Orange County punk veterans, The Vandals, have been rocking since 1980. With Juvenile humor that embraces the trials of adolecence- from first dates and parents to mullets and friends- The Vandals are all about having a good time.
But it wasn’t until the early 90’s when they started attracting attention with the release of their album, Live Fast Diarrhea. Full of catchy verses and satire, The Vandals preach unconventional punk, taking cues from bands like Descendents and The Dickies. Since then, The Vandals have been touring and putting on their annual House of Blues Christmas Formal, which I went to in 2015. They also performed at the It’s Not Dead Fest.
If you like pizza as much as I do, here’s The Vandals “Pizza Tran” from the album, Fear of a Punk Planet (2000)
And “I’ve Got an Ape Drape” from the album, Hitler Bad, Vandals Good (1998) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CljsPlBqjZI
After forming in 1979, The Replacements started out as a garage punk band from Minnesota. They released their first album– Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash– in 1981.
The band included Paul Westerburg on guitar and vocals, Tommy Stinson on bass, guitarist Bob Stinson, and drummer Chris Mars.
The Replacements career only lasted for 12 years, and after disbanding in 1991, its members went on to pursue various projects. If anything, The Replacements added lyrical poetry to the punk sound, before turning into a more alternative band.
Here’s “Bastards of Young” from Tim (1985)
After forming in 1978, the Dead Kennedys merged revolutionary merged revolutionary with hardcore punk music, and in the process, became one of the defining bands of hardcore punk. Often, they were more notable for their political anecdotes than music, as seen in songs like “Holiday in Cambodia” and “I am the Owl.” The band released their first album- Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables- in 1979.
In January, I saw Dead Kennedys lead singer, Jello Biafra perform at The Observatory. Here’s Jello singing “Too Drunk to Fuck” with The Reverend Horton Heat
And here’s a video of “Police Truck” from the 1987 album, Give Me Convenience of Give Me Death.
With outrageously vulgar lyrics and a belligerent stage presence, Fear joined the marginal hardcore punk scene in L.A. From the time they formed in 1977, it didn’t take long for Fear to be recognized among local punk fans. Fronted by lead singer, Lee Ving, Fear became known for their wild antics on and off stage and provoking audiences with anarchist, misogynist messages- found in songs like “The Trouble with Women” and “Let’s Have a War.”
In 1981, Fear released their first album, The Record. Shortly after its release, the band gave a notorious performance on Saturday Night Live, which ultimately ended with Fear being banned from the studio.
Continue reading “Fear”
Coming from Hermosa Beach, CA, Black Flag formed in 1976. With cynical angst and musical experimentation, this band redefined punk with a new hardcore sound. The original lineup included Greg Ginn on guitar, Chuck Dukowski on bass, drummer Brian Migdol, and vocalist Kieth Morris. But, not long after releasing their first EP– Nervous Breakdown– Morris went off to form the Circle Jerks and Migdol also disbanded. In 1981, Black Flag recruited Henry Rollins as their new lead singer.
Although the band only stayed together for a decade, they pioneered post-punk, which influenced other bands like the Minutemen, Dead Kennedys and others. After the band disbanded in 1986, Rollins went on to form The Rollins Band and pursue spoken word. Continue reading “Black Coffee, Black Flag, & Henry Rollins”
A Documentary on Punk Music
Different from the scene in NYC, if only because of geographic location, Penelope Spheeris’ Decline of Western Civilization documents LA punk in California. With footage from bands, including X, FEAR, and others, this film dissects the punk bands and culture in LA.
“I came to L.A. in ’76… I wanted to do something with music…. this place was decent for that, for making something of yourself” says John Doe, lead singer of X. Coming from Baltimore, Doe formed punk band– X a year later, in 1977. Alongside band members Exene Cervanka, Billy Zoom, and D.J. Bonebrake, Doe helped establish the band around the ever-growing punk scene.
By 1980, X released their first album, Los Angeles. With songs like “Under the Big Black Sun,” “See How We Are,” and “I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts,” this band has definitely made a name for themselves with a massive fan base in Southern California. Last May, I had the chance to see X play with The Blasters and Los Lobos. Also, John Doe wrote Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk, which came out last year. It’s a great novel, I definitely recommend reading it. Continue reading “X: Under the Big Black Sun”