The Tarantulas® formed in the early 1990's in Orlando Florida. Guitarist Randy J (Shams) and Drummer Chris Valentino, who had played together in other projects around the central Florida area, created the foundation for what would end up becoming an early 60's influenced surf trio. The two musicians had previously played shows together at local venues and clubs using a much more experimental approach than what would later develop into an extension of the traditional surf music of the early 60...
The Tarantulas® formed in the early 1990's in Orlando Florida. Guitarist Randy J (Shams) and Drummer Chris Valentino, who had played together in other projects around the central Florida area, created the foundation for what would end up becoming an early 60's influenced surf trio.
The two musicians had previously played shows together at local venues and clubs using a much more experimental approach than what would later develop into an extension of the traditional surf music of the early 60's.
In 1993 , guitarist Randy J moved from Los Angeles to Orlando and continued performing as a solo guitarist at local coffeehouses and bars in the Central Flordia area. During the same time period, Randy J was writing original surf style instrumentals and practicing them with Chris Valentino on drums, and they began performing together at local bars in downtown Orlando.
The experimental elements of the music gradually became a backdrop for pure traditional surf guitar melodies in the style of The Lively Ones, Link Wray, Dick Dale, and the Ventures. The two musicians found bassist, Loran Lea, to round out the band, and the trio continued performing as The Tarantulas.
In 1998, Ken Baugh joined The Tarantulas on bass. Ken was already known as an excellent surf guitarist with his own band Ten Penny Heroes and he has composed many great surf instrumentals over the years. The band continued performing shows at the House of Blues in Orlando, opening shows for the legendary Link Wray, and performing shows with The Friends of Dean Martinez and Dick Dale.
The trio released "Monster Wave 100 Feet High" in 1999, followed by "Bandidos De Rojos" in 2000, "The Tarantulas Greatest Hits..or...The Big Sellout" in 2004, and "Don't Murder Anyone...Listen to the Lovebeats" in June 2006.
The 2 later recordings feature surf instrumentals as well as some vocal tracks. They also feature drummer Eddy Barattini, vocalist Kelly Cole, and early Tarantula tracks from the original lineup in the mid-90's.
The band is currently located in Arizona and is currently working on film projects, recording a new album, and performing live shows.
The Tarantulas original bassist, Loran Lea, died in an auto accident on January 27, 2013. Following the Tarantulas, Loran played bass for the band "Red", a very popular Florida band based in Orlando. Loran was considered by many to be an excellent musician and extremely talented bassist. He passed away at age 40.
There is also an inactive British nujazz band that used the name The Tarantulas for a short period, and they are now defunct:
UK nujazz/soul/funk project: Released one and only album 'Different World Now' on Trumethod Records (Internal Bass) in 2002. The man behind this was Tony Pappano, a keyboard player who appeared on albums by Down To The Bone, New Jazz Hustlers and Peace Of Mind.
Another band called "The Spyders" changed their name to "The Tarantulas" to record two singles in 1960:
The Spyders were a local Memphis band associated with the Bill Black Combo and Fernwood Studios. They recorded two singles for Atlantic Records in 1960 under the name "The Tarantulas" and split up shortly after.
Band members included Bobby Tucker, Fred Crook, Dan Rains, Sammy Creason, and Bill English.
The Spyders best known song is "Tarantula," and they recorded several other songs including "Like Spellbound" and "Kaw Liga."
"Tarantula" was recorded at Fernwood studio in Memphis, Tennessee in 1960 and was released as a single (Atlantic-2102 b/w "Black Widow").
This song is included on the CD "Fernwood Rock N Roll", a various artists compilation released in the UK.
In 1962 Bill Black felt he no longer needed to be with the combo on the road so Bobby Tucker replaced him on bass. When Bill Black passed away on October 21, 1965, Bobby Tucker became the lead for the Bill Black Combo and they performed as the Bill Black Combo until the 1980's.
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