Retro surf bands are a common sight along the musical landscape and, with any genre strain, vary in quality from the great to the abysmal. Most take their cue from the legendary style and recordings of Dick Dale
, the acknowledged king of the surf guitar, some choose to make the music much more complicated than it was ever intended to be while still others opt for a more roots sloppy approach, reducing the style down to little more than a few swift kicks at their reverb unit and everything played at warp speed 10. One of the very few groups that get the bb's into the proper stylistic holes are the Torquays
, a group of 40 somethings who were playing it when this music was new and cutting edge and still know how to approach it with the enthusiasm (and sometimes the skill) of teenagers. Formed in 1990, the group consists of guitarist Gerry Gordon, who actually had a California surf band for a while in the 1960s with the same name that never recorded. After meeting up with guitarist and axe repairman extraordinaire Steve Soest
(who also was Dick Dale
's bass player for a number of years), the two enlisted Duff Paulsen on drums and Don Parra on bass and a new version of the Torquays
was born. Playing almost exclusively around their native Orange County in California (long a hotbed for many of the original surf bands), the group keeps their style totally traditional, even down to playing it on vintage equipment. Their debut album, A Date with the Torquays, released in 1998, shows the band to good advantage, exploring time honored instrumentals (no vocals whatsoever) and the ability to write new material that has the same feel as the originals. As retro surf bands go, the Torquays
are about as real deal as you can get.