SPF-4 Surf-rock Instrumental Band
SPF-4 surf instro band based in North East USA

and Reviews...

Reverb Central review of "Surf-n-Turf" - March 2010
Phil Dirt from Reverb Central in Felton, CA has put together a nice review of the SPF4 cd compilation "Surf-n-Turf". The long time industry veteran has writen reviews, DJ'd radio and produced loads of surf music since its 1st wave in the early 60's. Review here:Phil Dirt Review

New SPF4 CD to be released
The new SPF 4 CD "Surf-n-Turf" is set to be released in October 2009. The 13-song original compilation will be available at SPF 4 performances, on the SPF 4 website and through a variety of online music distributers as they are signed on, including I-tunes. The b and is also negotiating a label signing with Dino Records of Northampton, MA. with hopes of being added to Dino's stable of artists and distribution network. Samples from the new CD can be heard at Myspace.com/spf4

A Summertime Beach Dance Party - in March?
Chicopee, Mass - A triple bill of fun-time bands - each playing music with a beach theme - filled the house to the rafters at the Hu Ke Lau on March 1, 2009. The show brought together Sun Protection Factor 4, Changes in Latitudes, and the Jimmy Mazz Orchestra with special guest Tommy Sandz - all better known for playing warm-weather venues outdoors.

With a line out the door and every table taken, revelers lucky enough to have purchased tickets in advance escaped the cold of New England in winter in favor of the islands atmosphere of the famed Polynesian supper club. Many in attendance sported beach attire, Hawaiian shirts, and leis, and sipped scorpion bowls, dined on Pu-Pu platters, and danced the night away. It was a fitting environment for the show which benefited the Children's Miracle Network.

The show caught its first wave as SPF-4 cranked out a set of blistering instrumental surf rock. Their set, a roughly 50/50 mixture of original compositions and covers of 1960's surf legends, helped the audience tune out the foot of snow that was forecast to begin falling before the evening was over.

Jimmy Buffett tribute legends Changes in Latitudes were next to take the stage. Starring front man Steve Kareta (you mean that wasn't Jimmy Buffett?), the show was configured in its "mid-sized" ensemble for this venue. Parrotheads flocked to the dance floor for a set of classic Buffett tunes that had everyone dreaming of cheeseburgers and Margaritas.

Jimmy Mazz finished up the evening's entertainment with an all 1950's and 1960's beach rock set, supported by singer-guitarist Tommy Sandz. No one works a crowd quite like Jimmy Mazz, and he soon had partiers dancing the Stroll, doing the Limbo (how low can you go?) and snaking a conga line around the room. In addition to great musical performances, these bands should be recognized for their especially quick transitions between sets…smooth as that first Margarita going down on a hot July afternoon.

Though the show had to end, the fans (your humble reviewer among them) didn't want to leave. Eventually, many of us had to be reminded, politely, that it was time to move along. As we filed out the front door, the bite of brisk wind and falling snow reminded us that winter was still at hand, though optimists know this means that summer is coming. Until then, memories of the Summertime Beach Dance Party will keep us warm. Scott Williams

Incredible Casuals and SPF-4 share "Endless Summer Gig" - Oct 17, 2008
The Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA was the site of the "Endless Summer Gig-Continued"...which included Cape Cod's Incredible Casuals, who performed a blistering headliner. The Casuals brought with them all the energy that thay have been delivering to fans at the Wellfleet Beachcomber and Cape Cod MA during summers for the last 25 years. The show, combined with a full dancefloor, had many elements of a concert and truly showcased the bands talent, energy and breath of irresistable music. The house sound was delivered crystal clear and punchy by Jim Frogameni, the Iron Horse sound engineer for the night. For those who have not experienced the Incredible Casuals, please do so for your own musical health.
Honored to open the show for the Casuals, SPF-4 enjoyed warming up the crowd for their upcoming musical heroes. The band deliverd a 50 minute set of their original surf-inspired rock instrumentals and was well received by the growing crowd at the Iron Horse. Dave and Rob (and many of their friends at the show) have been big fans of the Casuals for 25 years and this was actually the first time they had a chance to share a venue with them. It was a great night and SPF-4 looks forward to any future opportunity to share the stage with The Incredible Casuals.

