In 1982, the Orange County punk scene was thriving. After four years of
unsteady growth, there were finally enough punks and bands to support weekly
gigs at several Orange County clubs.
By late 1982, there were great punk shows every weekend at both Ichabod's
and the Galaxy in Fullerton, as well as regular gigs at the T-Bird
Rollerdrome, a short drive up the freeway in Pico Rivera.
1982 also seemed to be the year that the Orange County punk scene finally
defined itself as something unique and different from the L.A. scene. Local
bands that used to just play Orange County gigs, were suddenly becoming
nationally known. Good old Fullerton and Huntington Beach local boys like
Social Distortion, the Adolescents, TSOL, and the Vandals were starting to
sell records all over the world.
T.S.O.L., Bad Religion, Hellations, Regional Kaos
The Galaxy, Fullerton
Halloween. I showed up late and missed Regional Kaos.
The Hellations were about half way into their set when I arrived at the
club. For an unknown warm-up band, they put on a pretty decent show.
They had a fast angry sound and their songs were heavy on inflammatory
In 1982, Bad Religion was a brand new band, this
must have been one of their first official gigs. Like many of the local
hardcore bands that played at the Galaxy, they looked really young, maybe
sixteen or seventeen at the oldest.
Bad Religion played good, honest punk, with a sincere, straight-forward
attitude. But at the time of this early gig, their musical skills were
extremely limited. Both the back-up guitarist and drummer could barely play
their instruments, and the bass and other guitarist were only slightly
T.S.O.L. was the only band that dressed for
Halloween. Lead singer, Jack Greggors was wearing a hippy costume (how
ironic), and the rest of the band were wearing kids costumes,
Clockwork-Orange droog clothes, and other more typical Halloween
In the early 80's, T.S.O.L. was probably one of the best new punk bands in
Southern California. They usually put on a terrific show, and they had a
fast, out-of-control sound; songs raced along at a crazy gallop, always on
the verge of falling apart into an disrythmic tumble of noise.
At the time of this gig, T.S.O.L. had developed such a large following of
fanatical teenage fans, that they were attracting the attention of concerned
moms and local ministers. A Huntington Beach christian/moms group advanced
the theory that T.S.O.L. actually stood for "To Satan Our
T.S.O.L. was a great band in the early 80's, but unfortunately, by 1990,
they de-evolved into an embarrassing Heavy Metal band.
Social Distortion, Mentors, Shattered Faith, Vandals, Eddie & the
The Galaxy, Fullerton
Local Fullerton punk veterans, Eddie & the
Subtitles opened the show with a very short set. They played just
four or five brief songs and then quickly left the stage.
The Vandals were next. It wasn't Christmas yet,
but for some reason, the Vandals' bassist "Human" was dressed up as an Xmas
present; wearing a box with wrapping paper and a ribbon on it. They played
a great set, capped off by a hilarious cover version of the 70's prog rock
hit "Hocus Pocus" (Focus).
I was never really crazy about Shattered Faith.
Back in 1982, when I made this entry in my gig diary, I only wrote one word
to describe their show; "boring".
I had heard a lot of good things about The
Mentors, but I had never seen them before. I was surprised to see
that they were older, long-haired, biker-looking guys who wore black
executioner's hoods and played a hybrid crossbreed of punk and heavy metal.
Their lead singer "El Duce" was a stocky wise guy, who barked out short,
loud, offensive songs about hookers, junkies and porno. I was
Social Distortion played a great set, but I was
distracted by a bad P.A. system, and an entertaining fight between a big
ugly bouncer and some teenage punk in the audience.
The athletic, zit-faced bouncer had been sitting on the edge of the stage
throughout the show, angrily glaring at the audience like a pissed off drill
seargent. About half way into Social Distortion's set, some skinny sixteen
year old punk kid in the middle of the pit started to pelt the bouncer with
ice from a soft drink.
After four or five direct hits, the pizza-faced bouncer suddenly jumped off
the stage and into the pit and started swinging at the skinny punk kid who
had been throwing the ice. The ice thrower ducked and ran from the pit with
the bouncer following him. They ran about 25 feet, and wound up in the
middle of a crowd of punks who were evidently the ice thrower's
The ice thrower and his many buddies then proceeded to give the jocky
bouncer a merry thrashing. Social Distortion played on without
missing a beat, but most of the audience was not paying attention; they were
too busy swinging and kicking at the pock-marked bouncer, and showering him
with trash and more ice cubes.
