June 1967’s single release, “Hit the Surf” by The Sea Shells, may or may not have been the last recording of surf music’s original Golden Age: Sgt. Pepper‘s release that same month might well have been the final nail in surf’s fiberglass coffin.
The music scholars at Rhino Records — in the liner notes to their surf music box set, Cowabunga! — inform me that “In 1980, a surprisingly large number of surf bands appeared in major cities across the country and overseas. However, most of the action was smack dab in Southern California.” DC’s Slickee Boys, fortunately for the rest of humanity, pioneered an East Coast surf sound in 1983 with the release of their seminal single, “When I Go to the Beach”:
Second-place winner of MTV’s Basement Tapes in 1983, “When I Go to the Beach” consequently gave The Slickee Boys the distinction of being the first DC-area band to appear on the burgeoning music network (it’s true: MTV once played music videos). “When I Go to the Beach” – written by Mark Noone and featuring the twin guitar attack of Kim Kane & Marshall Keith – was included on The Slickee Boys second long-playing release, Cybernetic Dreams of Pi, a Twin/Tone album that also enjoyed release in Germany and France. Voted Record of the Year in 1985 at the first Washington Area Music Association Awards, “When I Go to the Beach” would also be featured, thrillingly enough, in Frankie and Annette “retro-surf” film, Back to the Beach from 1987.
All Roads Lead to Mark Noone
If Pete Frame – pioneer of the Rock Family Tree – were to map out the DC music scene of the 1970s, 80s and beyond, Mark Noone would certainly be in the thick of things. In addition to his work with The Slickee Boys, Mark has not only sung and/or held down bass duties for The Wanktones, The Hula Monsters, Ruthie & the Wranglers, and The Rhodes Tavern Troubadours but is once again tapping into the Zeitgeist via current side project, The Yachtsmen – “dock rockers” for our New Gilded Age.