In the beginning...
In 1999 guitar junkie and software engineer Bill Swortwood looked at his wall of guitars and recording equipment, and thought "either I am going to do something with all this stuff or I need to get rid of it". With a Tascam 4 channel Porta-Studio a cassette project called Maladjusted Universe was crafted in the home studio. Surf Guitar Villains came into existence.
Return of Revenge
With some positive feedback on the EP/cassette, Bill snagged an 8 channel digital recorder, a mini-disk unit, and a Crown 10 inch reel to reel tape recorder. Return Of Revenge was tracked from the Porta-Studio and the Crown Reel to Reel. The concept then was to track a Surf/Hendrix styled lo-fi garage project. Ken Drottar, fellow engineer and pub band veteran, tracked lead guitar parts, with Jake and Larry Huntley throwing in to fill out the base tracks. The collaboration advanced the project to a viable lo-fi release.
Austin Texas and Cadillac Smile
Bill started about 6 months later on Cadillac Smile. In the midst of the project he found himself out of work, and ended up moving to Austin Texas to remain employed. With wife Laura having to deal with other family issues in California, Bill spent his spare time not working to flesh out the tracks while in Austin.Ken Drottar again threw in to fill out some of the classic tracks such as Life On A Napkin.
The Arizona album - Arizona Indigenous Surf Shop
Billiam settled down in Arizona, and found the sandy and waterless universe of the Phoenix valley. Bored again, new experiments with keyboards, and collaboration with Steve Carver on guitar created the 'desert surf' album - Arizona Indigenous Surf Shop. Largely recorded in the new garage-office, with Radio Wasteland capturing the musical dissatisfaction of the format driven radio and super-commercialization destroying the content.
Stuck in Portland again - Retro Americana
A three year sojourn in Arizona was interrupted by a unique job offer back in Portland. The offer was less than what met the eye, but with little else to do outside of work, Bill tracked most of Retro Americana again on the Tascam Porta-One 4 channel cassette, recording most in a rented bedroom in Hillsboro Oregon. Meeting up with Ken Drottar and Larry Huntley, the plan to go live with Surf Guitar Villains was proposed, and Billiam was excited to get that off the ground. Then Billiam's employer collapsed. Back in Queen Creek Arizona, Glenn Ducusin added the guitar spark needed to give Retro American focus, and Glenn created "Geronimo's Last Wipeout" at Spudley sound with billiam at the recording controls in an afternoon.
Recording project to band
Recording on one's own got to be ingrown. Bill asked Henry Wong - friend and general good guy, to work on a live collaboration.Henry and Bill did a one-off coffee shop open mike with Mark Lanus that was educational and entertaining, but was not sustainable. In the new collaboration Henry provided both talent and stability to the music set. Glenn Ducusin also signed on with the experiment. After trying several drummers out, Bobby Prechtl signed on to man the 'skins.
It was time to go live. Practicing mostly in Bobby's garage, Bill got the fronting of the band weirdness figured out. Henry wrote new material and provided arranging expertise to move SGV to a new level. Glenn filled in most of the lead guitar duties, with Henry throwing in where possible.
Some good shows at the local bars, a solid show at Woofstock, and a show at the Fiesta Bowl Block party rounded out 2009. Also did a few open mikes billed as the Lone Wingmen.
With N number of live shows, two CDs ( The Woodshed Sessions and Break*Point), and one burst appendix and hospital stay later, billiam was out of gas, and the rest of the guys needed a break as well. Henry moved on to other projects, and Glenn ended up relocating to Las Vegas.
2010 found billiam and the gents taking the band in new directions -- time to reload. After some false starts Bobby and billiam pulled in Paul Baker - Fiddle, Paul Aguilar - Bass and harmonica, David Van Druff - guitar, bass, vocals, mandolin. Bill learned a bit of mandolin himself. The band started to jell towards the end of 2010 -- and had the opportunity to back James Luna at the Mesa Art Center that summer. The collaboration was so unique that the Villains recorded a repeat performance at SER Soundworks in Jan 2011.
Don Martin join the SGV family towards the end of 2010 - vocals and lead guitar. The entire lineup played Woofstock 2010. The band continues to change and evolve. Enjoy the music, stay for the party.