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Surf’s up in Cresswind with The SurfAces
Surf band reviving 1960s style in Gainesville neighborhood
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From left, Harold Timms, Michael Collins and Michael Scheuerman, pictured Jan. 16, make up the band The SurfAces, which formed in November 2017 in Cresswind.

The sounds of a Southern California beach washed out of Harold Timms’ basement over brittle, brown grass on a cold January afternoon in Gainesville.

Fast-flicking guitar soaked in reverb, quick rattling and pounding of a drum kit — the upbeat music born on the West Coast and now belted out by Timms and bandmates Michael Scheuerman and Michael Collins was almost out of place in a Georgia winter.

But the tunes are becoming more at home in Gainesville’s Cresswind active adult neighborhood, where the three musicians have performed a handful of shows and are making plans for a busy 2019 for their band, The SurfAces.

If you’re thinking The Beach Boys at the moment, put those guys out of your mind. They came along later, and the original surf music is instrumental and provided the soundtrack to West Coast beach culture in the 1960s.

“Wipe Out,” by The Surfaris, might be the most well-known of the genre, but it was created by Dick Dale, who wrote “Let’s Go Trippin’.”

Scheuerman, 71, and Collins, 69, caught the heyday of the surf genre in the early 1960s.

“Michael and I are 8, 9, 10 years older than Harold,” said Collins, perched behind his drum kit. “We kind of lived it — he knows about it — but I was 12 or 13 years old (when it hit).”

The Ventures, the Chantays, the Surfaris — Collins and Scheuerman came of age listening to instrumental hits from California.

“I distinguish beach music from surf music,” Scheuerman said, his Fender hanging from his shoulders. “The Beach Boys are not surf music … but everybody’s got a different opinion of how this stuff rolls together.”

Surf music enjoyed a brief run at the top of American pop culture before The Beatles launched their British Invasion in the mid-1960s.

“The Beatles kind of drove everybody underground,” Scheuerman said, laughing.

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Michael Scheuerman plays his guitar during a practice session of The SurfAces, a surf band that was created by three Cresswind homeowners in Gainesville.

Since then, the surf genre found a second wind in the soundtracks to TV and movies for its strong sense of place and atmosphere, notably in the soundtrack of the classic “Pulp Fiction,”  which has five surf songs.

They fit into films because of “that whole drippy surf sound,” Timms said. “As soon as you hear that, everybody just knows it’s a surf song with that heavy, drenched, spring reverb sound.”
And almost a quarter-century after Dick Dale’s riffs were resurrected by Quentin Tarantino, surf music is coming back again in Gainesville thanks to Collins, Scheuerman and Timms through The SurfAces — pronounced “surf aces.”

The community of active adults also has a relatively active music scene: The three musicians were playing as members of two different bands, a rock group and a jazz group in Cresswind, when they discovered a common taste for the surf genre.

The group got together in November 2017. They have an album written by Timms named “Ride the Gamma Wave” and have a few shows under their belts at the ballroom of the Cresswind clubhouse.

“We played three nights and got three standing ovations because everybody our age identifies with it,” Scheuerman said.

“They fell right into it,” Collins added.

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Michael Collins drums during a practice session of The SurfAces. Collins is coming back to music as a drummer in Cresswind after a gap of a few decades. He picked up the drums in his native Ohio.

Collins didn’t quite fall right into the music, however. The drummer picked up music as a high school student in Ohio, but took a break for a few decades before picking the sticks back up in Cresswind.

“It wasn’t quite as easy as riding a bike — there’s a lot going on there — but it’s coming back,” Collins said, noting he met his wife of more than 45 years while playing a show in Ohio.  

Scheuerman picked up guitar as a child in Atlanta and went through his surf and Jimi Hendrix phases until finding himself living in the middle of Southern rock’s birth.

“I was fortunate enough to be there at the launch of the Allman Brothers Band,” he said. “Between the blues guys and the Allman Brothers Band — and later, Skynyrd — I never stopped playing.”

His “claim to fame” is his time playing with Joe South, who wrote “Games People Play” and “Walk a Mile in My Shoes.”

Timms’ path to music started in a beat-up record shop in Asbury Park, New Jersey, when he bought a live album from Jimi Hendrix, “Band of Gypsies.”

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Harold Timms, pictured Jan. 16, is a lifelong musician and wrote the music for the band’s album, “Ride the Gamma Wave.”

“By the time side one was done I went downstairs and asked my mom for guitar lessons,” Timms said. “That was it. I was in.”

He later got into Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and progressive rock. He got into a band and has been a recording musician practically ever since.

“Jimi Hendrix got me started and progressive rock made me get serious about it,” he said.

And now, with an album out the door and some shows in the books, the SurfAces is building out its song list with more classic covers and a few more originals.

This year, the band is aiming to play outside of Cresswind in a few Gainesville spots and in Georgia festivals.

“We’ll see where that takes us,” Timms said.

If you want to learn more about Atlanta’s growing surf music scene, look into The Mystery Men?The Surge! and the city’s Southern Surf Stomp, its surf music festival.

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The weapon of choice of The SurfAces guitarists, Harold Timms and Michael Scheuerman, is the Stratocaster.
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