History of LA (& OC) Punk 1976-1981

11 Sep

zzdarby

(Darby hurt his neckie-weckie… Darby Crash of the Germs, photo by Jenny Lens)

The Weirdos, 1977. Photo by Jenny Lens.

The Weirdos, 1977. Photo by Jenny Lens.

Vom

VOM “ELECTROCUTE YOUR COCK”

Live At Surf City (7″ EP1978 White Noise Records)

Main Photograph

(Pasadena, CA © EDWARD COLVER, 1981)

“Flip Shot” of skater Chuck Burke taken by Edward Colver during Stiff Little Fingers / Adolescents / DOA show at Perkins Palace in Pasadena, California, July 4, 1981)

HISTORY OF LA & OC PUNK 1976-1983

HISTORY OF LA & OC PUNK 1976-1983

 

Okay, Dudes and Dudettes…Thee LA Weekly recently printed a piece called Top 20 Greatest L.A. Punk Albums of All Time: The Complete List, and I found the list to be missing quite a few classics and gems.  In my last post, “My Favorite Los Angeles Records 1959-1971” I started my foray into LA punk history in the late 50s with Richie Valens and then through LA’s proto-punk bands of the 60s like Love, The Seeds and The Standells.  We ended in 1971 with The Doors “LA Woman” LP.

DISCLAIMER: IF YOU ARE JUST LOOKING FOR A TOP 10 LIST SKIP TO THE END. I ACTUALLY DID ONE. IF NOT, ENJOY THIS BEEFY BALONEY OF A LA PUNK HISTORY!

(Further reading, Marc Spitz & Brendan Mullen’s “We Got The Neutron Bomb, the untold story of LA punk:”

zzneutron

HISTORY OF LA & OC PUNK 1976-1983

HISTORY OF LA & OC PUNK 1976-1983

 

Okay, let’s get going…frist off, what did I forget ito include in “My Favorite Los Angeles Records 1959-1971”?  Plenty.  How could I forget the Music Machine?

music machine

I also forgot Kim Fowley’s “The Trip” (1965) !?

How could I forget The Leaves who did maybe the BEST version of “Hey Joe!”  

I was born in LA and was a Catholic school kid until I moved near Seattle in 1994.  Nearly 20 years later, I live in Los Angeles again and am attempting to unravel my own history as well as the history of my birthplace.  When I got hooked on punk I dug deep and found that my favorite punk bands were usually Southern Californian. As a teenager in a rainy small town, those bands from the late 70s and early 80s sounded exactly like how I felt.  They were bands like Black Flag, The Adolescents, The Weirdos, The Germs.

The Adolescents anthem, “Kids Of The Black Hole” was perfectly in-tune to my mindset, feeling trapped in a culturally repressed place.  (You could probably say the same for another Adolescents jam, “No Way” where frontman Tony Cadena complains about his lack of action as a suburban kid; an  80s So Cal punk answer to “Can’t Get No Satisfaction”…No ass/no head/gotta go home/and jack off instead…”)

Frank Agnew, Rikk Agnew and Steve Soto  of the Adolescents. Photo by Edward Colver

Frank Agnew, Rikk Agnew and Steve Soto of the Adolescents. Photo by Edward Colver

When I was 15, I tracked down a VHS copy of  Penelope Spheeris’ 1980 LA Punk Documentary “The Decline Of Western Civilization” in the local record store, “Singles Going Steady” and would watch it again and again, especially the footage of Ron Reyes & Black Flag.

Decline Of Western Civilization Soundtrack. The Germs' Darby Crash is on the cover

Decline Of Western Civilization Soundtrack. The Germs’ Darby Crash is on the cover

The Ramones. Queens, New York. These 4 had a contagious energy that inspired a new generation of bands from London to Los Angeles and everywhere in between

The Ramones. Queens, New York. These 4 had a contagious energy that inspired a new generation of bands from London to Los Angeles and everywhere in between

It all started with The Ramones blitzcreig of dates in Southern California in the summer of 1976 at venues like the Roxy and the Starwood in West Hollywood. The brudders from Queens also made it down to Huntington Beach and up to San Francisco.

zzstarwood

From The Starwood’s Wikipedia page: 

“The Starwood was highly instrumental in the careers of many regional bands and artists including; Black FlagThe GermsThe DickiesThe Go-Go’sFEARCircle JerksThe BlastersThe KnackThe Kats/The Nu KatsThe Mau-Mau’sSister (band),Circus Circus (band) (going on to become W.A.S.P.) The MotelsMötley Crüe, Foxtrot, Windance, The PlimsoulsThe QuickThe PlugzSuburban LawnsQuiet RiotThe RunawaysVan Halen (who made their all-originals debut there), and X.

Some of the acts from outside of California who played at the Starwood include; The DamnedDokkenDevoThe JamCheap TrickThe RamonesDead BoysThe StranglersAC/DCSladeVince Vance & the ValiantsRush, and The Fleshtones.”