SPF-4 "Rocks the Boat" on Boston Harbor - July 31, 2008
Boston Harbor and passengers of the Provincetown II got a healthy dose of surf-rock from SPF-4 on Thursday evening aboard the 2008 Boston Harbor Summer Party Cruise. The tangerine-tinted sunset sky was the backdrop for the boarding of about 600 colorful passengers ready to party on a multi-entertainment venue that included SPF-4, a dance rock DJ and other bands on the 3 decks of the Provincetown II. SPF-4 kicked off the mid-deck music scene a few minutes before the 8pm. departure with a version of "Journey to the Stars", which was greeted with raised cups and good vibes from enthusiastic passengers. Shortly after kicking off the set, the Provincetown II subtley lurched from the Seaport dock and gained steam into the Harbor...accompanied by a nice cheer from the crowd and the band shifting into full steam with the surf-rock set of tunes.
This was the kind of gig the band was built for...the "stage" was roomy and the sound was great as an open air type setup. Nothing like the smell of ocean air and a stellar view of the Boston skyline as you are twangin' some surf-inspired rock. The crowd was equally enthusiastic and it was refreshing to see a "youthful crowd" turning on to the surf music, many songs recent SPF-4 original compositions. As the set progressed, the crowd added to the sweat that was being generated from the high energy scene...this was one of SPF-4's best performances and fun scenes to date. After a 1-hour/plus set, the band stashed their equipment and joined the party, which included some meet and greet , multiple trips to the bar, viewing the other bands and the high energy, colorful scene present on the 2008 Summer Party Cruise...needless to say, the next day was a little groggy.

SPF-4 makes an early '08 stop in the "Ocean State"
The Sun Protection Factor Four made it's Ocean State club debut in Providence, RI on Sat. Jan.19th '08 at Jerkey's Music Hall. The band split the bill with Gein & the Graverobbers and an up-coming local band "The Wake". Jerkey's is a cool club in the jewelry district and is surrounded by a vibrant and diverse club scene. After the Wake opened the show, SPF-4 proceeded to deliver a good hour of original surf-inspired rock that was well received by a near full house. The gig was a good "home-turf" show for guitarist Rob Brooks, who has lived in the Ocean State for some years now. With SPF-4 being well received at the club, Jerkey's will become a regular stop for the band in RI.
Headlining and closing the nite out was Gein & the Graverobbers, vetern horror-surf rockers. The band confidently ripped through their bone rattling set of material from current and past albums and had the crowd stoked till closing. Kudos to Myra(guitarist) for her voodoo dance near the end of the show!

Paper City patron welcomes SPF-4 for Surf & Brew happy hours...
The 6-8pm. happy hour at Paper City Brewery has always been a fun gig for SPF-4...here is a note that was sent by a first time patron...
" I have attended a couple of shows this past semester, and all of them have been experiences to remember. There was one performance I attended that really struck me in a different way. The venue was the difficult to find, Paper City Brewery, on the 5th floor of an old factory warehouse. Once my friends and I climbed the seemingly endless staircase, a lovely older woman was there to greet us, ask for $5 and an ID. Once we paid the five bucks we were given an unlimitedly refillable cup and ventured towards the bar, where there was a great selection of micro brews to choose from. Before reaching the bar, my ears were greeted with some smooth surf music. Other than some of the early Beach Boys my dad listens to now and then, I haven't really listened to any surf music. Usually when I hear surf music, it is while watching surf videos, or during a movie. Over the crowd of people amassed in the center of the large room were 4 guys dressed in surfing shirts. The drummer had an SPF4 logo on the front of the kick drum, so I figured that was there name. The main thing I realized was that I absolutely loved what I was hearing. The first thing I noticed was the minimalism in the drummer's tempo changes and overall beats. This was actually a good thing because it complemented the overall performance of the band. There were 2 guitarists that were dynamically complementing each other with familiar sounding chords and scales. The bassist, although playing very simply, held the low end of the ensemble wonderfully. There were no vocals during the performance, which was great for me because I am a more avid fan of instrumental bands. During the night, I was able to really enjoy, and appreciate this bands surf music on an observational level. I could start to see myself listening to this type of music during the summer, while hanging out, or just to relax. Surf rock music somewhat reminds me of how reggae really gets me in that "chilled out" state of mind. Overall, the atmosphere in the venue was great, and the band tied it all together wonderfully. I was able to buy the bands demo CD to listen to in the future. I would definitely recommend seeing these guys in a small club, and would recommend them for any beach party or related theme events"

