Sunday, 25 June 2017

Jan & Dean Site Still Alive

Everything so far placed on this blog is at my site at The Official Jan & Dean Resourse. The site was set-up in 2004, and was put together by myself with the help of June Morgan. Throughout the first decade Dean O Torrence also helped us by sending in photographs and doing a few interviews etc.

I will slowly transfer everything I can from that site onto this blog, however at the moment I have limited time, so please bare with me! I'm got, but I've not forgotten about the legacy of Jan & Dean, and when time permits I will update this blog as often as I possibly can. 

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Jan & Dean Dore DooWop - Michael Doc Rock Kelly 1996

Jan & Dean Dore Doo-Wop – Michael “Doc Rock” Kelly. Discoveries Magazine 1996.

Don Altfeld

Jan Berry, youthful rock ‘n’ roll addict, attended University High in L.A. in the late 50s. Don Altfeld, youthful music writer for a national teen magazine as well as for the Uni High school newspaper, also attended Uni. Puzzled by the way the “pick hit of the week” in his column seemed to change each week between the time he submitted his copy to the school paper and the time the paper hit the school corridors, Don went down to the school print shop one day to look into this matter. There he ran into a boy with printers’ ink all over his hands and face. It was Jan.

Young Jan Berry was so in to music that he had been resetting the news type to reflect his own choice of hit of the week. Don forgave Jan; “From that point forward, Jan and I used to hang out in the garage daily.”

The garage?

The Garage

Yes, young Jan Berry had converted his parent’s garage into a makeshift recording studio. Jan’s tape recorded was an Ampex reel-to-reel machine, used on the movie “The Outlaw,” and given to his father Bill Berry by his employer, movie producer Howard Hughes. Jan’s microphone was a specimen “borrowed” from the Uni High school auditorium.

Exactly what did Jan and Don record in the garage? Once they recorded/”produced” a girl group singing a song called “Apollo.” The group included Mary Sperling (who later became DeeDee in Dick and DeeDee of “The Mountain’s High” fame”) and three other girls from a school club called The Flairs.

Jan’s own school club was The Barons. In the garage, the Barons recorded DJ shows, little radio programs on tape for school parties, with Jan and Don and other club members as the DJs. Over time, Jan and Don became fast and life-long friends. Don even ultimately earned composer credit on at least 30 songs that Jan & Dean recorded (“Dead Man’s Curve” for one), as well as songs for other artists such as Johnny Craford and Shelley Fabares.

Don Altfeld recalls those days with vivid and extreme fondness. “The second time I met Jan after the print shop incident was when he forged the vice principal’s signature on a note saying to report to the principal’s office. There was Jan waiting for me. We cut school, ended up drunk for the first time in my life, went to a drive-in movie, then down to the beach. We found a black group there singing a song called “Stranded In The Jungle.’ This was a group that was later known as the Jayhawks.

“Jan also stole an M-1 rifle from the armory of the ROTC. Jan was walking trouble. He had the FBI and the whole world looking for him. He punched a cop down at Pacific Ocean Park, an amusement park that no longer exists. Jan was trouble.

“Late at night, Jan would throw stones at my window on Montana and then he would climb in the window and work on songs. It was a devastating blow to me what happened to him, and there is no telling what he would have done had he not had that crash. He was so advanced.

“Jan even printed up stationary for our garage, calling us KJAN Radio, ‘The Voice of Bel-Air.’ There were a bunch of Baron Club brothers on the letterhead, Jan was the owner, I was K. Donald Adler, the program director. We sent a letter to all of the record companies saying that we were a new radio station and we were breaking in records in Bel-Air, California and we would get tons of records. At one time we had about 8,000 45s.”

The Barons’ tapes featured largely R&B waxings, including obscure classics such as the Monotones’ “Book of Love,” Duane Eddy’s “Movin’ and Groovin’,” Wee Willie Wain’s “Travlin’ Mood,” the Teen Queens’ “I Miss You,” Bill Bodaford and the Rockets’ “Tear Drops,” the Avons’ “Bonnie” and “Baby,” the Clairemonts’ “Angel of Romance,” the Lovers “Let’s Elope,” the Junior Misses’ “Never Never,” Sugar Pie and Pee Wee’s “Let’s Get Togethre,” and the Moonglows’ “Soda Pop,” “Sincerely,” and “I Knew from the Start.”

Every couple of weeks The Barons would take the surplus 45s up to a hill overlooking the Bel-Air golf course and play frisbee, going for distance and height. Somewhere up there in a little canyon there are thousand of old 45s.

“In fact, it was music that straightened Jan out,” assures Don. “When I met him, he was stealing hub caps - not because he needed the money. Just for the thrill. He’d steal them, then throw them away. He legitimized himself by stealing songs! Safer, and more rewarding!

“Jennie Lee”

The Barons’ membership included Jan, Don, Arnie Ginsberg, Dean Torrence, Wally Hagi, drummer Sandy Nelson, and Jimmy Bruderlin (later known as James Brolin). The Barons sang songs like “In the Still of the Night,” “Get a Job” and “She Say.”

Arnie wrote an original song for the Barons called “Jennie Lee,” inspired by a local burlesque queen. The Barons sang it, Jan recorded it, and spliced the song into their DJ tapes. Finally, tired of splicing, Jan went to a real studio to have the “Jennie Lee” tape transferred to acetate disc. There, he was “discovered” by record vet Joe Lubin, who had Jan re-record “Jennie Lee,” without Dean (who was going into the Army reserves that week) and the rest of the Barons, except Arnie, who started the whole “Jennie Lee” affair. But Jan was the spark plug for the record.

Don explains Jan’s fire this way, “One day when we were in Wallich’s Music City, Ricky Nelson was there. I don’t believe that Jan had recorded up to that point. When he saw Rick Nelson, who was great looking, and Jan was also great looking, Jan saw Ricky and said, ‘If he can do it, so can I.’ And that was the beginning of Jan seeing himself as a star. That was the turning point in Jan’s life.”

Jan & Arnie

“Jennie Lee” was released on Arwin Records by Jan & Arnie. Don Altfeld helped Jan get the song on the charts.

“ ‘Jennie Lee’ came out in Los Angeles and Jan and I did about every kind of hype thing we could think of. We’d go into Wallich’s Music City music store, where Jan would steal some, smuggling them out under his Barons jacket. He would also hide copies around the store in other records’ slots. Sometimes he would actually pay other kids to go in to the store and buy ‘Jennie Lee.’ “

Jan and Don also organized 40 friends to meet after school every day and call in requests on Wink Martindale’s radio show. In one afternoon, “Jennie Lee” became the #1 requested and was soon a Top 10 hit nationwide.

Two disappointing follow-ups later, the kids quit buying Jan & Arnie records, Arwin Records quit releasing Jan & Arnie records and Arnie quit making Jan & Arnie records.

With Arnie gone, Jan needed a new partner. Don Altfeld, a logical choice, ruled himself out. “I couldn’t sing, and I was way too shy. So, instead, in the interim between Arwin and Dore, Jan and I produced a record with a group called the Matadors called ‘Jumpin’ the Line’ that Lou Adler placed on Liberty Records for us. It didn’t go anywhere, but it was nice, we made some money.”
With Arnie gone and Don incurably shy, Jan needed a new “&” man. (The act is invariably billed as “Jan & . . .” never “Jan and . . .”) Jan chose Dean Torrence, an ex-Baron who had sung “Jennie Lee” (the song, not the record) and had now returned from the reserves during Arnie’s reign. And, as Jan explains today, I chose Dean because I liked his harmony, and I really liked his falsetto.”

As Dean recalls, Jan used the subtle approach to recruit his services.

“Jan didn’t say, ‘Arnie is out, you are going to replace him,’ ” reflects Dean. “It was kind of innocent and noncommittal. We’d just played some football together, and Jan said, ‘Yeah, if you’re not doing’ anything, come by the house and I’ll play you some songs that I’ve been working on.’

“As I drove up to his house, I went through all the scenarios of what he could mean. I thought that maybe he was asking me to come and listen to something that Jan and Arnie had done and see what my opinion of it was. He did kind of talk in there about him and me doing a song together or something, but it was so loosey-goosey that I remember being totally confused about what it was he said. But the bottom line was, he said ‘Come on up and listen to some stuff.’

“So I thought, ‘What the hell? I don’t have anything better to do.’ So I went and did it.

“I can’t exactly recall if we sat at the piano right away, or just listened to some songs. Somewhere in there, I likely said ‘Well, where is Arnie? Why aren’t you doing this with him.’ Or, I probably wouldn’t have been quite that direct in those days. I probably said ‘Well, gee, where’s Arnie?’

