Story by Mike Ferraro:
I was a founding member of “The Irridescents in, I believe, 1962. We were just four young 15 year old teenagers who loved surf music who also happened to play guitars. We were a garage band that was formed in La Crescenta, California and we went to Hoover High School in Glendale, Ca.
The Irridescents were composed of: Hank Fouchet, Lead Guitar; Mike Ferraro, Rhythm Guitar; Collin Field, Bass; David Kimber, Drums. We performed in and around the Glendale area. While playing at a Hoover High School dance, I learned that I had mispelled the word Irridescents. I was told by an english teacher that there was only one R in the spelling and there was no plural of the word!!! Oh well….We were just a bunch of kids having fun and trying to impress the girls and maybe get a few dates!
I believe it was in 1963 we performed at the “Battle of the Bands” at the Deauville Castle Club in Santa Monica, California. Instead of playing the current hits of the day, we played some original songs and compositions that were written by our lead guitarist, Hank Fouchet. Among them were “Swamp Surfer” and a composition of “Bali Hai” that was transformed into a a “surf music” sounding piece. After our performance we were approached by a fellow whose name was Steve Reggio. He said he liked our sound and original music and would like to record us and produce an album. As “star struck” teenagers we promptly signed the contracts and a week later we were in Hollywood at the Western Recording Studio (shortly later to become the famous Western Recorder recording studio)performing our surf style original numbers and fantasizing about competing with the Beach Boys!!.
The album came out 2 weeks later. It was called “The Silver Sounds of the Surf” It was a brown velvet cover with a surfer on a board in silver. But we were completely surprised and shocked when the album was titled: Dick Dale and The Irridescents. Wow!! Dick Dale was our idol. What is this? Well, it turns out that before Dick Dale became famous in Southern California with his surf style music, he made a number of non surf music vocals that were less than notable. He evidently signed away his music rights. So this Steve Reggio realized all he needed to do was find some gullible band with original music that wanted to record and then he would put Dick Dale’s name on it….totally bogus…….How did we find out about it? Well…most of us use to go see Dick Dale perform every week at the”Harmony Park Ballroom in Anaheim. And during one of his breaks from playing he held up his new album and said: “This is my new album that is now in the record stores” Then he reached down and picked up the album that we recorded and said: “This album is also in the stores but it is a fake- don’t buy it” I can still feel the blood rushing out of my brain. We were so embarrassed. We were paranoid that he might know we were the culprits!! We just stood there on the dance floor trying to look as innocent as we could!!
Shortly thereafter, I think, but I am not completely sure, we sold our rights to our songs for a pittance and Steve Reggio then replaced The Irridescents with the name of “The Stompers” on the cover of the same album.
As I understand our single and our album are now somewhat collector items, I guess we have now achieved a degree of fame that we were seeking in 1963!!
P.S.: We understood at the time that our album sold 2,000 copies in Southern California- purchased, no doubt, by unknowing surfer types.
Re-post of rare instrumental lp credited to DD and The Stompers.
This is actually The Irridescents Lp with two vocal trax by Dick Dale. The Irridescents can be heard on “Diggin’ Out” and “Get A Board!” surf compilations. Vinyl rip by Surfadelic!