SPF-4 surfs into the Iron Horse with Dick Dale...May 22nd, 2007
SPF-4 will have the honor to open the Dick Dale show at the Iron Horse Music Hall at 7:00pm in Northampton, MA. The (now 70 year old!) surf music legend continues to embark on a relentless tour, shredding stages with his pioneering style of surf instrumental music that he is famous for. This show is a special one for SPF-4 and the band is pumped to perform the opening set, which will include many new SPF-4 compositions and a few surf classics. The Iron Horse will most definetly include a sold out, full capacity crowd of surf-instro fans, so the energy will be tremendous - as it was last year at this time when the band opened for Dick Dale.

New SPF-4 compilation in pre-production...
A leaner performance schedule for The Sun Protection Factor Four will give way to pre-production on a forth-coming compilation to be recorded sometime in March, 2007. The new CD will include 12 songs written by Dave & Rob and honed by the band. Slated for release at the end of March, the compilation will be the band's first disk of original material, mainly written in 2006. "We're excited to get these songs on disk" says Dave..."We are overdue for a new product and this will be a nice body of work featuring the contemporary surf music of SPF-4."

TOAD welcomes SPF-4 for surf in January...Jan 13th, 2007.
Mass.Ave./ Porter Square in Cambridge, MA was the latest sighting of SPF-4 as they performed their club debut at "TOAD". The intimate gathering space was arm to arm as the band kicked off their 1st of 3 sets Saturday nite. During setup, there was a threat that the band would have to squeeze onto the small raised corner stage to accomodate the tight quarters, but with some creative shuffling of equipment and clearing of a zone in front of the stage, the band nestled in with Craig on the "throne" and Rob, Tony and Dave lined up in front-floor level. "Shock and awe" was delivered as Dave's reverb tank was set off into the infamous "surf-crash" as Craig's kick drum vibrated the stage nearby...later remedied by moving it onto the floor. The club "TOAD" hosted a very enthusiatic group of patrons, some of whom bounced from nearby hotspots to sample the surf-rock instro of The Sun Protection Factor Four. It was also great to be joined by many of the band's friends from Worcester and the Boston area who appreciated a little "surf" in the middle of January.

SPF-4 Chimes in Holidays at The Alumni Club...Dec 16th, 2006.
SPF-4 provided the surf-rock-instro for a Holiday get-together hosted by Kroll Associates at The Alumni Club in Springfield, MA. The evening kicked off with cocktails, appetizers and a festive gathering of good friends of the band and client friends of Kroll Associates. As good cheer progressed, one of the highlights emerged in tow with "Dano" Surkis -his portable Tiki Bar, complete with Blue Hawiian's and MaiTai's for fuel! Dan Surkis is Fender Jaguar guitarist for the CT. based surf band The Clams, and he settled in with guests to enjoy the "glow" of the Tiki Bar and party atmosphere.
The band proceeded to deliver 2 sets of material featuring many new songs written by Dave and Rob and also included the bands' brand of trad-surf instrumentals. The stage was nice and sound reinforcement was delivered tastefully by Rich Janek, who also played some classic '50's Sci-Fi on the two large flatscreens behind the band. The evening progressed with patrons engaging in some surf-twist as the band delivered a dance-oriented second set. It was great to gather with the mix of people there that eventually exploded into a power-dance club after the band stopped around 11:30. SPF-4 and Kroll Associates closed out 2006 with a good time at The Alumni Club...thanks Rich.

