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Surf rockers stage benefit for ill musician

April 17, 2005

Michael Miller

Jim Pash missed his chance at pop immortality. The guitarist and

saxophonist for the Surfaris was 13 when his band recorded "Wipeout,"

one of the most famous instrumentals in rock history. Pash had to

work at his father's business the night of the recording session, and

his sax solo, which would have graced the middle of "Wipeout," went

unrecorded.

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But Pash, who has played with the Surfaris for four decades,

hasn't been forgotten by the music community. This weekend, he was

reminded of that.

On Saturday, an all-star lineup of musicians congregated at the

Hard Rock Cafe at Fashion Island to stage a benefit for Pash, who has

congestive heart failure and is waiting for a liver transplant. Pash,

who lives in Yucca Valley, was too ill to attend the show, but he

expressed gratitude at being the cause of a surf-rock reunion.

"I would say, personally, it feels good not to be forgotten --

that someone cared enough about you to put forth the effort," Pash

said by telephone Saturday. "They've got other things to do, but

these guys are like a brotherhood. It shows the caliber of people

they are."

Among the classic acts taking the stage at the Hard Rock Cafe were

Dick Dale, the Chantays, and the other Surfaris. The show, organized

by Surfaris bassist Jay Truax, began at 12:30 p.m., and the Surfaris

left the stage around 7:45, with Truax's daughter, Jayma, and two of

her friends running a donation table. Attendees, who packed into the

restaurant's indoor venue, were invited to purchase Surfaris CDs and

other merchandise, or simply to donate cash and checks.

Pash, 57, had been working as a surveyor and as an instrument

repairman between gigs with the Surfaris. The band, which formed in

1962, has gone through many personnel changes over the years, with

Pash as one of the few remaining original members.

"We kind of do the dates when they come up," Pash said. "When we

get busy, we get busy."

The funds from the benefit show will go toward Pash's medical

bills and also toward helping his family make ends meet. Pash's wife,

Linda, said money has been tight since his health problems began last

September.

"I have insurance, but it doesn't pay for everything, so bills are

piling up," she said. "We're going from a two-income family to a

one-income family."

About the show, she added, "I'm just really grateful. It's great

of them to do it for us."

The California surf-rock community, which flourished in the early

1960s, has remained tight throughout the years. Truax had played in

another vintage surf band, the Nomads, before joining the Surfaris in

1982. He first met Pash in the 1970s while playing in the Christian

rock band Love Song. Pash, who remembered him from his surf-rock

days, invited him to join the Surfaris.

"Some musicians have money, and some don't," Truax said before

Saturday's event. "This is musicians getting together to help a

fellow musician."

* MICHAEL MILLER covers education and may be reached at (714)

966-4617 or by e-mail at michael.miller@latimes.com.

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