THE SUPERTONES
Mysto Incognito
(Surf Music Unlimited)

 

Referred to by music lovers in the know as the greatest instrumental surf-rock band in New York City, The Supertones, featuring guitar ace Tim Sullivan, have yet another fine new album with the 2013 CD release of the 16 track Mysto Incognito. The Supertones have long been associated with instrumental surf music in the spirit of legends like The Ventures and Dick Dale and on their new CD they don’t disappoint. Mysto Incognito features a round of fresh Supertones’ originals along with classic covers by the likes of legends like Jerry Lordan (“Diamonds”) and a new Supertones cover of “Harlem Nocturne”, no doubt enhanced by the inclusion of a new Tim Sullivan original called “Rockaway Nocturne”. Commenting on the CD title track, Tim explains, '“Mysto Incognito” is one of the songs that I had written when I was in music school in the mid 70's and was never really able to get the guys to play it because it wasn't a rocker. Luckily we know better now and the guys really added something very special to it. Sammy's drumming and Simon's upright bass makes this one of my favorite songs of mine.' This latest Supertones lineup truly does justice to these rockin’ rave-ups. Mysto Incognito is one of the coolest instrumental guitar albums of 2013 and it will not disappoint long time Supertones fans. contact: SupertonesSurf@hotmail.com


mwe3.com presents an interview with

Tim Sullivan of THE SUPERTONES


mwe3: Tim, the new Supertones CD Mysto Incognito is one of the best guitar instrumental albums of 2013. Is there a story behind the making of the album, how it came about and where and when was the music written and recorded? Overall what did The Supertones set out to achieve with Mysto Incognito this time around?

TIM SULLIVAN: Well what we wanted to do here with Mysto Incognito was to try and capture the raw energy of our live performances which we felt had been lacking in some of our previous recordings, when we play to a live audience and we get them up and moving and dancing. That’s what this record is all about, even though we recorded this in a studio and did do some overdubs etc... this is the Supertones live 2013. This record was finished a few months back and we started on it about a year ago. A lot of these tunes are all songs that we had recorded in the past but have now redone with more raw power and energy.

mwe3: Who plays on the new Mysto Incognito album with you in The Supertones and how would you describe the chemistry between you and the other players in the Supertones these days? How would you compare this lineup of The Supertones with the band as it’s been recording over the past two decades and can you give a little history of The Supertones? It sounds like you’ve stayed loyal to the original premise of the band yet as times change, the band has also evolved right?

TIM SULLIVAN: Great question. The chemistry right now with The Supertones is like a very powerful spiritual drug. When Sammy Baker, Simon Chardiet, Seth Lipscher and I play we get a groove happening. It is like an ascension into nirvana, and what I mean by that is the music takes us to another place that we can only go as a group—this is why we do it. I feel that music is one of the most powerful forces in our lives. Music is always fresh and full of surprises. The original premise and really what we are all about is to stay true to our influences—Duane Eddy, The Ventures, The Shadows, The Raybeats and Jon & the Nightriders and that BIG Fender guitars sound when Ted Lawrence and I met in 1988 in my guitar shop in NYC and formed The Supertones with Marc Lipsher and Mike Arcidiacono. This would be the first incarnation of The Supertones. Then in 1993 when Ted left to form Purple Knif we brought in my surfing buddy Mike Mandina on second guitar. Then in 2000 Mike Arcidiacono and Marc left and we brought Presly Acuna on drums and Simon Chardiet on bass. Then around 2008 Presly and Mike Mandina moved out of NYC which bring us to the present and 4th incarnation of The Supertones with Tim Sullivan on guitars, Seth Lipscher, (Marc’s brother) on second guitar, Sammy Baker on drums and Simon Chardiet on bass. One of the things that I am the most proud of is that over the years we all have remained close friends. No big ego here, just that the music comes first. The Supertones’ family is what this music is all about.

mwe3: When did you become so interested in instrumental guitar music and the entire surf music realm? I know you’re also a surfer too. Can you give a little history on your early exposure to the guitar, to music in general and the instrumental guitar genre? Who were your early guitar heroes, favorite bands and what’s your take on the world’s endless fascination with surf music and the entire surf inspired guitar instrumental genres? Seems like where ever there’s a wave breaking or a tropical sunset there’s a song to go with it!

TIM SULLIVAN: Well I come from a very musical family. Both my parents are Irish and everyone plays some kinda musical instrument. My mother’s family were all professional musicians going way back. My great grandmother was playing piano in the silent movie houses back in the day and my mother played and taught piano. My dad’s family all played boogie woogie and ragtime piano like Jerry Lee as well as the guitar and banjo, so those two instruments were always around. My first guitar was given to me by my uncle Len Costello in 1963 and right away this kinda music got me and my brother, who was a greaser in Virginia at the time and was really into early rock ‘n’ roll. He had Duane Eddy and Ventures albums and that was a major influence on what I heard and wanted to sound like. After a while of banging away on the guitar, my mother wanted me to take guitar lessons and was good friends with the owners of our local music store in Jacksonville, North Carolina. When I went for my first lesson she told my teacher that she wanted me to learn how to read music and to learn “Perfidia” and “Walk Don't Run” by The Ventures (yeah mom!) which I did. My guitar teacher, who was in a local Ventures cover band, lent me all his Ventures albums which I still have and had me come up on stage when I was 10 or 11 and play “Walk, Don't Run” with him. Also around this time surfing became a major obsession of mine. My father, who was from California and was a big surfer, got me into surfing and for about 15 years that all I did was surf surf surf, and play guitar. When it became time for me to go to collage I chose a place were I could surf and study music and classical guitar. This was the early 70's. While I was in collage I took a ballet class mainly to improve my surfing and to meet chicks. As it turned out I was pretty good at it and danced with the Florida ballet and was offered to come to NYC to study which I did, this was 1979. At this time every one had moved out of NYC so it was a wide open place. Around the early 80's I got into the NYC rockabilly and retro music scene that was happening. This is when I decided that I would try to get a surf band together to play Surfabilly in 1983. This also is when I meet Marc Lipsher and got a job in a music store at the Chelsea Hotel which has been my home ever since. Both Marc and I had played with The Dragsters plus Mike Arcidiacono had a surf band called The Tidal Waves which later evolved into The Supertones in 1988.

