At that time, Mel Waldorf (of The Mel-tones) was lead guitarist with The Alvarados, and itching to play instrumentals. Ferenc Dobronyi was playing progressive instrumentals with Pollo Del Mar and aching to get back to the fundamentals. Johhny Hamiltone’s reputation as a rock solid bass player with The Berzerkers made him someone that everybody wanted to play with. Multi-instrumentalist Shigemi Komiyama had toured with Hot Tuna and El Destroyo, and had recorded an album of his original instrumentals under the name Shig and Buzz. Needless to say, Mel, Ferenc and Johnny were thrilled when Shig agreed to join them.
The common goal of the Mach IV was to focus on playing surf music in a trad style and bring the innocent joy of early 60s surfing music bands to the stage. At the start, set lists were all covers, the obscure favorites they had been dying to play. The early uniform of white tees and blue jeans was soon replaced by teal tuxedo jackets as the band cultivated its dapper image, and rehearsed moves for every song. As the band progressed and decided to record, an abundance of original material emerged.
In the band's short career, they played perhaps 60 shows. Some memorable moments include a few backyard BBQs, a regular stint at the Hotel Utah, playing “The Limbo Song” for a solid half-hour for school children, and a Christmas show for a surly crowd who had clearly expected a classic rock band. A short SoCal tour in 2002 with The Aqua-Velvets led to the release of “Road Test,” which was recorded live at The Beach Chalet. The band also played live on Stanford’s KZSU, and twice on KFJC with famed DJ Phil Dirt mixing. (The live version of “Honda Beach Party” included here comes a KFJC date.)
With three songwriters, the band focused more and more on originals, and 16 songs came together for the “Eleki” album, self-released in 2003. Fan reaction was positive, and the run of 500 quickly sold out, and only later to be found as a download on Russian bootleg websites. The band continued playing at San Francisco clubs and fizzled out by late 2005. Mel moved on to form the Meshugga Beach Party, adding a keyboard player and beards to the Mach IV lineup, before finding permanent members. Playing in the trad style would inspire Ferenc to form Frankie & the Pool Boys. Johhny continued to play with the Berzerkers. Shig played regularly in the Shi-tones with Jim Thomas from The Mermen, and also formed Shig and the Buzz, featuring Johnny Hamiltone on bass. After 2005, the band brought out the teal tuxedos for only a handful of reunion shows. Shigemi Komiyama passed away in 2014.
In 2016, Mel, Johnny and Ferenc reformed The Mach IV with Tony Bald of The TomorrowMen on drums. They played a short series of shows with Italy’s Bradipos IV, including an enthusiastically well received set at the Surf Guitar 101 Con in Torrance CA. In 2021, the band took up a long standing offer by Surf Cookie Records to rerelease “Eleki.” Knowing that they still had some gas in the tank, the band decided to record new material. It was important that the spirit of Shig “33” live on, so Tony’s drums swing, they twist, they breathe, and they have that four-on-the-floor dance beat. Two of Shig’s best known tunes were recorded– his signature song “Shooting Star” and his drum feature “Bigfoot.”