Guitarist Brian Carman, a founding member of surf rockers the Chantays and co-writer of the band's career-defining 1963 hit "Pipeline," has passed away at the age of 69 following a battle with Crohn's disease.

News of Carman's death, which occurred March 1 at his home in Santa Ana, Calif., comes courtesy of the Orange County Register, where some of his bandmates and surf rock peers paid tribute to his contributions as a musician and a friend.

The Chantays came together while the band's five members — including guitarist Bob Spickard, drummer Bob Welch, bassist Warren Waters and keyboardist Rob Marshall — were students at Santa Ana High School. "We were inspired by another local group called the Rhythm Rockers, who ended up backing up the Righteous Brothers," Spickard told the Register. "We figured, ‘Hey, these guys were making money and getting all the girls, so maybe we ought to think about that.'"

The band took off immediately, scoring a hit with "Pipeline" after recording it in a small studio located in the back of a local record store, and parlaying the song's No. 4 chart peak into a series of worldwide tour dates that included shows with Roy Orbison and their fellow Santa Ana High alums the Righteous Brothers. The band's popularity proved short-lived, but they remained active over the years, with all five original members reuniting periodically for shows and new recordings.

The official Chantays website includes a message honoring Carman, calling him "our friend, bandmate and brother" and adding, "We love you and and miss you! You will forever be in our hearts and an inspiration to all." The band's Facebook page paid tribute by calling for a "moment of 'Pipeline'" asking fans to "post a video of you playing 'Pipeline' or photo of a 'Pipeline' moment."

"The thing we enjoyed most was the camaraderie, the guys in the band," Spickard told the Register. "We played all over the country pretty much, and it’s memories now, but it’s good memories. My main philosophy right now is thinking about all the good times and the fact that nobody gets out alive."

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