- The Dead Rocks
Infobox musical artist
Name = The Dead Rocks
Img_capt = The Dead Rocks, surfing at Venezia/IT - 2008. Photo: Alexandre Barros
Img_size = 260X347
Background = group_or_band
Brazil, São Carlos
Current_members = Marky Wildstone
Past_members = Frank Funk
Billie the Tiki
instrumentalmusic, influenced by the surf style of the early 1960s, hard core and some Brazilian rhythms performed with intense guitar riffs.
2002 – The first waves: fun fun
Beginning of activities in May: Johnny Crash, Marky Wildstone and Frank Funk begin to perform upstate São Paulo under the name THE DEAD ROCKS and the proposal to make instrumental surf music and rock.
Back then they performed in Araraquara, São Carlos, Taquaritinga and Piracicaba. After a few months, and more songs added to their set list, the fist demo CD is produced with 3 songs. That done they go to their first summer tour in the state of Santa Catarina. Between December 2002 and January 2003 they make 3 shows in Balneário Camburiú and another 3 shows in the capital of the state, Florianópolis, receiving praise from the local media and making contacts in the south of Brazil.
2003 – At the stages and the cinema: learning new movies
After the end of the first interstate tour the band goes back to performing upstate SP, passing through São Carlos, Bauru, Araraquara and Taquaritinga then doing their first show in the capital São Paulo and on with more concerts upstate SP in Jaboticabal, Mococa, São José do Rio Preto, Catanduva and again São Carlos and Bauru.
Now the band solidifies its style, instrumental surf music, and it is at this time that study and research become clearer in the band’s performances, leaving behind other instrumental rock variations and focusing on surf music classics and the first compositions. The most famous theme at that time is “Don’t Push the Button” which was released in the group’s first album two years later. This song was composed and recorded for Pietro Picolomini’s short-length film “O Botão” (The Button), in DV format, exhibited in various film festivals in Brazil, the most important, the 8º Festival de Cinema Universitário, realized by Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil in Rio de Janeiro.
More concerts throughout the state of SP, one that stands out is the performance at the ELEVEN party, part of S.E.I.S., Semana de Imagem e Som (Sound and Image Week), promoted by the Audiovisual course of Ufscar – Universidade Federal de São Carlos.
2004 – The first Campeonato Mineiro de Surfe
The year begins with concerts upstate São Paulo, but one important fact at that time was the first appearance of THE DEAD ROCKS at the 4º 1º Campeonato Mineiro de Surfe, at the capital of the state of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte. The event, organized by Reverb Brasil, a Brazilian association of surf music bands, and by the bar A OBRA, gave the band the opportunity to perform alongside the most important surf music bands of the country. The concert had an explosive effect, leaving the audience and the organizers very excited about the quality of the project. At the time THE DEAD ROCKS featured in an article by Marcos Bragatto about the festival in Dynamite magazine. The band was considered the big surprise of the event, bringing not only the traditional surf music, but also influences of rock ’n roll and blues, showing the band’s evolution.
Another important occurrence those days was the band’s presentation at an event promoted by the Design course of Unesp in Bauru. The band had the opportunity to perform for about 800 people that got hypnotized, making this concert a memorable one. More shows throughout the state of SP up to the end of the year, among which important performances beside bands such as Forgoten Boys, at SESC Ribeirão Preto, Satan Dealers in Araraquara, Cachoro Grande in Rio Claro and the punk phenomenon Carbona in Ribeirão Preto, during the first Groselha Fuzz.
To wrap the year up, the band appeared for the first time in national television, performing in the program on the show Gordo a Go Go, hosted by the legendary vocalist of Ratos de Porão, João Gordo, of MTV Brazil, playing 3 new compositions.
2005 - International Brazilian Surfs: a classical album
Two thousand and five must be considered the year in which the band established itself as one of the greatest names of instrumental music. The return to Belo Horizonte at the 5º 1º Campeonato Mineiro de Surfe early in the year showed the experimental side of the project since this time Mr. Frank Frank brought with him his electronic gadgets and was able to show a bit of his new experiences with electronic music to a very well behaved audience at A OBRA.
Johnny Crash once again shone with his surprising and unmistakable style; the concert introduced the public to the songs that would be in the first album of the band. International Brazilian Surfs. Then there came concerts with the keyboard player Astronauta Pinguim and the rockabilly band Crazy Legs, both in São Carlos. After that they head to São Paulo where album recordings begin. The chosen studio was Submarino Estúdio, owned by Clayton Martin, ex-drummer for Os Ostras and now drummer for the bands Detetives, Júpiter Maçã and Cidadão Estigado.
Clayton Martin had already recorded memorable albums in his studio, amongst which Thee Butchers Orchestra and Gasolines, and also some tracks for the band Autoramas, all of these great references for the sonority the band wanted for their first record. The album was recorded completely live in three days, totalizing 19 songs, among them, 15 original compositions, 2 samba themes, As Rosas Não Falam by Cartola and Preciso me Encontrar by Candeia, a theme regional music, Guaxo by Helena Meireles, a classic of Latin American music, el Condor Pasa and a medieval theme called Green Sleeves.