“Jan said, ‘Arnie’s more interest in surfing than working on songs.’ Ironic, surfing, this Jewish guy, while the blonde guy who would later sing ‘Surf City’ wants to work on music. It still was not clear to me if Jan meant that Arnie was out from that moment on, if his absence was temporary, or what. Maybe Jan did not even know himself, and he was testing the waters without getting committed.”

Finally, the team was official. At first, Dean thought Jan & Dean would be on Arwin, and there would be no worry about finding a label. Then he learned that Arwin was no longer interested in Jan’s songs. “At that point, it was like starting from scratch. And if it weren’t for Jan’s remembering a couple of guys that he had met when he and Arnie had done a show with Sam Cooke, guys whom he was impressed with, who knows what would have happened.”

The two guys? Herb Alpert, later of the Tijuana Brass and the “A” in A&M records; and Lou Adler, later to marry Shelley Fabares and found Dunhill Records (Mamas and Papas, Barry McGuire, Grassroots, et al).

Dean still marvels at Jan’s awareness. “Somehow, Jan realized at age 17, that you needed a manager. I was scratching my head saying, ‘What do you need a manager for when you don’t have a career?’ But he realized that strong management could help you get that deal. We were used to making the demo tape ourselves and literally dropping in on record companies, knocking on their doors, sitting down in their offices, and getting them to play our material.

“So Jan called Lou and Herb after we had not made any headway with Arwin. I don’t remember even going to Arwin myself, Jan must have. I don’t even remember meeting the Arwin producer, Joe Lubin, who at the very least should have come up and checked us out to see what we had. It wouldn’t have taken him very long to find out. Maybe he was being squeezed out of Arwin and was more worried about paying the rent that month than trying to predict the future. For whatever reason, I never saw Joe Lubin.

“When Jan saw that he didn’t have Joe Lubin and didn’t have Arwin and didn’t have anything going particularly, we were still doing what Jan & Arnie had done, trying to come up with good songs, and we just weren’t finding any. We weren’t writing anything that was very exciting, and we were listening to other people’s demo records and listening to new releases that were on small labels and weren’t hits. But we just couldn’t find anything that was very exciting. We knew that was the regular process that we had to go through, so we just kept plodding along.

“Somewhere in there, Jan did make the call. Next thing I knew, these guys, Lou and Herb, were showing up at Jan’s place to meet me. They were about 24 or so. To us teenagers, they were men. Men. I mean, they wore suits. They were cool. They were real men. They were grown up. They didn’t live at home like we did. We considered them grown ups, they were mature men to us. These were guys who had been involved in a career of someone that we really respected, Sam Cooke.”

At Keen Records, Lou and Herb were the equivalent to junior executives. They were being brought along by the people in their 40s who held the power for themselves. And Lou and Herb wondered how long it would be before they had their chance. Did these older guys have to die first? Or did Lou and Herb need to more along. “When they came up and met us, and heard some of the tings what we had done, then they pretty quickly committed to our careers and gave Keen notice that they were moving on. So it was Lou and Herb who found ‘Baby Talk.’ They delivered the song to us, probably on a 45.”

Lou Adler

As Lou recalls, it wasn’t just Jan & Dean who lured Herb and him from Keen Records. “Herbie Alpert and I were writing partners writing partners working for Keen records, which had Sam Cooke on it. We decided to leave Keen and I took a job for a management company guy named Lenny Poncher who was managing a lot of Latin acts in and around LA. Kim Fowley, who was a University High student with Jan & Dean, and also was on the edge of the music business (as everyone in LA was at that time, since there was no real contemporary music business to speak of, it was just starting up, everything was in New York.”

“One day, Kim came to me and told me that Jan, who had had a hit with Jan & Arnie, had a new partner and that I might be interested in talking to them. Either Jan or both of them came to the office I had that was actually an auto parts store in front and the management company in the back of the storefront.

“The first thing that struck me about Jan, and later Dean, was how great these guys looked. They both looked great. Also how different they looked, compared to most people who were having hit records at the time. They established artists were all dark haired, sort of Italian/ethnic looking guys out of Philadelphia. I hadn’t recalled ever seeing a picture of Jan & Dean or a picture of Jan with Jan & Arnie, but here was this All-American surfer guy. He played me sone Jan & Arnie records, said that Arnie was no longer with im and it was going to be him and another friend from University High, and they were out of their record deal and for some reason they had heard about me.

“Herb and I had only worked with Sam Cooke and Keen artist at that time, but we hadn’t had any real success. But we hit it off with Jan & Dean really well, so we thought we’d take a chance.”

Even with Lou and Herb, the garage remained Hit Central of Jan & Company. “The story is absolutely true that ‘Baby Talk” was recorded in a garage. Jan had an old Ampex that he had hooked up in order to give him some echo. That is how he got all the ‘Jennie Lee’ echo. He had the tape going through the head twice. It sat up on tope the piano, the dogs ran through, the kids cried, it was wild.”

Dore Records

Dean credits Lou and Herb with finding Dore Records “(pronounced “Dorrie”) for Jan and Dean’s recordings. In fact, Jan & Dean were never actually signed with Dore records property. Jan & Dean were under contract to Herb and Lou; Herb and Lou signed with Dore. “Dore was on one of their A or B lists. They didn’t even consider Liberty where we had our Surf hits years later, which, like most of the majors, was still doing adult pop music, not rock and roll. Mostly they went to the smaller companies. Unfortunately, there were more of them on the East Coast than in LA, but we didn’t have the wherewithal to fly to the East Coast and shop our product. That would have been a smarter thing to do, because then we could have been on a real, big, player label.

“But Dore was only a mile from the recording studio, two miles from the garage, and had just had a number one record with the Teddybears ‘To Know Him Is To Love Him.’ They had credibility, they’d proven that they could handle a major national hit. It was as good as we could do at the time, and it worked out OK.”

Did Dore have studios?

“No. All they had was one little office on Vine. What they did have was a distribution system already in placed and a name and an old record guy who was running it. That was all you needed then.”

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

JAN & DEAN DVDs FOR SALE

FOR SALE - ALL SOLD

Due to space issues, and a growing family, I am selling all my Jan & Dean DVD's. Payment must be by PAYPAL.

Rare TV - £25 or $35
Surf Party - £10 or $15
In China - £25 or $35
Super Live Special - £25 or $35
One Last Ride - £20 or $25
Hang 50 - £30 or $40
Deadman's Curve - £25 or $35
I Get Surround - £30 or $40

ALL TITLES IN ONE ORDER: £200 inclusive of delivery or $280 inclusive of delivery.

All are original DVDs and have been well looked after. All have been played only a couple of times at most.

Shipping: UK £1.89 per DVD Recorded Delivery.
 or for USA $5 per DVD Airmail.
Other Countries please enquire.

As titles are sold I will update the list. Please contact me via Facebook (www.facebook.com/scooby1970) or via my email mgadams1970@gmail,com

If titles are unsold over the next few days they will be placed on ebay. All titles tested and working.

Gonna Hustle You 1979 Article - Missed Opportunity

1979 Issue 4 “Gonna Hustle You” - Missed Opportunity Jan & Dean Article

As 1964 began, it became obvious that surf music itself was gradually being replaced by a new fad hot-rod music and so this influence was introduced into the ten film market. However one movie that was solely surfing orientated was Columbia Pictures’ Ride The Wild Surf. It was written and produced by Jo and Art Napoleon and released in mid-1964 and although a “teen movie” it does not strictly fall into the category of the “Beach Party” concoctions. The basic difference between it and say A.I.P’s releases was that Ride The Wild Surf in fact had a reasonable script and a believable story line. However if the original cast had not been so radically altered, this movie could have become a classic of the genre. Columbia’s original intention called for Jan & Dean to feature as head liners which was the usual procedure at that stage of “teen movie” making, that is to feature a current popular recording star or two in the production. In doing this the companies thought they would have an audience even if the movie itself was below standard.

The reason why Jan & Dean were not eventually included in the movie is both interesting and in retrospect rather petty, but still the decision was made and as a result we are now unable to see Jan & Dean in a full length production. Dean explained:

  “Well we were supposed to be in the movie, but unfortunately (or fortunately after I saw the movie - maybe it was fortunate we were not in it) a friend of mine from high school kidnapped Frank Sinatra Jr. This friend and I had been very close during most of this time. I had been loaning him money because he was short and had a family to support and after all I had more money than I knew what to do with. Anyway, little known to me, this guy was using the money I was giving him to finance the kidnapping. So we (Jan and I) got kicked out of the movie. I guess the movie people thought that another one of my friends might try to kidnap Fabian who was to co-star with us. I was more thrilled about being involved in the kidnapping than I was being involved in the movie.”