PiL, Savage Republic
Pasadena Convention Center, Pasadena
This was another amazing show, that started off with a near riot, and ended
up with some kid jumping off a 25 foot high pile of amplifiers.
When I showed up at the Pasadena Convention Center, there was a long
line of punks, that stretched about a block and a half from the main
entrance. We waited and waited. The show was supposed to start at eight,
but it was about ten minutes after, and they had still not opened the
When the doors finally did open, the line was funneled down into a
concrete stairwell, to a pair of double doors with bouncers letting people in
two at a time. This turned out to be an incredibly stupid plan on the part
of the Convention Center, because after about another 45 minutes, the line
had barely moved, and the punks in line were starting to get
The stairs leading down to the double doors were jammed to capacity, and
people at the top of the stairs began to squish down on to those at the
bottom. The people at the very front of the line were forced into the
doors by the wave of pushing behind them, and the bouncers panicked.
As the surge of people pushed past the gate, the bouncers suddenly sprayed
us all with pepper spray, and then shut the doors. People on the stairs
were reeling from the pepper spray, losing their balance and sliding or
slipping on to those below at the bottom of the closed stair well. It was
amazing that no one got squashed or seriously hurt. It was almost like
when those kids got trampled at that stupid "Who" concert.
When I finally got inside, Savage Republic was
already on stage. They had a really unusual, percussion-heavy sound; the
band had about three drummers, complimented by psychedelic / middle eastern
style bass and guitar. They were fronted by a angry college kid, who
shouted out muffled political lyrics like "kill the fascists". They seemed
to fit well with PiL; much of their material sounded a lot like PiL's
"Flowers of Romance" album.
After another long delay, PiL finally took the
stage. Once again, the audience screamed out requests for Sex Pistols
tunes, and once again lead singer John Lydon refused to play anything from
his infamous past. Their set consisted mostly of material from "2nd
Edition" and "Flowers or Romance".
Lydon/Rotten seemed to be in a much better mood than he was the last time I
saw PiL. He still ignored the Sex Pistols requests, but he looked like he
was actually having fun, inspite of the shower of spit and trash flying
towards the stage from the audience. This time it was guitarist Keith
Levene who got pissed off, and threw down his guitar and walked off stage in
the middle of a number; only to mysteriously return for the next
Near the end of PiL's set, a stoned-looking punk climbed up onto the massive
pile of speakers at the right hand side of the stage. As yellow-jacket
security guards surrounded the sound system, the kid continued his climb to
the top of the speakers; two stories above the Convention Center floor and
out of the reach of security.
When the climber reached the top of the P.A. system, he turned and grinned
goofily at the audience. He stood there a while, flapping his arms like a
bird getting ready to fly, and then he suddenly jumped. The punks on the
floor scrambled to get out of the way, and the climber smashed into the
After the concert was over and the crowd had mostly cleared, I walked over
to the right side of the stage and noticed a huge pool of blood on the
convention center floor where the climber had impacted the pavement.
Ouch!, that must have hurt.
D.I., Confederate, No Crisis, Mox Nix
The Galaxy, Fullerton
There was an extremely small crowd that night; the Galaxy's normally packed
dance floor was only about half full.
I had never heard of Mox Nix before, but they put
on a pretty entertaining show inspite of limited musical skills and a set
of really dumb songs. Between tunes, the singer made numerous references to
pot and getting stoned, which prompted several punks in the audience to
angrily scream back "Hippy!".
Confederate seemed particularly animated that
night. The singer jumped around like an aerobics instructor on crank, and
their set featured lots of atonal, disrythmic "experimental" tunes.
No Crisis was another unknown local band. They
were neither good nor bad, and by the time that the next band had taken the
stage, I couldn't really remember anything about No Crisis' set.
As usual, D.I. put on yet another great show;
highlighted by hits like "I Like Guns", "Richard Hung Himself", and others.
Fellow Fullerton punk veterans Mike Ness (Social Distortion) and Eddie (of
Subtitles fame) joined D.I. on stage for an impressive finale; a chaotic
cover of Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll, Part I".
