In the late sixties, Davie Allan & The Arrows carved their niche in the musical history books with an array of classic instrumentals and two dozen motion picture soundtracks. The most notable of the movies were the cult classics The Wild Angels, Devil's Angels, The Glory Stompers and Born Losers.
Like many of instrumental rock's guitar heroes, Davie Allan learned to play guitar in his teens."When I saw Elvis on TV I knew what I wanted to do. I didn't realize that his guitar was basically a prop so I guess you could say that my first guitar hero was Scotty Moore. Then I heard Duane Eddy on the radio and that really got me into music. Also, the grunge sound from Link Wray got me into distortion".
His musical career kicked off when he teamed up with Mike Curb, a friend he knew from Grant High School in Van Nuys, California, to form an instrumental surf combo. In 1963, Curb founded Cude Records, the first of several labels he would run, and released the first Davie Allan single, War Path. Allan participated in recording a number of other singles for Curb's label, released under group names like the Sudells, the Heyburners, and the Zanies.
In 1964, Mike Curb founded Sidewalk Records (which was distributed by Capitol subsidiary Tower Records), brought Allan with him as a session musician, and secured a recording contract for the newly-formed Arrows.
Curb had also arranged to supply Roger Corman's schlock factory American International Pictures (AIP) with soundtracks.
Davie Allan had come to Corman's attention from his playing on the soundtrack of Skaterdater.
Early Davie Allan & the Arrows tracks were stereotypical instrumental surf numbers, with crystal clear guitar supported by light, crisp drum work. Although modestly successful commercially (Apache '65 became a local radio hit), Allan would find his greatest success when he added distortion and fuzz to the mix.
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When Curb assigned soundtrack duties for biker film The Wild Angels to Allan and the Arrows, it would prove a breakthrough success. The song from the film's opening, Blues' Theme (sometimes listed as Blue's Theme), an aggressive, repetitive and very catchy instrumental showcasing Davie's new fuzzed-out (heavily distorted) guitar sound became their biggest hit (it was also one of the first songs Eddie Van Halen learned to play on brother Alex's guitar). The song stayed on the Billboard charts for 17 weeks (it peaked at #37); the single, backed with Bongo Party, and the soundtrack album both sold well.
Davie Allan & the Arrows went on to record a number of other soundtracks for similar AIP films over the next few years, like Devil's Angels, Thunder Alley, and Born Losers, as well as several studio albums. All contained quality material, but none would prove as successful as Blues' Theme.
By the time Tower Records and Sidewalk Records were dissolved in 1968, Allan had his name on two dozen albums and a prolific string of singles.
Musically speaking, the next two decades were a quiet period for Davie Allan with only a handful of 45s cut for MGM Records in the early 1970s and a few studio sessions in the 80's.
In 1994, the critically acclaimed album Loud, Loose and Savage (Top 10 CD pick ... San Francisco Chronicle, Guitar Player and Bam) brought back the "cycle-delic" sounds of cult legend Davie Allan and began another chapter in his career.
This huge resurgence of popularity resulted in more albums including the excellent Fuzz Fest and in 1999, Davie Allan & The Arrows won the “LA Weekly Music Award” for Best Instrumental Band.
Film work continued and Davie's more recent contributions include Jim Jarmusch's Night On Earth, Roger Corman's Not Like Us, MTV's Road Rules, Psycho Sisters, and From Dusk 'til Dawn 2, an episode of The Sopranos in 2004, Quentin Tarantino's Hell Ride from 2008 and Inglourious Basterds from 2009.
Today, Davie Allan enjoys a strong cult following, and continues to record and play live dates on an occasional basis.
The latest album is Retrophonic and is available from all good music stores and Davie's website.