We are the measure of all things. And the beauty of our creation,
of our art, is proportional to the beauty of ourselves, of our souls
– Jonas Mekas
Don't ask me what year it was that I worked on the film. I can vaguely remember John French the engineer at TCS recording studios recommending me (I think) to sing on the track.
TCS was a studio at the back of Channel 9 in Melbourne right next to the props department where Great Train robber Ronald Biggs worked as a carpenter.
I had never surfed and came from a bush/factory suburb background. The closest I had ever got to the surf was the industrial foam coming down the local creek!
Back to the song…
Taman Shud had already cut the track with Lindsay Bjerre or Tim Gaze singing it but the vocal apparently didn't quite capture what they had in mind. This can happen sometimes when you've cut a track and maybe the vocalist's voice isn't suited to that key. I was called in to sing the track which I hadn't heard. I can remember instantly hitting it off with the members of Taman Shud, especially Lindsay and the bass player. Thinking back on it, it was probably hard for Lindsay (or Tim) to accept another singer on the track but believe me there was no animosity, and I still see Lindsay and Tim occasionally over the years.
I liked the track and did it, and seem to recall that it wasn't quite my key either, but somehow they accepted it.
I saw the film and the village scene, I believe, where the song is placed, some years later. At the time I was doing a lot of sessions and I didn't think a great deal about it. It didn't hit me until many years later when new generations of surfers would treat me with some awe when they found out that I'd sung on it.
The film to me now has a great historical importance, not only to surf culture but to Australian youth culture as a whole. It will always be a fine example of a surfing historical document.
Last year I played at the National Folk festival in Canberra and the organisers had booked The Atlantics as a musical example of sixties surf culture. I felt it was a bold but correct recognition of the beginnings of a local folkdance music.
In closing I will say that it still mystifies me why there is no strong, continuous surf music scene out there. Surfing is such a strong, positive, (and to a lot of surfers), spiritual activity.
Fuck Divas, Fuck techno.
Thank you Alby and thank you Taman Shud.
– Broderick Smith