By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Photo by Jack GouldThere were some hot prison bodies onstage at Club 369 when Title 15 pounded out a set Aug. 18 that was far too loud for the scant number of bodies available to soak up the sound (the guitarist, in particular, was a fine specimen of hardened prison manhood, but he looked mean). Bad boys, bad boys. Whatcha gonna do? Get some hot stripper girlfriends in "Boys Lie"T-shirts to walk around with a mailing list! Cute!
We especially liked the song that was about "stabbin' and bitin'," and "Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked in Tonight" is always a crowd pleaser.
The meager attendance was made up for by the sheer quality of the celebrity-only audience. Lead singer Eric Lockard formed the band while in prison; Title 15 refers to a prisoners' handbook. Now out and presumably on the straight and narrow, the mild-mannered (usually) blond owns Santa Ana's Gargoyle Studios, and he called in favors from such folks as videographer Billy Henderson (currently gearing up for a big-money shoot at the Queen Mary with former Sublimers Long Beach Dub All Stars) and former Transmission Records chief Sherry (who doubles as a strapping member of Chowder), under whose tutelage The Skeletones taped a video at the cavernous Gargoyle. Also, Linnelle, a gorgeous, teeny bit of a personal trainer at MetRx's Costa Mesa gym, was there looking armed and dangerous.
But here's the thing about criminals: nobody's ever real sorry to see 'em locked up. They're too busy pulling shitty stunts like blowing up the neighborhood with their kitchen farms and leaving their babies alone in their cribs for three days while they go off on missions, and we, for one, are real sick of having to read dead-babies-in-cribs stories in the crime-lovin' Metro section of the LA Times.
So when Lockard—in the middle of a song about some kid snuffing out the lives of other kids "like cigarettes"—got started on a political rant about the fuzz taking away our civil liberties, we, for one, weren't inspired into a frenzy of protest. So, Eric, the point of this paragraph is this: it would be more effective if you inserted the anti-police rant into a song in which some kid isn't actually guilty of stabbin' and bitin' and killin' and killin'. Why not make it a song about Arthur Carmona, the 17-year-old Costa Mesa kid serving 10 years for a crime it's pretty obvious he didn't commit? That would be good!
For all our quibbles with the choice of causes, though, Title 15 are a rollicking fun time—at least in an empty club. We suspect that the audience that's gonna flock to these guys is not going to be polite and well-mannered. It's like the Nazis who go to see Agent Orange; Agent Orange is not a white-power band, but we won't go see 'em anyway because of the leaving-our-child-motherless factor. We're not down with curb jobs.
There was almost a little curb-job action at the Fourth Street Fair in Long Beach, as two of the scores of old punks decided to have a big ol' brawl during All Day Wire's set. But you can always count on the Foothill's security to break up incipient shit. We think, in this case, it was Jason and Marty to the rescue, though it might have been someone else. At the first sign of a scuffle, we scooped up our boy and knocked down celebrity bartendrix Ji Su of Linda's Doll Hut in our hustle to the sidelines. (Okay, we didn't actually knock her down, as she would probably pound us into goo. She's little, but she looks tough.)
Most criminal of all, though, was Johnny Jones' starring role as the World's Smartest Hillbilly in Jon Howard's Freakshow. Sweltering in the sideshow tent, Jones (in Elvis glasses, blackened teeth and a "Beaver Patrol" T-shirt) chugged seven beers in 20 minutes, told pussy jokes, and then poured an entire beer into his open mouth, letting it wash over his face and down onto his hairy, sweaty belly. It was disgusting, and we're entirely too envious of his lovely bride, Shawn Markert-Jones. (They eloped a couple of months ago.) Also, the Prince of Peace took a turn in the freak show. We stood inside, waiting for him to do something freaky. "I'm just Jesus," he explained. "That's it." Also spotted were everyone in the entire world and lots of cute li'l punk-rock girls in lace pinafores and dog collars.
Far less punk-rock was "Contemporaries" at the Orange County Museum of Art—a periodic gathering of young Newport types who fully plan on being the next generation of Orange County Performing Arts Center and Ballet Pacifica sponsors. Somebody has to, and these were all certainly peeps with good hair, and only one of them gave us dirty looks. Everyone else was very nice, and we had a lovely chat with LA hero Peter Alexander, renowned as one of the most personable and easy-to-talk-to successful artists of our time. But then he gave a gallery tour of his exhibit, "In This Light," and, well, we'd seen it already, plus we never care what an artist thinkshis work is about. Feh.