Billy Zoom from X on Elvis to the Ramones from his Razorcake Interview

“The Ramones were the first ones to figure out what it sounded like. I think punk was a lot like rockabilly and rock‘n’roll when it started. Back in the early fifties there were a lot of records that were almost rockabilly or almost rock‘n’roll. You’ve got these music history buffs that will argue about “What was the first rock‘n’roll record?” As far as I’m concerned, it was “That’s Alright Mama” by Elvis Presley, because everything before that wasn’t quite—it was like two-thirds of the way, three-fourths of the way there—they never quite got all the ingredients right. Elvis was the first one to really get the whole combination right and it just took off like crazy. He was the first then, all of the sudden, there was a hundred people, then two hundred, then four hundred, jumping on the bandwagon. I think it was the same way with punk. I think once the hippies killed rock‘n’roll, there were a lot of disgruntled musicians who had grown up with rock‘n’roll and pop music, and were looking for a way to take music and the radio back from the hippies. Take the art out and put the rock back in. The Ramones were the first one to get the whole thing right.”

Billy Zoom of X

Billy Zoom of X

Billy Zoom again, “I loved the Ramones the minute I heard them. They played the Gold West Ballroom in Norwalk and it just so happened that the company I worked for, my regular job, had just put in the sound system. I was an electronics guy. I saw the Ramones and said, “That’s it. That’s the sound.” I actually thought it was going to be the next big thing, I didn’t realize it was going to be banned from the radio. That was Friday or Saturday and the Monday after, I put an ad in the Recycler…two bass players answered the ad. The second one was John Doe.”

X (L to R Billy Zoom, John Doe, Exene Cervenka, DJ Bonebrake)

X (L to R Billy Zoom, John Doe, Exene Cervenka, DJ Bonebrake)

Who knows when the “first” LA Punk show actually happened but according to  this blog , LA Punk, the first punk show in 1977 was on January 1st at the KROQ Caberet with The Dogs, The Pop, Berlin Brats & Zolar X.

Zolar X. LA Space Aliens

Zolar X. LA Space Aliens

ZOLAR X “SPACE AGE LOVE” (1974 DEMO)

From YouTube channel “cometothesabbat”:

“From 1973 to 1981 Zolar X became legendary on the west coast USA for dressing and acting like space-aliens 24 hours a day. They spoke ceaselessly in an “alien language” of their own invention, which would amuse, but often infuriate the public at large. They are referred to as “Los Angeles’ first glam rock band” in the 1998 book Glam by Barney Hoskyns. Zolar X’s origin is included in author Marc Spitz and Brendan Mullen’s quintessential 2001 book on the Los Angeles punk scene “We Got The Neutron Bomb.”

In the 1970s, Zolar X’s outlandish image was matched by over the top performances, otherworldly stage sets, and their unique brand of glitter-space-rock. They were the house band at famed Los Angeles nightclub Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco, which was recently immortalized in George Hickenlooper’s 2004 documentary Mayor Of The Sunset Strip. Zolar X played historic gigs with Iggy Pop, Michael Des Barres, Jobriath, New York Dolls, among others. Ace Frehley of Kiss was a Zolar X fan and early supporter.”

Before “LA’s 1st punk show in 1977,”  bands like THE RUNAWAYS, THE QUICK and BERLIN BRATS were already tearing up Sunset Strip Venues like the Whisky A Go Go

The-Runaways-the-runaways-25595267-1280-960

The Runaways, 1976

The Runaways, 1976

Brad Elterman

The Dogs moved to LA via Detroit and NYC.  They played with the cream of the crop of the proto-punk bands in both cities.  They brought this style, napalm and vitriol to their songwriting and playing and quickly set up shop in Hollywood with their DIY Imprint, Detroit Records. They started booking a concert series called “Radio Free Hollywood.”   The intersection of Hollywood & La Brea would never be the same…

THE DOGS “FED UP”

dogs flyer

The Dogs Reissue on Dionysus Records

The Dogs Reissue on Dionysus Records

BERLIN BRATS

From BerlinBrats.com:

“It’s circa the mid-1970’s and the Rolling Stones are recording in the luxury of the Caribbean and the New York Dolls are in the midst of their death throes….but in Hollywood, Ca. the Berlin Brats are torching the Sunset Strip, demolishing pay-to-play live gigs and bringing rock and roll into a psychosexual realm – all before the Sex Pistols have played a single note.

They were the entertainment at the raucous launch party of a soon-to-be-behemoth L.A. radio dynasty – KROQ. Rodney Bingenheimer (who) called them “The West Coast’s first Punk Band”. They performed their legendary anthem “Psychotic” in Cheech and Chong’s “Up In Smoke”. Then they helped organize “Radio-Free Hollywood” with other like-minded groups that were determined L.A. would have its own scene for music, and were soon headlining the Hollywood’s Sunset Strip.  They released a 45 (Psychotic / Tropically Hot), catching the attention of the annual Playboy Magazine’s Rock Census, who called the song “an anthem” and the band as one to beat in the industry’s largest market.  The flame was burning hot…too hot.

