Saturday, June 30, 2012

Endless Summer (Part Two)

By Tim Armstrong, Groovy Reflections Team Member

This is part 2. For part 1, click here.

I groggily awoke the next morning to the wonderful smell of the sea and to the even more wonderful smell of coffee brewing on our camp stove.

Then it was time to grab the boards. We trekked down to the beach and checked out the waves. Not much of a swell going on but we decided to paddle out anyway and just enjoy the drifting. We tried a couple of swells, but nothing gave us a good ride so we just stayed out there, eventually falling asleep.

Something in the water bumped my friend Steve’s leg, then my friend Greg’s.  We thought… SHARK!!!  It turned out to be a seal, but we paddled to catch any swell we could to get back to shore. We hadn’t realized how long we had been out there, and, during that time, the tide was receding. As we reached the shore break, we discovered something else – we had to carry our boards across about 75 feet of slippery, rocky beach to get to the sand! Finally, with foot pain from cuts and bruising, we reached the sand and just collapsed on the beach.

The next day the surf was too rough. As we were waxing down our boards, one dude walked past us carrying the two pieces left of his board after his venture out!  The following day, however, proved to be perfect. I was excited! This was my big chance to finally surf on a board! After some final pointers from my friend Steve, I paddled out feeling a huge adrenaline rush. 

On my fourth try to catch a wave, I DID! I didn’t realize how hard it would be to stand up on a board, but my friend Steve had given me good pointers and I jumped right up. I was in a big wave that was moving fast, and as I raced down the face of it just at the curl the peaceful sound of the wave, the air rushing past and the intoxicating smell of the ocean mesmerized me. Then I realized that if I didn’t cut back soon I was going to plow into another group of surfers! 

I tried to remember how to cut back and eventually made a hard left into the developing face of the wave. Before I knew it, I was flying back up over the top of the wave; only a “leash” now tethered the board and me. With big splashes, we both hit the water. I retrieved the board, got back on and headed to shore. 

I had done it! I had caught a wave!  Just like the Beach Boys song, I was sitting on top of the world!

I caught three more decent waves that day and many more in the years to follow; but that trip, that day and that wave will forever define for me my perfect Endless Summer!  Cowabunga!

For part 1, click here. Visit us on our websiteFacebook, Twitter, or G+ and GRoove on! 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Endless Summer (Part One)

By Tim Armstrong, Groovy Reflections Team Member

This time of year always brings back fond memories of camping trips and family vacations for me, but my fondest memory of summer is one particular year, 1976, just after my junior year in high school.

I had lived all my life in Los Angeles and so obviously had been to the beach a zillion times. Most of my beach experiences were good and I loved the smell of the sea.  I had cousins (10 years older than I) that lived directly across Pacific Coast Highway from Malibu beach. There we would have beach cookouts and my cousins would teach my brother and me the fun and exciting world of body surfing in some pretty big swells and waves. 

There is nothing quite as exhilarating as flying through the surf toward shore in a giant tube of powerful seawater!  My cousins also introduced us early on to all the newest Beach Boys album releases, my favorite being “Pet Sounds”. Our visits there always ended up with me taking home a Beach Boys album or two that I would listen to for hours on my portable turntable at home.

Fast forward to the summer of 1976.  Shortly after their graduation, my surfing friends invited me to go camping with them at Leo Carrillo State Beach, north of Malibu. This was to be a “Surfing Safari” camping trip four days at the beach, with boards and all. I had never surfed on a board before, but my friend Steve said, “It’s a breeze”.  I was psyched up for this!
Leo Carrillo State Beach

However, I had to run it by my parents.  It took two weeks of pleading, begging and endless chores before they relented and allowed me my dream!  Now I was super psyched!!!  I played all my Beach Boys LP’s nonstop as I prepared for this trip, still a little nervous about not having surfed on a board – I didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of all my friends!

The day came, and so did my friends with surfboards and camping gear piled high onto an old Oldsmobile. I added mine and off we were on our Surfing Safari!  

