The Revels

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The Revels were an American rock band, associated with the 1960s surf music craze. Their most famous song was "Church Key".[1][2]


The group started in the mid-to-late 1950s as a high school band in San Luis Obispo, California [3] called Gil Serna & The Rockets, before changing their name to The Revels in 1959. Although their instrumental style predated the 1961-65 era of surf music, their success came during that period.

They are usually considered a "pre-surf" band and were the original Central California coastal instrumental band. Other bands from the area later included the more popular groups named The Sentinals and The Impacts.[3]

The Revels singles were collected on their sole album, Revels on a Rampage (1964).[4] They also composed music for the soundtrack of the 1961 film The Exiles.

Their 1961 song "Comanche" has been featured on two soundtracks.[5] It first appeared as the "Detoured Theme" in The Exiles.[2] It was later included along with several other Surf music hits on the soundtrack of the film, Pulp Fiction (1994).[6]

Another member, Norman Knowles, had offered to manage the Sentinals who had a hit with "Latin'ia".[3] In addition to managing The Sentinals he wrote "Church Key" and "Intoxica".[7]

Band members[edit]

  • Norman Knowles (saxophone)
  • Dan Arnold (rhythm guitar, 1959-60)
  • Merrell Fankhauser (rhythm guitar)
  • Brian England (bass)
  • Sam Eddy (piano)
  • Jim Macrae (drums),
  • Gil Serna (lead guitar, 1959)
  • Dave Davis (lead guitar, 1960)
  • Dean Sorensen (lead guitar, 1961-62)
  • Paul Sorensen (rhythm guitar, 1960-62)
  • Vince Tempesta (drums 1962)


  1. ^ "The Best of The Revels - Intoxica". All Music. 
  2. ^ a b "Intoxica: The Best of The Revels". Music City. 
  3. ^ a b c Patrick S. Pemberton (March 1, 2012). "Surf music: SLO County's radical history". The Tribune. The rise of surf rock in the 1960s was spearheaded in part by local teen bands including The Impacts, The Sentinals and The Revels 
  4. ^ "Revels on a Rampage". All Music. 
  5. ^ Davis, Kevin (3 December 1995). "Rock 'n' Roll Memories: If You Like Surf Music, Then You Have a Link to Robert Hafner's Musical Roots". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Surf Music and Seventies Soul: The Songs of 'Pulp Fiction'". Rolling Stone magazine. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  7. ^ Answers Exotic and Rockin' Instrumentals 1963-1964

External links[edit]