Going To A Rock & Roll Dance Party
(Surf Music Unlimited)


Anytime The Supertones release a new album is primetime for surf-rock guitar fans. On the band’s 2015 CD Going To A Rock & Roll Dance Party, guitarist Tim Sullivan and company summon up 17 vintage instrumental rock classics played Supertones style. The Supertones have always featured top musicians and the current band seems to have hit a groove with Tim getting solid support from band mates, Simon Chardiet (bass, guitar, production), Seth Lipscher (guitars) and on drums Sammy Baker and Tommy Mattioli. Although clearly a great composer of the instrumental rock genre, on Going To A Rock & Roll Dance Party Tim Sullivan and company have chosen to cover 17 songs everyone seems to know and love including “Tequila”, “La Bamba”, “Yellow Jacket” and “Tel-Star” while including lesser known songs that work well played Supertones style. From the following March 2015 interview with Tim explains, “These are tunes we play at gigs that get people movin’ and groovin’. So far this has been a very popular record and people dig it." The CD artwork is colorful, featuring pics of the band in action. Although Going To A Rock & Roll Dance Party is a veritable party album filled with golden chestnuts from the heyday of surf-rock, there’s also another Supertones album worth hearing called All For A Few Perfect Waves that features 19 Supertones originals. As noted earlier, The Supertones are also planning another CD of all original music to be released in later in 2015 called The Sweet Ride. In the meantime, Going To A Rock & Roll Dance Party is another superb Supertones CD that will rock your socks off. presents a new interview with
Tim Sullivan of THE SUPERTONES

: What’s new in New York? How has the winter been? Lots of snow right? And how’s your guitar shop in the Hotel Chelsea? Any new developments in the guitar world for you this year?

Tim Sullivan: This winter was by far the worst that I have ever seen here in NYC and this was the third straight winter that we've had that was very very cold this last one being the worst. We did miss the big snow storm but there was still plenty of snow. The guitar shop is doing great. When I started working there in the early 1980's when it was still a record store and we wanted to make it into a music store so we cleaned out all the records and started to do only musical instruments.

And that’s when we met and hooked up with Les Lavia, who was the main vintage guitar supplier to all the stores on 48th Street in NYC and he was looking for a store to work from and do business so we started selling mostly vintage guitar and that was the mid 1980's. It has since moved to the other side of the hotel into a smaller space and is doing well. I don't work in the store per say any more but I do buy and sell with them so I am still very much part of the store. As far what’s new in the guitar world I am very stoked that Fender has been putting out some very cool new copies of all their great guitars. I just wish I had more room to own some new Fender stuff. Thank you Fender. My home town where I was born Corona, Ca.

mwe3: The Supertones are still making waves in the instrumental surf rock scene. Who’s in the current Supertones lineup in 2015?

Tim Sullivan: Yeah, we’re still playing a lot of shows all over the place. The last few years we played out on the boardwalk at Rockaway Beach, about ten times and it was out of control. Last summer we played a tour of California and did the Surf Guitar 101 Convention in CA. that was fantastic and a few gigs in Rincon Puerto Rico and the rest of the time we spent recording and learning and writing new tunes to record. These days it pretty much the same guys with Simon Chardiet on the bass, Tommy Vibes on the drums, and Seth Lipsher rhythm guitar. Sometimes live we might have a percussionist or Jay Braun on second rhythm guitar and myself, Timothy C. Sullivan on lead guitar.

: Tell us about Going To A Rock & Roll Dance Party. Does Dance Party follow the success of Mysto Incognito and how did you decide on the track lineup? I know you wanted to make a feel good record this time around. How would you compare Dance Party to Mysto Incognito?

Tim Sullivan: Well with Mysto we wanted to make heavier, darker record with mostly originals. I think there a couple of covers on there, but, with the Dance Party record we were going to do all classic surf covers with no originals. The vibe was going be an album you could to dance to and play at a dance party... a happy feel good vibe. These are tunes we play at gigs that get people movin’ and groovin’. So far this has been a very popular record and people dig it. When we wrote the track order out we tried and have the best tune first and not have too many tunes that are alike, next to each other, while saving the coolest one for last.

: Tell us about the lead off track on R&R Dance Party “Russian Roulette”.

Tim Sullivan: “Russian Roulette” is a song by The Nevegans from Las Vegas. This is just a fun tune to kick off with, we usually start live sets with this tune.

mwe3: “The Hearse” is a great second track. Another driving rocker. An Al Casey original? Didn’t he recently pass away in 2006?

Tim Sullivan: Yes Al died a few years ago. I think that this is one of Lee Hazelwood’s tunes he wrote for Al Casey's Surfing Hootenanny and the Astronauts’ first record which he produced. He wrote most of the tunes for both of those albums. I love this tune and it’s a lot of fun to play.

mwe3: Track 3 “K-39” is originally by The Challengers and when did you first hear it?

Tim Sullivan: Yes this is one of theirs and a tribute to them. The Challengers are one of our biggest influences. I've been lucky to get to know and be friends with those guys... really one of the first surf bands and great guys.

mwe3: Track 4 “Mr. Rebel” was an Eddie And The Showmen track right? It goes all the way back to 1964. Tell us about Eddie And The Showmen.

Tim Sullivan: Eddie is my hero and maybe my favorite surf guitarist. I wanted to put this out on this album to thank him. I was lucky enough to get to know him and spend some time with him taking about surfing. He was a surfer first and for most a true original. RIP surf brother.

mwe3: Track 5 on Dance Party is the most famous instrumental in the world “Tequila”. Do you now who wrote it and who recorded it first? The Champs back in 1958? How did you choose to arrange the song?