At the campsite (actually two together), we built a bonfire, set up our tents and enjoyed the fresh beach air. Sometime later and somehow, beer arrived. With it came a friend with a guitar and we spent the whole night singing Beach Boys tunes.

Hearing the waves crash onto the shore that night, I was reminded that the next day was going to be my first chance to surf on a board, and was I nervous! Would I wipe out? Would I get hurt, or worse, would I drown?

For part 2, click here. Visit us on our websiteFacebookTwitter, or G+ and GRoove on! 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Camping it Up, Camping it Down.

By Guy Sharwood, Groovy Reflections Team Member

Our family went on a lot of camping vacations while I was growing up. What fascinated me, looking back, was how gradually "roughing it" progressed in the reverse direction. When I was a pre-schooler, it was exclusively canvas tents, Coleman lanterns, and open campfires. By the time my brother and I were teens, it was plush getaway cabins in Bass Lake or Huntington Lake, owned by various friends and business partners of my Dad's.

In the interim our summers were frequently spent in the rustic wooden cabins in Camp Fresno near Dinkey Creek. These were a cut above the canvas tents and a cut below the plush getaway cabins.

I never asked but I'd say in retrospect that Mom's influence factored heavily into the steady "upgrading." Given her druthers, Mom preferred going to the small cottage owned by our friends the Assids as she was more of a fan of the ocean than of the mountains. She was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama's sole seaport. Her preferences ran in more of an urban direction. She thought I looked "sloppy" in blue jeans (which is all I wear anymore).

And the canvas tent Dad would pitch in our backyard during the parts of summer when we stayed home was a major source of embarrassment to her. Our backyard at our corner house was fenceless and she lived in perpetual dread of people we would never meet driving up and down the street and seeing it.

Who knows, it must be that rebellious component in me that favored the basics. I still think of all the sleeping bags I've owned over the years as great companions. Whether we utilized them in our station wagon or our backyard (when the tent wasn't up) with all the stars supervising us, we saw that as the way to live.

In my 20s I especially loved going to our beloved Yosemite and securing a spot at the walk-in campground where we would pay the ranger a quarter per diem to roll out our bags and sleep alfresco. In my 40s it was the year-round canvas cabins in Yosemite's Curry Village.

That doesn't mean that I was above making compromises. When I got hungry I didn't bother with an open barbecue pit. I'd simply put on my hiking boots and and walk over to the Village to procure a cheeseburger, or a box of Wheat Thins.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

The Groovy Way Back Machine (Part 2)

By Groovy Reflections Team Members Pete, Maria, Guy, and Tim

For part one, click here.

Time to hear from the rest of the team and then we have a special groovy surprise for you.

Pete: I would love to have had a seat next to Sam Phillips at the Sun Studio console to hear the likes of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Charlie Rich, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison hone their craft. To have been a witness to the melding of musical notes that gave birth to all forms of rock and roll would have been amazing!! This was a time when the quality and innovation of the music was just as important, if not more important, than the money made off of the records sold. 

To me, it would have been the musical equivalent of being in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776 when the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence!!

Maria: Oh my goodness! The man in black was somewhat of a strong child's crush. The voice was soothing and the songs were rugged. He had such a broad musical perspective while in fact keeping morals strong in his family. I think that a lot of young girls probably had a crush on him. So tall, standing at 6' 2", that of a strong father figure who cared relentlessly about love and life and it showed. "Ring of fire" was my favorite song and oh my, what I wouldn't have given to get a chance to grab a hug from the "Man in Black".

Guy: Back in 1969 and 1970, country music, which has never faded or receded into the background, enjoyed a tremendous resurgence of popularity, and was going through an assimilation process with the rock and traditional folk idioms. 

