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Double Wammy Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 June 2008

DOUBLE WAMMY!! is back!

After a protracted layoff attributed to differences in height and hair gel preferences, Double Wammy is back! The mighty foursome of Brian Morrison, Tristan Andrews, the Preacher Denis Surmon and Craig Maximum Intensity Rodda is wailing and thumping once again in their unique hammond organ-driven style. Morrison is as deft and as devastating as ever on guitar and vocals, Andrews is both comic and awesome with his keyboard antics, the Preacher doesn't seem to have changed much and Maximum Intensity has a new focus on the beat. They ply their own brand of "power soul" that developed as a result of the band's admiration for the great soul and RnB music of the 60's combined with influences such as Texas Blues, surf instrumentals and artists like Steve Winwood, BookerT and the Meters.

The band is now gigging regularly and developing new music for possible future recording ventures. Watch gig guides and this site (the news section on the home page) for dates.

Here is a sample of what you can expect from Double Wammy!!: 

NEWS: Double Wammy's back cataloge is available on iTunes; download compilation double album or select single tracks!

Below is a potted history of Double Wammy!!

Preview

A Long Time ago….

…there was Double Wammy!!. A thumping, hammond swirling, guitar-stinging combo that stood resolute against the proliferation of digital sounds and instruments creeping into live bands like a plague. Double Wammy!! was all about valve amps, Hammond Organs and Leslie Tone Cabinets, sweat and energy. And beer. The only drug allowed on stage - besides alcohol - was adrenaline.

Double Wammy!! was formed in 1988 with Brian Morrison on Hammond (B3) organ, Denis Surmon on bass, Matthew Morrison on Drums and Rory McKibbin on Guitar.

The seeds for Double Wammy!! were sown in 1986 when Surmon and Brian Morrison met while working in The Full House Blues Band, a rough and tumble outfit fronted by singing harp-blower Tony Ayers. Morrison and Surmon occasionally worked together in The Lizard Men which also featured Steve Smith, recently of the Hiptones fame. A shared love of Booker T, RnB - especially the Hammond driven genre - and surf instrumentals drew them together.

In 1988, Brian restored a Hammond and Leslie, recruited brother Matthew on drums and Rory McKibbin on guitar. Double Wammy!! was born, stomping and screaming.

PreviewBy the time the band recorded its first (and only) 45 single - yep! A vinyl 45! (Pic on left: Monster Stomp/Big Cigar DW 111 1989) - the band was working under the title of The Double Wammy!! Explosion, fronted by Mr Explosion himself, Ian Mitchell. In this format, Double Wammy set a precedent for a small army of imitators who used the mighty Hammond as a major part of the musical attack, a sound that now continues to re-surface in popular and indi music.

Hear Monster Stomp

Other musical duties made Matthew a regular absentee so Duncan Archibald was often seen on the drum stool during ‘88 and ‘89.

Around this time, the lads formed a splinter group, the Fender Benders to play mainly instrumental music. They explored the work of many of their favourites: Booker T, The Meters, Blues and RnB artists, surf music and Denny Freeman.

Denny Freeman, currently in Bob Dylan’s backing band, formerly with Taj Mahal, is a Texan wild man guitar player who was the mentor to the Vaughan brother (Jimmy and Stevie Ray) while resident at Antones, Austin Texas. Brian met Denny while touring the States and struck up a friendship with this true gentleman of the guitar. Denny was a sideman on piano as well as guitar to most of the greats that played Antones and a solo artist/guitar stylist in his own right. Freeman and Fender don't share the same first letter for no reason!

The Fender Benders included a couple of Denny’s tunes in their live set and took on board a bit of Denny’s guitar flash. Meanwhile, Double Wammy!! had undergone changes; Rory had gone to Sydney to join the Bondi Cigars (or something like that), Matthew was back on drums and Brian was on guitar full-time. The Hammond seat was filled by a young Clayton Doley (the Hands).

By the time the band recorded its first CD, Double Wammy/Fender Bender, there was an eclectic assortment of influences at work - Rnb, Booker T, the Meters, Denny Freeman, Little Milton, Blues (Potential Baby) Surf and “new” RnB music (Make Love to me).

The album sold out and the band embarked on a tour of the Australian eastern seaboard, opening - and doing the back line work - for Denny Freeman. The tour included a show at the East Coast Blues Festival. Clayton Doley had moved on by then; his position was quickly filled by Andrew (Raffs)Rafftery. During the Raffs period the band recorded many live performances and produced - after the fact! - a Double Wammy!! Live cassette - The Double Wammy!! Way of Thinking.

The struggle to move forward saw more changes - Matthew took off to Sydney and Raffs was recruited into a more lucrative outfit. The band then fielded its most enduring and aggressive lineup: Brian (the Bishop) Morrison on guitar, Denis (the Preacher) Surmon on bass; Craig (Maximum Intensity) Rodda on drums and Tristan (Tweety Byrd) Andrews on Hammond.
 
Max was the percussive power behind the Screaming Believers before joining DW! and Tristan had been in a slighly oddball RnB funk outfit, Too Many Cats. He, too, had a penchant for surf music and was a valuable and creative member in a progressive surf music band, GT Stringer. It was later discoverd that Max had a set of guitar surf instrumentals that he could knock out with little coaxing. At some gigs the lineup changed to be: Max on guitar (surf instrumentals) Surmon on bass, Tristan on keys and Brian on drums.

It wan’t unusual for Brian to be playing drums. Before taking up guitar he was the drummer in the Morrison family band, The Bodgies which featured Don Morrison, Jeff Morrison, and Brian Morrison with Frank Lang on bass. (Frank Lang builds the magnificent F.Lang 8×10 bass cabs used by The Preacher for the past 10 years.)

PreviewThe creative efforts were now more focussed and the band’s second album, Whitewater (on Exile records through Festival) saw some powerful performances and interesting original tunes.

The album sold well enough and the opening track, New Shoes, got a bit of airplay but it did not spark the interest of the radio world. The band plugged away at local gigs and hauled the gear to Melbourne for broader exposure but without radio support it was a bit like wading though treacle. Despite having new tunes in pre-production, the will to go on faltered and the band ground to a halt almost 12 years after it started.

Whitewater title track sample/ringtone:

The return of Double Wammy!!

The calls to get the band back together have not fallen on deaf ears. The band has lately been working on a series of live gigs at the Semaphore Workers Club to get the blood pumping and have enjoyed an energetic return to The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Thebarton. There are a few new items in the repertoire and more are yet to be introduced.

The band has been working on a new version of The Texas Ranger which they hope to record soon. Other tunes that have been given new life are Highway 32, originally recorded by the Sweet Baby James Trio but now re-worked as a darker, threatening epic, and some hot new instrumentals have rattled the floorboards at some venues.

The gigs are starting to free up and the band’s resurgence has garnered a little press so keep an eye on the gig guides as well as Rip It Up and Db Magazine. If you want to know more about Double Wammy!! or would be interested in hearing more of their music, send a note through This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
 
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