The two actors chosen to fill the vacancy left by Jan & Dean’s departure were Tab Hunter and Peter Brown. Tab Hunter by this stage was a fading pop singer having had his big hit back in 1957 with Young Love for Dot Records while Peter Brown was an upcoming young actor and quite suited for his part. By reliable sources, Pat (transcription note: I believe the writer meant Tab) replaced Jan and Peter replaced Dean. Their characters in the movie were very similar to what has become the generalised embodiment of Jan & Dean’s personages.

As co-stars, Shelley Fabares, Barbara Eden and Susan Hart were chosen while Fabian Forte (on his comeback now as an actor) was the headline. As it turned out, Fabian, Shelley Fabares and Susan Hart were to go on and star in a number of other “ten movies” of the period - Fabian and Susan Hart with A.I.P. and Shelley with Elvis and the M.G.M. studio.



  “Basically, as I recall, they already had the title done so they said write a song that’s called “Ride the Wild Surf.” Brian had a lot to do with it and Jan and I kinda finished it. It was a real good song.”

A good song it was. It peaked at No. 16 nationally on Billboard and exemplified Jan & Dean’s surf sound and Jan Berry’s perfection in production techniques. Although the duo were ousted from the movie their title song remained and here is the bone of contention:

If Jan & Dean had remained in the movie, would more of their songs be featured in the movie and would they have performed.

 The majority of the music for “Ride the Wild Surf” was written by Stu Phillips and apart from two exceptions was merely only incidental and used as background music to the action. These two exception were the main title and the previously mentioned Ride The Wild Surf vocal recording by Jan & Dean which was used to close the movie. The main title, simply called ‘The Main Title From “Ride The Wild Surf,’” was an instrumental written by Stu Phillips and introduced the movie, and even though no soundtrack album was issued for the movie, both these tracks were released onto disc. Jan & Dean’s Ride The Wild Surf was the original soundtrack recording and found it’s way onto a single, an album of the same name and various compilation lps while ‘The Main Title . . .’ was issued as a single only by the Colorado group, The Astronauts. However The Astronauts version was not the original soundtrack version as featured in the movie but nonetheless was quite impressive and personally I consider it better than the version of the movie soundtrack.

Jan & Dean’s Ride the Wild Surf album was rush released to coincide with the success of the movie. The lp itself was quite unexpected at the time as the duo’s then current smash The Little Old Lady From Pasadena (peaking at No. 3) was to headline the new album as had the practice been in the past. In fact The Little Old Lady From Pasadena lp was released the week before the Ride The Wild Surf lp, so how confused do you think their fans were? To add to the confusion, the add for the “Little Old Lady” lp featured on the back of the Ride The Wild Surf lp showed a different lp than you actually got. The content listing was what you got on the lp but the cover photo shown was rather interesting. What are those track depicted on the cover - Tell ‘em I’m Surfin’, Put A Dodge In Your Garage H-O-N-E-Y. Even Dean didn’t remember anything about the odd cover:
The story line of the movie had Fabian, Hunter and Brown trying to conquer Hawaii’s big waves and young women. Challenging them was “Eskimo” played by James Mitchum (*the son of actor Robert Mitchum) who was the Island’s top surfer and Susan Hart’s mother whose husband and been “rift-raft” surfer who let their ranch/plantation run to ruin. She was a sort of Barbara Stanwick “The Big Valley” type, having quite an influence on those connected with her. The underlying theme of the movie, the ‘meat’ of the script, was to be the one to “Take That One Last Ride” out at Waimea Bay. The surfer who did this was to be the King of The Islands for that season. This battle eventuated between Fabian and James Mitchum with of course Fabian coming out the winner. This theme of “gotta take that one last ride” was exemplified in Jan & Dean ‘s title song, Ride the Wild Surf, written by Jan Berry, Roger Christian and Brian Wilson:
          “Put A Dodge In Your Garage H-O-N-E-Y - I don’t remember that. I’ve got no idea of that song or why Tell ‘Em I’m Surfin’ is shown on it.”

Of course Tell ‘Em I’m Surfin’ eventuated on the Ride The Wild Surf lp but the other track never saw the light of day. It can only be assumed that Put A Dodge In Your Garage H-O-N-E-Y was an instrumental and probably found it’s way onto one of the duo’s other lps under a different name. The explanation of the odd front cover to the “Little Old Lady” lp and where it came from is possibly that it was the initially proposed lp cover and just happened to be used for the add by mistake. But what of the Ride The Wild Surf lp itself?

Ride The Wild Surf (Liberty LP LST 7368/LRP 3368) was released in October 1964, entering Billboard’s album charts on October 17. It peaked at No. 66 and stayed in the charts for a total of 19 weeks. The lp was produced by Jan Berry and featured the usual crew of engineers - Dayton “Bones” Howe, Harold “Lanky” Linstrot and Charles “Chuck” Britz. Hal Blaine conducted the orchestra while Phil “Flip” Sloan and Steve Barri as The Fantastic Baggys added background vocals. Shelley Fabares supplied the liner notes, which was only fitting. Although no soundtrack lp was issued for the movie, Jan & Dean’s album was apparently designed to appear to be a soundtrack recording. The front cover of the lp featured only one photo of the duo, with the rest of the photos being stills from the movie. The heading for the lp read:

Jan & Dean sing the original soundtrack recording of the title song from Ride The Wild Surf ( a Columbia Pictures Release)

Whether the intention was to actually deceive the record buying public into believing it was a soundtrack album is unimportant and really it would have been a pointless exercise because after all only one vocal song was featured in the movie and the background music, apart from the main title, was hardly riveting enough to make an lp out of it.

After analysing the various tracks it becomes obvious that all the composing was done by a small “family” of writers, as were most of Jan & Dean’s material. Brian Wilson’s contribution was evident on three compositions, while Jan himself contributed the most with Don Altfeld, Jill Gibson, DJ Roger Christian and Gary Zelkley all offering help in the music and lyric field.

As mentioned previously, Steve Barri and Phil Sloan were featured as backing vocalists. This was by no means a new situation for them as they had been employed in this capacity on the previous lp and I’m sure helped out on Drag City, although un-credited. However this time they were billed as the Fantastic Baggys, Lou Alder’s new creation. When The Baggys first single came out (coincidentally the same month as the Ride The Wild Surf lp) it was to be their version of Tell ‘Em I’m Surfin’. In fact the same musical track was used on both their version and that of Jan & Dean, a situation which occurred later with Summer Mean Fun. Whether the Baggys’ track was first or second has never been ascertained but Dean himself recalled:

  “Our tracks always came first. If we didn’t want it as a single we let the Baggys have it. They were quite capable of doing it on their own but I guess it was just easier to use one of ours.”

However what was clear was the fact that Lou Adler was attempting to parlay his one surf group into two surf groups while saving a lot of studio time in the process.

The tracks on Ride The Wild Surf
were a fine selection of Jan and Dean at their best and unlike their previous albums all the tracks were new with the exception of She’s My Summer Girl which first appeared as the ‘B’ side of Surf City (LB 55580) back in 1963. However the version featured on the lp is somewhat different to the single release.

Now taking all the Ride The Wild Surf tracks in hand and examining their storylines and themes, could it be possible that some of these, if not all, were destined to be featured or performed in the movie if Jan and Dean had appeared in it?

Tracks like Waimea Bay, Tell ‘Em I’m Surfin’, Surfin Wild, A Surfer’s Dream and The Restless Surfer all fit perfectly into the story line of “Ride The Wild Surf “ while the inclusion of Sidewalk Surfin’ and Skateboarding Part I gave the album it’s commercial appeal with the then current fad of skateboarding taking off all over the country.

Walk on the Wetside was the second instrumental included on the album and could have easily been used as background music for the movie. The only real odd track on the album is the final tract The Submarine Races - a true J&D satire based on a similar theme conceived by Danny & Gwen in their The Submarine Race (b/w Deep Dreams - Liberty 55490, 7/62). The inclusion of this track on the album could possibly be construed as the “token” satire track of the album as Jan and Dean had always included at least one “offbeat” track on all their albums up to that point. This was the true Jan & Dean at work.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

1977 Mike McDowell Dean Torrence Interview

1977 Dean Torrence Interview – By Mike McDowell

The 1966 auto accident which temporarily sidelined Jan Berry, left his partner, Dean Ormsby Torrence a man with a new career. A 1965 graduate of the Architecture and Design School at USC, Dean decided to put his degree to good use, founding Kittyhawk Graphics, for which Dean has designed logos, album covers and promotional flyers for hundreds of recording artists, Canned Heat, Nilsson, the Beach Boys and Mike Nesmith among them.