Chequered Past, The Tazers
The Tazers were a Fullerton bar band, who had
recently made the transition from "main stream rock" to punk. They were
competent musicians, with lots of performing experience, but their approach
to punk was rather cliche and formulaic. It seemed like they must have
learned about punk from watching teen-exploitation films like "Valley Girl";
like all it takes to be "punk" is purple hair, torn clothes and a
Chequered Past was a collection of punk rock
has-beens including Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols, Michael Des Barres
from Detective, and Nigel Harrison and Clem Burke from Blondie. They were
fronted by singer/guitarist Hunt Sales, who, in addition to being comedian
Soupy Sales' son, had also played with both Iggy Pop and Todd Rundgren.
They put on an entertaining show, that included covers of tunes by both the
Sex Pistols and Blondie. It kind of struck me funny that the weekend
before, I had seen Johnny Rotten pack the Pasadena Convention Center, and
this weekend, I was seeing Steve Jones play Ichabod's tiny stage to a half
capacity audience. It was also ironic that mega-star Rotten had refused to
play Sex Pistols tunes, while the overlooked Steve Jones seemed to have
nothing else to do, inspite of his considerable guitar talents.
Social Distortion, Mau Maus, Jody Fosters Army, No Crisis
The Galaxy, Fullerton
I showed up late and missed the first band, No
Crisis. No crisis.
I had heard a lot of good buzz about Jody Foster's
Army, but I had never seen them perform before. They had only been a
band for several months, but they already had a devoted group of fans; many
with the letters "JFA" home-tatooed on their arms. JFA really put their
heart into their act. They flailed away at their guitars with conviction,
and their singer screamed and jumped around the stage with enough energy for
two or three people.
Unfortunately, on this evening their performance was cut short when the
singer jumped off the six foot high plywood stage, expecting the audience to
catch him. They didn't. The crowd parted, and JFA's singer belly-flopped
on the concrete floor. That was the end of JFA's show that evening.
The Mau Maus had been gigging around L.A. since
about 1978. They weren't part of the original "class of 77", but they were
pretty close. The Mau Maus seemed to have never-ending personnel problems;
the band had broken up and reformed three or four times since they started,
and singer/founder Rick Wilder's alleged affinity for intravenous drugs had
caused them to miss scheduled shows and pass up several recording
I was expecting a disaster, but instead the Mau Maus were great. They
played solid 70s style punk, with heavy Iggy/Pistols influence. Singer Rick
Wilder also looked a lot like Iggy; longish white hair and a wasted skeletal
physique ... like the walking dead Iggy from the cover of Raw Power or
Funhouse. The set included their minor hit "All Fall Down" and many other
tunes that sounded like they should have been products of the 77 New
York/London punk scenes.
Social Distortion played a long, satisfying set
that included well known early material like "1945" and "Telling Them" and
other 1982 songs that were new to me at the time. This was one of their
rare early 80s appearances where their set was not interrupted by a
jittery promoter who decided to end the show early, or a surprise appearance
by the riot squad.
Later, when the show ended and we all walked out the double doors to the
parking lot, there were about six Fullerton police cars waiting outside;
looking like they expected trouble. But there was no trouble, and as the
punks piled into their cars to leave, the police stood there with folded
arms looking disappointed that there would be no riot to break up, and no
skulls to be bruised.
T.S.O.L., Angry Samoans, Aggression, the Hated, Jody Foster's Army,
un-billed warm-up act
T-Bird Rollerdrome, Pico Rivera
The T-Bird Rollerdrome was located next to the railroad tracks on
Whittier Blvd. in a run-down, industrial neighborhood in Pico Rivera. The
"Club" was owned by Ralphie Valaderes, a former member of the L.A. T-birds
If you're younger than 30, then you probably don't remember rollerderby.
But way back in the 1950s and 60s, it was almost as popular as professional
wrestling. Rollerderby was kind of a pseudo-sport; where two teams on
rollerskates raced around a banked track and generally beat the hell out of
each other. Points were scored when the "jammer" for your team was able to
pass members of the opposing team. The rules were hazy at best; it was
basically anarchy on wheels. Rollerderby was usually televised on low-
budget, second rate LA TV stations like KTLA, KCOP and KTTV, with extremely
low-tech commercials for coffee shops, bowling alleys, and plumbers.
