And just like that, our flat spell was over. We all awoke on Saturday morning to find waist to chest high super glassy surf. And...the water temps were so warm. How warm? Well, I wore just my trunks and rash guard for over an hour and a half. And that was when I was taking water shots. So I was completely submerged in water for over an hour and a half with no rubber. Sans rubber. I had to chuckle at some of the "newbies" out there wearing 4/3's with boots. Come on people. It's freaking summer! You don't need that much rubber. Unless you are intentionally trying to sweat the weight off you. Then yeah, bundle up. I wear my nylon jacket when I go on my walks in the woods. Because I'm trying to sweat off the additional weight that I have acquired over the last 10 years or so. Any way, the water is beautiful. And so was the surf.
So TS Barry is lighting up the Gulf coast as I type this. What is this the 2nd or third time we had a Barry? Am I going to live long enough to witness a TS Ralph? Or even better, a Hurricane Ralph?
Why must we keep recycling the same damn names year after year. I mean Good Lord we have enough names to go around. It's ridiculous. Three Tropical Storm Barry's! Somebody wrote on social media saying "If we have a TS Ralph that means we've had a terrible year for storms." That might be true if you're sitting on one of those shorelines that always seem to get hit. Here's a tip. MOVE!!! There are plenty of safe places to live. The truth is I am not alone. There are perhaps hundreds of thousands of surfers who live and surf on the East Coast that would love to see a TS Ralph. And yes, because we've had a bad year for storms.
But my beef isn't about the number of storms. It's the naming of these storms.
Do we really need to use the same names each year? I mean seriously. Go out and buy a baby book for names. You'd be surprised at the number of names that are out there. Is it too much to ask for a TS Ralph or how about a TS Vince? Or TS Vinny? Just change it up people!
This is me in 1985. On Hawaii's North Shore. Right at Sunset Beach. I still have this board. I rode it in some great waves that winter out there. Please let me ride her again as I surf TS Ralph here in New England. Please?
KING'S X LIVE at WALLY'S Hampton Beach, NH July 11th, 2019
"I waited 30 years for this..."
It all started for me back in 1989 when I first heard "OVER MY HEAD". I was on my way out the door to head out for a gig with my band The NOR'EASTERS, and like a lot of the world back then, I had MTV on in the background. That signature guitar riff caught my attention. I turned and stopped when I caught a glimpse of Dug Pinnick. A tall black bass player with a Mohawk. He was spinning around and singing. Then I saw Ty Tabor, and was mesmerized by his guitar tone. And finally there was the drummer Jerry Gaskill, wearing a SRV like bolero hat and looking so freaking cool. They looked and sounded unlike anything I had ever heard, or seen before. It was literally a life changing moment for me. Not since February of 1964, when Ed Sullivan introduced the world to The Beatles, I had never felt anything quite like this.
From that very moment on, I was all in.
I remember telling the guys in my band that night at sound check about this band I had just seen on MTV. Funny thing is, I couldn't remember their name. I was so into the song and the visuals, that I forgot to look for their name after the video. After the gig that night I kept MTV on 24-7 waiting for that video to come back on. This was all before Google. There was no way of tracking down anything of interest in seconds like we all do today. I eventually saw the video again and this time I paid close attention to their name, KING'S X. What a cool name I thought to myself.
Suffice it to say, I went out the next day to buy their record GRETCHEN GOES TO NEBRASKA. And once again, it was a full on Beatles comparison. Every single song on that record was amazing. I remember thinking I had discovered something that surely would be the next big thing in the music business. And when their third LP came out FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE I was a rabid fan. Their song "IT'S LOVE" was an instant hit on the radio. WBCN played the shit out of that song. They had another video on MTV as well. KING'S X was by all intents and purposes, one of the BEST hard rock bands on the planet. And I am not alone in saying this. The true testament of any good band is when OTHER musicians realize their greatness and fully acknowledge what we were all hearing and seeing.
The first time I saw them Live was at the CHANNEL in Boston. on June 12th 1991. I went with my old drummer from my band SEMPER FI, Eric Carrington Brown. We were both very excited to see them. The CHANNEL was sold out and the room was filled with every single musician from every band in New England. That my friends, is the attraction that KING'S X had. When you get every musician in the area to your show, you know that you are doing something right. That night will forever be embedded in my heart and soul. It was the first time I saw them. And I never missed a single show in New England since. And suffice to say, I bought every single record of theirs including all of their solo and side project work. Anything that the three of them were doing, I was going to purchase. Just like the Beatles, and Hendrix.
My wife bought into their concept as well. And, we raised all three of our kids on their music. When they were babies riding in the back of the van, we would blast KING'S X on the CD player. My friends thought I was crazy for doing that. But it turns out I was not alone. There were many other parents doing the same all over the Globe. My friend Rich Appel and his family followed suit. He's been a fan ever since i turned him onto them. KING'S X is a family. I know that sounds ridiculous but it's true. We even took our kids to one of their shows when they were 8 and 7 years old. Our youngest was too young (5) to bring to a rock club back then. There's a live recording of that show and Dug is heard saying "This little kid knows every single word to our songs." He was talking about my son Max. Max has since seen them several times including last night.
