Asbury Surf Music Interview: The Fathoms

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We’re proud to be one of the sponsors of the second annual Asbury Park Surf Music Festival. The fest will be taking place on Saturday July 11th at the world famous Asbury Lanes in, you guessed it, Asbury Park, New Jersey.

Massachusetts is not the first place that comes to mind when it comes to surfing, or even surf rock. Luckily, The Fathoms are here to prove us wrong. The long-time purveyors of New England surf rock have etched themselves into the DNA of popular surf rock. Recently, I spoke with the co-founder of the Asbury Park Surf Music Festival, Vincent Minervino, and he told me that this band created one of his all-time favorite surf records, Fathom This! This is mighty high praise coming from a man who’s life (and sometimes) livelihood is based around the performance and enjoyment of surf rock. Recently, we caught up with Frankie Blandino of The Fathoms to talk about their place in history, Mass surf rock and performing at the AP Surf Music Fest this weekend.

The Fathoms Are: Frankie Blandino, Rob Amaral, Neil Curran, and Steve McCrossan.

We Formed In: 1994-1995 as an offshoot of my rockabilly trio The Cranktones

We’re Based Out Of: The Boston area.

The Story Behind Our Name: There’s no real story behind the name other than the fact that it’s tough to come up with a cool name and when I finally came up with The Fathoms it was like a light bulb being illuminated and every body said yeah that’s it!

Our Sound Has Been Likened To: Our sound in the early days was very similar to The Astronauts which is what the band was loosely based on but since then we have branched out into many different areas of instrumental music and also do some vocals.

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You’re based out of the Massachusetts area. That doesn’t sound like a haven for surf music – is there good surfing, and a strong surf music scene up in Mass?

I think surf and instrumental music is sort of an underground worldwide phenomenon at this point. I know nothing about actual surfing per say I just play music that happens to be labeled surf.

What’s been your proudest moment as a band? What’s been one of the most outrageous/unforgettable moments you’ve had as a band?

In the past, with the original members, we did shows with The Ventures, ? And The Mysterians, Los Straitjackets and put out several recordings and had a couple of tunes used in films.

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What do you love about being in The Fathoms?

I really enjoy playing with my Fathoms’ buddies and having a good time. The present incarnation of the band is made up of guys that I’ve known for 30 plus years but never was in a band with before. So, we were friends first, band mates second and everything runs smoothly.

There’s an endless sea of surf bands, and bands influenced by the surf sound — what separates you guys from everyone else?

Originally we were set apart by the fact that we had an outstanding sax player David Sholl who unfortunately passed away a few years ago. Many of the original surf bands from the 60s used sax as an integral part of the surf sound. Also I’d like to think that our songwriting sets us apart.

You’ll be performing at The Asbury Surf Music Festival — what drew you to come play this show?

We were asked to play the festival and we’re honored to do so.

What is it about surf music that inspired you to form a band and play this type of music?

I just love guitar music in general and have always been fascinated with it since I was a kid. My father played guitar, taught me how to play and we always had guitar music playing in the house. Mostly Django Reinhardt recordings. I’ve played many different styles of music over the years and loved all of them but I somehow found my niche writing and playing guitar instrumental music.

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What is the ultimate surf rock anthem of all-time, and why?

To me the ultimate rock anthem to me is the Johnny Smith tune ” Walk Don’t Run” as interpreted by The Ventures. This one tune probably inspired thousands if not millions of kids to pick up an electric guitar and learn to play. I’m talking pre-Beatles, which is another story.

What is your ultimate go-to surf-inspired/beachy style drink (e.g. Mai-Tai, Zombie, Margarita, a specific beer, etc.)?

I’m not really a mixed drink kind of guy. I prefer a shot of fine Bourbon and a beer chaser over a cocktail. But when I do have a mixed drink it’s usually a Manhattan.

What are you most excited about for the band for the rest of 2015?

I’m really excited and looking forward to doing some recording in the near future and putting out another Fathoms CD/LP or EP and just having fun playing shows with my friends for people who can appreciate this kind of music.

The Fathoms perform this Saturday at The Asbury Park Surf Music Festival. Their set begins at 7:10pm.

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