SPF-4 "Re-Rocks" the Bungalow...
The Sun Protection Factor Four reprised their first public performance with a jubilant return engagement at the Bungalow Performing Arts Center in Wilbraham, Massachusetts on July 15, 2006. The instrumental quartet, which two years earlier premiered its classic surf rock show on the same stage, was personally introduced by Summer Williams, Artist Relations Manager of the Bungalow, and played to an enthusiastic all-ages crowd enjoying a private party on the grounds. The concert of original music and 1960's surf classics was the main event complementing outdoor activities including a swimming and diving show, horseshoe and beach-ball volleyball tournaments, and a gourmet buffet and beer tasting.
Among the dignitaries in attendance was Maxwell Clifford Brooks, son of guitarist Rob Brooks. At one month old, Max is believed to be the youngest member of an SPF-4 audience. Other noteworthies spotted at the show were "ballroom dancer" Deb, sister of guitarist Dave Kroll, and bassist Tony Maciag's wife Carla and parents Charlie and Ann Marie.

SPF-4 to ride the wave with Dick Dale...May 28th, 2006
SPF-4 (The Sun Protection Factor Four) will be opening up for Dick Dale - "King of the surf guitar" at the Iron Horse Music Hall on Sunday May 28th... As a "current wave" surf-instrumental band, "SPF-4" performs a brand of originally crafted surf that pays reverence to the early 60's sound and adds an injection of current rock edge. SPF-4 is composed of original Western Mass. natives Dave Kroll-guitar, Rob Brooks-guitar, Craig Nieske-drums and Tony Maciag-bass. The band has been performing at surf friendly venues in New England since late 2004. "When we put the band together a few years back, Rob and I had just seen Dick Dale for the first time, said Dave Kroll-guitarist. It was almost like seeing Elvis...Dick Dale is a true pioneer and innovator in the surf music genre...hell, he created it!" I never thought we'd have the opportunity to share a show with someone who has shaped a musical style such as Dick Dale." SPF-4 will be shaping up their Fenders for the 7:00pm show at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA*Review of Show...
Video Clip

SPF-4 takes port at Land Ho...April 8, 2006
SPF-4 made its club debut at Land Ho in Oleans, Ma on Saturday, April 8th. Delivering reverb-drenched surf tunes, the band fit nicely into the friendly environment that Land Ho had to offer. Patrons of the club quickly gravitated to the floor in front of the band to exercise their '60's flavored dance grooves as SPF-4 plowed through their range of material. On occasion, Dave's back-up Stratocaster was in danger of being trampled as it stood near an area of the dance floor. The room had good acoustics due to the large volume of hanging ephimera and a good layout for patrons to sit back and take in the tunes. Notable friends of the band that showed up included the East Coast Tremors, folks from Mass. Maritime Academy and the Munson Galley. It was also nice to meet Bruce Maclean after the show, famous Gretch guitar twang-master Link Montana. Wrapping up a fine club debut, the band looks forward to making Land Ho a regular stomp on the Cape this summer and beyond.

Dee Dee's Lounge meets SPF-4 and friends...Feb. 17, 2006
Dee Dee's Lounge in Quincy, Ma.was given a healthy dose of current-day surf-rock-instro by SPF-4 and the Preston Wayne 4 on Friday nite. With a smooth opening set by SPF-4, the club took on a surf twang atmosphere and continued with the scathing final set by the Preston Wayne 4. Dee Dee's is one of those clubs that has a great local patronage that supports live music and the management was very enthusiastic. The room has fine accoustics and a nice corner stage with house sound if needed. Maybe next time the large projection screen could also be used to work with the surf-instro theme somehow. SPF-4 opened the night with a confident set , followed by a rockabilly set from Fury III and the night ended with a blistering set by Preston Wayne 4. Again, the room acoustics worked just right to keep the sound warm for PW4 and in particular, the wide open playing of Preston's vintage Statocaster.

NYC Tiki Club hosts SPF-4...Jan. 27, 2006
SPF-4 ventured to the Big Apple to play at Otto's Shrunken Head Tiki Bar on E.14th St. for a sizzling set of Friday nite surf-instro. The modern day Tiki club, with the help of NY-based surf music promoter Unsteady Freddie put together a special "surf shindig" which included SPF-4 and the Tarantinos-NY. Otto's is a vibrant 60's style venue with a live music backroom and Tiki decor that fits the vibe of the surf music scene properly. Hard to find and original early '60's surf music album covers adorned the rest room walls with groovy graphic designs. Enthusiastic patrons of the club and friends of the bands contributed that nite to the vibrant present-day surf rock scene that has firmly taken root at Otto's Shrunken Head Tiki Bar and Lounge .Otto's .