When its popularity declined in the mid 70s, Rollerderby went off the air,
and former star Ralphie Valaderes decided to try his hand at running a kid's
amateur rollerderby league from an old skating rink in Pico Rivera. By
1982, it looked like Ralphie wasn't doing so good. The big, blue T-Bird
Rollerdrome had the look of failure and desperation on the outside, and the
stank of urine on the inside. The whole building was sorely in need of
repair, cleaning and a coat of paint.
When it became apparent that the amateur Rollerderby league thing wasn't
working, Ralphie had decided to push the banked plywood skate track over to
a corner of the rink, and use the remaining space for punk concerts. You
know, print up a few flyers and make some quick cash.
The T-Bird was the classic "underground" punk venue; spooky urban/industrial
location, low flimsy stage, bad sound system, and trashed bathrooms. They
had no liquor license, but you could buy luke-warm cans of Bud or Coors from
Ralphie himself, with no questions asked about age or ID. To maintain
order, several former T-Birds, including Big John (can't remember his last
name) skated through the crowd sporting T-Birds' Jerseys and cold, angry
This was the first punk show at the T-Bird, and my friends and I arrived
about half way into the opening act. No body who I talked to seemed to know
the name of the opening band. All I can remember about them is that they
had a female vocalist who was jumping around so much that her opai kept
flopping out of her shirt.
After seeing their lead singer's belly-dive onto a concrete floor the night
before, I was surprised to see Jody Foster's Army
performing at all. But there they were, and they put on a great show to
boot. JFA was young and inexperienced, but they attacked their material with
such fury that nothing else mattered.
The Hated were probably the first punk band I
ever saw that were big, buff sporto types, instead of being skinny, wasted
weirdos like me, my friends, and most of the bands that we followed. The
Hated's angry, barking, mad-dog marine attitude was borderline "un-punk" in
1982; too close to heavy metal or something. Nowadays it has become part of
the scene, but in 1982, it was considered "bad form" to be a jock. The
Hated played a generally unimpressive set; the sole highlight of the show
being a cover of Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild" (sounds dumb now, but back
then it was something that hadn't been done to death yet.)
Aggression also had the same
angry marine attitude. They were a little older than the average punk band,
and had weird jarhead/skinhead hybrid haircuts. Like the Hated, their music
was rapid and violent, with stupid, predictable lyrics. They sounded like a
fast, angry machine, but their set was no where near as entertaining as the
Hated had been.
I hadn't seen the Angry Samoans since about 1979
(see Gig Diary Part 1), and they
had changed a lot since their show at CSUF. The Samoans were now a five man
act, and the only faces that I recognized were the singer and the guitarist.
They delivered an excellent set with lots of new songs. A large slam pit
developed in front of the stage, while over in the dark corner of the roller
rink, punks hid out on the abandoned plywood rollerderby track, sipping
from smuggled tequila bottles and consuming other illegal intoxicants.
T.S.O.L. was great as usual, but their set was
slightly marred by two separate electrical snafus that twice blacked out the
entire building. Talk about disorienting; there's nothing like being in the
middle of a slam pit, thrashing around to your favorite band, and then
suddenly ... bang! ... total darkness. No sound, no "Exit" lamps, nothing.
This was the second time I had seen blown fuses at T.S.O.L. shows; was there
something wrong with their equipment or were they just unlucky?
When the show ended, I headed off to the bathrooms to "leak my lizard" (as
they say in France). But rowdy punks had done a thorough job of totally
destroying the already thrashed restrooms; the stalls were all kicked down
and there was a pile of urine soaked toilet paper and back-flushed fecal
matter on the floor about an inch deep. I decided to pee
The Brat, Eddie & the Subtitles, Nightmare, Panty Shields
The Galaxy, Fullerton
I arrived late, and caught just the end of Panty
Shields set. They didn't make much of an impression on me, except
that they had a saxophone, and they were dressed kind of weird (even for
I couldn't tell if Nightmare was a heavy metal
band or a heavy metal parody band. In either case, their music was boring
and dumb, and I was glad when their set was over.
Eddie and the Subtitles played about an album's
worth of music; this was probably the first time that I had seen their whole
set without interruption. When they did their hit "American Society", Mike
Ness from Social Distortion joined the band on stage and sang along with
The Brat was a band from East L.A. with a
attractive latina girl vocalist. They weren't exactly what you'd call
punk, but more of a combination of punk and texmex music backed up with
herky-jerky, electric Farfisa organ. When they first appeared on the L.A.
punk scene, local music critics had dubbed them "Brown Blondie", a nickname
which had stuck because it described their sound and appeal so well.
