Back in the early 1960s, the Beach Boys captured the spirit of surf and hot rod culture in their lyrics, using the sound of waves crashing against you with their reverb-soaked guitars and infectious harmonies.
It was a recipe that ruled over radio waves.
When Mike Amaral first saw the band in 1964, it can be said that a tsunami of admiration and awe swept over him, a breakthrough on which he is still holding on. He is paying homage to his musical heroes with his band The California Beach Boys Experience set to play Vacaville on Friday night.
Amaral remembers when their first hit “Surfin'” came out in 1961. Years later, the Santa Clara Valley native finally saw the Beach Boys and he was hooked.
“I saw them live at the San Jose Civic Auditorium five or six times, but in those days the girls were so loud that you couldn’t hear them,” Amaral laughed.
However, he certainly could see it.
“Seeing Dennis Wilson at the drums, shaking his head, with his long blond hair, just the excitement of all this,” Amaral admires.
After being bitten by a performance bug, Amaral played drums professionally for several years before pursuing a career in local law enforcement. But that didn’t stop him from enjoying music in his spare time. Indeed, he was part of several successful Bay Area cover bands before he started his band California Beach Boys Experience about 16 years ago.
In retirement, Amaral focused not only on bringing the music of the original Beach Boys to life, but recreating what their gigs were like during their 1960s heyday, down to their signature look.
“In our first set, we wear the Pendletons — they were originally called the Pendeltons — and then the second set is their striped shirts,” Amaral said.
The band usually starts with their versions of some of the early Beach Boys classics such as “California Girls” and includes videos projected behind them to give the scene a bit more of a beach feel before moving on to later ones. material, as well as some other favorite tunes from the surf rock era – all while encouraging the audience to participate by clapping and singing along.
This crowd consists of a rather heterogeneous group of people, says Amaral.
“It’s everywhere – young people, old people, it’s pretty impressive,” says Amaral. “It’s pretty neat.”
Amaral has even received some of the highest compliments when it comes to being in a tribute band – some people come up to them after gigs and think they’re actually the real Beach Boys.
“We’re trying to sound like them and look like them, basically it’s an illusion, it works out really well,” Amaral said.
“I just appreciate the opportunity to play this music and see the smiles on their faces.”
If you go:
When: Friday, 19:00
Where: Vacaville Performing Arts Center, 1010 Ulatis Dr., Vacaville.
For more information: vpat.net