SPF-4 wraps up 2005 at The Skybar...Dec. 30, 2005
The Sun Protection Factor Four chimed out 2005 on Friday nite with a great show at the Skybar in Somerville, MA. Stepping up on what was one of the nicest stages the band has set foot on, SPF-4 proceeded to deliver a hot set of surf-rock instro to an enthusiastic crowd. The club was armed with a recently upgraded crisp sound system, concert lighting and a professional house Engineer named Joe, whom may be remembered from his days at the Channel Club. Joe made the mix come alive and the band supplied the fuel for the 11pm till closing set of surf. The Skybar stage was wide and deep and the "flying" sound system/monitors delivered a punchy clean sound, inspiring the band to strech out and open up to the crowd. Kudos to Joe and the crew who put together the stage at the Skybar, for it makes a great rock-n-roll venue for bands and their audience. SPF-4 looks forward to returning to the Skybar in February or March of 2006.

SPF-4 and East Coast Tremors at Vincent's -Worcester, MA December 10th, 2005
SPF-4 and East Coast Tremors shared a split bill at Vincent's on Saturday nite, serving up an evening of surf-instro to friends and patrons of this cozy nieghborhood club in Worcester, MA. Vintage pulp fiction book covers laminated the bar and exotic taxidermi gracing the walls added to the warm crowd that came out to catch some surf-rock-instro on Saturday night. The "stage" may have been tight, but the venue afforded folks an intimate experience with the bands.

East Coast Tremors opened the evening with a blistering set of their original pycho-surf. Hailing from the outer Cape, these lads have got it going on. ECT staples such as "The Kraken", "Honeymoon Academy" "Cameltoe" and "1996" were delivered with confidence and style. What's great about these guys is the combination of vintage surf tone and punk overtones in their material. Jared(guitar) and Dave(guitar) counter each other with plenty of definition, while Lee(Drums) and Jeff(Bass) pound out the tight backbeat with no error. They proceeded to rip through their catalog and set the crowd into a great vibe.
East Coast Tremors

SPF-4 picked up where ECT left off and opened with a holiday friendly version of "Surf-Sleighride" followed by two new SPF-4 compositions "Round-em-Up" and "Perfect Wave" , both well received. The crowd was in the mood to keep on surfin', so the band continued with their delivery of material that fed the warm vibe for the night. Many new friends were made at Vincent's and the band hopes to make the club a frequent stop.

SPF-4 - "Surf Session 1" (Reviewed by Phil McNamara, Worcester Scene)
Well, what can you say about surf music? It all sounds like Dick Dale... Nooo, it doesn't really all sound like Dick Dale, but a lot of surf records do. Bands think that they have to hit you over the head with intensity; that they have to floor you with speed, volume and ferocity. To their credit, the four guys mixed it up pretty well and made a record that's about intricacy as much as anything else. It's a surf record that you don't necessarily have to crank really loud to enjoy, but it does sound really good cranked loud.

The opener "Collision Course" sounds a bit mellower than the title would indicate as guitarist Dave Kroll and Rob Brooks play a mix of smooth rolling surf leads and what sounds like it could be bits of samba, mariachi, calypso, and flamenco, while drummer Craig Nieske and bassist Tony Maciag shift from straight driving rock to island rhythms under them. "The Rising Surf" is a mid-tempo rocker that conjure up images of driving up the California coast with the top of the convertible down, even if you're driving through Worcester in your own crappy car. The opening of "Loophole" has an early 60s almost Beatlesque feel to it before it slips into a slow rolling surf tune with a busy drum beat behind it. It makes for a nice contrast. "Ninth Wave" builds up nicely with the tension of the start of a street race before hitting a groovy surf riff and kinda staying on it a little too long. They do break things up nicely with a couple drum solos in the middle and at the end to save it. "Latinia" sounds like it's just waiting for the right trumpet player to find it. The guitar in this comes close as his it's a bit flamenco and a bit "8 Miles High" era Byrds. "Cruel Sea" opens up with a heavy fuzzy guitar riff then brings the record back to whimsical sounding surf, while "Jack the Ripper" mixes a heavy rumbling garage rock beat with twangy surf guitars making it another of my favorite driving tunes.