With the advent of punk rock and half the Brats drawn to the music and others not, the band broke up on the way back from headlining a Mabuhay Gardens show in San Francisco with the Avengers. Rick Wilder and Rick Sherman went on to form the notorious rock n roll punk band the Mau Maus, who went on create their own mayhem….”

Berlin Brats, LA's answer to the New York Dolls

Berlin Brats, LA’s answer to the New York Dolls

zzquick

The Quick formed in 1976 and would play clubs like the Starwood and the Whiskey A Go Go supporting the likes of The Runaways, The Ramones and Van Halen. They released one LP in 1976 “Mondo Deco.” KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer would frequently play their unreleased Elektra Records demo “Pretty Please Me”, but the record wasn’t available in stores.  Later LA punk bands like The Dickies and Redd Kross would cover the song.

THE QUICK, PRETTY PLEASE ME (1978 Elektra Records demos, unreleased at the time, later released as “Untold Rock Stories”)

znerves-balck-and-white

THE NERVES

From minutegongcoughs  YouTube Channel (Thanks Dude)

“The Nerves were a mid-’70s power pop trio based in Los Angeles, California, featuring guitarist Jack Lee, bassist Peter Case, and drummer Paul Collins. All three members composed songs and sang. They managed a national tour, including a few dates with The Ramones, but they lasted just a short time and self-released only one self-titled four-song EP in 1976, featuring the songs “Hanging on the Telephone” (Lee), “When You Find Out” (Case), “Give Me Some Time” (Lee), and “Working Too Hard” (Collins). The EP was distributed by independent Bomp! Records.”

The Re-Issue “One Way Ticket” of the Nerves discography, demos and live tracks is now available and excellent.

The Nerves only 7" EP, released in 1976

The Nerves only 7″ EP, released in 1976

The Nerves

The Nerves

THE BEAT

After the Nerves split up, drummer Paul Collins formed THE BEAT.  1979. Fantastic Power Pop.  The first 2 LPs are unstoppable.

zpaulcollinsbeat

The Plimsouls

The Plimsouls

THE PLIMSOULS

Peter Case from the Nerves formed the Plimsouls after The Nerves broke up. “A Million Miles Away” was on the “Valley Girl” Soundtrack in 1983. They also played live in the movie.

OKAY BACK TO THE PUNK!  (continue below)

The Damned, the first UK punk band to hit US shores in 1977 on tour. New York City at Twin Towers.

The Damned, the first UK punk band to hit US shores in 1977 on tour. New York City at Twin Towers.

The Damned were the first UK punk band to tour the US in 1977. They were also the first English punk band to play in Los Angeles. According to Brendan Mullen, founder of the Los Angeles punk club The Masque, the Damned’s first tour of the U.S. found them favoring very fast tempos, helping to inspire the first wave of U.S. west coast hardcore punk. (From The Damned entry on Wikipedia).

Photo by Jenny Lens Capt Sensible of the Damned jamming with the Weirdos, playing “Pushin’ Too Hard” by The Seeds, a 60s LA band who influenced punk. The Orpheum, April 16, 1977.

Photo by Jenny Lens. Capt Sensible of the Damned jamming with the Weirdos, playing “Pushin’ Too Hard” by The Seeds, a 60s LA band who influenced punk. The Orpheum, April 16, 1977.

The Damned made quite a splash in LA with their 3 appearances.

Here’s an account of the three shows (from http://www.whiterabbitskgs.co.uk):

Saturday 16 April – Whiskey A Go Go, Los Angeles

The Damned were booked as support for Tom Verlaine & Television but the headliner refused The Damned as support.  Here’s an account of the night, from LA Punk Blog 1977:

April 16 1977 is a day that will remain permanently imprinted on my mind until the day I die. We had tickets to see The Damned and Television at the Whiskey. When we arrived for the show, the Damned had been removed from the bill and replaced. Fortunately for us, one block down, across the street from Tower Records, the Weirdos were going to be playing.’

The Germs and The Zeros played support to The Weirdos at Orpheum Theatre down the road. Sometime during the show, Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible of the Damned arrived with Rodney Bingenheimer.

Photographer Jenny Lens (wrote about) the first live appearance of The Germs – ‘ The Germs: thats the saddest story of my life… [fake crying]. Okay, I have pictures of that, almost but not quite…I didnt realize that the Germs were gonna play. I shot the Weirdos at Bomp Records on April 16 1977, maybe the first time they were ever photographed. Pleasant (Gehman) was with Darby and dared them to talk to the Weirdos and get on the bill. If they were a band, they should play…”

Jenny Lens continues, “I know the Weirdos were scheduled and I lived 20 feet from the Orpheum. The theater was on Sunset Boulevard right next to where Book Soup is, right across from Tower Records. There’s a big office building on the corner of Sunset and Palm now, but there used to be bar on the corner and a teeny 8-unit, two story building just south of it. I lived in an upstairs apartment facing the alley. I was always early to shows and parties, but I just missed the Germs because I didn’t know they were playing.

