Surf Zombies

Cedar Rapids, IA

Surf Rock / Garage / Punk

The seeds of the Surf Zombies were planted long ago in a basement in Fort Dodge, Iowa, when Brook Hoover and his neighborhood friends discovered a scratchy 45 of the Surfaris’ “Wipe Out,” and the journey to unlock the secret of surf guitar began. A 9th Grade talent show performance of the tune lead to years of reverb-soaked high school jams, and while everyone moved on to new things, the sounds of surf never left Hoover’s mind. After years of friends and fans alike suggesting he start an instrumental surf group, Surf Zombies were born in 2006 with Hoover and Doug Roberson on guitar, Jim Viner on drums, and long-time collaborator and childhood friend Joel McDowell on bass.

Surf Zombies started on a high note, with their first performance being the opening act for surf guitar legend Dick Dale, and a self-titled debut album soon to follow. For their second album, “Something Weird,” Roberson and Viner departed to make room for Kyle Oyloe on guitar and baritone, and a rotating cast of great drummers beating the skins. The band began scoring some bigger gigs, securing a yearly spot at Iowa’s Vintage Torquefest as well as various music festivals and club dates, and started reaching a wider audience after having songs featured on TV shows like MTV’s Ridiculousness, Bad Ink, and others.

“Lust For Rust” introduced heavy hitter Tyler Russell on drums, and Oyloe’s departure made way for studio engineer Ian Williams to step in on guitar duties. This album introduced new layers of fuzzy guitars and gritty garage rock, and by the time their fourth album, “It’s a…THING!” was in the works, the Blendours’ Trevor Treiber joined the ranks on bass guitar. “It’s a… THING!” was the first Surf Zombies album to see a vinyl release, and was sold out by the time the band was inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. The band was also honored with a successful beer, Surf Zombies IPA, brewed by Iowa Brewing Company in the band’s home base of Cedar Rapids, IA.

After years of work and many attempts, the band’s fifth studio release, “Return of the Skeleton,” finally saw the light of day in October of 2018 and introduced Luke Ferguson of Lipstick Homicide on drums. The album features wide reaching songwriting from Hoover, Treiber, and Williams and shows the band at their finest, with returning artist Erin Wells providing artwork.

Surf Zombies have played in all corners of Iowa and frequently visit, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, and Nebraska. The future holds visits to the west coast for the Surf Guitar 101 Festival, and potential visits to Germany and Japan to spread their sound even further. Their live set has been fine tuned to a non-stop medley of powerful hooks that would make the Ramones proud. They strive to create unique grooves and stretch the genre as much as possible, while still retaining the classic elements of the initial 60s surf craze that inspired the young minds in Fort Dodge all those years ago.

It’s rare to find a band with three experienced songwriters who share a dedication to the music and enjoy each other’s company. There are plenty of songs left in the vault and a steady stream of new material being written; needless to say, Surf Zombies #6 is already in the works. Surf Zombies love to collaborate with one another and continue to make plans for spreading the fun of surf instrumentals throughout the world.

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Set times

Saturday @ 8:15 PM

IPR Live Sessions

Free