You Ought to be Ashamed of Yourselves!

Readers react to Greatest OC Bands Ever with a poll of their own

Sammi's Mommy
Via e-mail


I'd really like to understand how one of the seminal OC punk bands, Shattered Faith (whose members, oddly enough, arerepresented by U.S. Bombs and El Centro), is excluded from this list of the "Greatest OC Bands Ever" and a piece of pop crap like Lit makes the list. Perfect. Using the Eddie Cochran criterion and this list's slant toward pop mediocrity, you ought to go ahead and add Karen Carpenter to the list--after all, she's been over there with Eddie at Forest Lawn since 1983. Normally an OC Weekly fan, currently disgusted, I remain,

Mark Vornholt
Via e-mail


Thanks for the rundown on the "129 Greatest OC Bands," which excavated many an unjustly obscure local act that deserves to be remembered, treasured, and above all, heard. Of course, you're going to get gripes about omissions, and here are mine. (1.) Not recognizing The Pontiac Brothers/Liquor Giants legacy on a Greatest OC Rock list was akin to leaving the Kinks out of a history of the British Rock Invasion. The Replacements and R.E.M. showed the Pontiacs proper love back in the true-alternative days of the '80s. Why couldn't you? And when the Fullerton-based Pontiacs crashed in '88, Ward Dotson formed the Liquor Giants and spent the '90s establishing himself as--listening is believing--the finest alterna-rock singer-songwriter-guitarist that OC has produced, including Mike Ness (I think). Hunt Ward up and do a cover story on his life and times. (2) One Hit Wonder. They were Joe Frazier to Joyride's Ali during the punk-pop '90s. Or maybe vice versa. Ask Dexter [Holland], who signed them to Nitro. (3) Sure, early TSOL was great, but Tender Fury and the Joykiller proved that Jack Grisham, goofball that he is, really matters as an artist. Also, you were too hard on Joe Wood. His version of TSOL was not just a hair band but did some gritty and honorable albums of bluesy hard-rock. Wood's "Cisco Poison" solo album was a keeper. (4) Mark Davis. Your news pages cream over his politician sister, Nadia; your music pages should do the same for him. Davis's You Came Screaming CD, from 1995, was a gem of intensity, tunefulness and spiritual-ethical probing. (5) Michael Ubaldini and Mystery Train. If the Fire Ants are the best rockers from Fountain Valley, they must have redrawn the boundaries around Mike's house. (6) Robbie Allen. If Springsteen ever heard "Amerasian," from Allen's mid-'90s project, Thermadore, he'd cover it and lie that he'd written it himself. Robbie is still going strong in Gypsy Trash alongside D.D. Wood. (7) Richard Stekol solo deserves recognition in addition to his work with Honk. With American soldiers dying in the line of duty, it's time somebody dug up "America Walking By," the most profoundly moving song I know about patriotism, sacrifice and grief. (8) Missiles of October. Really, this should have been a no-brainer. (9) D.I. You guys know your punk rock. So surely you have heard "Johnny's Got A Problem" and "OC Life," which are as good as punk rock gets. (10) So I take it that Sublime doesn't count as an OC band because, even though they played all their meaningful early gigs here, they lived in Long Beach? I always thought OC-Long Beach was all one scene for alterna-rock. And if Eddie Cochran gets credit for being buried here, why not Brad Nowell? (11) Bill Ward. Black Sabbath's drummer has pursued a solo career from his base in Seal Beach. Results: two thoughtful, emotive and complex, highly musical albums, more Who-ish and Floyd-like than metal-minded. (12) D/Railed. No nicer guys in the county, and no catchier or more diversified rock band. Wrote a great driving rock anthem in Portuguese, had a trombone section without being ska, and stole an album cover idea from Emerson, Lake & Palmer. If our local nine wants to reverse its tepid recent fortunes, I recommend it dump the thunder sticks and adopt the bouyant "Californy (Sing With the Angels)" as its new fight song. (13.) The Mechanics. Hard-rocking, Iggy-esque '70s godfathers to the whole Fullerton punk scene. They inspired the wee lads who became Social D and Agent Orange, and introduced the harmonized "octave" guitar sound that the Adolescents emulated on their blue album.

Mike Boehm
Boehm was the
Los Angeles Times' pop music critic in Orange County from 1988 to 1999.
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