By the middle of the record SPF-4 mellows out with "Mr. Moto," a low key mix of surf and Texas twang. "Surfin' St. Helens" keeps up this feel, while the guitarists explore the high end of their fret board. "Crystal T" gets back to the drag race surfing wipeout feel that they capture so well. They pull out a catchy danceable riff that's fun to groove to, but they stay on it for long enough for me to wonder when it was going to end. Of course back in the day, a four-minute song was considered a short song and a 45-minute album was par for the course. "Perfidia" and "Lonely Bull" breeze through with a little more brevity. While "Perfidia" has a classic early '60s feel to it, "Lonely Bull" pulls out some sonic guitar effects, making a slow Texas twang feel that wouldn't be out of place on the Repo Man soundtrack.

The album winds up with the slow dance prom number "Sleepwalk" and the military drumming and anthemic guitars of "The Lonely Sea." The cascading guitars that close out the song make it one worth remembering. While most of the songs on this record conjure up the ocean or the dessert, this one makes me visualize the band playing off each other and working in perfect synch (even though aside from the bass player I don't know what they look like). This CD's a keeper, whether listened to as back ground music or just to put you in the right mood, this record fares better than your average instrumental album.

Phil Dirt reviews SPF-4 demo CD...
The legendary surf music reviewer gives his two-cents at Reverb Central...Read the SPF-4 Phil Dirt Reverb Central review here...

Paper City Brewery & Midway Cafe Get Healthy Doses of SPF-4 ... April 15th & 16th, 2005
SPF-4 kicked off a weekend of surf-rock-instro returning to Paper City Brewery with a 6-8pm "happy-hour" . As usual the show was well attended with enthsiastic micro-brew tasters and surf-instro music fans. One of the best-kept "secrets" in Western Mass, the weekly Friday nite "bands and brew tasting" events are a great time. SPF-4 delivered 2 powerful sets of material, eventually topped in volume by cheering fans(brew related?). Although the floors were a little sticky, the band cemented their friendship with the fun crowd at Paper City Brewery.

The next night, SPF-4 hit the road for the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain, Boston to open for the Chandler Travis Philharmonic. The Midway is an institution for great live bands and it was a good vibe for SPF-4. Blowing through a relaxed, yet focused set of choice selections, the band settled right into the night stage, paving the way for the CTP. After a good set the band was well received by new and old friends at the Midway and looks forward to returning there soon.

SPF-4 "Surf Session 1" CD available... April 14th, 2005
The SPF-4 CD "Surf Session 1" is now available at SPF-4 Stuff and at all live shows. Sub-titled "We Don't Sing No Stinkin' Vocals", the compilation captures the bands brand of surf-rock-instro and makes a fine addition to any summer music collection.

SPF-4 Recording new CD... March 2005
SPF-4 is recording a new "Surf-Session" CD at Signature Sounds this month. The band is excited about capturing their brand of surf-instro in the sessions that are slated for release in April. "We are happy to have Mark Thayer at Signature Sounds working with us on this project" says Dave Kroll, guitarist. " He is a fan of the surf-instro genre and has produced many top shelf regional and national projects with Signature." "It will be great to get into the studio and capture the energy of this group" says Rob Brooks, guitarist..."we should come out of the sessions as a stronger band". "This is an exciting project for me, since it's my first pro-session" says bass player Tony Maciag. Craig Nieske the bands drummer says "hmmph...should be a dandy".

SPF-4 Rocks Ralph's - Worcester, MA March 4, 2005
A bitter wind and frigid temperatures outside were no match for the feeling of endless summer inside Ralph's Diner as the Sun Protection Factor Four presented a blistering set of surf-inspired rock to a full house Friday night. Clad in matching black rashguard shirts and clicking from the first chord, the band members hit their stride early and kept the groove cooking throughout a 75 minute, showcase performance.

