Chairmen of the Boards are not a typical surf-rock band, but as their debut album Surfin’ The Apocalypse proves, they are hands down one of the best out there. Keeping things lean and mean, the new trio consisting of Toronto scene vets Rob Hiemstra (guitars), Leonardo Valvassori (bass) and Gary Craig (drums) blast out 14 instrumentals guaranteed to put a little extra wax on your deck and keep you ridin’ the nose through the riptide of daily life.
Leading off with the vintage twang of first single Board Whacks, COTB display the full range of their stunning chops on the deliciously funky Booty Wiggle, the kick-sand-in-your-face-while-I-sip-my-martini swagger of Dirty Grind, and a cover of surf-rock godfather Dick Dale’s classic track, Taco Wagon. If you only know surf-rock because of Quentin Tarantino soundtracks, then wax up and get the full experience!
Granted, the beaches on Lake Ontario aren’t exactly Malibu but Toronto does contain a small but hardcore surfing community. By extension, there’s also a small but hardcore community of surf-rock fanatics, three of whom now comprise Chairmen of the Boards. The seeds were planted when Chairman Rob started bringing original ‘surf compositions’ to Chairman Leo during a residency at Grossman’s Tavern, the storied Toronto venue long known as professional musician jam spot. In no time, the pair were working out new ideas, eventually realizing they were building up enough material to make an album.
Enter Chairman Gary, and after a period of intense rehearsals, studio time was booked at prestigious Toronto studio Revolution Recording where his drum tracks were recorded by Annelise Noronha (assisted by Gemma Mazza), the rest of the album was laid down at Chairman Leo’s personal studio The Notebox, where additional sugaring to songs was applied by keyboardist Denis Keldie, pedal steel guitarist ‘General’ Kevin Neal, and the Hang Ten Horns—Rebecca Hennessy and Carrie Chesnutt. Tracks were then sent to New York for mixing by Grammy winner William Wittman, and mastering by Greg Calbi and Steve Fallone at Sterling Sound.
“If you appreciate raw rock and roll with a touch of psychedelia, then Surfin’ The Apocalypse will easily fit into your collection or slide onto your favourite playlist.”
By the time the sun sets with the closing ballad ‘Sand Between Your Toes’ (a nod to the great surf-rock producer Jack Nitzsche), you’ll be ready to pack your board into your Woody and drive back to whatever Hollywood you live in. Chairmen of the Boards want to help you escape.