Circle Jerks, Bad Religion, D.I., the Skoundrelz
The Galaxy, Fullerton
Where ever I go, I'm almost always late; and once again, I didn't get to the
Galaxy until about 9:00 pm, so I missed the unbilled opening act, the Skoundrelz. I was curious about what I had missed,
so I did the same thing that "professional" music critics usually do when
they show up late; I asked some friends how the opening band was, and they
said "pretty good".
D.I. put on a great show as usual; in fact I
can't really remember ever seeing them do a bad show in those days.
Their set included several new songs, including a tune titled "Richard
Simmons is a Faggot". In the year 2000, an attack on Richard Simmons
doesn't sound very original, but in 1982, Simmons hadn't become Howard
Stern's favorite whipping boy yet. It was funny to see the self-appointed
god of fat women held up to such bitter ridicule.
When I think back to all of the excellent punk bands that used to gig around
Orange County, its amazing that out of them all, Bad
Religion is now one of the most successful and well known. Bad
Religion always played with fury and conviction, but they had few memorable
songs, and their musical abilities were extremely limited. So why did they
become punk rock mega-stars, while much better bands (like the Circle Jerks)
wound up as forgotten has-beens, forced to work dead-end waiter's jobs in
order to pay the rent? I just don't get it, somebody please
The headliners of the evening, the Circle Jerks
put on an amazing show. The Circle Jerks had it all; great songs, lots of
musical talent, and a charismatic wild man, singer Keith Morris; who had
previously yelled with Black Flag on their early recordings. When compared
to our crop of local OC punk bands, the Circle Jerks were seasoned
professionals; they really knew what they were doing. Their action packed
set whipped the Galaxy audience into a vigorous frenzy, resulting in an
extra large slam pit, angrily swirling in front of the shabby plywood stage.
I guess that was why the admission price for that night's Circle Jerks show
was seven dollars, instead of the usual six dollars for Galaxy shows
featuring local OC bands.
Rikk Agnew, Minutemen, One Way, Gutter Snipes
The Galaxy, Fullerton
So I finally got to a gig on time and what was my reward? The opening act
Gutter Snipes was horrible. They were more new
wave than punk, and most of their material had a light-weight, pop sound
that would have fit better with mainstream, new wave FM radio bands like the
Knack or Joe Jackson. They were just too darned happy and well adjusted to
fit a punk venue.
This must have been one of those evenings when the bookers for the Galaxy
tried to put together a more "diverse" show that included other kinds of
music besides punk. One Way was a post-punk art-
rock band, with a weird, synthesizer driven sound. Their set bordered on
dumb, but was still reasonably entertaining none the less.
The Minutemen put on an incredible show. When I
think back to all the punk gigs that I attended in those days, the Minutemen
clearly stand out as one of the best. Corpulent guitarist D. Boon spat out
fast, atonal fuzz riffs and yelled surreal, semi-coherent lyrics, while Mike
Watt tore up a 6-string bass with practiced abandon, wearing a big goofy
grin that provided an interesting contrast to Boon's focused, sombre
The Minutemen had been a big part of the LA punk scene since the late 70s,
and their name had originally referred to the fact that few of their tunes
lasted much longer than one minute. Their music was drastically different
from most other LA punk bands; their 4/5 timing and atonal key changes
almost sounded more jazz than punk. The highlight of their set that night,
was a mutated version of Van Halen's "Ain't Talking About Love". In the
Minutemen's able hands, this heavy metal anthem about sexual conquest, was
transformed into a strange, introspective take on alienation and
It was a major tragedy that the Minutemen didn't last long enough to leave
an impressive mark in the history of Rock and Roll; D. Boon was killed in a
head-on collision while touring in the mid 80s, and the remaining Minutemen
then disbanded. Bassist Mike Watt continued on with Firehose, several solo
projects, and an all-star "punk pick-up" band, but without Boon's massive
persona and lyric ability, things just didn't click the way they had with
In the early 80s, Rikk Agnew was as about as
close as Orange County could come to a punk "superstar". At one time or
another, guitarist Agnew had been an early member of the Adolescents, Social
Distortion, and several other major OC punk bands. His most recent
accomplishment had been playing and writing on Christian Death's debut