The surf-instro vibe was visually enhanced by Bruce Brown's 1966 movie classic The Endless Summer which was simulcast as a backdrop for the band. The film chronicles the experiences of surfing legends Michael Hynson and Robert August as they travel the globe in search of the perfect wave.

Ralph's Diner is an institution of sorts in Worcester, Massachusetts. The diner is the genuine article - a railroad diner car. The menu consists largely of burgers, dogs, and chili, with a good selection of draft beer to wash it down. Adjacent are upstairs(with a newly renovated stage) and downstairs cavern-style bars with eclectic décor that gives revelers plenty to observe and contemplate. Ralph's has hosted a plethora of regional and national acts for the past 25 years.

Among the dignitaries in the audience were members of the surf band 9th Wave and NESMA founding members -guitarist Mike Rosado and multi-instrumentalist Sandy Brooks. Also present were professional staff of the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine and many recently made friends of SPF-4 from previous Worcester area performances. Scott Williams

Club Car, Worcester, MA January 15, 2005
I was surprised to hear that a surf instrumental band had formed around the Worcester area. Usually to hear some good Surf music one has to "venture" into Boston or beyond. Oddly enough, there was a big surf show going on in Somerville on the very night of this show. I chose to stay in Worcester and check out SPF-4 (The Sun Protection Factor 4). I had never been to Club Car before. Unfortunately, there were TV's playing football in every corner and I was worried that they would be a distraction to the live music. It's definitely the Keno-Sports kinda hangout. I was surprised that the stage was squished in the corner when there was an entire other room that would make a great music hall. Anyway, as I got my flat Guinness and sat down at a table with my party, I glanced at the band's equipment. Seeing some sparkly Rogers drums and a nice lineup of Fender guitars, I felt a sense of relief...these were the tools of the true surf- obsessed musician.

The band started and the TV's went on mute. The band was wearing matching board shirts, which I think is a smart look for any bands doing any kind of retro-inspired thing. About halfway through the first song, one of the guitarists broke a string. He was playing a DeArmond guitar w/a Bigsby tremolo on it. Knowing myself what a pain it is to switch out strings on these, I wasn't surprised to see him recover by grabbing a Fender Jazzmaster. The same guitarist also played a Strat part-way through the set, but went back to the Jazzmaster later on. The other guitarist played a Fender Jaguar most of the time and also switched it out with a Strat. I couldn't make out the bass players first guitar but he switched with a Fender P-Bass into the set as well. It was interesting to hear the contrast between the Jaguar and Jazzmaster guitars.

The first thing that hit me about these guys is how much they had that "Ventures" sound, they just seemed to have that tone. I don't think either of the guitarists were using separate reverb tank units, so things didn't get too soupy. They had a good clean sound with just a little "garage-y" bite. They did two sets of cover songs and when I talked to a couple of the band members (sorry I'm bad with names) and found out that they were doing all covers this time and would be bringing out their originals at their next gig. Actually, it was a real treat to hear so many Surf-instrumental covers! I should have grabbed a set-list, but a few I remember are: Miserlou, Surf Rider, Out of Limits, Sleepwalk, the Lonely Bull, Penetration, Walk don't Run, Diamond Head and Rebel Rouser. I think the highlight of the evening for me was hearing Santo and Johnnies "Sleepwalk". I have never heard this one done live before. Overall, these guys had their stuff down tight and I look forward to seeing them again. They were all good musicians. (That surf staccato picking ain't easy ya know). Both guitarists traded off on rhythm and lead, the bass and drums were solid and the occasional announcement on the megaphone was a nice touch. Oh yeah, after multiple requests by the locals, they even did "Wipeout". Mike Purcell (wormtown.org)

The Cutting Room: NY, NY 11-27-04
SPF-4 made their New York City debut Saturday night at the Cutting Room on W.24th St. The show was graciously hosted by "Unsteady Freddy"- the famous NYC surf music promoter and "Twang Ambassador" of the region. The club offered the band a fine stage and house sound that inspired The Sun Protection Factor Four to deliver a tight, powerful set of their brand of surf-instro.