mwe3: On the new Mysto Incognito, there’s a predominance of new Supertones originals but there’s also a cover of the Jerry Lordan classic “Diamonds” and the classic “Harlem Nocturne”. Can you say something about those two tracks, why you chose to record them on the new CD and what they signify to you? Also the title track “Mysto Incognito” is one of your best originals. How about the story on that track?

TIM SULLIVAN: Jerry Lordan is one of my major song writing influences. When I was very little, The Ventures Surfing album was what I would listen to over and over. The song “Diamonds” was one of my all time favorite tunes on that record. Their version of that song really captured, for me, what surfing was and is even the word “Diamonds”, in surf terms means an epic day of surf so I wanted to do a new version of that song as a tribute to my heroes, The Ventures and Jerry Lordan. Now “Harlem Nocturne”, which is one of the great instro blues tunes of all time and not an very easy piece to play at all, was something that I have always wanted to record and never had until now. I love playing it and it’s always a show stopper. “Mysto Incognito” is one of the songs that I had written when I was in music school in the mid 70's and was never really able to get the guys to play it because it wasn't a rocker. Luckily we know better now and the guys really added something very special to it. Sammy's drumming and Simon's upright bass makes this one of my favorite songs of mine. I did use my Blackface 1964 twin and my gold JM on most of these tracks and is pretty much all live to keep it fresh.

mwe3: What guitars are you primarily using these days? What guitars are you playing on the Mysto Incognito CD? How about amps, strings and other guitar effects you’re using on Mysto Incognito and how about the guitars and other guitars used by you and your band mates Simon Chardiet and Ted Lawrence?

TIM SULLIVAN: These days I have been using a AVI Jaguar 2006 and a 2004 MIJ all gold Jazzmaster with a huge neck on it. That is my main ax which just sounds insane and in the studio I use my Blackface ‘64 Twin and or Blackface Pro Reverb. Sometimes I will use an old Echoplex to fatten up my sound. Now when I play live I been using a 150 watt Crate Power Block with one 12” cabinet that kicks butt live and I use a Boss FRV-1 and a T-REX tremolo pedal and sometimes a Boss Space Echo. With strings I have been using D'addario Chromes Flats 13-56 and I have always used “Flats” since the early 60's. Now Ted uses pretty much the same set up as well as does Mike Mandina but Seth has been using a Tele or Les Paul Gold Top with P-90's through Fender Deluxe’s for the rhythm stuff. Simon played a reissue Tele bass, a Kay upright bass, a Hammer 12 string bass and a Rickenbacker.

mwe3: Who else was involved in the making of the new Mysto Incognito CD? I saw Eric Ambel was involved in the mastering. How did you balance the production of the CD and what was involved in the production of making the CD in your opinion? Also the Mysto Incognito cover art is classic.

TIM SULLIVAN: We were really lucky this time out we did all our recording at Melody Lanes studio in Williamsburg Brooklyn, right in the heart of hipsterville. The studio has a great small live room with 18 foot high ceilings and gets a really insane drum sounds. With Jay Braun doing all the engineering and our multi talented drummer / producer Sammy Baker getting a great live drum sound, it makes it really easy to get a great sounding record. Then you add Simon Chardiet’s basses and producer's bass in consort and you get a raw, very powerful bass and drum sound which made it real easy for me to soar and do my thing. The art work was my idea with Andrew Wendel doing a fantastic job of putting my vision down on paper. It does have some meaning but really it's just a refection of the times that we live in. Mastering by Eric Ambel at Cowboy Technical Services and last but not least project coordinator and music director Simon Chardiet who really made this all possible.

mwe3: What’s on the horizon for The Supertones this year. How about other things you’re involved with both musical and otherwise. Thanks for the interview Tim, good luck to you and The Supertones.

TIM SULLIVAN: I have never been busier than right now with The Supertones. We play live a few times a month and right now we are finishing up the last of two albums from this project that we have been working for the last year. We recorded about 40 more songs that we are almost done with it. It’s going to be two records, the next one is going to be all classic surf covers named The Supertones - Going To A Rock ‘n’ Roll Dance Party and it’s really a record to dance to and a feel good record. The final album will be all originals called The Supertones - The Sweet Ride. I just want to say it was a real pleasure talking to you and the most important thing you can do in life is to be true to who and what you are and always be authentic to it, that will set you free. Cheers surf brothers...


Thanks to Tim Sullivan and The Supertones @ SupertonesSurf@hotmail.com





 

 
   
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