And last night, our youngest daughter got to see them in her hometown of Hampton, NH. We were all up front rocking to every single song. At one point I looked over at Noelle and she was singing every song. And I thought to myself, "Good lord, all those times in that van with KING'S X blasting on those road trips really stayed with them." Is that a good thing or a bad thing? It's GOOD! Trust me, it's all good.
Last night at WALLY's on Hampton Beach KING'S X played their hearts and souls out. I mean they always play like that. It is like a family gathering wherever they play. And it clearly shows in their eyes and expressions. They LOVE their fans. Truly love them and they know that their fans LOVE them back. How great that must be for any musician to have that kind of love for them.
They came out blasting with WELCOME TO THE GROOVE MACHINE. And like most live shows, their audience sings every single word to every song. They are so accustomed to their fans singing along, that most of their songs the audience sings the choruses, and sometimes the whole song. Last night we all sang with the band. But when it comes to playing their instruments, they are on their own. They played many of the fans faves. THE WORLD AROUND ME and LOST IN GERMANY both classics from their 4th self entitled LP. FLIES and BLUE SKIES (one of my faves). They mixed it up all night while continuing to play so many of their incredible songs from their vault of music.
CIGARETTES and PILLOW from DOGMAN are always a treat to hear. Ty's solo in CIGARETTES and A BOX are still singing (not ringing) in my ears. BLACK FLAG is another one. SUMMERLAND and OVER MY HEAD from Gretchen Goes To Nebraska was as good and fresh as the very first time I heard them. WE WERE BORN TO BE LOVED from Faith, Hope, and Love is always a fan favorite. That song is a mind boggling song that has so many hard to follow changes, and they LOVE to mess with us when they play it. It's a struggle to try and figure out these off beat changes. It also has one of the coolest lines ever in any song "and The Beatles said All You Need Is Love" the very first time I heard that on the record, it solidified my feelings for them, and reinforced my Beatles comparison to them.
They came back for their encore and did KING from their first LP "OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET" It was also their very first video My son who had been screaming for DOGMAN got his wish when they blasted that great song. And it is, a GREAT song. They ended the night or rather we all ended the night with GOLDILOX. Because the fans sang every single word. It was hands down one of the most amazing intimate shows I've ever seen. They did not disappoint anyone out there.
There is NO DEAD WEIGHT in KING'S X.
They are all masters of their instruments. Dug is an incredible bass player and his sound is unlike any other's out there. Look, I'm not some talent less music critic who can't play an instrument. I've been playing since 1964. So I have a handle on playing and performing. Dug's playing is unique on several layers. First to be able to play what he plays and sing like he sings is incredible in of itself. His bass is slung down so low and Dug's long arms seem almost alien like. His mannerisms are so intimate and fun to watch. He has a scream that is almost Johnny Weissmuller like. It's hard to describe, but so original that he stands alone when it comes to belting out his vocals. And his bass sound? It's so big and so full that it encompasses the whole stage. Seriously, trying to describe his full sound is hard to do. Metallic and biting one minute and sweet and soft the next.
It is all of his own doing. One thing's for certain, it works.
And Jerry Gaskill's drumming is so spot on solid that I have said many times since 1989, that he's the BEST hard rock drummer alive. John Bonham was the best hard rock drummer before he passed, and Jerry is by far the best one out there today. And I'll tell you why he's so special. KING'S X is a three piece band. All three of them sing. And not just sing but harmonize like...shit, I hate to keep bringing them up but I have to. They harmonize like the BEATLES! Jerry sings like a songbird while playing like Bonham. It's true.
I'm a guitar player. I love the guitar and the many great players that are out there. I have close friends who are great players. Elliot Easton, Johnny A, Billy Loosigian, and my own brother Johnny Fatello. Ty Tabor is one of the GREATS. Every single KING'S X show has a large contingent of Ty fans who are all players. His playing is hard to describe. His style ranges from a biting Hendrix/Clapton sound to a cool almost Beck vibe. He's the genius behind those signature guitar riffs that are so synonymous with their sound. His talent lies beyond the stage as he is a wizard in the studio as well. And...he can sing his ass off. Dug is the lead singer. Every KING'S X fan knows that, but Ty can hold his own when it comes to lead vocals. His song writing is some of the best in the world. I'm not just blowing smoke up everyone's ass here. He is the total package. And if I had one minor complaint with any of their last 5 shows I've seen in the last 5 years or so, it is the lack of him singing lead. I read somewhere Online that he can't play and sing at the same time. Sorry Ty, Homie is not buying that. I've seen you play live with your solo projects. I've seen you sing live with KING'S X. Throw us old dogs a bone every now and then and sing one. IT'S LOVE was a HUGE hit.
