Sid Presley 7 Elbo Room present
ELBO ROOM | 647 VALENCIA STREET | SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Wednesday August 9, 2017
Live music 9pm
$8 advance/$10 door — STAY TUNED FOR ADVANCE TIX INFO
DJ Sid Presley presents…
The El Caminos (Kobe, Japan) — Eddie Ugata, a vintage guitar collector and one of Japan’s foremost authorities on 1960s surf music, formed the El Caminos in 1994 out of the ashes of his previous band The L.S.D.s, who achieved popularity in the Kansai garage scene. The El Caminos debut album KNOCK’EM OUT was released in 1995 of the next year.
The band’s mission statement: «pursuing the sounds of 1960s surf music without limits» embodies their sound. The El Caminos started to receive attention from surf instrumental enthusiasts, not only in Japan but throughout the world. Their second album, SURFER’S LOUNGE was released in June of 1996 and attracted attention from surf music fans overseas.
The El Caminos released a best album called ‘Reverb Explosion’ in August of 1997 on the legendary DEL-FI Records, a label that has a very special place in the heart of Eddie. All 15 tracks were personally selected by label founder Bob Keane for a US release. The album stirred up a great response: the track Sumo Wrestler even reached the number one spot on the chart of a college radio station on the West Coast.
The El Caminos experienced several changes in membership over the years and continued their activities at a slow pace. In 2005, the band released their third album BEATRAMA. In 2013, the band played their first show overseas at the Surf Guitar 101 Convention.
Also, a special reunion perfomance by THE MACH IV!!! The Mach IV were a surf music supergroup formed in the summer of 2001 by S.F. Bay Area surf guitarists Mel Waldorf (Los Meltones) and Ferenc Dobronyi (Pollo Del Mar), with bassist Johnny Hamilton (The Berzerkers) and beloved songwriter and drummer Shigemi Komiyama, aka “Shig 33” (The Shi-Tones).
At that time Mel was playing with The Alvarados, and itching to get back into surf music. Ferenc was playing progressive instrumentals with Pollo Del Mar and aching to get back to trad. Johhny Hamilton’s reputation as a rock solid bass player made him someone that everybody wanted to play with. Multi-instrumentalist Shigemi Komiyama had toured with Hot Tuna and El Destroyo, and had recorded an album of his original instrumentals under the name Shig and Buzz. Needless to say, Mel, Ferenc and Johnny were thrilled when Shig agreed to join them.
The agreed goal of the Mach IV was to focus on playing surf music in a trad style, and really focus on melodic songs, both covers and originals. Also, the band wanted to look sharp, and wore matching teal tuxedo jackets and practiced dance steps. The earliest sets featured obscure SoCal surf, Shadows from England, Les Jaguares from Canada and eleki from Japan. Recorded live at The Beach Chalet, The “Road Test” CD of covers was released in 2002.
Of course, with three songwriters, the band focused on originals, and 16 songs came together for the “Eleki” album, released in 2003. Reaction was positive, and the run of 500 quickly sold out. The band continued playing at San Francisco clubs and took a long weekend in SoCal, perhaps playing 50 shows in their short career.
By late 2005, the band had broken up. Mel moved on to form the Meshugga Beach Party, adding a keyboard player and beards to the Mach IV lineup, before finding permanent members. Playing in the trad style would inspire Ferenc to form Frankie & the Pool Boys. Johhny continued to play with everyone. Shig played regularly in the Shi-tones with Jim Thomas from The Mermen, and also formed Shig and the Buzz, featuring Johnny Hamilton and guitarist Roger Rocha (of Four Non Blondes.)
After 2005, the band brought out the teal tuxedos for only a handful of reunion shows. Shigemi Komiyama passed away in 2014.
Mel, Ferenc and Johnny will be joined by drummer Tony Bald (The TomorrowMen) for a series of shows including the 9th SG101 Convention at Alpine Village in Torrance, CA. Their set will feature tasty covers and their originals, especially the songs of Shig 33. The Mach IV’s albums are completely gone, but can be found for download from Russian websites.