Reports: Phil Dirt recalls…

There was the time that those Viking bonzos the Apemen came to town.
They were on an arts grant from their government, qualified by playing at a single gig in Washington. On their way back, they stopped in at KFJC.

The Apemen

© Ben Willemsen –

That’s the short version. The long version goes something like this:
Several phone calls traded between my house and the Netherlands resulted in the band agreeing to play at KFJC when they come to America on vacation. They’re playing one gig in Washington, so they are bringing just their guitars. At this juncture, they are a four piece band, two guitars, bass and drums. I agreed to set them up with a drum kit, and amps. The drums and bass amp were supplied by the Berzerkers, one guitar amp by Rick Escobar of the Woodies, and one by Uncle Al. Three days before they were due to show up at KFJC, I got a phone call. While on their way to the US, they stopped in England and picked up a keyboard player. Could I arrange for a Farfisa.
Well, that was a bit much, but the Berzerkers came up with a keyboard from the infamous Papa Don of “Windsurfing” fame. On the day of the visit, Berzerker Dino Francesconi had brought his Stratocaster just in case.

About a half hour before the Apemen were due at KFJC, I got a call from Oakland. They lost their bass player somewhere. He went to the store three hours ago and never came back. They’re going out to look for him. Then the bassist calls and says he’s on his way, but doesn’t know where the band is. Well, an hour and a half later, they arrive at KFJC. The first words out of their mouth come after looking at Dino’s Strat. “Is that the only guitar?” They had come with nothing. Uncle Al races home, returning with his Strat. A frantic phone call to an ex-KFJC staffer got us a bass after about 45 minutes, which was Brought over from the East Bay. Then the bass player says “But I’m left handed” to which I replied “you’re gonna play it!”
They played the loudest fastest highest energy surf set I’ve ever seen… crazy men with a vision of surf honed in Holland. With the first tune, Uncle Al and I looked at each other, and we knew it was all worth it.

Phil Dirt hosts the “Surfs Up” radio broadcast (KFJC: 89.7 FM) at KFJC radio and runs Reverb Central

Surf’s Up! is the longest running instrumental surf show in the world, and has been the catalyst for the Bay Area surf music scene. Surf’s Up! is more than just surf music. Phil Dirt provides color with facts and rumors about the artists. He doesn’t just play “Pipeline” and “Wipe Out.” Surf’s Up is not the Ventures and the Beach Boys. It is REAL surf music–no vocals. It is filled with obscuros and unreleased gems, live performances, new releases, and special remixes. It is Surf Beat from all over the world, both historic and leading edge.

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