I photographed Captain Sensible of the Damned jamming with the Weirdos. That was my big picture of the evening. I just discovered a shot of Captain Sensible, Dave Vanian, the Damned singer, Jake Riviera their manager and Brian James their guitarist, sitting in the audience.

The Damned may have been booted off the Television bill but they did play the Starwood 2 nights later’.

Monday 18 April – The Starwood, Los Angeles

The Damned Set List: I Feel Alright, Born To Kill, Fan Club, Neat Neat Neat, Stretcher Case, Help, New Rose, Stab Your Back, So Messed Up.

Comments: Support from The Quick. Apparently 2 sets were played – exactly the same set.

A write-up of someone’s memories of the show states… “They belted out basically the entire contents of their debut album that night and left us wanting more. The Damned had run out of cash pretty early on in their American tour so they asked the audience to throw whatever change they had on the stage. I think they made a good amount of money gathering up what we tossed up to them. They also offered to have their picture taken with you for $10. $10 was a bit steep to afford in those days but would have made a great souvenir all these years later if I had bitten on the offer.”

Another piece on the web by M Compton states – ‘The Starwood, one of LA’s best and most missed clubs. They offered the Damned two nights, obviously expecting a huge turnout. But when the nights of the shows came around, there were maybe 20 or 30 people per show who came out to see this groundbreaking band. (As punk grew in popularity after these shows, it was hard to find any punk who wouldn’t claim they were there to see it. There was no way all the people who claimed to be there could have been there unless they were hiding behind the bar.) I went to both shows and was in heaven. The band pretty much played their first album in order, making up a set that lasted all of 25 minutes. And I was exhausted after that.”

Tuesday 19 April – The Starwood, Los Angeles

Comments: Support from The Quick.

M Compton states on a web blog – ‘The second night I dragged along my friend Jeff Wolfe, who knew little about punk, but was in the process of forming a band called the Furys that punk would influence quite a lot. For some reason, Captain Sensible took a dislike to Jeff, jumping onto the dance floor and spitting right in his face. Jeff allowed punk to influence him, but he always hated the Damned after that. I secretly found it kind of amusing. I got my own injury that night when Dave Vanian lit a flare and the hot sparks cascaded over my shoulders and burnt the crap out of me, leaving holes throughout my shirt. I wore the wounds proudly. It wasn’t the first injury that my love of punk rock would lay on me.’.

THE GERMS

(Great article in the Guardian on Darby Crash & The Germs here)

The Germs 1977, Lorna & Darby playing their 1st show at the Whiskey

The Germs 1977, Lorna & Darby playing their 1st show at the Whiskey

Introduction by “The King of Los Angeles Radio”  Rodney Bigenheimer of KROQ and Belinda Carlisle of the Go Go’s “The reason I don’t play in the group anymore is because They’re too dirty for me…and they’re sluts.”

THE GERMS are best described as a cult. Singer Darby Crash was an LSD-dropping teenager into Nietzsche and Scientology and wanted to form not just a band, but a “Circle One” cult, where the members wore blue armbands not unlike the symbolism of the Nazi swastika. Darby had illusions of grandeur, taking the David Bowie song “Five Years,” literally telling people he would kill himself in 5 years and become immortal.  Their first show at the Whiskey, they had already become legendary in their own right even though they couldn’t play their instruments.  Darby and Pat put an ad out for “Two Untalented Girls” and that’s how they found Lorna their bassist, and a female drummer who would soon be replaced by Arizona  (“cactus head”) transplant Don Bolles.  They released a few singles and only one album “GI,”  Released in 1979, it’s poetic lyrics and searing white-hot savagery (produced by the Runaways’ Joan Jett) was called “an aural holocaust” in the LA Times.

Darby was a closeted gay man, who thought he couldn’t be the frontman of a punk band and also be openly gay. Darby OD’d on heroin in 1980, trying to fulfill his “Five year plan.”  The only problem was that John Lennon was killed in New York City on the same day which greatly overshadowed his death.

Darby would not be forgotten however,  and in recent years a book (fantastic “Lexicon Devil”) and a film, not so fantastic (“What We Do Is Secret”) have been released in his memory.  The Germs album, released on Slash Records in 1979 has apparently never gone out of print.

zzweirdos_pic

THE WEIRDOS

The Weirdos are absolutely fucking brilliant.  One of the finest of the early LA punk bands.  Started by the Denney brothers in 1976, they’d dig through thrift store bins to find the most outrageous stage outfits.  As they were art students, they could turn any bit of ripped fabric into a visually stunning masterpiece.  The Weirdos wrote some of the hits of early LA punk including but not limited to “We Got The Neutron Bomb,” “Destroy All Music,” “Life Of Crime,” “Solitary Confinement,” and many more. They also did a great cover of Love’s “Seven and Seven Is,” as well as “Pushin’ Too Hard” by the Seeds.

Music critic Critic Mark Deming called them “…quite simply, one of the best and brightest American bands of punk’s first wave.”  I have to say I agree.

Their first two singles are absolutely essential:

“Destroy All Music” (1977), Bomp!

