Surf music! This all-inclusive instrumental form got a bit of a boost in the early 1990s, when Dick Dale’s surf rendition of the traditional tune “Misirlou” was featured as the opening theme to Pulp Fiction. Surf is still going strong today, though without quite as much media attention. This weekend the Melody Inn will see a celebration of surf by Indianapolis and Chicago bands.
The Madeira, headed up by Ivan Pongracic, have several members with Indianapolis roots. This month they’re featured as one of the favorite Myspace artists in Guitar Player magazine.
“This is pure music; there’s no crap about it,” Pongracic says. “It’s fun, it can be dark, it can be extremely emotional, and you don’t have to deal with clichés in the lyrics.”
Eleven-year veterans the Cocktail Preachers have played with the Madeira several times, both in Indy and the Cocktail Preachers’ home base of Chicago.
“We try to mix it up with some jazzy and lounge sounds, some of the Middle Eastern surf, and a few of the old standards,” says guitarist Steve Panchisin. “We take songs that aren’t surf songs, like ‘Rudy Can’t Fail’ and some stuff from the White Stripes and Green Day, and turn them into surf.”
“That song from Pulp Fiction incorporates an old Egyptian song, thousands of years old,” Pongracic adds. “Dick Dale heard his Lebanese grandfather playing it, and that’s what got him interested. It’s really become a melting pot for all sorts of outside influences.”