Los Angeles (January 1977)

MM (Mike McDowell): I wanted to ask you a few things about your current association with Kittyhawk Graphics. How did Kittyhawk originate?

DT (Dean Torrence): Well Kittyhawk was something that came by design (ha). Graphics was something I’ve always enjoyed. I went through 7 years of college to get a degree which probably didn’t do me any good, but at least I went. I also started partly through necessity, because of Jan’s accident. All of a sudden, within a relatively short period of time, in fact one day, I had to look for a new career. I had been going to school, so I figured that was the time to put some of the things I’d learned into a practical use. I had made a decision at the time that it was probably better to strike out and do something different on my own, rather than try to develop something new in music. It may sound like a cop-out to you, and sometimes I wonder if it was.

MM: Were the things you did for J&D Records right after Jan’s accident something you did in search of commercial success, or more of a recording outlet?

DT: It was a little of both. I viewed it as taking advantage of some of the momentum we had going at the time. I gave myself a year, and if at that time I didn’t feel things were progressing, I’d take some time off and learn the graphics business. Also, the Save For a Rainy Day album was the first album cover I ever designed, so the whole thing was a two or three-fold experience. I learned more in that one year than I did in the whole seven years previous to it.

MM: Your sessions at J&D produced one incredible single, Summertime, Summertime. Was that totally just you on vocals?

DT: Yeah, just me. I redid the vocals many times. At one point, Brian Wilson, came in and helped me on vocals. He was on most of those songs.

MM: Didn’t Brian turn up on your Legendary Masked Surfers record?

DT: Yeah, Brian’s always around at the right time.

MM: What can you tell me about Melvin Schwartz?

DT: I don’t know anything about Melvin Schwartz! That sounds like a fake name.

MM: Some of your 45's on Dore list that name as writer’s credit. I thought it was a pseudonym for you and Jan.

DT: Now I remember! No, Melvin Schwartz was a real person. We ran into him once in New York by accident in a store. He introduced himself, and he seemed to look like a Melvin Schwartz to us and we remember the name. But you’re right, it does sound like something Jan and I would have made up.

MM: Had you ever seen Katherine Milner, the little old lady from Pasadena after you song about her came out?
DT: Not much. She died. All old ladies die sometime. She was just a legitimate commercial actress. Jan and I got her to pose for our LP cover because she fit the image of that song we wrote. She was a nice lady. She invited us to her golden wedding anniversary, but we never made it for some reason. Then she died a few years later. She was an older lady. I think even close to 80 at that time.

MM: That song and similar ones you did represent great satire, wouldn’t you agree?

DT: Not so much in production , but rather lyrical content. We tried to find subject matter totally irrelevant to sing about, yet not cut corners on production. Just because you sing of silly things, doesn’t mean you have to compromise on aesthetic quality.

MM: By that same token, how did an album like “Folk ‘N’ Roll” originate? Were songs like Universal Coward and Folk City deliberate satires, or satires against satires?

DT: Counter-satire. During most of that album, I was in another studio doing the “Beach Boy Party” LP. I really didn’t care for “Folk ‘N’ Roll.” Half of “Folk ‘N’ Roll” or better was just Jan. I did some of the standard cover songs on it, but I didn’t like the original material for the most part. I thought it was kind of stupid. When I listened to it, I couldn’t believe what a punk album it was!

MM: To be honest with you, I though “Folk ‘N’ Roll” produced one of your very best 45s. I Found a Girl.

DT: Well, I was just talking about the LP in general. The songs on it I didn’t like I mean I really didn’t like, but the stuff on it I did like I felt was better than average, like that 45.

MM: Like the cover versions?

DT: I thought we did a good job on Yesterday and Turn, Turn, Turn.

MM: How about Where Were You When I Needed You. I thought that was excellent!

DT: Was that on that LP? Have we been talking about the same LP? Maybe it was something else I was listening to. Oh yeah! I was thinking of the next LP, “Filet of Soul.” That was a terrible album! We weren’t at all responsible for it. Liberty released it after we were off the label. It was nothing at all like Jan and I planned it. The original album was great! Very highly conceptual. Liberty felt it was too ahead of its time, and held it up until we were off the label, then released it their way.

MM: Some of the live tracks on that LP ended up sounding like outtakes, as if you and Jan weren’t that enthused about them.

DT: They were outtakes. Liberty at the time just couldn’t understand that it was supposed to be a comedy album.

MM: Did you intent for Gonna Hustle You to be released at that time?



MM: Was it the version that Liberty originally censored in favor of The New Girl In School?

DT: Basically, I just re-did the vocals.

MM: Why did they object to Gonna Hustle You so much?

DT: It wasn’t so much Liberty, as the publishing company. It was a corporate thing. Musically they didn’t care. They don’t know music. To them, it’s business. As soon as one disc jerky (transcription note - typed as printed jerky) says he’d be afraid to play it, they retreat. They don’t want to go out on a limb, and they still don’t today. As spontaneous and creative as the music industry looks today, it’s still domineered by businessmen. They’re only looking to sell product. So if they have any question as to whether or not a song can get airplay, they hold back. Only a superstar can get away with it, like Rod Stewart with Tonight’s The Night. But he couldn’t have done that even 5 years ago, let alone in the mid-60s.

MM: Who was involved on the newer Legendary Masked Surfers version?

DT: I took the instrumental tracts to The New Girl In School and added all of the new vocals myself, multi-tracked. (Phone rings . . . conversation)

MM: Your wife?

DT: My fiancĂ©. I haven’t been married yet.

MM: That reminds me. I hate to bring this up, but looking at the liner notes of the Anthology album. I notice a long list of girlfriends that you and Jan had, and it seems you even went with the same girl at once! How did this come about?
DT: If you want to know what “Filet of Soul” really was, I used half of it as side 4 on our Anthology album. We had a really gross version of that song, which I have on acetate, but the version on the album was much more tame.
DT: Oh God! (Laughs). I may have stretched the truth just a little but there were a couple of girls we both dated within a couple of weeks of each other. At times I would get Jan’s rejects. If she couldn’t get through to him, then she’d like me, and I’d have her for awhile, until he wanted her back, anyway. It was Jackie Miller, who was in the New Christy Minstrels. Jan found her first, and tried to date her for about a week. He didn’t know that I’d already been dating her.

MM: Being a record collector, I always research my data very carefully, I believe I’ve spotted an error on the Anthology Lp liner notes. On there, you were so disgusted with the 45 You Really Know How To Hurt A Guy that you were into another studio and recorded the Party LP with the Beach Boys, But that LP, released in the fall of ‘65 contains a Beatle tune, You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away from the Beatles “Help” album, released in August 1965. How do you explain that?

DT: Oh that was just artistic freedom. I only mentioned that single because it was something I really hated! Actually, we may have just been recording something from “Folk ‘N’ Roll” at the time. If you really want to get technical. I think it was a song about somebody dying.

MM: A Beginning From An End?

DT: Oh God! That was terrible!

MM: You didn’t like that??

DT: I thought it was the worst thing I’d ever heard! I don’t know what Jan was going through at the time, but it must have been some pretty heavy stuff.

MM: I guess that’s the reason I admire the LP so much. It represents everything you didn’t do in 1965.

DT: Oh definitely! But I didn’t feel ready to cross over that line yet at that time. Jan and I had an understanding, that if one of us felt very strongly about a particular track, and the other didn’t feel very artistically inspired toward it, then the one who was more interested would do the track by himself. So when Jan cut that LP, I was with the Beach Boys, singing Barbara Ann.

MM: You were the lead vocalist on that 45, weren’t you?

DT: Yeah, but Jan and I were told not to be on that album because of contractual agreements. We tried to arrange it to be legally OK for us to appear on it.

MM: But if you listen closely on a mono copy of “Beach Boy’s Party,” you can hear someone say “thanks Dean” at the end of Barbara Ann.