"proto-goth" album. But for this show, Agnew's band was exploring the heavy
metal genre; complete with long, drawn out guitar solos, excessive macho
posing, and dumb, one dimensional "yeah, baby baby" type lyrics. In short,
their set was overly-long and boring (especially after the Minutemen's
amazing performance), and I had to strongly resist the urge to leave
CH3, Battalion of Saints, Red Brigade (AKA Kent State), Skoundrelz, Un-named
The Galaxy, Fullerton
The show started extremely late that evening, and the opening band was not
really a band at all. It consisted of singer Jack Greggors from TSOL,
backed up by various members of the other bands that were slated to perform
that night. They put on a sloppy, yet entertaining set as they felt their
way through four or five heavily improvised songs. It sounded like they were
making up songs on the spot, or just filling time until the advertised bands
Skoundrelz turned out to be pretty good, just
like my friends had said. Before the set started, the singer came out on
stage and threw piles of baseball cards to the audience. Kind of a weird
gesture, but it did get things started. They sounded a lot like the Sex
Pistols and other 70s punk bands, and they also looked the part. The
audience slammed while the Skoundrelz played, but they probably should have
been pogo dancing, given the band's nostalgic late 70s sound.
Red Brigade also put on a great show. They had
been previously named "Kent State", but announced that this was their first
show using their new name. They were older than most other punk bands, and
had a hot lead guitar player, which was also kind of unusual for punk bands
in the early 80s. Most of their material was heavily political (no
surprise, for a band named Red Brigade), with "Smash the State" type lyrics
that were reminiscent of the Dils (another commie-punk band from the early
This was the first time that I had seen Battalion of
Saints, and I wasn't too impressed. The band really wasn't that bad;
they were reasonably competent musicians, and had a well-rehearsed "tight"
sound, but they had few memorable songs, and a tendencie towards heavy
metal. Their lead singer looked like a chubby tattooed rooster, with a
poofy heavy metal haircut that belonged at a Rod Stewart concert. I
couldn't be certain, but it also seemed like many of their songs had bible
beater undertones, which made me like them even less.
I had heard that CH3 was pretty good, but it was
really hard to tell if they were or not. The Galaxy's cavernous acoustics
and low budget sound system, distorted their fuzz driven sonic assault into
an incomprehensible blur of sound. It sounded fairly decent from the middle
of the pit, but if you took ten steps back, you couldn't tell what the heck
they were trying to do.
When CH3's set ended and the house lights came on, my buddy Victor stumbled
out of the pit with a deep, three inch gash on his forehead and the front of
his shirt stained with blood. My friends and I huddled around Victor, asked
him what happened, and offered to thrash the guy who did it, but all Victor
could say was "I dunno, I'm not sure".
This wasn't the first time or last time that poor Victor got the snot
knocked out of him at a gig or a party. Although Victor was big, stocky and
reasonably fit, (think of Curly from the Three Stooges), he drank too much,
and when he got good and drunk, he either passed out or picked a fight with
someone even bigger and angrier than he was. It was a good thing that
Victor was so drunk, because otherwise he probably would have freaked when
he looked down and saw his blood soaked shirt. That's the funny thing about
booze, on one hand, it can get you into fights that you lose, on the other
hand, you usually don't realize that you lost until you wake up the next
45 Grave, D.I., Tazers
This was the second time I had seen the Tazers
open a show at Ichabod's, and as far as I was concerned in 1982, that was
one time too many. As I said before, they were a local Fullerton / Anaheim
band, and although they were well practiced (and well-equipped) musicians,
there seemed to be something missing from their act. They lacked a powerful
stage presence, they were really more "new wave" than punk, and their
original material sounded too much like covers of other bands'
D.I. wasn't scheduled to appear, But Casey, Tim,
and the base player had showed up to see 45 Grave's set. Apparently, they
figured, "what the heck, we're here anyway" so they got up on stage and did
two songs using the Tazers musical equipment (guitars and amps) plus
borrowing the Tazer's drummer. The Tazer's fancy, new equipment sounded
much better with D.I. playing it.