“We Got the Neutron Bomb” (1978), Dangerhouse

Both Frontier Records and Bomp! Records did discography releases which are well worth tracking down.

DANGERHOUSE RECORDS was probably the best of the early LA punk labels although Bomp!, Posh Boy, Slash, & Upsetter put out some great releases.

Dangerhouse released bands like RANDOMS, ALLEY CATS, X, DILS, THE BAGS, THE EYES & More.  They issued a comp in 1971 called “Yes LA”

Yes LA was a stab at the "No New York" No Wave compilation that came out the year before. It even said "Not produced by Brian Eno" on the picture disc. Hilarious

Yes LA was a stab at the “No New York” No Wave compilationn that came out the year before. It even said “Not produced by Brian Eno” on the picture disc. Hilarious

Dangerhouse discography here

RANDOMS ABCD b/w LETS GET RID OF NEW YORK 7″  (DANGERHOUSE RECORDS, 1977)

The Randoms ABCD 7", Dangerhouse Records 1977

The Randoms ABCD 7″, Dangerhouse Records 1977

BLACK RANDY & THE METRO SQUAD “TROUBLE AT THE CUP” 7″ (1977 Dangerhouse Records)

"Trouble At The Cup" 7" with tracks like "Loner With A Boner" and "Sperm Bank Baby"... can you say "classic?"

1977. Dangerhouse Records. “Trouble At The Cup” 7″ with tracks like “Loner With A Boner” and “Sperm Bank Baby”… can you say “classic?”

THE DILS “198 SECONDS OF THE DILS” 7″ (1977 DANGERHOUSE RECORDS)

zdils

zalleycats

The Eyes "TAQN" EP 1979 Dangerhouse Records. "TAQN" stands for "Take a Quaalude now."  Do it, dude!

The Eyes “TAQN” EP 1979 Dangerhouse Records. “TAQN” stands for “Take a Quaalude now.” Do it, dude!

THE FLYBOYS “PICTURE PERFECT”

THE MASQUE

Founder of the Masque, Brendan Mullen, late 70s

Founder of the Masque, Brendan Mullen, late 70s

From the Wikipedia Masque entry ”

The Masque was founded by Scottish-British-American rock promoter Brendan Mullen. It quickly became the nexus of the Los Angeles punk subculture. It was located at 1655 North Cherokee Avenue, between Hollywood Boulevard and Selma Avenue. Many L.A. bands frequently performed there, including Needles and Pins, The Model Citizens, The Dickies, Shock, L.A. Shakers, XThe GermsThe Bags,The ScreamersBlack Randy and the MetrosquadThe Alley Cats, F Word, Backstage Pass, The Wildcats, Suburban LawnsThe Mau-Mau’sThe WeirdosThe ZerosThe AvengersThe DilsThe SkullsThe Controllers and others. The Berlin Brats, Backstage Pass, Needles and Pins, The Skulls, The Controllers, The Model Citizens, The Motels and The Go-Go’s rented practice space there. Rhino 39, one of Long Beach, California‘s earliest punk rock bands, played there often. At least two compilation records featuring live performances at The Masque have been released.

THE WEIRDOS LIVE AT THE MASQUE 1977

First generation punk fanzines like Flipside and Slash covered the scene at The Masque.

The Weirdos on the cover of Slash Magazine

The Weirdos on the cover of Slash Magazine

An early issue of Flipside covering The Germs as well as "Punk Roq"

An early issue of Flipside covering The Germs as well as “Punk Roq”

The Masque was closed by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1978, and briefly re-opened before closing its doors permanently in 1979.”

zzscreamers

THE SCREAMERS were one of LA’s most original and theatrical punk bands.  Starting up in Seattle as “The Tupperwares” and “Ze Whiz Kids,” the boys found themselves in Los Angeles starting up a synth-punk band. They never released a proper record, they just had demos and a few videos. Thankfully we are left with some of these gems.  Openly gay singer Tomata Du Plenty died of Cancer in San Francisco in 2000.

THE SCREAMERS LIVE AT THE MASQUE 1977

zzscreamers2

THE SCREAMERS VERTIGO

zzscreamers3

THE SCREAMERS DEMOS 1977-78

The Damned hanging out with The Screamers, LA 1977. Photo by Mark Sullivan

The Damned hanging out with The Screamers,. Los Angeles, 1977. Photo by Mark Sullivan

Blog New Jersey Noise did a nice piece on The Controllers here

THE CONTROLLERS are another one of my favorite LA punk bands. They started after dropping acid on the Santa Monica pier in 1976 or 77 and apparently spray painted “Controllers” in the street.  They were the first Masque house band and apparently “discovered” the Masque, making it a known venue for other 1st wave LA punk bands like the Screamers, Weirdos & The Zeros.

The Controllers claimed to write a song about the Neutron Bomb before the Weirdos did, even though the Weirdos “We Got The Neutron Bomb” is considered paramount over the two. Nonetheless The Controllers tune captures that early LA punk energy quite well…

The Controllers 1st 7" released on What? Records in 1977

The Controllers 1st 7″ released on What? Records in 1977

My favorite 2 controllers tracks are “Jezebel,” a cover, off of the “TOOTH AND NAIL” Compilation on Upsetter Records in 1979.