DT: That was Carl Wilson. Jan and I were told by Liberty that we’d be sued if we appeared on the album. Originally, they said it was OK. We were going to be on the album cover. We thought it was a great idea to have a few people over and make a party album. To me that was dynamite! But when you presented this idea to the same people at Liberty, the businessmen with no imagination whatsoever, they said “OK, you can be on the Beach Boys’ LP, but we want, in writing, that they’ll be on one of your albums.” We said we weren’t ready to commit ourselves to that, because maybe they wouldn’t want to be on one of our albums, or vice versa. We didn’t want to force the Beach Boys into anything, so we said, how about some sort of oral agreement? Well that just opened up a whole new can of worms? The lawyers at Liberty didn’t buy it, and they threatened to sue us if we appeared anywhere on the album, pictures and all. I was there, but I had to stay out of all the pictures, and was given no credit on the cover. When I heard the album with “thanks Dean,” I just about died!
MM: By that same token, did the Beach Boys appear on any Jan & Dean records, other than the few cover versions you did of their songs on the Take Linda Surfin’ LP?

DT: Well, just Brian Wilson did. I hear more lead from Brian on Surf City than I do from Jan. Brian and I sing lead on Barbara Ann, but I stick out farther than him. I don’t even sing on the song Surf City, Brian also sang on Drag City and Dead Man’s Curve.

MM: Would you consider recording again with the Beach Boys?

DT: Yeah, We’ve considered it.

MM: I suppose I have to ask the inevitable. Do you see a Jan and Dean reunion in the near future?
DT: No. I’d like to keep that in my past, because I don’t feel a reunion between us would be that good. Artistically, musically, and visually I don’t think it would be as good as it used to.

MM: I saw Jan in concert last night at the Golden Bear, and he put on a fantastic show. To tell you the truth, I didn’t know what to expect from Jan, but I was very impressed. He did a tremendous show. He sends his best, by the way.

DT: Oh, we get along fine, don’t misunderstand me! It took many years for Jan to realize that it’s nothing personal. I’ll do anything I can to help him, which I have. It’s just that I don’t see any future in it because Jan wants to play clubs, like in Las Vegas. I don’t want to work for any audience over 20. I don’t like it. Maybe an average age of 20 is OK, but it’s really the younger people that come in droves, with enthusiasm. I don’t want to play for a bunch of older people that just politely clap between songs. That doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. Since I’ve been working with my new band, Papa Doo Run Run, it’s all been high schools. High school kids are so much more receptive. They don’t look at it as a “blast from the past,” since they’re not old enough to remember our records when they were new. They just get hysterical over the music for what it is.
MM: You say the kids here are receptive to you. Unfortunately, back in the Midwest, where I’m from, most kids worry more about peer group pressure, and trying to appear “hip” by following whatever’s trendy, like Kiss and Aerosmith. From what you tell me, Dean, I guess kids here aren’t like that.

DT: They were maybe two or three years ago. But California is pretty progressive. It’s too relaxed here to worry about things like that. The basic idea of Papa Doo Run Run sounded pretty gross to me at first. I didn’t think the younger kids would be receptive. But look how well Beach Boys repackages have sold. And you saw the audience at the Forum New Year’s Eve. You, Jan, myself and the Beach Boys were probably the oldest people there. The guys in Papa Doo Run Run are in their early to late twenties, but they could pass for teenagers, I think that’s extremely important.

MM: How did Pap Doo Run Run get started?
DT: Three of the guys were together for about six years. They were originally a quartet. The fourth guy left, because he didn’t like the band’s image, and they came to me. I sort of became their director. They added two new kids, and it’s worked out perfectly. We opened up for the Monkees about a year ago.

MM: Oh really? You mean Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart?

DT: Yeah. They were excellent. I was curious to see whether or not the Monkees had figured out their situation. My point of view was to keep it young and refreshing. The Monkees is still a good enough name, it’s not all that dated.

MM: Most early Monkees records go for phenomenal prices among record collectors.

DT: Sure! It’s good stuff. I was very interested to see what would happen between the Monkees and us on stage. But as far as their philosophy goes, they didn’t appear to have thought it out. They just seemed to have been hurriedly trying to do their best with their hits, instead of worrying about trying to attract a new audience. I looked at the Monkees and saw that they added in Boyce and Hart. I thought “so what!” To you or I, they are a well respected songwriting team. But the younger kids have never heard of them! They even look like they’re in their late thirties. Dolenz and Jones could just as easily have added to guys in their younger twenties that would be excited to death to be on stage with the Monkees. Keith Allison was OK when he tried, but everyone else just didn’t fit.

MM: The Monkees played Pine Knob near Detroit last summer to a crowd of mostly 18-19 year olds. The response was just like the Beatles in ’64, screaming, stage rushing and all. Incredible!

DT: Right! There is a market for it, and the Monkees should take advantage of it. Papa Doo Run Run can draw large crowds at Disneyland every day for a whole summer, and I think the Monkees could, too. There’s some magic in the kind of music both groups do that the younger people just don’t get tired of.

MM: Don’t misunderstand me, I mean this as a very high compliment, but it seems that groups like Pap Doo Run Run, the Monkees, Jan & Dean, the Beach Boys and the Rip Chords are the only universal outlet of the middle class white culture.

DT: That’s exactly what I’m shooting at all the time! That’s where the strength is. That’s what I like about Papa Doo Run Run. They were playing this music even three or four years ago, when nobody else did. Even when they were called the Goody Two Shoes, or the Zoo, or some other typical 60’s name they used to go by. They’d be up on stage playing Jimi Hendrix’s Watchtower, then all of a sudden break into FunFun Fun, and the crowd went wild! The thing I do like about the seventies is that the musical barriers are finally being broken.

MM: Do you remember when you and Jan got into a water fight with Paul Revere and the Raiders on Where the Action Is?

DT: No, but I remember having a giant cake fight with them. That’s the kind of on-stage outrageousness we wanted. We were very interest in sharing a good time.

MM: Would you say many of the classic groups of the sixties were major influences in the Jan and Dean recording career?
DT: We drew on people like the Mamas and Papas, the Lovin Spoonful and Paul Revere and the Raiders for aesthetic inspiration, but my personal favorites are R&B groups like the Dell Vikings and the Five Satins. I also really like Dion and the Belmonts. Brian Wilson stepped in and made us realize that we could do all those harmony parts, too.

MM: I met the Belmonts a couple of months ago. Their performance was impeccable!

DT: I have an album by them that’s probably one of my top five all time favorites. All acapella.

MM: Cigars, Accapella, Candy?

DT: That’s it! I love Street Corner Symphony and Rock and Roll Lullaby. I had Papa Doo Run Run over to my house to listen to the LP. They loved it, and we might even be doing some of those songs on stage. We do Teenager In Love, and the kids love it. I’d hate to get into a self parody think like Flash Cadillac.

MM: Still, Flash Cadillac represents the 50s visual image, but their music lately has taken on the ’66-’67 punk sound, like the Seeds or the Standells.

DT: I noticed, and I think that’s really good. I loved their last single. If I was managing that group, I’d get rid of those outfits. Psychologically, they’re making fun of the music dressing like that. Papa Doo Run Run just dresses like any kid in Malibu, and plays the music as honestly as it can. We’d like to release original material in that same vein. We’re not with RCA anymore. Now we’re looking for a smaller label that can give us more push.

MM: Whatever happened to your old partner, Arnie Ginsberg?

DT: Arnie and I went to USC together. About the time of Jan’s accident, he got a scholarship for industrial design to go to the University of Moscow. The last I heard, he was in Iceland. He was a very talented guy.

MM: Were you involved on any of the Arwin records?

DT: Just Jennie Lee, that was it.

MM: How did your expression “my landy” originate?

DT: There was an old washer commercial Jan really liked, where one guy used that expression. So it just stuck.

MM: Did you have self-parody in mind on the song like Scholck Rod?

DT: Well, I did most of the high part on that. Jan had a limited vocal range. He did most of the “bomps” on our early songs. When the bomps stopped, he had to fill in where he could. We alternated back and forth on Scholck Rod. We cut it at 3 in the morning, and we were all tired, and didn’t really care. Anything we did spontaneously was usually a parody. That LP was one of my favorites.

MM: On the same LP, “Drag City,” I notice a song called I Gotta Drive that is almost identical to a version on Colpix by the Matadors. Any connection?

DT: It’s the same track with a different intro. The Matadors backed us up on the “Drag City” album.

MM: What about your records released in the late 60’s on Warner Brothers?

DT: That was old tracks by both of us that never got released until then.

MM: Why did you release the Gotta Take That One Last Ride” LP in mono?

DT: I like mono. I wanted to return to that. When I re-mixed those tracks, I heard so much in there I’d forgotten about. I did the cover for that one, too.

MM: How many LP covers have you done for Kittyhawk Graphics?

DT: About 300, but I’d only admit to about 50 of them. I did Mike Nesmith’s first LP cover. He has a new LP coming out on his label, distributed by Island Records.

MM: Would you do concerts with any of the Monkees or Beach Boys again?

