© Copyright 2018 - SURF ZUP
Al is the consummate musician. He began playing at age 11, played his first gig at 15, began writing songs at 16, and started playing professionally at 20.
One of the founding members of the southern rock band Radar in the 1960's, his touring experience includes the national folk circuit with Peter Bowen, and country/country-rock with Bliss, the Honkey-Tonk Angels, and Bustin' Loose.
His numerous industry achievements include 500 session hours at Holland-Dozier-Holland studios during the '70s and while under contract with Nashville's Shed house publishing he co-wrote the #1 national country hit "What Kind Of Fool Do You Think I Am" with Gary Griffin, plus songs for Davis Daniel, Dawn Sears, The Smokin' Armadillos and Johnny Rodriguez.
Al has been revered in the Detroit music scene for decades, entertaining people with his vocals and guitar.
SURF ZUP provides the unique opportunity for his guitar to truly lead the song, much like the vocalist would in a traditional rock band. As Al says, “that’s what makes this so much fun”. And it's his chops and high degree of professionalism that make it fun for everyone in the band, and of course the audience.
Dennis (Dee) Kiraga
Dennis has had a long career in writing, producing and performing. The longtime Detroit/Chicago native is the founding member of the hugely popular band The Secrets.
He has had a long time partnership with BMI Music Nashville and has written, produced and recorded over 45 original songs including Thinkin of Ways, Your For Me and Never Been Kissed. Commercial success has included significant airplay on European television.
In addition to performing and recording, he is active as President of dko International and Metro Music Entertainment Group.
While bass in most other rock bands only provides the bottom end groove, SURF ZUP allows Dee the opportunity to more fully showcase his talents on his Fender Jazz Bass. The bass line in instrumental rock is akin to vocal harmonies in conventional rock. His “Modern Vintage” style and sound delivers that element which is so essential to the uniqueness and power of the band.
Jack knew that when he first heard The Ventures guitars in 1964, he had to learn to play the instrument. Soon after that, playing surf guitar in a high school band just seemed like a natural progression.
Little did he know that a few decades later he would be touring with the original and guitar playing founding members of The Ventures, Don Wilson, Bob Bogle and Nokie Edwards. The Ventures would bring him in into the family and mentor him in the art of rock instrumentals. To date, being with them at the induction of The Ventures into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in March 2008, has been a highlight of a lifetime. Jack refers to it all as “a storybook tale, for sure.”
The Ventures have relied on his technical and creative talents, to co-produce albums and other projects, for two decades. The Ventures are the best in music history at making recordings in that genre, so the value to Jack of that continuing relationship is priceless.
Jack has taken all of that knowledge and experience and injected it into the formation of SURF ZUP. His goal was to found an instrumental band in the spirit of The Ventures, so the people of Michigan could experience and enjoy the music that he loves so much. The project came to fruition when he met Al Carmichael, who Jack affectionately refers to as “Nokie Jr.”.
The addition of Ken Murphy on drums and Dee Kiraga on bass provide the bottom end groove, so essential the to power in surf music. As Jack said, “I’d take these three guys and put them on any stage on the planet, and be proud. These guys are as good as they come. If Mel Taylor (The Ventures legendary drummer) were alive today to hear Ken play, I am pretty sure he’d smile with approval.”
Ken was proud to be a student of legendary drum instructor Ray “Pankau” Parker. He started drumming at the age of 6 and in conjunction with Larry Eagan his school band director from 2nd thru 12th grade, his musical skills were honed and challenged daily. This would serve as the basis for the pursuit of a lifetime of musical enjoyment.
Ken has played nationally with many groups, but his roots are deep in the Detroit Music Scene. As a member of the Detroit Federation of Musicians Local #5 for over 30 years his professional career has allowed him to perform with and be mentored by the most amazing musicians to play in Detroit and around the world. He also teaches aspiring drummers the rudiment and skills they will need to follow in his footsteps.
SURF ZUP has become a high point of Murphy’s musical pursuit. His contribution to the band is significant. In an instrumental band, the drums are equally important with the guitars. This environment may allow him to shine brighter than ever.