Upsetter Records '1979 "Tooth and Nail" compilation is essential LA punk listening

Upsetter Records ‘1979 “Tooth and Nail” compilation is essential LA punk listening

THE CONTROLLERS “JEZEBEL”

THE CONTROLLERS “KILLER QUEERS”

Controllers’ Guitarist Kidd Spike on the origins of the song, “Killer Queers”:

“Hey,This is straight from the horses mouth….kidd spike hisself speaking, just to clear up a couple o’ little things. It’s always bugged me that most everybody misses the point of the song killer queers. I’ve heard it all and just chalk it up to bad recording or lazy listening. For the record, it was an anti-Anita Bryant song. She was at the time a famous spokesperson for minute maid orange juice and had begun to publically (sic) speak out against homosexuality. I didn’t think it was any of her business, hence the song and the punch line (which I stole from my sister) “Anita baby, yea yea yea….Anita blow job.”

Slash poster of Flesh Eaters

Slash poster of Flesh Eaters

THE FLESH EATERS are one of the most unique bands of the early LA punk scene.  Street poet Chris D. was the main man, singer and songwriter.  There were many lineup changes between ’78 and ’81 but I have to say the best one was in ’81 on the “A Minute To Pray A Second To Die” album with Dave Alvin (of The Blasters) on guitar, John Doe (of X) on bass, Steve Berlin (of The Blasters and later, Los Lobos) on sax, D.J. Bonebreak (of X) on marimbas, snare, and maracas, and Bill Bateman (of The Blasters) on drums.  Hoo ah!  What a super group!

My Favorite Flesh Eaters song is “SEE YOU IN THE BONEYARD” From “A MINUTE TO PRAY A SECOND TO DIE” (1981)

Great history on the Flesh Eaters here (which I plagiarized some of, thank you.)

X hanging out at the Masque in Hollywood

X hanging out at the Masque in Hollywood

We covered X for a minute earlier.  They are one of Los Angeles’ most lauded of punk bands and are still playing today.  There’s been a lot written about them, so should be easy to find more info.  I just missed them playing a free show at Pershing Square in Downtown LA.  I didn’t hear about the show until after it was over.  Biggest regret of the summer.

Here’s their 1st 7″ on Dangerhouse Records, 1978:

My favorite couple of early X tracks from their seminal 1st album “Los Angeles” on Slash Records (1980) are THE UNHEARD MUSIC & THE WORLD’S A MESS IT’S IN MY KISS

Another great shot of X at the Masque

Another great shot of X at the Masque

THE PLUGZ

zzplugz

Okay Vatos, now we’re off to East LA which I covered a little bit in my last entry: “My Favorite Los Angeles Records 1959-1971.  East LA was a straight up Chicano punk scene that was often not included in the Hollywood Scene about 20 miles west.  THE PLUGZ famously contributed to the “REPO MAN” soundtrack, which was the first semi-mainstream film to feature punk bands. THE PLUGZ and THE BAGS were two of East LA’s finest…  Enjoy… (If you’re interested in reading more, Razorcake Magazine did some great interviews with Alice Bag recently)

THE PLUGZ!

THE PLUGZ!

Excellent debut LP by the Plugz - 1979

Excellent debut LP by the Plugz – 1979

THE BAGS

Alice Bag on the cover of Slash Magazine

Alice Bag on the cover of Slash Magazine

THE DICKIES were the first (and only?) of the first LA punk bands to get signed to a major label (A&M) in the late 70s.

They were wacky and schticky with songs about Banana Splits and car repair men (“Manny Moe & Jack).  The singer Leonard Philips even had a song about his penis (“If Stewart Could Talk… what would he say?”)  Super Ramones influenced and bubblegummy, if you like that sort of thing (which I do), you’ll LOVE The Dickies

The Dickies, A & M Records promo photo, 1979

The Dickies, A & M Records promo photo, 1979

Album cover photo for 1979's "The Incredible Shrinking Dickies"  Best cover photo ever?

Album cover photo for 1979’s “The Incredible Shrinking Dickies” Best cover photo ever?

zzz The+Dickies+-+The+Dickies+-+White+Vinyl+-+10-+RECORD-313448

VOM “I’M IN LOVE WITH YOUR MOM”  (Richard Meltzer & members of Angry Samoans.  Genious and self explanatory).

THE URINALS “ANOTHER EP” 7″ (HAPPY SQUID RECORDS 1979) – Art School Boys make some great great punk songs…

zzurinals

FEAR

zzfear1

FEAR were one of the most confrontational of all of the early LA Punk bands.  In the “Decline Of Western Civilization” footage, they baited the crowd to attack them before they even played a note.