It had been several months since I'd seen 45
Grave play, and this time, they were missing their old bassist, Rob
Graves. I didn't recognize the replacement bassist, but he did a competent
job filling in for Graves.
As usual, 45 Grave put on an entertaining show, but it was pretty much the
same material that they had played when I saw them several months before.
However, this time they did include a smoke generator in their show, which
completely overwhelmed tiny, front-room sized Ichabod's; the whole place was
full of smoke, and just before they turned off the smoke machine and turned
on the fans, it was so smoky that you couldn't see your hand in front of
CH3, Battalion of Saints, the Vandals, Suicidal Tendencies, Shattered Faith,
Ill Repute, Patriot, Instigator
T-Bird Rollerdrome, Pico Rivera
To the best of my knowledge, this was the first show that I went to that was
produced by "P.U.N.X.". Throughout 1982 and 1983, PUNX put on a number of
shows in the LA area, and a lot of them wound up being at the T-Bird
Rollerdrome. According to the local punk rumor mill, PUNX was alleged to be
more of a gang than a music production business. When you added PUNX spooky
reputation to the gang infested Pico Rivera neighborhood where the T-Bird
stood, it gave the shows there kind of a sinister, dangerous
Instigator opened the show with a completely
non-descript performance; they were neither good nor bad, and by the time
the next act took the stage, I had completely forgotten what Instigator had
Although I had never heard of Patriot before,
they turned out to be pretty damned good. They were relatively young;
probably still in their teens, and they played fast, sloppy 1977 New York
style punk, and dressed 77 NYC style punk (ala the Dolls, Heartbreakers,
Ramones, etc.) The highlight of their set, was a loose, thrashy cover of
the Stooges' "Now I Wanna be Your Dog". They were a last-minute,
unannounced addition to the line-up that night, but they were easily the
second best band of the evening (after the Vandals).
Ill Repute wasn't bad, but I was more impressed
by their stickers than their stage show. At the end of their set, they
threw out handfuls of cool stickers with their band logo on them.
Back in the early 80s, I wound up seeing lots of bands that I didn't really
enjoy. Many a time, I found myself enduring some boring band because there
was either nothing else to do that night, or they were the warm-up act for
some band I did want to see. Out of all of these boring bands that I
endured during those early days of punk, Shattered
Faith had to be the most boring. There was just nothing interesting
about them at all; forgettable songs, mediocre musicianship, and no
compelling stage persona.
After an extremely long intermission, Suicidal
Tendencies finally showed up late and took the stage. The audience
that night was packed with S.T.'s gang-like followers, since Pico Rivera was
pretty much home turf to the whole Suicidal crew. Between the involvement
of the PUNX people, the Pico Rivera locale, and the presence of Suicidal
Tendencies and their fans, the evening definitely had a kind of punk/gang
type feeling. This was the first time that I had seen Suicidal Tendencies
play, and this time I wasn't all that impressed. They sounded much better
when I saw them play the next weekend at the Galaxy, but I'll save that
story for later.
In those days, you could always count on the
Vandals to put on a terrific show (although if you asked me, after
Stevo and Human left the band the Vandals became almost completely
worthless). That night at the T-Bird, their set included a hilarious,
drawn-out cover version of the prog-rock band Focus' hit song "Hocus Pocus",
complete with Stevo doing the warbly Yodeling parts. Stevo's choice in head
gear also deserves mention; that night he was wearing a weird hair-hat that
looked kind of like a Don King wig made out of a shag carpet.
You know, before, when I talking about boring bands that I hated yet saw a
million times anyway, I also could have been talking about Battalion of Saints. Back in those days, many of my
friends liked them, but I found their mix of heavy metal pose and xtian/punk
lyrics both annoying and boring. The lead singer always reminded me of a
big, fat, tattooed cartoon rooster.
I had been looking forward to seeing CH3, but I
could only stay long enough to see their first couple songs. CH3 sounded
pretty good, but the greasy Mexican food that I had for dinner that night
was doing an awful number on my stomach, and the rumbling, bubbling,
groaning noises coming from my belly convinced me that I would need to find
a toilet really soon.
Already knowing what to expect, I checked out the T-Bird's restrooms anyway,
and just like the last time I went to the T-Bird, the bathrooms were
completely trashed, with the floors covered with human fecal matter and
urine that had over-flowed out of the backed-up toilets. So rather than
staying and seeing CH3, I wound up driving about 30 to 40 miles back to my
apartment in Orange, just so I could suffer from painful diarreah on my own
clean, private porcelain throne.
