at an Atlantics gig. You could almost smell the salt air!

Some of the great covers included an awesome rendition of Pipeline (complete with dueling lead guitars), the Hawaii 5.0 theme, and the most beautiful rendition I’ve ever heard of Wedding Cake Island. As well as playing some of the bands newer stuff, they also delved into the back catalogue and pulled out classics like Come On, recorded in the bands ‘garage punk’ era (and it even included singing!). Of course Bombora got the crowd’s attention, and was definitely one of the highlights of the night. Finishing it all off was Saturday Night, with The Crusher as a fitting high energy encore piece.

And with that it was time to head off into the darkness in the search of home, drums and guitars still pulsating in our chests.

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ABC Radio: Sunday Performer – The Atlantics

Sunday Performer – The Atlantics (15/5/11)

15/05/2011 , 10:58 AM by june cowle

f9af1494351654e9ad9d9f87801447ad_resized California may have had the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean, but back in the day when Surf Music was all the rage, Australia had the Atlantics.

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They split for several years but reformed back in 1999 thanks to guitarist Martin Cilia.

This month, the group released their latest album  “The collectibles”  a collection of  their songs between 1966 and 2010, including a couple of rare recordings.

On Sunday Original Atlantic Drummer, Peter Hood and the boys spoke to Philip Clark about those early days.

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Legendary Aussie surf rockers The Atlantics return to Coogee

DID you know one of Australia’s surf rock classic songs, Bombora was written by Jim Skiathitis and Peter Hood (from The Atlantics ) in a house that Skiathitis lived in with his parents in Oberon St, Coogee in 1963?

Back to where it started. The Atlantics will play at Coogee Diggers later this month, almost 50 years since writing the classic surf rock anthem 'Bombora' on Oberon St.
Back to where it started. The Atlantics will play at Coogee Diggers later this month, almost 50 years since writing the classic surf rock anthem ‘Bombora’ on Oberon St.

The instrumental Bombora shot to number one for a record eight weeks in 1963 and charted around the world.

In 2000 Bombora was given the accolade of being used in the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

The band itself had decided to reform only a year earlier with a line-up featuring original members Skiathitis, Hood and Bosco Bosanac along with new guitarist Martin Cilia.

In a strange twist of fate they discovered Cilia lived just around the corner from Oberon St when he wrote The Atlantics comeback album Flight of the Surf Guitar.

The Atlantics journey has now come full circle with the band back in Coogee as part of the tour for the new release, The Collectibles, a memorable collection of songs between 1966 and 2010.

See them at Coogee Diggers on May 28. Bookings

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Announcing Ultra Words

news-ultra-wordsPeter Hood and Jim Skiathitis have written a great number of The Atlantics’ releases including Bombora, Crusher, War of the Worlds, Rumble and Run and many others. However, their collaborations were not just restricted to song writing. They worked on many other projects together and in 1990 began developing an idea for a board game called Ultra-Words.

For a variety of reasons, this project was set aside for a number of years and it was not until late 2012 that they resumed development work on the game.

Now most of the work is done and they will be looking at marketing Ultra-Words as a board game and app in the near future.

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Manly Daily: 30th October 2009

The old wave – Boatshed sixties’ reunion

news-manlyMusic has long been synonymous with the surfing culture. But like the trends in surfing styles and the lifestyle surrounding it, music styles in the genre have also changed.
For next weekend’s first Festival of Surfing in Manly the evolving beast of surf culture will be revisited and celebrated.

Possibly the most broad representation of this is the three bands over three nights at the Old Manly Boatshed. They’ll be hanging from the rafters like the old days,” organiser Heritage Surf’s Chris Moss joked. The reason it’s at the Old Manly Boatshed is because it brings back together the guys who worked on the Delightful Rain project. So Delightful Rain does the Boatshed”.
It’s on for three nights in a row, beginning on Wednesday with the Celibate Rifles, The Atlantics on Thursday and Tamum Shud on Friday.  The Atlantics are known internationally as a surf band, especially with their massive hit Bombora. In Sydney, it was number one for eight weeks in 1963.” guitarist Martin Cilia said. “Then after a couple of singles the disc jockeys who were playing our songs realised we were Australian and stopped playing our records. They thought we were American. They thought ‘we shouldn’t be playing them because they’re from here’.”
Cilia said he was looking forward to playing in Manly. He could not remember when the Atlantics had played here last but was adamant they had. We’ve noticed a resurgence in the great surf bands over the last four-or-five years.” he said. It’s a fresh sound to young people,. something new.” For the gig on Thursday, Cilia said he is expecting a cross-section of ages in the audience. “Certainly people from the 1960s, but also younger people coming along to check it all out,” he said.

Surfers, especially of the late 1960s-early 1970, will remember Tamum Shud for their inclusion in surf films of the era, such as Abe Falzon’s Morning of the Earth. The band, now based in Queensland, have not played in Sydney for “no one can remember how long”. Tamum Shud guitarist Tim Gaze said the band’s founder wrote music that really tapped into what the young people of the era wanted.  Lindsey Bjerre knew how to write the kind of music pertinent to what was going on at the time,” Gaze said. “Some of the Shed stuff can get a little psychedelic.” Gaze said the four-piece was really looking forward to coming to Sydney to perform.
Written by: Rod Bennett
Picture: Simon Dean