The set progressed nicely with highlights featuring Rob's heartfelt delivery of lead on tunes like "Lonely Bull" and "SleepWalk". Later memorables included Dave's chiming Stratocaster on "The Rising Surf" and staccato lead on "9th Wave" - which was graced by a surprise jump on stage "surf-a-go-go" dance by the lovely Sandy "Oceana" of the exotic opening act "The Acoustic Surf Tone's"! see picture... She later rejoined the SPF-4 stage with an encore surf-a-go-go to the band's blistering version of "Crystal-T".

The band was very well received by the applauding crowd and SPF-4 proceeded to put the debut Big Apple gig into their back pocket, looking forward to the next show in the city.

Whitecrest Beach: Wellfleet, MA 8-29-04
The Sun Protection Factor Four continued their Summer Tour with a gig high atop the bluffs of White Crest Beach in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. The event was focused around the annual Old-Timers Longboard Competition. A junket of family and friends made their way to the Outer Cape for one of the best weekends of the summer!

In casual attire complete with shades, the SPF-4 played a 90-minute set consisting of many originally crafted surf numbers. The sun was still strong in the late afternoon when the band opened their set and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. The northerly breeze gently blew the long manes of Rob on guitar and Tony on bass. Craig looked cool as always behind his 60's silver sparkle Rogers drum kit and Dave, now sporting a soul patch and long sideburns, smiled quite often, revealing his joy of playing surf guitar. You couldn't ask for a better setting to hear Surf-instro and dance like crazy people.

SPF-4 was well received by locals and tourists who had never heard of this fairly new band. A local radio station(WOMR) rep. tapped fans for information about these guys and where their roots were. Predominately a group of old high school buddies from Western Mass, these four musicians have played a whole range of genres over the years. I have personally followed them since the late 80's when they were known as Picture This. They never disappoint and the Surf-instro scene is made for these guys.

The long boards gave way to long shadows and the day came to an end with a glorious sunset. After putting all the gear away, family and friends celebrated the successful gig on the beach until dark. The "adults" went out for dinner at a local restaurant where it is rumored one of the guitar players "mistakenly" rode his bicycle into Terra Luna thinking it was the bike path! It was a fine weekend for SPF-4 and friends and hopefully the beginning of an annual tradition at the Oldtimer's Longboard contest...Jay Holsing
*See Jay's Photo-Video review of the Whitecrest show...

"Surf Summit": Kirkland Cafe, Somerville, MA 8-14-04
SPF-4 made its Boston-area debut on a hot summer Saturday night at the Kirkland Cafe. Performing ahead of three other NESMA bands, SPF-4 kicked off the night with a blistering set of material and got the crowd revved-up for the "Surf Summit." The stage was tight, but the band delivered enough energy to heat up the room and make new friends on the dance floor. After finishing the set with SPF-4's version of Dick Dale's "Nitro," the crowd yelled for one more. The band obliged with their energetic version of "Miserlou."

Following the performance was Boston's own "They're Gonna Get You" delivering a frantic set of material, followed by the stunning performance of "9th Wave." The Surf Summit was wrapped up by sinister surf-maestros "Phantom Creeps." What a great night at the Kirkland.

"Surf Combo Makes East Coast Debut"
A hot summer Saturday and a party atmosphere set the stage for The Sun Protection Factor Four on July 17. The show marked the surf combo's East Coast debut as well as the inaugural concert at the Bungalow Performing Arts Center in Wilbraham, Massachusetts.

Against a backdrop of festive lights and road-trip décor, The Sun Protection Factor Four lit up the late afternoon with a tight set of surf instrumentals. Guitarists Rob and Dave combined their musicianship in a style that honored the surf music tradition without sounding formulaic. Bassist Tony and drummer Craig set the pace with a tight, smooth groove that kept the audience on their feet.

The audience - dressed in beach attire and spanning the age spectrum from toddlers to octogenarians - embraced the surf music scene enthusiastically.

Surf is back (some would argue it never really left) and The Sun Protection Factor Four is catching the wave... Scott Williams

©2004 SPF-4