A Brief History of Susan & the SurfTones...
By Susan

The band started out in the fall of 1993 in Rochester, NY as The SurfTones. A DIY cassette recording found its way to Gerd Dietrich in Hamburg, Germany. Gerd signed the band to his label, Gee-Dee Music, in 1995 and changed the band's name to Susan & The SurfTones. Our first CD, "Without A Word" was released in November 1995. In April of 1996 Dave Anderson (bass) Judd Williams (drums) and I made a trip to Hamburg to play at Grosse Freiheit 36 with The Looney Tunes and The Space Hobos. "Thunderbeach", our second Gee-Dee release came out in September of 1997. We went back to Germany for a tour with The Looney Tunes and Husky & The Sandmen. Brian Goodman was the drummer on this tour.

After the 1997 European Tour the band "relocated" to Albany, NY. when both Brian and I moved there from Rochester. Kim13 joined the band on Farfisa and Vox organ and Buck Malen joined on bass. This line-up recorded our third Gee-Dee release, "Bitchin'" which was released in December, 1998 and did a month-long European tour in February, 2000. A four-song EP, "This Ain't No Beach Party" was released for that tour on Freddy Spaepen's Surf Waves label. Our live CD "All The Beat, All The Best" was recorded in April of 2000 with Dave Anderson back on bass and released in October, 2000 by Surf Waves.

Immediately after that recording I moved west to Portland, Oregon. I joined up with Kim, Brian and Dave for yet another month-long European tour in February 2001. Our versions of "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance" and "Runaway" appeared on OmOm Music's "That's New Pussycat" and "American Grafitti Revisted" compilations.

Our next release was a full-length compilation CD of all our original material to date (2001) on Acme Brothers Records. The title of this CD is "The Originals," perhaps a bit unimaginative but certainly to the point.

My move west was made with the idea that it would be temporary. That turned out not to be the case. When it became evident that I would not be going back east it was time to re-form S&ST on the west coast. Avory Gray joined on combo organ.

In July 2002, we went to California for a short tour with Bob Becker on drums and Jim Fritz on bass. Jim and Bob joined us for the recording of "Wrap-Around," our full-length CD which was released by OmOm Music in December of 2002. We also have two tracks on OmOm's "Jesus Christ Surferstar" compilation. Bob and Jim were with us for "King Herod's Song." Avory and I tackled "Everything's Alright" by ourselves after a phone call from Rob at OmOm looking for a speedy recording of the tune so he could get the comp released in its entirety.

In 2003 Avory, Dan Ferguson (bass) and Matt Miner (drums) and I traveled to San Francisco to play at the Hotel Utah with Pollo Del Mar and Surf Cinema. We also appeared on Phil Dirt's radio show at KFJC. We had a great time at both gigs.

2004 brought our next full-length CD "Night In Old Town" on Acme Brothers Records as well as some great comps... KFJC's "Curl Rider" and Rickshaw Records' "Charlie Does Surf," a tribute to the Clash.

Marky Kelly joined us in the studio in 2004, lending her lead keyboard to a few songs on "Night In Old Town." John Abel joined us on drums in 2005. We played at a "Beach Night" game for Portland's NBA team, the Trailblazers, to a crowd of about 15,000. We also played the NW Tiki Crawl in 2005. We had a great time playing with the Surf Coasters (Japan) during their visit to Portland.
As far as recordings go, in 2005 we had the title track on OmOm's "Hair" tribute compilation. Our version of "Chinese Rock" was included on "Ramoneskidz" a Russian, you guessed it, Ramones tribute comp.
In November 2005, we traveled to Seattle WA to play at the Rockrgrl Conference.

2006 found me, Avory, Marky and Matt back in the studio working up a digital-only release called "Fluid Drive." I'm playing bass on this one as well as lead and rhythm guitar.

In 2007 Avory and I lost our minds completely and recorded a full-length CD tribute to one of our favorite bands, the Velvet Underground. Check the links on our front page for details.
Summer of 2007 found Avory and I still camped out at Portland Underground Recording, Portland, Oregon with owner-engineer-producer Prince Strickland (Elwood), working on new approaches to new original material. Some of you may know Elwood from his CD, "The Parlance Of Our Time" released by Palm Pictures.

"Untitled #10" with six new originals, two new covers, a Velvet Underground tune and two of the new originals remixed by Prince, was released in the fall of 2007. I'm playing guitar and bass, Avory and I are sharing drum duty and Marky's got keyboards covered... just a bunch of girls born during the Eisenhower administration... You gotta check out the remixes. It's a brave new world.

A few of our tunes were used on MTV's "The Real World: Sydney."

In 2008 I went to music school, so to speak. I studied the songs of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Robert Johnson, Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. I learned them inside out on guitar and bass and walked away with a whole new understanding of Rock and Roll music and the Blues.

Since 2011 I've recorded as a solo artist. There are two Susan SurfTone albums, three EPs and a new EP due out in July 2016, so visit the new website, susansurftone.com for the latest on the music, press, and more.
Follow Susan SurfTone on Twitter:@susansurftone.

Up A Tree With The SurfTones...

(1) Susan (2) Kim13 (3) Avory (4) Matt (5) Dan (6) Dave (7) Brian (8) Buck (9) Marky

Our Executive Producer

Jack Manchester

Back to top | Home