DT: Maybe as just a one-night stand. I really respect Mike as a brilliant musician. I thought Listen To The Band was a phenomenal recording. I think Mike Nesmith and Rick Nelson were the pioneers of country-rock. I did a logo for Rick Nelson. I’m also doing the cover of the new Beach Boys LP, which will be called “The Beach Boys Love You.” I’m on a couple of the tracks.

MM: You see all of the Beach Boys a lot, don’t you?

DT: We’re pretty good friends. I played basketball with Stan Love, Mike’s brother, and Brian Wilson last night. Brian is like a Mack truck without brakes. We always got along because we had the same subtle, dry sense of humor. Brian learned a lot of electronic wizardry from Jan, who recorded our entire Dore LP in his garage with a home tape recorded. And we all borrowed from each other’s sense of humor.

MM: What can you tell me about the Dean Torrence of today?

DT: My dad? Oh you mean me? Well, I’ll be at work until 5. Then at precisely 5:20 I’ll go visit my mom, then I have to leave to be at the YMCA to play volleyball. And that’s the Dean Torrence of today.

‘Nuff said.



Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Sidewalk Surfin New Article

Sidewalk Surfin' - By Mark Adams

I fell in love with Jan & Dean in the early 1980's, a time when games consoles started to invade our lives and electronic gadgets were available everywhere, taunting us teenagers with something new every week.

However, I was lucky, because I fell in love with music, I'd inherited my mothers record collection and just before I'd seen the TV Movie "Dead Man's Curve", I'd fallen in love with a band called The Beach Boys.

"Dead Man's Curve" though really got me hooked to the Surfin' sound, however as this was the time before the internet and a time of limited importing abilities, my option's were limited to collecting Beach Boys albums, as these were the only music readily available at the time. On listening to "Catch A Wave" by The Beach Boys I knew it was also the same tune for a smaller hit by Jan & Dean called "Sidewalk Surfin'".

Occasionally there were record fayre's which allowed you to scurry around the various stalls looking for those rare records you always wanted. It was at one of these places that I found the version of "Sidewalk Surfin'" in the picture sleeve as shown above. Thankfully, the 45 inch vinyl contained the original version of the song, and not a re-recorded version (of which Jan & Dean's music seemed to be flooded with at the time).

I played the single daily, possibly hourly for months on end, I, along with a couple of friends also skateboarded everywhere we went, and quite often sang this song or played it on our cassette players.

For me, it's the one song that brings back memories of summer in the early 1980's, a time so different to now, but somehow special. Of course, I went on to collect a huge amount of Jan & Dean material, wrote articles, shared my collection and much more.

The first time I spoke to Dean in 2005 I forgot to mention my love for this song, but knowing his answers to so many other questions I've asked him over the years, he'd probably say... "You know... It's just another cover version with different words". As honest as ever.

Monday, 13 February 2017

August 1966 Hit Parade Iterview

August 1966 “Hit Parade” Interview

Jan & Dean have introduced teens to the swingingest cities in America today. First there was Surf City where the surfboard reigned supreme. This was followed by Drag City (home of King Hot Rod), Soul City (where all worship the 12-string guitar). Now the boys bring a new city into national prominence, Gotham City. Yes, Gotham City, the home of that fearless crusader against evil, Batman.
Such is the case with Jan & Dean. Each of their tunes has heralded a new trend in music...from love of surfing to love of adventure. Riding into popularity on the crest of the surfing craze, Jan & Dean have consistently turned out hit upon hit. To sound a bit corny, it couldn’t happen to two nicer young men.

Recently, Jan & Dean visited Chicago for a concert. The boys had not as yet arrived at the theatre. Members of the supporting acts scurried around the stage, testing guitars and microphones for just the “right” balance. Suddenly the dressing room door backstage burst open and in came Dean on his skateboard! Jan followed in hot pursuit. It seems that a scuffle with fans at the stage entrance caused the duo to make a hasty retreat to their dressing room.

The boys did not pay attention to where they were going. With a thud, Dean “skateboarded” head first into an over-stuffed sofa which stood in a far corner of the room. Jan, who was running at full-pace, could not stop himself and landed, with appropriate accompanying groans, on top of Dean.


After the boys “untangled” themselves and regained their composure, we were formally introduced. And that’s the way we met our idols!

Dean carried a large red satin-covered box of Valentine candy. “A gift from a fan?”

“Of course not,” Dean replied with a twinkle of mischief in his eye. “Jan gave it to me. He’s sooooooo thoughtful, especially at Valentine’s Day.”

At this point, Dean hopped on his skateboard and was last seen skating toward the stage with Jan following.

For more than an hour, strains of Sidewalk Surfing, Little Old Lady From Pasadena, and Dead Man’s Curve filled the theatre, as Jan rehearsed the fifteen piece band which backed the boys. At first the songs were a bit crude, but Jan quickly achieved musical perfection.

“A little more bass.” “Too much drum.” “Cut it there,” Jan commanded, waving his arms high in the air, appearing much like Leonard Bernstein in surfer slacks. When a song was thought to be mastered, Dean would sing along with the band as Jan listened for the correct musical balance.

Finally, the boys and the band were ready for the show. Rehearsal was over. Most performers would now go to their dressing room to rest for the show.

But Jan & Dean are not like most performers. Local bands had set their equipment on the stage. Now, upon seeing two drums together, Jan & Dean could not resist the urge to try their hand at drumming.

With the impromptu help of local musicians, Jan & Dean shook the room with solos and a swinging medley of the latest big beat songs. To Jan & Dean, this was a manner of relaxing, although to many it would represent a good night’s work!

The boys soon returned to their dressing room. They are zany, having developed their own unique brand of dry humor. They work untiringly, finding fun in all the work they do. They seemingly take each day as it comes, accepting it as a new and exciting challenge.

Now, interviews are usually serious affairs. Questions are asked; answers are given; and the reporter and performer part company. Not so with Jan & Dean.

Let us illustrate. An apparently serious question was asked of the boys. “Dean do you have a fan club? If so, where?”

“Yes,” Dean replied, speaking in a slow-paced thoughtful manner, pausing after eah word. “We have a fan club. It is in the United States.”

“Fine, but could you narrow down the territory a bit?”
“Well, it’s on the West Coast,” helped Jan.

“That’s a bit better,” but we pressed for more information.


Finally we managed to find that the fan club was located in Los Angeles, California. A simple question, yes, but it had taken ten minutes to acquire an answer.

At this time the famous Jan & Dean brand of humor was revealed. The boys “led on” their “victim” giving short, incomplete answers to questions, usually with comical connotations. Surprisingly enough, however, the “victim” has as much fun as Jan & Dean.

The room gradually grew quiet as the afternoon passed on. In one corner, Dean sat signing pieces of paper with a signature of Jan & Dean. (He didn’t know why...he just felt like doing it). Jan was curled in a corner of the overstuffed sofa, seemingly drifting off into a soft sleep. Casual conversation was exchanged. All was peaceful.

Jan Berry, 25, born in Los Angeles on April 3. Tall (6'2") with a thick crop of dark blonde hair and flashing blue eyes, Jan attends U.C.L.A., where he is the school’s most famous premed student. (As he explains, “There must be something to fall back on after show biz”). One of the most eligible bachelors in Hollywood (along with Dean, of course) Jan prefers natural girls and digs the latest “wholesome” look inspired by the British. His preference can easily be understood, as Jan enjoys sail boating, karate, among other sports. A girl, would have to be athletic “unaffected”, and have a well developed sense of humour to appeal to Jan.

Dean Torrence (whose long silver-blonde hair gives him the appearance of a lost Beatle) first saw the light of day in Los Angeles 26 (the article says 23) years ago. Dean is 6' 3/4" tall, with pale blue eyes, and has been nicknamed “King of Falsetto.”

Dean has a great desire to be an architect and has been attending the Art School of U.S.C., one of the finest in the country.

Things were proceeding quite smoothly. The soft afternoon sun filtered through the window of the room and cast shadows on the dressing room floor. The questions slowly dwindled off. It was a rare quiet moment.

The silence was sharply broken as Dean dropped his notepad, let off with a large yell (which would have rivalled Tarzan’s) and flung himself onto the slumbering Jan.

Dean and Jan tumbled onto the floor. They then went into a hilarious judo sketch, mainly for the benefit of visitors in the dressing room. We roared with laughter. Several members of supporting acts came into the room to see what was happening.

The boys soon “settled down” and things again grew quiet. Jan & Dean left the dressing room and headed toward the backstage area.



