There's an event held in Santa Cruz called Woodies On The Wharf. It's a classic
car show put on by Santa Cruz Woodies and the City Of Santa Cruz. Their theme
is Surf 'n Woodies. On the wharf you'll hear some pedestrian fifties and surf pop vocal DJ
music while you look at a gaggle of cool cars to look at. In addition to the booth playing Beach
Boys and Jan & Dean, they also had the wisdom to book an actual surfband. The Eliminators played
two magnificent sets. You might think that The contrast between The Eliminators & the Beach
Boys is the point of this little tail, but its not.
Eliminators' Rhythm guitarist Preston Wilson related a priceless
tale during the second set that really clarifies the depth of the discrepancy between reality
and perception. "...we had this guy here earlier, ...uh... he's sitting over here (pointing)
in the front saying... uh... 'you guys gonna sing a song today?'. I kept saying 'we're an instrumental
surf band.' He says '...well, who's your lead singer?' so I held up my guitar and told him
'Leo Fender is the lead singer.' ...and I was over here (points stage left at their
merch table) standing and he says 'um... what time does this Leo guy show up to play?' "
The question of what is surf music is a one of considerable debate among collectors, musicians,
surfers, critics, musicologists, paleophiles, the general public, wayfaring urchins, and Cowabunga web
surfers. Opinions range from The definitive purist to the ignorant absurd. Expecting agreement
on the definition, or better yet, that the public would have a clue about this, is like not
realizing that the trouble with democracy is that the people in line ahead of you at McDonald's vote!
In order to address such a heady subject, some background is needed.