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Surf Music Still Rides With Tide : Headliners Jan & Dean Will Help Turn Back Clock for Ventura's 5th California Beach Party

April 26, 1990|BILL LOCEY

" . . . And you'll never hear surf music again. . . . "--Jimi Hendrix.

As the guitarist of all time, he's in there; but as a musical seer, forget it. Surf music, a musical genre indigenous to Southern California, never really went away.

But then we know that anyone in rock 'n' roll who ever played or sang a note will either come back or refuse to go away. And in rock, even being dead isn't half the dodge it used to be. Hendrix, Steve Goodman, Muddy Waters and Buddy Holly are still releasing records.

Every other station on the AM dial is seemingly playing oldies, which in turn, accounts for those ubiquitous Glad-to-Be-Working-Tours, a portion of which will pull up this weekend in Ventura. The Poinsettia City, you see, is sponsoring a three-day beach bash beginning Friday night with sort of a soiree on the sand.

The fifth annual California Beach Party will, one hopes, be more than a thinly veiled excuse to make us pay to park and to offer the City Council an opportunity to look silly in Hawaiian shirts.

The whole affair is intended to be a '60s-type beach party, somehow homogenized and made safe for the '90s. It's all about Frankie & Annette, hangin' 10 on that long board and cruisin' for the beautiful, blond California girls, in short, the Southern California beach lifestyle as immortalized by The Beach Boys, and this weekend's headliners, Jan & Dean.

Then again, life on the beach in Ventura was different in 1965. There was plenty of room to park (for free), no hotels, no broken glass, no lifeguards telling you not to swim near the pier, no zillion people per wave. You could have a party on the beach, build a fire on the beach--have fun at the beach.

Jan Berry and Dean Torrence, Jan & Dean, were second only to the Beach Boys when it came to hyping the Southern California life style. What at the time seemed like an innocent celebration of the Endless Summer, now 25 years later, finds the Golden State overbuilt, overcrowded, over-polluted and out of water. Thus, should we sign a petition to deport Jan & Dean for causing grievous damage to Southern California or should we go see them Saturday night at the Holiday Inn because "Surf City" still has a good beat?

Jan & Dean, both West Los Angeles locals, met in high school and had a string of hits from the late '50s to the mid-'60s, such as "Heart and Soul," "Linda," "Tennessee," "Baby Talk" and a No. 1 hit written by Brian Wilson, "Surf City"--every fin-head's dream where there are "two girls for every boy. . . ." And who can forget "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena," "Honolulu Lulu," "Ride the Wild Surf" or the first ever skateboard song, "Sidewalk Surfin'?"

Then in 1966, Berry crashed his Corvette into a parked truck on Sunset Boulevard in a scary example of life imitating art, in this case, the duo's biggie, "Deadman's Curve."

Berry was in a coma for months, suffered major brain damage and was unable to move or speak. But after years of grueling rehabilitation, he is able to perform again. And so shall it be Saturday night at the Ventura Holiday Inn.

Other old guys, who still rock and who will be on hand for the beach party, include The Coasters--a vocal group that first debuted in 1955. They have had personnel changes to rival the noon shift at McDonald's and lots of hits, including "Charley Brown," "Yakety Yak," "Along Came Jones," "Little Egypt" and "Poison Ivy."

Also performing this weekend will be Bobby Day, Donnie Brooks, The Bombers, The Chantays and The Gentrys. See you at the beach--just don't park in my spot. . . .

"My bench, my wave, shut up, go home!"

--The Surf Punks

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