Feature for July/August 2018
The Surge! Revisited
Name: The Surge!
Genre: Surf / Instro
Geographical Area: Atlanta GA
Interview with: Eddie Katcher on 7/15/18 by email
Last Interview date: 10/05
Band formed: 1997
NESMA member since: 2005
1. What is the current lineup of your band?
Eddie Katcher, guitar
Frank “Mako” Diebel, guitar
“Wild” Bill Buckhalt, bass
Bobby Earnhardt, drums
2. Has your lineup changed since your last interview?
Yes, as a matter of fact, a couple of the “original” guys retired from the group several years back. However, our current lineup has been together for some time now.
3. Since your last interview has your music taken on new or different directions?
With the addition of Bobby on drums, we’ve made a concerted effort to tweak The Surge! into an even more traditional surf direction and sound.
4. What NESMA bands have you had an opportunity to perform with, or share a show with?
(We have shared a stage with NESMA bands) many times and we always look forward to those opportunities when we can. There are way too many to list.
5. What bands of any genre have you played with or networked with?
We have been lucky enough to be active in the Southern Surf Stomp family of instrumental bands, as well as some of the local rock-a-billy/classic country bands.
Networking is always a positive endeavor. Most of our shows are the result of our networking with other groups. The list is really too large to squeeze in here. However, one of our favorite groups to appear with is Caroline and the Ramblers, Atlanta’s true classic ‘50’s/’60’s country/rock-a-billy flavored band.
6. What is the break down of cover vs. original material in your live shows and/or recordings?
Interesting… Over the last few years, The Surge! has performed almost completely original material. Currently we have about 35 originals we can choose from. That being said, we do try to toss in an occasional classic surf or instrumental cover, or a song not normally considered instrumental, which we cover as an instrumental, if it blends in well with the surf sound. Our cover of “The Way” by Fastball comes to mind.
On the other side of the coin, we have also performed as an “alter-ego” band we refer to as “The Racket Squad” which performs mostly classic ‘50’s/’60’s instrumentals sans the reverb. The Squad is comprised of the same band members, just a different presentation. We perform with different guitars and a backline of blackface Fender amps as opposed to our signature white guitars, and blonde amps.
7. What recording have you done since your last interview?
Several years back we released “Dam!” rev 2.0.1, which was our first all-original CD release. Currently we have enough new original material to begin recording our next release. It too will be comprised of entirely original material.
8. Were does your band typically practice?
“The Boatwerx” is our nickname for the room in my (Eddie’s) basement where we rehearse as well as record. We have a 24 track recording setup down there, which is centered around a Mackie 32-8 console and an Alesis HD 24 hard disk recorder. So far, I have resisted the temptation to go “Pro Tools.” Well, you have to admit, our going digital was bad enough… We call it “The Boatwerx” because over the years I’ve built boats and made a lot of sawdust in the other room down there. Built a lot of amp cabinets there as well.
9. What does your band typically wear for a performance?
We still always try to dress alike and to wear dark shirts that contrast with our white Fender guitars.
10. Do you ever have additional performers on stage with you?
Not usually, we are certainly capable of causing a train wreck on stage without any outside assistance.
11. How do you continue to get gigs?
Same was as always…….we “beg” for them. Occasionally someone is nice enough to call us.
12. Approximately how often do you perform out?
Now-adays, maybe three or four times annually. We are all busy doing other things. We do try to rehearse on a fairly regular basis as we truly enjoy each other’s company and making noise.
13. What have you found to be the single most effective promotional tool you’ve used to further your band’s musical path?
Since we don’t really have an active website or Facebook presence, I’d say just staying in touch with as many of the movers and shakers as possible.
14. What’s the most interesting performance experience you’ve had since your last interview?
Our recent opening for Eddie Angel, at the Southern Surf Stomp at Kavarna in Decatur, GA immediately comes to mind. There were a lot of people in attendance, they were into it big, and very supportive.
15. What have you gotten out of being a NESMA member so far?
Simple……fellowship. NESMA is a great group of kindred spirits.
16. Have you had opportunities to promote NESMA? If so, what have you done?
Being miles away from the heart of NESMA makes it a bit of a challenge, but I frequently plug us (NESMA) to others interested in playing or following surf and instrumental rock.
17. Do you have any suggestion on how NESMA can grow?
Keep searching for opportunities to recruit new bands with similar mindsets.
18. Anything else?
We’ve been really fortunate to being able to make so many friends playing and listening to surf. So many of them are true believers. We are lucky to be a part of this great family of those who, as Sticks Stetchkin says, “get it.” Our group has been active now for over twenty years. We’ve opened for the Beach Boys, played twice at surf music “ground zero,” Huntington Beach, CA, crossed paths with hundreds if not thousands of other like mined fans, and been lucky enough to release four CD’s. Each of us in the band have three great friends to share this experience with. I don’t think I can add much to that.
Any plans on retiring? Absolutely not.