Article by Ric Holmquest
Surf’s up and Brook Hoover is shredding the wave. Hoover’s band, the Surf Zombies are set to release “Return of the Skeleton” this month, their fifth studio album. The Surf Zombies were inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. The band was recently honored with their own signature beverage Surf Zombies IPA by the Cedar Rapids based Iowa Brewing Company, where they frequently perform.
The seeds were planted when Brook and his friends discovered a scratchy 45 rpm record of the Surfaris’ “Wipe Out”. The journey to unlock the secret of surf guitar had begun. Brook shares “I grew up in Fort Dodge, which turns out to be a hotbed of creative, sarcastic, eccentric musicians. I picked up the guitar at age 14, learning to play with my neighborhood friends who engaged in extended improvised jams with drums, electric bass and guitars.”
After years of friends and fans suggesting he start an instrumental surf group, the 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. Hoover informs “We released a debut album that sold very well and received many decent reviews and continues to be pretty popular for that genre.”
The Surf Zombies have opened for legendary surf guitarist Dick Dale, performed each year at Iowa’s Vintage Torquefest and had their music featured on TV shows including MTV’s Ridiculousness and A&E’s Bad Ink. The current Surf Zombies lineup includes; Ian Williams and Brook Hoover on guitar, Trevor Treiber on bass, with Luke Ferguson on drums.
The Surf Zombies have chemistry, high energy and enjoy performing together. Hoover remarks “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. The band loves to collaborate with one another and continues to make plans for spreading the fun of surf instrumentals throughout the world.”
Hoover’s guitar has taken him on a musical journey, both domestic and international. While living and performing in Minneapolis, Brook was called in for a recording session at Prince’s Paisley Park Studios. He performed at The Cavern Club in Liverpool England in 2002 for the Pop International Overthrow Festival with Chicago power-pop band Swinger and performed a solo show in Japan in 2015 at Rocks in Oyama.
Hoover is a busy full time musician, also performing with the Flamin’ Camaros. The Camaros are an extension of his popular eastern Iowa rock band Meerkats. Flamin’ Camaros feature Trevor Treiber’s guitar and vocals, Matt Brooks’ bass and vocals, Brook Hoover’s guitar and vocals, with Jon Wilson on drums. Brook performs solo, co-hosts the Parlor City Jam twice monthly and often sits in with Dennis McMurrin there on Thursday nights.
Brook affirms “I love to play all kinds of melodic guitar including rockabilly, punk rock, surf, pop or country, mixed with a bit of classical and psychedelic sounds. Playing music is incredibly soothing and restores a part of me I never want to lose touch with. Playing music has introduced me to thousands of people. I am so grateful for the friendships I have enjoyed with my fellow band mates and jam partners.”
Upcoming performances include;
Oct 9 Brook at Parlor City Blues Jam 7-10 Oct 19 Surf Zombies at DG’s Tap House in Ames 9-12 Oct 20 Surf Zombies at Whiskey House in Ankeny 8-12 Oct 21 Brook at Rumors Jam / Tribute for Kyle Oyloe 4-7 Oct 23 Brook at Parlor City Blues Jam 7-10 Oct 26 Surf Zombies at Peace Tree in Knoxville - Halloween Party 8-10 Oct 27 Surf Zombies at the Yacht Club in Iowa City 9-12 Oct 28 Surf Zombies at CSPS with Twins - CD Release Party 7-10 (free CD with admission) Oct 31 Surf Zombies at the Des Moines Social Club – Iowa Public Radio live performance 7-9 Nov 9 Surf Zombies at Octopus in Cedar Falls 9-1 Nov 16 Flamin. Camaros at J&A Tap in North Liberty 9:30-1:30