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
57. James Intveld
Maybe nobody ever told James Intveld that roots rock was a revival. The guy sings and writes songs with so much immediacy and freshness that you'd think he's out there competing with Roy Orbison. The Garden Grove native was there in the late '70s, slipping in with the rockabilly scene, and he's still here, holding onto the notion that sincere delivery and timeless songs are, well, timeless.
58. Kyng Arthur
Trinidad-born Anaheim resident Kyng Arthur does the unthinkable, taking roots reggae into uncharted territory. The bantam-sized singer/songwriter weaves hypnotic spells in song, blurting out his dark obsessions with UFOs, invisible spirits and vengeful warriors from above with such melodious wonderfulness that it's easy to forget he's quite clearly insane. In concert, Arthur is a diminutive dynamo as he dances, stomps and whoops it up like a man in the throes of some demented rapture, as his cast of revolving band members—most of whom seem to come from the Caribbean as well—provide the skanking-est back-up this side of the Wailers. If Screamin' Jay Hawkins would have been a reggae singer instead of a blues shouter . . .
59. The Aquabats
The Aquabats are OC's very own live-action Saturday-morning cartoon show-cum-ska band, and as ska bands go, they'll certainly go down as the most entertaining. Superhero masks and Spandex costumes? Songs about pizzas and worms? A penchant for parody, like when they almost singlehandedly destroyed dickwad aggro-rock (well, it's nice to dream, innit?) with the Korn-mocking "I Fell Asleep On My Arm?" Concerts that are about as much performance art as they are music? And at it for almost a decade now? Isn't it time these silly kids grew up and got real jobs? God, we hope not.
What the hell happened to real punk rock? Absconded and recast by know-nothing MTV-raised cretins, who think that all they need to be punk is to buy a Clash T-shirt at Hot Topic and have mom spike their hair—that's what happened. And it sucks. Original late-'70s punk used to threaten people—really threaten people—a neat little factoid of which U.S. Bombs have been trying to remind OC for a good decade now. And the singer? The guy with such a wicked-sounding bark that he makes you feel all tense and nervous and sweaty just listening? That's Duane Peters, world champeen skateboarder, liberator of souls, OC outcast. If your middle finger sprouted its own mouth and started singing, its voice would sound like Duane's. Let the masses have Sum 41 and Blink-182. We know better.
61. Kei Akagi
Many OC residents first saw keyboardist Akagi at the Coach House with Miles Davis in the late '80s, but he was also known to play a Corona del Mar restaurant with bassist Art Davis. A veteran of stints with Stanley Turrentine, Al DiMeola, Airto Moreira and others, Akagi is also a fine composer with a handful of great recordings under his own name. An impressionist at the keyboard, Akagi is able to stir more moods than a romance novel. Now head of the jazz department at UC Irvine, we claim him as our own.
62. The Swamp Zombies
Hatched in 1985, the Swamp Zombies were neo-beatniks who made feisty music too loud for your average java joint. The Laguna Beach band's acoustic hippy punk had widespread appeal—everyone from rockabilly cats and swing enthusiasts to Sawdust Art Fest patrons dug 'em. During an average club gig, burly singer Steve Jacobs dragged his huge, fluorescent-colored standup bass around the stage and told bad jokes as college guys slam-danced. The Zombies' percussionist fueled the aggression by smashing his washboard to bits. Weirder than the Violent Femmes, funnier than They Might Be Giants, the Zombies combined warped humor and dissonant harmonies to memorable effect on Scratch 'n' Sniff Car Crash (copies unleashed a burning rubber scent), where they sang about "Speed Racer" and covered Public Enemy. After nearly 10 years, some brief MTV airplay and mainstream press notice, the Zombies headed back to the swamp.
63. Ron D Core
Branding himself the West Coast Hardcore Pervert, Ron D Core spent a good chunk of his career building outlaw cred by doodling up his rekkid sleeves and fliers with grotesqueries like warped vaginas and lesbian pixies. The less blue-minded of you should remember him for something else: He gave Orange County one of its finest record stores, Dr. Freecloud's Mixing Lab, supplying ravers with obscure and rare electronic vinyl. His hardcore techno—one of the most eardrum-destroying sounds produced in DJ culture—has scored him gigs at Cypress Hill's Smokeout and the mega New Year's Eve massive Together As One. But star status hasn't changed him. Rather, the hardcore on his albums like Decibels of Destruction has kept him hilariously juvenile and strictly underground, a dangerously good fate for a man who was one of the founding fathers of the SoCal rave scene. Yep—at it since 1986.
64. Over the Counter Intelligence
One of the most hated bands in la naranja, mainly because they're so insistent on infusing everything with the animating intelligence of radical politics. Never mind that they're clever lyricists, adapting Dr. Seuss tomes to fit their Rage-esque guitar-and-drum flurries. Who cares that lead singer Andre Sandoval puts on a performance only slightly less maniacal than Zack de la Rocha? It matters not that the quartet bravely put their bodies where their mouths are by facing down cops, involving themselves in the community, and participating in every progressive political movement in the county. For many, Over the Counter Intelligence are just too political! No wonder they're punk personified.