There was much nail-biting and many anxious moments as Jan & Dean disappeared. The entire theatre was searched, but Jan & Dean could not be found. Now the question was asked, “Where would to good looking rock and roll stars, dressed in surfer slacks and sports shirts, easily recognisable go in Chicago?”

No one knew. The show went on. Supporting acts added extra tunes to their schedules, to fill in time. Watches were anxiously checked. The hour flew, Still no Jan & Dean.

Suddenly, the boys quickly rushed into their dressing room to change for their act. Later, we learned that the boys had gone to find a hotel, only to learn that conventions had booked every hotel in the city. After they finally found a room, they had stopped for dinner. Time flew and they had no idea that half the cast had been searching for them.

As they walked onto the stage, the screams and cheers of the thousand fans shook the auditorium. Jan & Dean commanded the audience. They joked. They sang. They even went into the audience to meet their fans.

Obviously, this is why Jan & Dean have remained one of America’s top recording duos. They remain themselves, should they be on stage, meeting a reporter, or recording. They do not try to be anyone but Jan & Dean. They are unaffected by the tremendous success that has befallen them. They are, quite simply, nice guys who record good music.

The concert ended. Fans flooded onto the backstage area. Patiently, Jan & Dean signed autographs, on notebooks, programs, scrap paper and even on one fan’s arm!

It’s a sad truth, but all good things must end. Jan & Dean left the auditorium and got into their car. Jan called to us, “Thanks for everything. Hope to see you when we’re back in Chicago,” as he winked and broke into a wide smile.

Dean Torrence Interview 2005

Dean Torrence 2005 Interview - By Mark Adams
Just after 6pm on Tuesday March 22nd 2005 was just an end to another day at work. I slipped into my jacket, and went to make my way home, on the way stopping into a local store to pick up some things that I needed. I came out of the shop, and made my way to catch the public transport, and standing at the stop my mobile phone began to ring.

This was no normal phone call. Indeed, I was not expecting this at all. It had been over a month since sending my number via email and trying to arrange this very moment. Emails had come and gone, and nothing more was mentioned. Suddenly, Dean Torrence’ name and number sprung up on my phone! (I had been lucky enough to have Dean’s number at an earlier date, but never had the courage to make that all important phone call.)

“Hi Mark”, the sound of Dean’s voice so obvious after watching all those shows with him speaking. “Hiya Dean!” I shouted with delight, not an ounce of nerves showing, and acting like it was an every day occurrence. I found somewhere to sit down and take notes, expecting to have a quick question and answer phone-call. Just over thirty-eight minutes later I would have learned more about Dean Torrence than I had ever learned from reading about this living American Legend.

Dean started off by explaining that he was just tying up a few loose ends, and answering his last 94 emails that he had left to answer. We chatted about various things at this point.

While we were on the subject of internet sites and general chat about the internet, I slipped in a question to Dean asking him what he thought of my website, whilst reminding him that my site was in no way any competition to his site. Dean’s reply was quite assuring as he answered that he liked my site and all the good it was doing to the Jan & Dean name. (The more Jan & Dean sites the better I guess!)

Dean talked a little about his site at www.jananddean.com. “You see, my site is meant to be different to your average site. Think of it more as a book. I’ve created it so you can go back on a day to day basis and read it bit by bit.”. That was very interesting, and for those of us who have ever visited this site, we can plainly see that it is indeed laid out different to your average internet site.

“Ok Dean” came the first of quite a few questions. How would Dean react? “Why is it that you have never liked your song “Honolulu Lulu””? Dean paused for a second or two. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because it’s really corny lyrically speaking. The lyrics they were a lot of the problem. I’ve actually began to appreciate the melody over time.” This was a great start. Dean was being honest and he made me feel comfortable.

“We all know that you should have some writing credit for the song “Surf City”. Exactly how much of that song did you write?” Dean’s answer to this was far longer than I had ever had hoped for. “The actual original lyric sheet is in my possession. The words are written out by Brian Wilson as given to us, and the scribbled out bits have my writing on them. Technically speaking, you could ask the question “How many of the lyrics did Jan write”, as there is none of his writing on this sheet.” I of course, as many Jan & Dean fans have seen this original sheet.

“So, how come you were never credited on the record?” I asked. “Thing is Mark, back in those days I didn’t care. We thought the songs would be in the charts one week and out the next. It was no big thing. Of course, things are different now”. Oh yes, things are different now, all these projects coming up and the last thing you want to do is have a new lease of life with no credit, where credit is deserved! This conversation went on taking various directions. Dean does not seem too worried about not having his name on the writing credits, he certainly is in no rush to have them put back on. Yet, as a business man, and one half of Jan & Dean he realises that for histories sake he needs his name on the records he helped write, and contrary to popular belief, he actually co-wrote a hell of a lot of Jan & Dean material.

“We all know that you appeared on The Beach Boys “Barbara Ann” single, various articles and conversations between fans though suggest that Jan actually done the “bom bom bom’s” on “Help Me, Rhonda” Can you actually put us right as to who sang that part, as I think it’s Mike Love, as it sounds like him.” This was a long question, and I didn’t know what to expect as an answer. “Gosh Mark!” Dean replied “I have never had this question thrown at me before, and I did not know it was an area for contention among fans and the like. The answer is definitely Mike Love! No doubt. Jan NEVER sang on any Beach Boys records!!!”



“What is in your CD player right now?” I asked Dean, I should have known this guy was so modern he did not use CD players! “I don’t actually use CD’s. Everything I have is stored on my PC. I can check the most played songs for you if you would like.” At this point, Dean rolls off some very obscure Hawaiian artists, followed by “Little Star” by the Elegant’s and “Since I don’t have you” by the Skyliners among many.

“On an early version of the 1971/1972 Anthology 2 record set, some of the mixes seem really mixed up. Any ideas?” Dean replied “You mean the “Filet” side? - right the whole thing - I didn’t remix it like that”. So I asked if he knew of any early production problems, and he had no idea. So a technical question and the only answer we both came up with was that it must have been a pressing error on the LP.

As a big Elvis Presley fan, I just had to ask Dean about his time with Elvis, “Did you and Jan ever get a chance to sing with Elvis?” Dean chuckled a little, and reminisced about his old days he spent with the King. “We spent Sundays playing football together, but we never sang with Elvis. If he’d have asked, we’d have jumped at the chance!”

“What’s it like knowing that you still have fans all around the World in 2005?” Dean seemed really excited, in a Dean kind-of-way with this question. “It’s Unbelievable!!! I never thought that people like you and the others would dedicate so much time to us after all these years.”

“On a tangent, what is your very least favourite Jan & Dean song?” Dean replied “Well, there’s a whole bunch of them (chuckles) especially the early “Doo-Wop” stuff, yeah, especially the early stuff”. I asked why that was the case, Dean replied “Some of it is just so simple, you know, just me and Jan in the garage, it sounds so bad, so corny, so primitive.”

“On the song “You Really Know How To Hurt A Guy” it is claimed that you never sang on that record, yet on a number of takes you can be clearly heard. What is the story behind that?” Dean replied “Oh, I can’t remember. I was on that record? Well if you can hear me I guess I was. It’s like all these stories that come out about me and Jan arguing. Those people who think they know, and ask Jan about the events which he doesn’t remember after his accident. Yeah, I was on that record.”

“Save for a rainy day” is an amazing album, do you have any plans to re-record or tour with it, in the same way Brian toured with “Smile”?” Dean replied “You know, I don’t like that album.” I quickly interrupted “But your vocals are awesome on it, and the mixes are great”. Dean replied “Yeah, but it’s just an album of re-recordings, you know, old songs with hardly any new stuff on there.” Indeed, straight from the horses mouth so-to-speak. Dean really does not like this album!

“Ok then, final question - Do you plan to tour the UK in the future?” Dean replied “Well, we are under new management now, and I can’t really say. As a matter of fact I was supposed to be over there last November with The Beach Boys, as Bruce Johnston had had heart-surgery and I was taking his place.” I interrupted again “Oh!!!! I went to see The Beach Boys in Cardiff then! You should have come with them!” Dean replied “Well, once Bruce realised that the European part of the concert was coming up he quickly got better and made it. I did actually do a lot of the US shows on that tour though.” How unlucky was I and other Dean Torrence fans not to see Dean perform in the UK!

I sneaked in one last question “Why is it do you think that Jan & Dean are not in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame?” Dean’s response was as in-depth as all his answers that he felt passionate about. “You know, I have no idea. If the Hall Of Fame was like a Sports Hall Of Fame and went on record sales and figures, we would have been there along time ago. I don’t particularly care if I am not in there, but Jan should be in there. One day his time will come.” I totally agreed with Dean on this, and reassured him that the fans are trying all they can to get Jan & Dean into the Hall Of Fame.