With the recordings of the album finished the band heads to Goiânia where they first performed at Bananada Festival, a festival organized by Monstro Discos, the record company that would later release the first CD of the band.
The choice of releasing all the songs at once put some weight on the album, that afterwards was considered one of the best surf music records Brazil has ever known. It was nominated for best instrumental music record of 2005 by important journalists, such as Lúcio Ribeiro of Folha de São Paulo and by Dynamite magazine, getting second place at the final votes. In U.S. they received four stars from the Guru of surf music, Mr. Phil Dirt, who declared that he haven’t heard sounds like these since the 60’s. The song Theme For Rock Is Dead gets a video clip from Eduardo Perdido, that was nominated as Video of the year by cable TV channel Multishow.
Album ready and bags packed the band heads off to the first European tour. From October to November 2005 the band does 30 concerts: Diksmuide in Belgian; Riom, Bourges, Lê Mans, Lille, Limonfes, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Marseille Saint Etienne, Lyon, Strasbourg, Nancy and Paris, touring great part of France; Bergantino, Codevilla, Ponsacco and Bolzano in Italy; and Berlin, Dresden, Gortz, Magedeburge, Frankfurt, and Trier in Germany.
The tour won a special article in Brazilian magazine Outra Coisa, run by singer Lobão which published historical pictures of the band and a log kept by Marky Wildstone during the trip.
The band encountered great acceptance in all the cities they’ve played in and sold practically half the circulation copies of the first CD in the old continent. This trip also enhanced Johnny Crash’s stage set since it was during his wanderings through Berlin that he found his mythic red DiPinto Galaxie guitar, which led to the sponsorship of the American guitar brand following year.
2006 – Changes in the tides: the search for the perfect timber
With the return to Brazil the band suffers some changes, the main one being the exit of the original bassist, Mr. Frank Funk, who, by personal reasons decides to take care of his wife and unborn son. At the same time the record company Mondo77 releases a compilation called Brasil/Instro1 which contained the demo version of Crash, Crash and Crash Again, song of the band’s first CD.
Another significant change is the will to get deeper into surf music and its origins in the Hawaiian culture, also known as “Tiki Culture” so they recruit their ex-roadie to join the band under the identity of Billie the Tiki. This change works out very well, and in January the band goes out on tour throughout the southern portion of the country: in Curitiba they share the stage with surf music band Psicotropicos Deluxe; in Maringá they play with surfers Brian Oblivion e seus raios catodicos; in Londrina they perform alongside Tosco Dudes; after years they return to Florianópolis and Balneário Camboriú and share the stage with surf music group Submarinos in the city of Porto Alegre. While in Florianópolis, they were interviewed by television show Na Pilha, where they talked about the concerts of their tour Billie The Tiki Tour – Brazilian South Summer 2006.
Soon after they head to Rio de Janeiro to participate in Ruído Festival, event supervised by Gabriel Thomaz of Autoramas. Soon after they head to Rio de Janeiro to take part in Ruído Festival, event ran by Gabriel Thomaz of the band Autoramas.
More concerts through São Paulo, in special one in Ribeirão Preto, in which they shared the stage with long time friends Motormama; band that was part of the cast of the carioca record company Midsummer Madness.
Another festival, this time Bananada Festival in Goiânia. The show was filmed with three cameras, fact that would make this concert a great video record of the band, entirely available on the internet; new compositions and surf music classics mix themselves creating one of the best live recordings of the band.
They go into studio again, this time in São Carlos, where they choose Le Bott, owned by César Bottinha, famous local guitarist, who played with important names of Brazilian music such as Daúde and Itamar Assumpção.
Five new compositions were recorded and Bottinha’s co-production would lead the way to the sonority the band had been searching for years. Vintage equipments and live caption settled this sonorous register as a real recording pattern for the band, that would return to the same studio less than a year later.
Four out of the five songs recorded four were chosen to compose their first 7” vinyl EP: Tiki Twist, El Bongo, Center of the Universe and Lespion Invisible en Vacances. Later they go to the first performance in a real Surf Championship, at Massaguaçu beach in Caraguatatuba, then more concerts through SP, two important ones with carioca band Os Pazuzus, produced by Groselha Fuzz from Ribeirão Preto.
In July 26, 2006 the daily edition of Surf Session Report aired with The Dead Rocks soundtrack, El Condor Pasa was the song chosen by the production of the show. Surf Session Report is the biggest surf podcast of the world, entirely produced in Hawaii, in the town of Honolulu. Every episode of Surf Session Report is watched by more than 15.000 people, sometimes reaching an audience of 30.000. The show also airs on ABC World News Today (American television news show) and is edited on WIRED Magazine among other publications in Canada, Peru, Germany, Japan, etc. The show played other two songs of the band on another occasion, October 18 2006: BH-MG and Maui’s Sunset, both originally released in International Brazilian Surfs.