But having said all of that. I'll continue to go see KING'S X until I die, or the band is no longer touring (in which case I must be dead). And judging from last night's total love fest, that is not anytime too soon. KING'S X is the BEST Rock band on the planet, that is STILL together since 1980. If you have never heard of them. Do yourself a favor, and go out and buy their records. They have 12 studio albums and 2 live albums. They are currently in the studio recording their first record in over 10 years. Yeah, I'll be buying a copy. And so will my kids, and all of the fans around the world. As their mantra says on their tee shirts..."May The Groove Be with You."
Long LIVE KING'S X! www.kingsxrocks.com
"Surfing, Music, Community, and Love Heals All Wounds."
This is Kenny Black in 2013. I'm so used to seeing Kenny ride that red board of his. I almost didn't recognize him while I was searching for my weekly Ed pic. Photo by Ed O'Connell
*Click the photo above to see a larger version of Ed's Pic.
Now for Some Local, National and International News
There will be a paddle for Tim Sheridan on July 14th, 2019. That's today. If you've never been to a surfer's paddle you should come and check it out.
It's one of the nicest celebrations of life on the planet. Surfers are special people, so when we lose a member of the tribe we get together and do it up right. Tim's paddle will be followed by John Grady's paddle at a later date.
Keep paddling Tim...Keep paddling.
Hope to see many of you local surfers out there today.
On a more lighter note. It wouldn't be summer without Jimmy Dunn and his annual HAMPTON BEACH COMEDY FESTIVAL!
These are some of the BEST times of the summer here in Hampton. I go every year and laugh my ass off. Get your tix soon, they will be going fast!
I think I might buy one of these as a joke gift. Because it's a joke.
This is no joke. Something MUST Be Done about the Seal Population on the Cape. It's time to cull the Seals.
ESM (Eastern Surf Magazine) using a READY MAG format did the Best of Ralph's Pic. And while they couldn't possibly use everything thing I've ever done, they did manage to put up some 50 pics of mine, plus two videos. And I was truly humbled by their intro. Mez said some nice things about me.
The videos are down in the video section. If you haven't seen them you really should. One is called THIS HAPPENED it's a short 4 minute edit of the Best Of the Best from the last 5 years. I used my nephew QWILL's music as a soundtrack. And the other video is the GRANITE GIRL'S Trailer. And once again, I used QWILL's soundtrack in that trailer.
So while I was making the GRANITE GIRLS video I came up with this project and concept. It's never been done before. As hard as that seems to be. I'm onto yet another groundbreaking Surf Movie concept. This will be an overview of Surfer dads and their sons. It's a work in progress and I'm hoping to get as many dads and their sons as possible in this movie.
It's that time of year again when we have to start thinking about our annual HIT THE BEACH. This is our 12th year and we are looking forward to this day. So mark your calendars.
be more on this as the summer winds down.
HIT THE BEACH XII on August 30th, 2019.
The DVD's are available at all the local surf shops. Or by
sending me an email. firstname.lastname@example.org or send a check for $20.00 made out to ADLANTIC and send it here:
c/o OC Studio Suites
703 Ocean Blvd Suite C-4
Hampton, NH 03842
Or RENT or BUY it Online. You have spoken and I have listened. You don't have a DVD player so I made it available Online. Watch it on your Smart TV, your computer, or your cellphone! I can't make this any easier my friends.
GRANITE GIRLS and The RIVER WOMEN from Ralph's Pic Of The Week on Vimeo.
NOW AVAILABLE on VIMEO ON DEMAND.
KSM Photoshop of the Week
How did we miss KSM in this famous photo of the Moon landing on July 20th, 1969. This should have been in every newspaper and magazine back then. Why are we now just seeing this? Oh, I remember now. It's me and my quirky photoshop skills.
And so my friends, please take advantage of this weekly photo shop of the mastermind who planned 9-11 and resulted in the deaths of 3,000 innocent civilians by KSM (Khalid Sheik Mohammed).
*Note to self -must pick up a case of Moon Doggies
Home Depot this week.
CONGRATS TO KAINALU NICHOLS Going PRO!
Look for the full story next week.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Judith Rastl July 23rd,, 2019!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Tami Heide July 23rd, 2019!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Janelle July 23rd, 2019!
HAPPY 30th Wedding ANNIVERSARY
July 23rd, 2019!
GET WELL SOON Kim Grondin!
RIP John Grady NH surfer
FYI Lenny Nichols is looking for someone or someones to take over the ESA-NNE District. Please contact Lenny Nichols
by calling his cell (603) 944-2418
Support ALL The photographers who contribute to
Ralph's Pic Of The Week every week for the last 13 years.
** BUY a HIGH RES Photo
from any of the weeks on RPOTW.
my friends... Surfing Heals All Wounds.
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.