It was a gradual process and had been going in that direction for quite a while. The Lovin' Spoonful's third album included Nashville Cats. Chris Hillman of the Byrds had a country/bluegrass background, and steered the band in that direction after David Crosby was fired from the group. Chris went on shortly to form the Flying Burrito Brothers. Hee Haw premiered in 1969 and mainstream audiences became more familiar with Buck Owens, Roy Clark, Loretta Lynn and Grandpa Jones. Ringo recorded Beaucoups of Blues in Nashville.

I was really into this at the time and harbored a desire to go to Tennessee, Nashville in particular, and check it out. That desire has never really gone away, although these days I'm not too heavily into contemporary country.

Tim: I grew up in Southern California and became aware of the surf scene at a young age. It was also the same time that Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys were very popular on the radio.  

Many days were spent at the beach, with me marveling at all the guys and their long surfboards riding the waves and partying on the beach with their gals. I longed to grow up to be just like Moondoggie!  That’s why I chose that as my vote.

And now here’s what YOU had to say: Presenting the results of our poll:

Dick Clark's American Bandstand is THE place  43% of you want to be. And just over one-third of you that want to be in that California sun. Thank you to all the GRoovy people that voted.

Want more Groovy Refections? Find us on our website, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Groovy Way Back Machine (Part One)

We recently ran a poll (click here if you haven't taken it yet) asking If you could go back in time, which of these would you choose?   
  • Dick Clark’s American Bandstand: Meet all the different guests from Lesley Gore to Paul Anka, the Monkees to The Byrds and be a featured dancer.
  • Drive your Woody (or other hot rod) to the beach for surfing and partying’ with the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, Frankie & Annette and all the rest.
  • Visit Motown and Chess records in their respective heydays with the likes of Smokey Robinson, The Supremes, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley etc.
  • Hang out in Memphis/Nashville with the stars of Sun Records and the Grand Old Opry, Johnny Cash, Elvis, Roy Orbison and others.
And here’s what three members of the Groovy Reflection team had to say:

Gerry: Swayed by the thought of ponying on television I’d have to go with American Bandstand though I think Hullabaloo might suit my personal style just a wee bit more.  Do I get to wear go-go boots? Sure hope so if Nancy Sinatra is a guest on the show; yeah, I can show how those boots are going to walk all over you! And since the show had moved to sunny California in 1964 I wouldn’t have to worry about those white boots getting dirty in the winter slush.

And when The Monkees come on the show, I’ll be shaking a tambourine too! And of course I’d only want to dance to a song if I felt that it had a good beat. After all, It’s My Party!

Paul: Make mine a one way ticket please!

I would love to have a chance to drive some of the classic hot rods of song: a Fuel Injected Stingray, a Little GTO, maybe a Chevy 409, or the classic 427 Cobra or that Little Deuce Coupe!

I’d drive them to the beach and see if the surf’s up! I have always loved the water and have never seen the big waves they have on the west coast. The closest I ever got was the beach/surfin’ movies in the 60’s. Would love to try surfing with Fabian, Frankie and Tab Hunter, heck, I’d even let Gidget teach me! And speaking of Gidget, what about all those beautiful ladies dancing on the beach? Annette, Shelly Fabares, Barabara Eden, Deborah Walley and even Nancy Sinatra! 

These were the people and music I grew up with. So hand me down my baggys, let me slip into my huarache sandals and then light the torches, fire up those guitars and we’ll party all night! This beach bum’s never coming back!

Joe: While all four choices are fascinating, I would HAVE to hang out in Memphis/Nashville with the stars of Sun Records and the Grand Old Opry.... Johnny Cash, Elvis, Roy Orbison and others. Visiting Sun Records where Carl Perkins joined Johnny, Elvis & Roy as "The Million Dollar Quartet" would make my life almost complete. 

The fellas who inspired The Beatles....where would we be now without Sam Phillips and Sun Records? And remember, Buddy Holly popped into Nashville before he made it big.....they actually turned down "That'll Be The Day". If I ran into Buddy.....oh boy!

Stay tuned for part 2! While you’re waiting, visit our website or join the parties on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and of course, the poll.