97. Tex Twil

Besides Elvis, nobody could shake a leg or do a karate chop on stage like Barry Diamond, the zealous front man of Newport Beach's Tex Twil. Their music was a blend of soul, samba and surf—which the band coined StoneGas, a play on words purloined from Soul Train host Don Cornelius. In live shows, Diamond took the lead on sax while guitarist L-Bob provided Ry Cooder-like guitar licks, creating a copasetic Brazilian vibe. Tex Twil broke up shortly after embarking on a European tour. Diamond started another project, a '60s country/folk-inspired Mersey-beat band, the Rotten Peaches. Afterward, he joined the Redd Foxx BBQ with members of OO Soul before dropping out of sight. Or has he? Also like Elvis, Diamond's groupies swear they've sighted him in some of the most bizarre places, like Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles in Long Beach. Barry lives!

98. Resist and Exist

During Gulf War I, Resist and Exist was a valiantly alternative voice in OC music, a passionate peace-punk band that—though they had a Fullerton P.O. Box—looked and sounded like they should have been putting out EPs for Crass Records circa 1979. The demo tapes had songs like "Wheat Not Meat" and "Anti War"; their live shows teamed a young Squelch (back when he was known simply as "Chris") with longtime activist J. Lee and enough political banners to stitch together a hot air balloon. They broke up in April 1992, and Lee (after coordinating several Koo's solidarity fests) eventually reformed the band in LA, where they're a favorite both of anarcho-punk kids and local Black Panthers to this day.

99. The Pressure

Pressure vocalist/guitarist Ronnie Washburn and bassist Dana James went on to form a band called Your Enemies Friends, which is short for their grammatically incorrect mantra "Your enemies friends are your enemies too." Just goes to show you the degree of paranoia that colored the ever-distrustful musicians' outlook. It made for some delightfully wiry, jittery, angry, no-wave punk, though, when they, along with drummer Jason Thornberry, originally teamed up to form the Pressure. The threesome were the toast of the county for a short while there. Intrigue fueled part of the mystique: one-time married couple Ronnie and Dana had been lying about their status long before the White Stripes ever thought to do so. Tragedy—when Thornberry was beaten into a coma (he's fine now)—effectively ended the group's too-brief run.

100. Rascalin & the Roots Rockers

Call him Rascalin, call him Carlos the African/Asian/Latino Guy From Panama Who Now Lives in San Clemente or just call him Jesus Rasta (his preferred sobriquet); we call him the brain trust and frontman of the best gawt-durned rolling reggae pleasure unit in OC, even if he's religiously conflicted. Another conflict: Rascalin can't decide whether he'd rather be Bob Marley or Jimi Hendrix, so he brings the sensibility of both to the table, singing with a hauntingly beautiful, Marley-esque timbre and shredding the holy crapola out of a guitar like no reggae guy you've ever heard in your life. Add some lovely I-Three-esque female harmony vocals and a large, steady-grooving band to the mix, and you will find that your pie in the sky awaits right here on earth, just like Jimmy Cliff always promised.

101. Miracle Chosuke

Miracle Chosuke sounded like nobody else in OC, and maybe that's why everybody missed them before they broke up last year. But their second home-recorded demo was so stubbornly unique that big-deal indie Dim Mak Records just up and re-released it as a full-length anyway—labels never do that!—and The 7/8 Wonders Of The World sounds just as good now as it did then, a spastic, compulsive pop hijacking of prog-rock technique (someone—perhaps someone in need of medication—once called them a Rush cover band), Contortions-style no-wave jitters and impenetrable Devo-y weirdnesss, all spun together at a frantic 78 RPM. You could actually feel the DT spiders skittering up and down your arms when they played, which they didn't do often enough; even for talent-hostile OC, Chosuke flared out fast. But they're back together, albeit briefly, to give the Dim Mak album some push. Can we call it a . . . miracle?

102 The Moseleys
Photo by Jack Gould

102. The Moseleys

From "The Witch" covers to a sexy little song called "Jack the Ripper," the Moseleys just keep giving, to fans so rabid they claim the Moseleys have actually cured their colds. But Moseleys, heal thyselves! Without that "Rock & Roll Itch," Bunny, Rex and Grady (and sometimes Harvey and Palmsley) might not need so much ointment. The former emery-board-factory workers from Bakersfield, who've got an unpleasant entendre for every occasion (you should hear the entendres about buffing), will beat you down with the power of their unholy (if curative) sound. And the Moseleys love cocaine. "We imagine it's beautiful!" says Grady, the smart one. "We would like to do lines off chicks' asses!" says Bunny, the sweet one. Rex, the cute one, says nothing, and the girls all swoon. Pass the ointment, please.

103. Eric Marienthal

Yeah, we know the saxophonist did some sell-out albums for the GRP jazz label, and Chick Corea exploited Marienthal's high-octane sound for his most shameless appeals. But OC jazzbos have seen him leading his own gigs at a number of area clubs, exploring bop, Miles and other stalwarts from the jazz canon in a way that ignites them anew. Marienthal's alto bridges jazz history, matching Charlie Parker-inspired licks with a thoroughly modern sensibility that attracts both mainstream and contemporary jazz-heads. His every solo is a potboiler.

104 George Fryer
Photo by Jeanne Rice
« Previous Page
Next Page »