Music News & Reviews

Surf rock holiday

Gary Hoey grew up loving surf music before even knowing what it was.
Gary Hoey grew up loving surf music before even knowing what it was. PHOTO BY MAX CRACE

When Gary Hoey’s manager set up a meeting with filmmaker Bruce Brown in the 1990s, Hoey hadn’t heard of Brown’s pioneering surf flick “The Endless Summer.”

“Being an East Coast guy, I wasn’t that familiar with him,” Hoey said. “I was like, ‘The girl from the lagoon?’ And (my manager) was like, ‘No, no, no — that’s “Endless Love.” ’ ”

But the manager, who worked with Surf Dog Records, had recommended Hoey for Brown’s 1994 sequel, “The Endless Summer II.” And while Hoey didn’t surf, the instrumental guitarist — who performs at Downtown Brew tonight — did have an affinity for surf music.

“I grew up north of Boston in the cold weather, and I used to tell my mom to go buy me the 45s to ‘Surfin’ Bird’ and the Ventures,” he said in a voice that resembles that of actor-comedian Denis Leary. “And I didn’t even know it was surf music. I grew up loving it, not even knowing it.”

After recording the bulk of the songs for “The Endless Summer II” soundtrack, Hoey would become much more familiar with surfing.

“It kind of brought that whole world to me,” he said. “And I had a couple of friends who were great surfers, and some of them were pro surfers, like Donovan Frankenreiter, Kelly Slater and Rob Machado. I hung out with some of the best surfers in the world.

“And I said, ‘Hey, man— show me how to get up and catch a wave — show me what this religion is all about — and I’ll teach you some cool guitar stuff.’ So we’d be sitting on the beach with all of our acoustics, playing guitar, and then they’d take me out.”

So while he was becoming known for surf guitar, Hoey also discovered surf.

“When I caught my first wave, I understood what they were talking about, man. It was the most amazing experience.”

After living in California