In our conversation I continually assured Dean that his fans were spreading the word, and as an individual I was doing my best in the battle to promote one of the greatest duo’s of all time. We laughed, we joked, we were serious and I personally learned more about Jan & Dean than I ever thought possible.

I learned more about Dean than I knew was possible to know. I did not realise that someone as well known, such a star, such a pioneer in Rock & Roll as Dean Torrence would be this easy to talk to. This honest and caring about his fans.

“Right, I have to go Dean, it’s been great talking to you, and I hope we can do it again.” Dean replied “It’s been all my honour, thank you and thank all the fans for supporting me all these years.”

The truth is, I can never thank Dean enough for phoning me on that cold and wet day. To learn so much in so little time. More than any book or film can ever do, was more than
Moving swiftly on I changed the subject “What is your favourite record of all time?” This should have been an easy question! Dean replied “Ours? Oh, of all records? Well there are just too many, thousands maybe”. Dean really loves his music!

any person can ask for. Dean was far more involved in the making of Jan & Dean than any writer or historian will ever give him credit for. Yet he is as humble today as he presumably ever was.

After Jan’s accident it is evident that all Dean wanted to do was keep Jan happy. Not to cross Jan he would agree to things that perhaps never happened. In turn, Jan’s gang of followers took these words and made them “the truth” without ever consulting Dean.

Dean is a joker, Dean was one half of Jan & Dean, to many Dean was the lesser half. After all these years, it is about time that people learn that Dean Torrence was an equal half in that relationship. It had to be an equal half, or it would never have lasted as long as it did.

Dean Torrence. Thank you for being apart of my life for so long, and thank you for that 38 minutes and 30 seconds of mind-blowing learning experience.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Surf City Allstar Band - I Get Surround Review

Welcome to the review of this great new DVD Audio/Video by AIX RECORDS. This is an audiophile label, who concentrate their efforts on High Resolution 96khz/24bits sound recordings. We, as Jan & Dean fans have been lucky enough to be chosen by AIX records to have a new DVD-Audio/Video. This is the amazing title I Get Surround, by Dean Torrence & The Surf City All-stars.

Without boring the majority of people with the technical specifications, DVD-Audio is a high-resolution sound format that can only be played in DVD-Audio players. The DVD-Audio side of the DVD is in glorious 96/24 and throughout the recording process, all the latest technology was used to give a sound that just has to be heard to be believed! The DVD-Audio 5.1 MLP version is reference quality in every sense of the word, and I can honestly say, it's the best sounding High Resolution disc that I own!

Lucky for most people, this DVD also has a DVD-Video side to it, which allows you to play it on a normal DVD player. The DVD-Video side has both Dolby Digital and DTS versions of the DVD. The Dolby Digital version is the "Audience Mix" and the DTS version is the far superior sounding "Stage Mix". The DVD-Video side also contains all the extras, such as the session videos and commentary tracks, along with biographies, discographies, photos and some great interviews with Dean Torrence, among others.

Now lets take a look at the actual recordings of these great songs. This is basically a new album, recorded especially for AIX Records, and as such, has all totally new recordings. As mentioned earlier, there are different mixes (Stage, Audience and Stereo), which let you enjoy the music in different ways. The "Stage Mix" lets you feel as if you are actually on-stage with the band, the "Audience Mix" makes you feel that you are sitting a few seats back at a venue, and the "Stereo Mix" is a basic 2 channel stereo mix, in high resolution sound, only available through DVD players.



Song By Song Review



The Songs Reviewed

There are an unlucky 13 songs on this album (actually 14 if you count the two versions of Sloop John B), and they were reviewed using a Pioneer DVD-Audio player, a Philips 5.1 Channel Home Cinema Amplifier and 2 pairs of Eltax Reference speakers and a Philips Centre speaker.

I'll Surf Away - The album starts off with this crazy bit of vocal harmony, over a religious sounding organ. Dean talks the Allstars into a frenzy, and then they go into 5 or 6 part harmonies with this great vocal only song. This first song is really not what you would expect to open an album, and you know you are in for something special as soon as the harmonies kick in.

Every Body's Down At The Beach - A remake of an earlier Jan & Dean title that was written for a film. This version of the song is far superior to the original, and really makes use of the 5.1 surround channels. A "classic" surf sound in every sense of the word, where the whole band take it in turn to sing various parts of the song.

More Today Than Yesterday - The first ballad on the album is another killer track. Starting with a vocal intro, and then slowly building up the instruments. The sound quality on this song, and the way it is sung is very impressive.

Discovery - The first of a number of instrumentals on the album. This instrumental was based loosely around the great song Telstar but has a sound and feel all of its own. Some blistering guitar work, some great organ work and great use of the 5.1 speakers again.

Over The Moon - For some reason the band members tell a story of never hearing the saying "Over the moon", and liking it so much they used the title for this amazingly haunting ballad. What a choice of a title! This is one of the greatest songs on this album. Once again as with Discovery, it's a new song for this album, and is beautiful in every way.

Surf City - Now, how could anyone re-record this song? Well, don't worry, Dean does a very good lead vocal, and the band play really tight on this version. Is it as good as the original? Well, as a "live" version, this is better than any live version that Jan & Dean ever released. Remember, this album was recorded "live" in one take, with no over-dubs! (Something Jan was fond of adding to J&D records!)

The Big Drop - Guitars twirling around the room kick off this laid back instrumental track. The guitar work is amazing, and this instrumental is again totally awesome. If you heard this on the radio you would think you were back in the 60's on a beach some-where (Apart from the fact that the sound quality is a million times better than any instrumentals heard before this album!)

Sloop John B. - Now, yes, this is Sloop John B. However, it's nothing like the Beach Boys version... It's better! It’s sung in the original traditional style of the song, and has some truly awesome harmonizing going on. Once again, great use is made of the 5.1 surround sound speakers. As a note to this song. The DVD-Video side has Dean singing lead, and the DVD-Audio side has another member of the band (Philip) singing over the same track, when I spoke to Philip about this I got the impression they were not happy with Dean's vocal.

California Sleepwalking - Mid-tempo track with some great, if bizarre lyrics. The lead is handled well, and the whole band joins in for the great chorus. This could easily be the soundtrack to a film. Another great song.

Paulding Light - Written about a phenomenon that occurs during the night in a certain part of the USA, this instrumental at first sounds really simple, with a repeating rhythm, but sound builds into something a little special. Not really a surf sounding instrumental until it reaches half-way through, when the surf-guitars really kick-in. (and the middle-end of the song sounds a little like the backing track to "Black is black"!)

The Little Old Lady From Pasadena - A 5.1 version of the Jan & Dean classic! Handled well by Dean, the rest of the band fill out the whole feel to the song really well. This version takes the Jan & Dean version, and adds a great sounding surf guitar into the blend. Fantastic to hear this song re-worked so well!

Fastest In L.A. - Excellent use of surround sound again. And yet again a great song to go with it. Another mid-paced rocker, with an excellent chorus. Once again, a new song that could easily be mistaken for feeling old. This song sounds unlike any of the other songs on the album, but somehow fits in nicely.

Apache - This is a totally awesome version of the classic Shadows instrumental. You MUST listen to this track on a 5.1 system to give it its full effect. There is some mighty fine guitar work on this album, and this track is no exception!

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Jan & Dean Resource Welcome Post

Welcome to the new home of JanAndDean.Moonfruit.com, the Dean Torrence Officially Endorsed website. Due to monetary constraints, that website will be closing in August 2017, however all the content will be released on this blog in the future!

If you bookmark this blog, you will never miss a thing with regards to the true American Treasures.

I am a long-time Jan & Dean fan, and have been collecting their music since I seen the film "Dead Man's Curve" back in the early 1980's. I believe I have one of the largest surf music collections, and that includes a huge Jan & Dean collection. My love of Jan & Dean led me to listen to other bands of a similar ilk, most notably The Beach Boys, The Hondells, The Rip Chords and The Surfaris. Writers and Producers such as Jan Berry, Brian Wilson and Gary Usher amaze me because in such a short time-frame they recorded some of the best music ever, and some of the best music that most people have never even heard before!

Hopefully this blog will share with you all my writings that I have collected, interviews I've done with Dean and related people, a load of photographs and the odd article that I will write as I go along.

I would love others to contribute, as keeping these things going takes a lot of time, and without input, it can be a lonely and thankless task.

Stay tuned, and get ready to enjoy the World of the Jan & Dean Resource blog!

Mark 11-02-1017