They soon follow to a four-concert tour in Distrito Federal, performing alongside Bois de Gerião and Super Stereo Surf at FUNARTE – National Art Foundation in Brasília; a promotional show at FNAC beside Michele Dias, in Taquaritinga, going then to Cuiabá in the state of Mato Grosso where the band performs in one the most important music festivals off-circuit, Festival Calango. After that they participate in the first Vila Independente festival promoted by Vila Dionísio in São José do Rio Preto alongside Rock Rocket, one of the main bands of Trama Virtual.
In São Paulo they participate of the launch party of the Brazilian surf music compilation REVERB BRASIL. Back to upstate SP they produce two Henry Paul Trio concerts, one in Araraquara, where they played together, and the other in São Carlos with carioca band Go!.
With that they face the responsibility of creating a show circuit for independent bands in upstate São Paulo, after the well succeeded concerts of Os Pazuzus e the rockabilly trio Henry Paul Trio. So they bring another band the Tosco Dudes, partners and friends from Londrina. Two concerts happen, one in Ribeirão Preto and another in São Carlos with the partnership of Groselha Fuzz.
At the end of the year the band perform in another show hosted by João Gordo, this time the GORDO FREAK SHOW, by MTV Brasil, playing all compositions of the Tiki Twist EP, that would be release the next week by Montro Discos.
A few weeks later the band performs live in national television in PROGRAMA DO JÔ, of Rede Globo. A modest interview by the stage and the band performs a fiery version of the classic Beach’s Bitch when Johnny Crash rips applause of the audience by coming off the stage during the ecstasy of the song.
The concerts season ends in Presidente Prudente – SP early December and litte to the end of the year the band goes into Le Boot studio e record seven more songs for a future album, among them the classic House of the Rising Sun in an improvised free-jazz version.
Tiki Twist is greatly acclaimed by the critics, considered album of the year by musician and producer Grabriel Thomaz of Autoramas, and was featured in many best of the year lists by several journalists and artists published by Rocks Press and Dynamite, but most importantly was that this time the band got 5 stars from the critic, musician and surf music guru, Mr. Phil Dirt, of reverbcentral.com.
2007 – Just another Tsunami: Crazy Music
Two months after the band’s last performance, the formation is altered: Billie The Tiki leaves the band for personal reasons and to fulfill his place and old friend is invited, Mr. Paul Punk. The irony of it all is that Paul Punk, Johnny Crash and Marky Wildstone had a band when they were only 16 years old. The musical reencounter, after so many bands and almost 15 years evoked a great creative force and pretty soon new compositions came up natural and powerfully.
Less than a month after the arrival of Paul Punk the band went into studio and recorded 6 new compositions; that added to the other seven previously recorded with Billie The Tiki make 13 songs for a possible new album. The band is currently working on some more compositions and versions so they can start mixing and finishing this that should be the group’s best work so far. Among the songs recorded with Paul Punk is a classic by Neil Diamond, famous in the voice of Johnny Cash, Solitary Man in a shivering instrumental surf version.
After two appearances in university events in São Carlos the band performs again in Belo Horizonte, at the 7º 1º Campeonato Mineiro de Surfe, this time opening for Mr. Daddy-O Grande, the fabulous masked guitar player for the American instrumental rock band Los Straitjackets, who compliments the band, marking the beginning of an incredible partnership. For a few months the band had been working on a possible tour with Daddy-O Grande, which ends up happening during May.
Daddy-O Grande and The Dead Rocks Brazilian Tour 2007 is one of the highlights of the band’s trajectory so far. Six concerts and a promotional recording caused this tour to be a true mark on surf music history of Brazil, and why not, of the world. For the first time a surf music band has the honor of touring the country with one of the greatest names of the genre.
The tour passed by São Paulo, with three unforgettable concerts, Bananada Festival in Goiânia and lastly Projeto Criolina at Calaf, in Brasília. The quartet, formed by Daddy-O Grande and The Dead Rocks, present to the public surf music classics like Perfidia and Sleep Walk, Los Straitjackets classics and a few compositions by Daddy-O Grande, recently recorded with Mexican band Lost Acapulco. The 50-minutes-shows rocked all the stages they’ve passed by and gave opportunity for the most varied audiences to appreciate this unprecedented event for national surf music.
Brasil Instro/Surf vol.17" ( Mondo77 records- 2005)
Lost At Sea Volume 27" ( FuzzNsurf- 2006)
Braziliam Surf A Go Go12" ( Groovie Records- 2007)
Tiki Twist7" ( Monstro records- 2006)
Brazilian International SurfsCD ( Monstro records- 2005)
One Million Dollar Surf BandCD ( Monstro records- 2008)
* [http://www.deadrocks.com.br/ The Dead Rocks Official Site]
* [http://www.monstrodiscos.com.br/artistas.php Monstro Discos]
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