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
If you could shoot records for sucking real bad, this—a dim and dusty backroom at Irvine's iconoclastic community radio station KUCI 88.9 FM, stacked floor-to-fluorescent with moldering generations of LPs—would be a free-fire zone. In the other room (the one with the windows), you'll find KUCI's formidable "A-Play" archive, home to drool-worthy obscurities and stalwart classics alike, spanning the best of the 30-plus years since they fired up the transmitter and bathed South County with the Archies' "Sugar, Sugar." And then you'll find the rest of the 30-plus years of album collecting—the has-beens, the never-weres and the dear-god-whys—in the "B-Play" room. And we're pulling the worst of the worst—KUCI's weirdest hits—from the B-Play room just to see exactly how bad it can get.
"These records will never come back into print," longtime KUCI DJ Ned Raggett—our pick-and-shovel man on this grave-robbing expedition—explains. "There are no websites for these bands. This is the lost music."
He peeks at an LP cover by the band Angel: a quintet of androgynous glam casualties rendered in the airbrushe-moderne style popularized on the back sides of countless stoner vans.
"Of course," he says, "you could argue it's lost for a reason."
These are the real dinosaurs of rock, we learn: extinct, fossilized, buried here in this tiny cave of a room, as absurd and curious today as those monstrous Jurassic sloths that had brains in their butts—but ultimately even stupider. Bands like Bloodgood, Deaf Dealer and Death ("Death the band," says Raggett. "That's great because they're basically just saying, 'Hey, fuck you.'") or musicians like Damian the Beast and Punky Meadows couldn't have been destined for anything but hilarious failure. Even they must have known, watching a stoner buddy airbrush what would become their one and only album cover. And yet they dreamed. And then watched those dreams die. And now we laugh at them.The Ninjas, Warriors of Rock Of course, they wore ninja suits onstage. Of course, they had their own theme song (Falsetto Guy: "Weeee're the Niiiinjas!" Secondary Falsetto Guy: "The warriors of rock!"). Of course, they're now checking your receipt at Guitar Center before you leave. Heavy metal might have a higher suck-to-rule ratio than any other form of expression yet devised by Western culture, but these guys sucked even beyond ironic appreciation. People would stop by the studio as we were cringing to this and ask, "You LISTEN to this record?"