Legendary South Bay surf guitarist Eddie Bertrand, fronting Eddie and the Showmen in the 1960s.
Legendary South Bay surf guitarist Eddie Bertrand, fronting Eddie and the Showmen in the 1960s.

Eddie Bertrand, a South Bay resident and pioneer in the early days of surf music, died Saturday. He was 67.

Bertrand started out playing with South Bay surf legend Paul Johnson in the Belairs of "Mr. Moto" fame in 1962. He met Johnson on the bus to Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance.

He later started Eddie and the Showmen, and the band became a fixture during the height of the California surf music boom at such venues as the Revelaire Club in Redondo Beach.

The group released only a handful of singles, but they are all filled with Bertrand's unique lead guitar - from "Mr. Rebel" to "Squad Car" to "Toes on the Nose."

Bertrand had been playing gigs regularly in recent years - usually with younger surf music lovers such as The Eliminators - until 2010, when he fell and broke both of his hips.

- Staff reports