Hi! Today, I have the pleasure to chat with Michael Diabo, lead guitar from Urban Surf Kings 3rd wave band! Thank you Michael for taking time to answer us. Let's surf and start the interview if you please. 😉
SRR: What year was Urban Surf Kings founded?
Michael Diabo: Urban Surf Kings started way back in 1995.
SRR: Who are the members of Urban Surf Kings?
Michael Diabo: USK features Rev Mike (me) on guitar; Crash Flagg, bass & Inky, drums. This line-up has been in place since 1996-97 with Inky taking a break for a couple of years around 2010, but he is back. Brain, bass & Spunky, drums were in the first line-up, for about a year.
SRR: From which city did Urban Surf Kings originate?
Michael Diabo: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.
SRR: Where did the idea to form an instrumental band come from?
Michael Diabo: I had just finished playing with a couple of heavy bands in the late 80's early 90's; the Medicine Men from Montreal, the 14 Eyz from Halifax and was trying to figure out what to do next. My wife was the one who suggested starting a surf band just after Pulp Fiction came out. Since some of the first tunes I learned when I was 14 were Rebel Rouser, Pipeline and Wipe Out it all made sense. Plus I didn't need a singer.
SSR: How did you meet each other?
Michael Diabo: The first line up were friends from University and around Halifax. The line-up that has been around since 96-97, Crash was in the same Jazz program I was at St FX, and Inky is my younger brother.
SRR: What were the influences of the band?
Michael Diabo: USK was influenced by the classic surf-instro bands originally; The Ventures, Dick dale, Davie Allan and Link Wray. As we became more familiar with modern bands Los Straitjackets had a big impact on us. As a guitarist I have been influenced by Link Wray, Davie Allan, Dick Dale and Eddie Angel.
SRR: How did you guys describe the band at the time?
Michael Diabo: We used the tag line North Atlantic Surf. People generally recognize that we are a surf band.
SRR: When was your first gig?
Michael Diabo: Our first gig was at the Wardroom at Kings College in Halifax. We had no idea if a surf band would go over, but the place went bananas!
SRR: What year did you do your first recording?
Michael Diabo: We recorded our first release "Looking Sharp" a cassette ep live at T.U.N.S. in 1996 with 4 mics and a 4-track (guitar, bass, drums, audience).
SRR: Did you have a label?
Michael Diabo: We worked with the Halifax based "Cinnamon Toast Records", Italy's "OmOm Records", and Italy's "Surfer Joe" on several releases. Most of our recordings have come out on our own "Reverb Ranch" imprint.
SRR: Which instrument did you used?
Michael Diabo: For guitar I use; Fender Stratocaster Plus, Eastwood Airline Map, Danelectro U2 1990's a double cut away original Hodad Baritone and a 4 pick up EKO. For bass; Ernie Ball 5 string, Danelectro Longhorn. For drums a Yamaha 4 pieces and for keys we use a 1960's Farfisa on some recording.
SRR: Which amplifier did you use?
Michael Diablo: Live; a early 60's Fender Vibrasonic, late 70's Garnet Revolution II. Recording; a bunch of things including Fender, Kalamazoo, Garnet, Kent. etc...
SRR: Did you use a reverb tank?
Michael Diabo: Yes.
SRR: Was it an original or modified tank?
Michael Diabo: I have 2 1990 reissue tanks.
SRR: Can we know about which tube you used?
Michael Diabo: Only my amp tech knows.
SRR: What are the effects used on the guitar?
Michael Diabo: It varies depending on my mood. With the Garnet amp I use the onboard spring reverb, but I use the reissue tank with the Fender. Ocassionally I will use Diamond Boost-EQ (made here in NS) or an EHX Soul Food to push the amp, an MXR Carbon Copy and an Ashbass Fuzzrite clone for Davie Allan fuzz.
SRR: What type of strings did you use, flatwounds or roundwounds?
Michael Diabo: 11's roundwound with a plain 3rd.
SRR: How long has Urban Surf Kings been active for?
Michael Diabo: We have been going strong for the last 22 years with no end in sight.
SRR: Where can we buy and follow Urban Surf Kings?
Michael Diabo: On Facebook, under Reverb Ranch on Bandcamp and Youtube, also urbansurfkings.com
SRR: Where can we listen and follow your other project?
Michael Diabo: I also have a radio show called Great White Surf on North Sea Surf Radio that you can follow on Facebook too.
SRR: Thank you very much Michael for taking time to answer me today.
Michael Diabo: My pleasure and thanks for keeping surf alive!