Tim Sullivan: It is just one of those tunes that everybody knows and people will get up and start dancing. I think The Champs wrote it and at some point Glen Campbell played with them. Not sure if he played on the record but he probably toured them before moving to California in the early ‘60s.

mwe3: Track 6, “La Bamba” has a great guitar lick but it’s rarely heard as an instrumental. Have you always liked that song? Did Richie Valens write it? B-side to “Donna”?

Tim Sullivan: Well we used the Ventures’ arrangement, which has a few modulations in it which is not good for a singer! This one of those classic Mexican folk songs that Richie rocked up on his Del-fi recordings. It’s also a blast to play to a live audience, people go nuts every time.

mwe3: Is track 7 “My Favorite Martian”, a Bobby Fuller 4 original? Is Bobby Fuller an unsung hero of the 1960s surf-rock genre?

Tim Sullivan: This is one of my favorite surf tunes. The first time I heard it was on one of those early surf music compilations, Bustin'’ Surfboards and I’m sure those guys wrote it.

mwe3: Track 8, “Yellow Jacket” has The Ventures written all over it. Do you remember what album it first appeared on?

Tim Sullivan: Yes it's from the Ventures’ album Colorful Ventures and it's a Nokie tune. Needless to say I am huge Nokie and Ventures fan.

mwe3: Track 9, “Whittier Blvd.”. I saw Thee Midniters did it back in the 1960s. Is that a lesser known track?

Tim Sullivan: I know it was a big hit with all the hodads and inland greasers in L.A. It’s a great dance tune. Randy Nauert turned me on to it. He said it was always a big hit at their gigs back in the day. He was the bass player with The Challengers and said when he played that opening bass lick people would go nuts.

mwe3: Track 10, “Baja” is quite well known. Is that one of the penultimate surfing songs?

Tim Sullivan: This is another Lee Hazelwood tune that became a classic that everybody covered. I’m not sure if Al Casey or the Astronauts covered it first.

mwe3: Track 11 is “Bulldog”. I guess most people don’t remember The Fireballs but George Tomsco is one of the unsung heroes of instrumental rock.

Tim Sullivan: Yes, all the early surf and instro bands covered it. I got to meet George Tomsco and play his favorite Jazzmaster.

mwe3: Track 12 “Bombora” is not well known. Is that the Atlantics track?

Tim Sullivan: This also is one of the very early surf tunes which was written and recorded by the original Surfaris who were from central California and had a guy on Hawaiian steel guitar. My favorite version is by Jon & The Nightriders on the Surfbeat 80' album.

mwe3: Track 13, “Intoxica” isn’t well known. The Revels or The Centurions? Good driving beat.

Tim Sullivan: As a very young kid, maybe 11 or 12, I had this record that was given to me by a little older surfing buddy, called Surfs Up. This was on it. Always loved it and was one of the early tunes I learned. I don't remember who covered it, but was written by the Revels. I still have that album.

mwe3: Track 14, “Latina” has a very exotic melody. Is that an overlooked standard?

Tim Sullivan: Yes, another very early surf tune that everybody covered once. My favorite versions is by Jon & The Nightriders.

mwe3: Track 15, “Paranoid” is quite unusual in that it’s the Black Sabbath song played surf-rock / Supertones style. What made you try that one with the band?

Tim Sullivan: Our producer Jay Braun suggested it. He had this idea to do a complete Black Sabbath surf record, which we still might do, but we learned this one and played it at every gig... needless to say it is a very popular song for us.

mwe3: Track 16, “Soul-Beat” is another unknown track. Where did you find that one? Who’s playing sax on the Supertones version?

Tim Sullivan: That would be Hank Logan on sax. He’s a good friend of Simon's and top session musician.

mwe3: Track 17 is a Supertones version of “Tel-Star” that closes the CD. Is “Tel-star” the most famous instrumental ever written? Do you have favorite versions? The Supertones do a great job on this classic.

Tim Sullivan: Yes, I love the Joe Meek version the best. It’s just so spaced out that it’s way head of its time. Also, it was the first English tune to make the US charts pre-Beatles. The Ventures version is the one I heard first.

mwe3: Also around the same time as I heard Going To A Rock And Roll Dance Party” I also heard the Supertones album All For Few Perfect Waves which is mostly original music that you wrote. Can you tell us something about All For Few Perfect Waves, when it was recorded? Was that one of the last Golly Gee releases by The Supertones? What happened to Golly Gee Records and where is Mel these days?

Tim Sullivan: Yes, this is the last thing we did with Mel and Golly Gee Records. We recorded it in California with producer Mark Neill around 2006. This was never an official release by Golly Gee because there was
some kind of set back with Mark and Mel so we never got a copy of the un-mastered tracks until about 4 or 5 years later. So when we got a copy of it, it was still unmastered so I mastered it and added a few new tracks to it and put it out as All For Few Perfect Waves, which I must say is a really great record by us.

mwe3: What other plans do The Supertones have for 2015? I remember you were talking about Going To A Rock And Roll Dance Party in 2013 and you also mentioned another album called The Sweet Ride too. What are the plans for the coming year?

Tim Sullivan: Well I plan on finishing that up maybe sometime this Summer. We have about 8 original songs in the can right now and a few new tunes we want to do. There are some tunes I always wanted to record including two tunes by The Ventures - “The Lonely Sea” and “Changing Tides” and a new instro by Marty Stuart called “All The Pretty Horses”. Jay Braun, our producer, wrote a couple cool tunes that I want to record. We do have quite a few shows coming up this Summer out at Rockaway Beach and around town so we'll be busy doing the live gigs as well.


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