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By Mike Seeley
Since the song "Bloodstains" first took over Rodney On the Roq's airwaves nearly 30 years ago, singer/guitarist Mike Palm has been a staple in Orange County's surf, skate and punk communities with his band Agent Orange. Even if you haven't heard of the trio, you've heard elements of their music in damn near every OC punk band this side of the Reagan administration thanks to the aforementioned tune and other classics such as "I Kill Spies," "Too Young to Die" and "Everything Turns Grey." Palm, bassist Perry Gx and drummer Dave Klein continue to perform locally, across the country and internationally, including a stint earlier this month in Northeast Canada.
OC Weekly: What were an Orange County surf-punk trio doing in Northeast Canada in February?
Mike Palm: Having fun! It doesn't matter when or where or how damn cold it is! That's what we do. We love playing live, and sometimes, the most out-of-the-way places turn out to be the best.
Did anyone in Canada do any really lame surf and/or OC stereotyping while you were there?
Sorry to disappoint, but the answer is no. Well, maybe they did and we didn't get it. We were in Eastern Canada, so maybe they were making fun of us in French. How would we ever know? Dude, they totally stoked us out, eh?
According to Wikipedia (and we all know how accurate that site is), you "don't like skating at all." What's that all about?
I do believe that comment has been approved by the ministry of misinformation! Wikipedia should have a way of locking an entry once it has been established as factual. Why do they let idiots screw with it? I've skated and surfed all my life, and I don't plan on ever stopping, so get the hell out of my way.
Your band are 30 years old. Could you have ever imagined you would be playing to audiences that weren't even born when you hit the 10-year anniversary?
I can't say I ever saw that coming, but I've never thought of the band as a short-term thing, either. I guess that is one of the payoffs for sticking with it for so long. You don't ever get to experience that kind of thing unless you are dedicated and committed to what you do. Agent Orange were built to last in a throwaway society.
What will your band's 50th-anniversary show be like?
I don't know. I hate making a big deal about stuff like that. I guess we could fly in on jet-packs and have an $80,000 fireworks display. Maybe we could play on that stage that comes up out of the ground in Tomorrowland.
Let's say there's a heaven, but you get only one awesome thing to do for the remainder of eternity. Do you pick surfing, playing music or something totally different?
I love skating, and there is nothing in this world like a good wave. Playing music is huge, too, but we are on the road so much, and believe it or not, touring is hard work. Wouldn't it be ironic if all you get is eternal sleep? I'd be like, "Hell, yes! Finally!"
It's been so long since the U.S. dropped all that Agent Orange in Vietnam. Do you ever have to explain to fans what your name references?
Yeah, all the time. Now listen up: We chose the name not for its political shock value, but we wanted something that says where we came from, you know? Secret Agents from Orange County, California.
This column appeared in print as "Big In Canada, Eh!"