The Sentinals (band)

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The Sentinals
OriginSan Luis Obispo, California
Years active1961–1965
LabelsDel-Fi, ERA, Westco
Past membersJohn Barbata
Ron Gornell
Peter Graham
Kenny Hinkle
Bobby Holmquist
Norman Knowles
Lee Michaels
Tommy Nuñes
Ronnie Page
John Ryan
Harry Sackrider
Mike Scott
Gary Winburne

The Sentinals were a surf rock band from San Luis Obispo, California (1961–1965). The band is notable for a Latino influence in some works, such as "Latin'ia" (1962). Notable band members included Tommy Nuñes,[1] drummer John Barbata (later of The Turtles and Jefferson Starship) and Lee Michaels (then known as Michael Olsen) on keyboards.


Even though a surf group, they added an appealing Latin accent to their music.[2] According to band member John Barbata, as mentioned in Craig Fenton's Take Me to a Circus Tent: The Jefferson Airplane Flight Manual, the group was actually rhythm and Blues.[3]



In the summer of 1962, the group toured the country and opened for bands including The Coasters and The Righteous Brothers.[1] Also that year, through Norman Knowles, the group came across Tony Hilder,[4] whose company Anthony Music would later become involved in legal action with Del-Fi records, slapping the label with a $122,000 lawsuit as a result of royalties not being paid. This was relating to an alleged agreement for the masters of albums by The Sentinels, The Centurians, Dave Myers and the Surftones, etc.[5]

In 1963 the band was featured in the March 16 issue of Central Coast Living section of The Tribune. Kenny Hinkle was pictured on the cover.[6] Also that year, their Big Surf album was released on the Del-Fi label.[7]

According to Robert J. Dalley's book Surfin' Guitars: Instrumental Surf Bands of the Sixties, the 1965 line up consisted of John Barbata, Ron Gornell, Kenny Hinkle, Norman Knowles, and Tommy Nuñes.[8]

1970s to 1980s[edit]

In August 1984, they got together and played at the San Luis Obispo Officer's Club. This live reunion was for their twenty-year class reunion.[9]

1990s to present[edit]

In 1996, Del-Fi released the Big Surf Hits various artists compilation album, featuring their track "Big Surf". Other artists on the album were The Impacts, Dave Myers and The Surftones and The Lively Ones.[10][11]


  • John Barbata: drums, 1961–66
  • Ron Gornell: organ, 1965–66
  • Peter Graham: guitar, 1961–66
  • Kenny Hinkle: bass, 1962–66
  • Bobby Holmquist: saxophone, 1961–64
  • Norman Knowles: saxophone, 1965–66
  • Lee Michaels (Michael Olsen): organ, vocals, 1966
  • Tommy Nuñes: guitar 1961–66
  • Ronnie Page: vocals, 1966
  • John Ryan: bass
  • Harry Sackrider: guitar, 1964–65
  • Mike Scott: drums
  • Gary Winburne: bass, 1961–63[12]


Title Release info Year Notes
"Roughshod" / "Copy Cat Walk" Admiral 900 1961
"Latin'ia" / "Tor-Chula" WCEB 23 1962
"Latin'ia" / "Tor-Chula" ERA 3082 1962
"Christmas Eve" / "Latin Soul" ERA 3097 1962
"Big Surf" / "Sunset Beach" Del-Fi 4197 1963
"Infinity" / "Encinada" ERA 3117 1963 (as The Sentinel Six)
"The Bee" / "Over You" Point 5100 1964
"Blue Booze" / "Bony Maronie" Point 5101 1964
"Hit The Road" / "I've Been Blue" Westco WC 12 1964
"Hit The Road" / "Tell Me" Westco WC 14 1964 [13]
"Tor-Chula" / " Latin'ia" Sundazed S 208 2010 [14]
Albums (LP)
Title Release info Year Notes
Big Surf! Del-Fi Records DFLP 1232 1963 Stereo version DFST 1232
Surfer Girl Del-Fi Records DFLP 1241 1963 Stereo version DFST 1241
Vegas Go Go Sutton SSU 338 1964
Big Surf Del-Fi Records DFLP 1232 1996 reissue
Surfer Girl Del-Fi Records DFLP 1241 1996
Big Surf! Rumble Records RUM 2011086 2014 reissue[15]
Albums (CD)
Title Release info Year Notes
Big Surf Del-Fi Records DFCD 71232-2 1994 reissue
Surfer Girl Del-Fi Records DFCD 71241-2 1996 reissue[15]


  1. ^ a b Pemberton, Patrick S. (1 March 2012). "Surf music:". The Tribune. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
  2. ^ The Golden Age of Rock Instrumentals, Steven Otfinoski - Page 143
  3. ^ Take Me to a Circus Tent: The Jefferson Airplane Flight Manual, by Craig Fenton - Page 346 John Barbata- Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship
  4. ^ Surfin' Guitars: Instrumental Surf Bands of the Sixties, Robert J. Dalley - Page 259
  5. ^ Billboard, 26 Mar 1966 Page 4, Anthony Music Sues Del-Fi
  6. ^ The Tribune - Photos From The Vault, Surf’s Up, the Sentinals rock the Central Coast by David Middlecamp
  7. ^ Billboard, June 29, 1963 - Page 30 Surf's Up!!!
  8. ^ Surfin' Guitars: Instrumental Surf Bands of the Sixties, Robert J. Dalley - Page 262
  9. ^ Surfin' Guitars: Instrumental Surf Bands of the Sixties, Robert J. Dalley - Page 264
  10. ^ Discogs - Various – Big Surf Hits
  11. ^ Surfing, By Gregory Maube, Sylvain Cazenave - Page 35
  12. ^ California Gold Coast Dreamin' - The Sentinals, San Luis Obispo County
  13. ^ Goldmine Price Guide to 45 RPM Records, By Tim Neely - Page 607 SENTINALS, THE
  14. ^ 45Cat -- The Sentinals - Discography
  15. ^ a b Discogs - The Sentinals Discography, Albums