Wasted Youth, Youth Brigade, Suicidal Tendencies, 7 Seconds
The Galaxy, Fullerton
Call me a wimp if you will, but man, it was nice to be back at the good old
Galaxy in Fullerton, away from the heavy gangster attitude and wrecked
bathrooms at the T-Bird.
I had never heard of the first act of the night, but it turned out to be
7 Seconds, from Reno, Nevada. In those days, it
was still kind of unusual to see punk bands from out of town; most big,
American cities had punk scenes, but for the most part, the scenes from
region to region were completely unrelated from one another, and there
wasn't a whole lot of interaction between the punk scenes in various
7 Seconds was great, easily the best band of the night; in fact, they were
head and shoulders better than Wasted Youth, the headliner for the evening.
As 7 Seconds played, an intense slam pit developed. Then about 4 songs into
their act, the hay-seed singer of the band stopped between songs and
announced "We've never seen slamming before! You guys are crazy!"
The first time I saw Suicidal Tendencies, I
didn't think they were all that great; maybe it was the heavy gang attitude
that night, or maybe it was just an off night for the band. But this time
at the Galaxy, they put on a kick-ass show, which included early versions of
"I Saw Your Mommy" and "Institutionalized". It was definitely easier to
enjoy Suicidal Tendencies without their faithful hoard of ultra-violent
knuckleheads hanging around.
Youth Brigade was yet another new, young hardcore
band out of North Orange County. They put on an extremely loud
show; so loud that it had me retreating to the back of the Galaxy to hang
with friends and share smuggled-in refreshments. At a distance, they
weren't bad for such a young band, but they didn't seem a whole lot
different from all of the other new, young hardcore bands that were
popping up like weeds all over OC and LA.
I had heard a lot about the last band of the evening, Wasted Youth; all over Orange County, I had been seeing
stickers with their "WY" logo, plastered on bus stops, street signs and
telephone poles. But unfortunately, they were nowhere as cool as their
logo; they were frenzied, but unoriginal, and they had few decent songs.
Especially after Youth Brigade, they seemed like just another carbon-copy
45 Grave, Rikk Agnew, Crude, Skoundrelz
The Galaxy, Fullerton
The first act up was the Skoundrelz, and although
they delivered a fast, energetic performance, it was basically the same show
as the last time I saw them. They played the same original 77 English style
tunes, but this time they didn't throw out bubblegum cards before they came
Crude was another one of those bands that I had
never heard of before, but surprisingly, they turned out to be pretty
entertaining, despite a close resemblance to the band Fear.
Like Lee Ving, Crude's lead singer baited the audience with a non-stop spew
of nasty insults and obscene wise cracks between songs; their fast, angry,
loud songs weren't as cool and well-written as Fear's material, but the
singer did do an admirable job of stirring-up and pissing off most of the
audience at the Galaxy that night.
I wasn't expecting much from Rikk Agnew ... about
two weeks before this gig, I had seen him do another show at the Galaxy, and
at that time his act consisted of a set of material that was basically,
plain old heavy metal. But this time Rikk rocked; he played a lot more
original punk songs, as well as some stuff that sounded really similar to
the songs that he had performed with other OC punk bands like the
Adolescents and Social Distortion. He had also added a second lead
guitarist, who looked like he was about 14 years old, and spat out fast,
angry lead riffs that well complimented Agnew's screeching guitar
The headliner for the evening was supposed to be the Mau Mau's, but they had
cancelled at the last minute (allegedly some sort of problem with
medications), and 45 Grave had graciously
volunteered to substitute for them.
In spite of the short notice, 45 Grave put on a terrific show that night.
They played a couple of new songs (or at least I hadn't heard them before),
and they also dragged out a couple of cool old tunes like "Polyunsaturated
Blood". Sometimes you see the same band on different nights, and they're
great one night, but then they suck the next. On this particular evening,
45 Grave was definitely having one of those nights when they were great. I
was glad that the Mau Maus hadn't been able to show up.
To Be Continued ...
Part 1: Introduction, 1979
Part 2: 1980 & 1981
Part 3: 1982
Part 4: 1982 (continued)