They were friends with John Belushi who got them a spot on “Saturday Night Live” on Halloween night of 1981.  The producers wanted the crowd to be as “authentic” as possible, so they bussed in loads of punks from DC and New York.  The HC punks were tribal at the time and did not like each other. They weren’t fans of FEAR’s music either.  After a few thousand dollars of damage was done on cameras, lights and other equipment due to stage diving punks, the producers pulled the plug.  A punk band wouldn’t return to SNL for a long, long time…

Their album FEAR “THE RECORD” (1982) Slash Records, is a classic of LA punk with off tempo art beats, saxophones and baiting of everyone and anyone who takes themselves too seriously.

Lee Ving has had an extensive music and acting career and has appeared in dozens of commercials, TV shows and fims. Lee Ving Filmography

zzzfear zzfear2

FEAR FUCK CHRISTMAS (1982)

THE GEARS “ROCKIN AT GROUND ZERO” LP  (Surfs up with THE GEARS and THE CROWD!)

THE CROWD “MODERN MACHINE”

TSOL (From Long Beach… fantastic…)

ztsolmlppink

SOCIAL DISTORTION “MOMMY’S LITTLE MONSTER” LP (You have to admit it’s a classic)

Mike Ness fixing his hair and makeup in 1982 documentary “ANOTHER STATE OF MIND” is also classic

DESCENDENTS “MILO GOES TO COLLEGE” LP (Great! Poppy! Near Perfect!)

BLACK FLAG “FIRST FOUR YEARS” LP (Compilation of Black Flag’s first coupla singers including Keith Morris, Chavo, and Dez)

BLACK FLAG “DAMAGED” LP (Henry’s searing 1981 debut.  Cover photo by Edward Colver)

CIRCLE JERKS “GROUP SEX” LP (1980) – Keith Morris’ band after Black Flag… They had members of Bad Religion and Red Cross too.. they played a few songs by all 3… a little faster…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOgOcZmBkak

CIRCLE JERKS “WILD IN THE STREETS” LP (1982)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxfhW-HPDVA

OFF! FIRST 4 EPS  – Keith Morris strikes again…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4swhL6sDG-U

DI “JOHNNY’S GOT A PROBLEM”  (Stands for “Drug Ideology,” brother… “Richard Hung Himself” another classic DI tune)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZkDohSwKMw

AGENT ORANGE (From Fullerton, California, home of Fender Guitars, The Adolescents, Social Distortion and Cassette tape Revival)

ANGRY SAMOANS (Underrated and great)

GUN CLUB “FIRE OF LOVE” LP 1981  (Overrated/underrated whatever your opinion, still a fantastic record)

MAU MAUS 1981 (kinda boring but here it is)

1Nov 17, 1984, Black Flag & the Ramones play at the Hollywood Palladium. The LAPD crack some skulls. Henry Rollins wrote about it in his tour diary/memoir “GET IN THE VAN” which is highly recommended. Photo by Gary Leonard.

zzflagramones

Black Flag Singer Henry Rollins, Photo By Edward Colver in 1981

Black Flag Singer Henry Rollins, Photo By Edward Colver in 1981

zzgerms

zzgerms1

plugz_standard

SLASH RECORDS

POSH BOY RECORDS

SIMPLETONES CALIFORNIA 7″

BEACH BLVD COMP 1979 POSH BOY RECORDS

abb

RED CROSS EP (1980 POSH BOY RECORDS)

zzredcross

zzredcross2

THE ZEROS 1980 (“The Mexican Ramones”  is what they were called at the time.  FANTASTIC)

BAD RELIGION 80-85 (Great Early Bad Religion)

THE MINUTEMEN – DOUBLE NICKELS ON THE DIME

Minutemen from San Pedro. 1984 LP. I'm not following my own criteria now.  I was supposed to stop in 1981...Fuck!

Minutemen from San Pedro. 1984 LP. I’m not following my own criteria now. I was supposed to stop in 1981…Fuck!

Punk Boots at Oki Dogs, a hotdog place on Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood that was a popular after-show hangout in the late 70s/early 80s.  One of Darby Crash's typical end-of-show lines was "See You All At Oki Dogs." He apparently said this the night of the last Germs show before he OD'd on heroin. Photo By Edward Colver. This photo was used on Bad Religion's "80-85" Cover

Punk Boots at Oki Dogs, a hotdog place on Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood that was a popular after-show hangout in the late 70s/early 80s. One of Darby Crash’s typical end-of-show lines was “See You All At Oki Dogs.” He apparently said this the night of the last Germs show before he OD’d on heroin. Photo By Edward Colver. This photo was used on Bad Religion’s “80-85” Cover

Glen E. Friedman photo of Black Flag behind the Cuckoo's Nest in Costa Mesa, 1981

Glen E. Friedman photo of Black Flag behind the Cuckoo’s Nest in Costa Mesa, 1981

THE DJ: RODNEY BINGENHEIMER

KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer religiously played punk, new wave, power pop & early 80s hardcore on his KROQ radio show, "Rodney On the Roq" The Angry Samoans wrote a song for him "Get Off The Air" that wasn't very nice...

KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer religiously played punk, new wave, power pop & early 80s hardcore on his KROQ radio show, “Rodney On the Roq” The Angry Samoans wrote a song for him “Get Off The Air” that wasn’t very nice…

POSH BOY RECORDS Released some great comps with great early punk tunes and a ‘zine by Flipside inside

Here's one of the Rodney on the Roq compilation LPs. Posh Boy released the vinyl and Flipside did a great insert zine for every release

Here’s one of the Rodney on the Roq compilation LPs. Posh Boy released the vinyl and Flipside did a great insert zine for every release

Here’s ANGRY SAMOANS ode to Rodney

THE FLYERS:

These flyers care of: http://oldpunkflyers.tumblr.com

These are some of my faves:

black flag flyer black flag 2 black flag3 coolflyer1 coolflyer2 coolflyer3    coolflyer5 coolflyer6 coolflyer7  coolflyer9 coolflyer11 coolflyer13 coolflyer14 coolflyer15 coolflyer16 coolflyer17 coolflyer18 coolflyer19  coolflyer20 coolflyer21 coolflyer22 coolflyer23 coolflyer24 coolflyer25 coolflyer26 coolflyer27    coolflyer30 coolflyer31 coolflyer32 coolflyer33  coolflyer35 coolflyer36 coolflyer37 coolflyer38  coolflyer40 coolflyer41 coolflyer42 coolflyer43 coolflyer44 coolflyer45 coolflyer46 coolflyer47 coolflyer48 coolflyer49  coolflyer51 coolflyer52 coolflyer53 coolflyer54  coolflyer56 coolflyer57

zflyer1 zflyer2

So what did I forget? Everything?  Did I forget your favorite band? A lost classic? Send me hate mail/love letters here: jmocheeks@yahoo.com

XO

Justin

PS I bet you just wanted a Top 10 List… Okay, here’s 27…

My Top 27 LA Punk Songs

1. The Adolescents “Kids Of The Black Hole”

2.  Black Flag “Revenge” (1980 SST Records)

3. Weirdos – Life Of Crime

4. Controllers – Jezebel

5. Fear – I Love Livin’ In The City

6. Germs – Richie Dagger’s Crime

7. Love – Seven and Seven Is (1967)

8. Descendants – Suburban Home

9. Urinals “I’m A Bug”

10. The Bags – Babylonian Gorgon

11. The Zeros – Handgrenade Heart

12. The Nerves – Paper Dolls

13. Dickies – Manny Moe & Jack

14. The Go Go’s “We Got The Beat” (Yup, you heard me)

15. X “Los Angeles”

16. Red Cross – All of these songs:

17. The Beat “Don’t Wait Up”

18. VOM – I’m In Love With Your Mom

19. The Plugz – Adolescent

20. Controllers – Killer Queers

21. The Eyes – TAQN 7″

From where he tells you to “Take a Quaalude now” to the last song where he tells you about how Disneyland is his favorite place.  Brilliance.

22. Black Randy “Sperm Bank Baby”

23. The Gears – The Last Chord

24. Simpletones – I Like Drugs

25. Simpletones – I Have A Date

26. TSOL – ALL OF THESE SONGS

27. VOM “ELECTROCUTE YOUR COCK”

Live At Surf City (7″ EP1978 White Noise Records)

Advertisements

8 Responses to “History of LA (& OC) Punk 1976-1981”

  1. James December 9, 2013 at 10:29 pm #

    Thanks for the shout out! You’re welcome to plagiarize from me any time. Very cool article. Always nice to see someone write about the Screamers. I’d like to think if they ever actually released anything they wouldn’t be so criminally underrated…but who knows. Definitely one of my favorite bands of all time though. I once heard Jello Biafra do an interview with Nardwuar where he said they were one of his favorite (punk?) bands of all time and that’s what made me go out searching for their stuff.

    James
    New Jersey Noise

    • justinmaurer December 9, 2013 at 11:14 pm #

      No problem James! I found a lot of great info on your NJ Noise site. Screamers are fantastic. Take care man and as Nardwuar would say, “Keep on Rockin in the free world and…”

  2. Steve June 1, 2014 at 5:23 am #

    How about adding a little bit of The Middle Class history to the page?? They were one of the big LA scene influences.

    • justinmaurer September 26, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

      Thanks Much Steve, agreed that The Middle Class were OC pioneers!

  3. Raven Maniac August 12, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

    From “Raven Maniac” 79-80, I was there. HB Forever!..(P.S. Dates on your posters would be helpful)..Great Job on this Site…I’m the Guy Ran over a Cop in the Baces Hall Riot, Pulled Melissa Sexsick, out, Draged is better said, in stampeed to exit. She said once outside, “Thanks Raven, I would of been crushed if you had let go!” [Raven Stine on FB]

  4. kookadams December 16, 2014 at 6:30 am #

    You forgot THE pioneering band, the Surf Punks?!!

  5. Bruce McDonald October 25, 2015 at 1:44 am #

    Interesting post. And while I well realize the pitfalls inherent in any piece documenting any particular scene, The Plugz were never, ever from East LA (West Hollywood) & ‘Yes LA’ was released in 1979 not 1971.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: