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The Bomboras

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Biography

The Bomboras were formed, in 1994, by guitarist Pam Moore and ex-members of the Finks and the Witchdoctors: drummer Dave Klein, bassist Shane Van Dyke, and guitarists Gregg Hunt and Johnny De Villa. Taking their name from a classic surf instrumental by the Original Surfaris, this "intoxicating surf & garage combo" combined their love of fast-paced and fuzzy instrumentals from the sixties — inspired by the Deadly Ones, Ventures, the Astronauts, etc. — with tiki and hot rod subculture and punk-style intensity. After organ player Jake Cavaliere (ex-Untamed Youth) joined the group, Moore decided to leave (she assumed the name Pamita Neptune and formed the all-girl surf trio, the Neptunas). Cavaliere (now calling himself Jake Bombora) took over as the Bomboras' leader. Their live show (where they were often accompanied onstage by topless go-go girls) and wild stage antics soon became legendary in the local L.A. club scene; the band would appear onstage wearing Halloween masks, dressed as Borneo headhunters or glow-in-the-dark Day of the Dead skeletons with oversized black-lit sombreros. At the end of their set, they also destroyed their vintage gear by setting it on fire. Cavaliere would often spit fire over the crowd's heads as well, a la Gene Simmons. The local L.A. fire officials often attempted to shut the band down, or warned club owners and promoters of potential fines should they allow the band to use fire in their performances (the band usually promised to behave, but sometimes set their gear on fire anyway). The Bomboras quickly came to the attention of Dionysus Records, who signed the group and issued several albums over the next few years. Their first, 1995's Savage Island, was recorded in two days at a cost of only two hundred dollars. The Burbank-based indie label released several 7-inch singles, two additional full-length studio albums — 1996's Swingin' Singles and 1997's It Came From Pier 13— and a live EP, Organ Grinder, which combined tracks from a limited-edition ten-inch with six tracks recorded live at Los Angeles' famed Jabberjaw club. The group also appeared on various artist compilation albums, including a Ventures' tribute CD and Del-Fi's Surf Monsters: Past, Present & Future Surf Classics. In the summer of 1997, the Bomboras signed to Rob Zombie's newly-formed Zombie a Go-Go label, which was distributed by Geffen. The band entered the studio on August 8th, 1997, and emerged seven days later with Head Shrinkin' Fun, but its release was delayed until June 1998, due to the Universal company acquiring Geffen along with several other labels. In the resulting shuffle, the Bomboras, somewhat mysteriously, ended up on Universal's Hippo reissue label. By then, the Bomboras were ready to move on, and called it quits. Drummer Dave Klein and bassist Shane "Showman" Van Dyke focused their full attention on their longtime side project, the Invisible Men; they were eventually joined by guitarist Gregg Hunt. Cavaliere, meanwhile, formed the Lords of Altamont.

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