James BunoanJust as there are right ways and wrong ways, there are right whys and wrong whys. And when it comes to the seemingly endless stream of reuniting-after-20-years punk bands, it's almost always for the wrong whys.
But for SoCal proto-pop punks the Flyboys, a reunion happened for the right reasons: it was fun and the songs were great. As the longtime drummer for old-guard OC punks the Crowd and original Flyboy Dennis Walsh explains, "The main thing is just having a good time. We enjoy the songs a lot, and we seem to get along better than I remember."
The Flyboys were a collection of guys from Arcadia who'd known each other since junior high and formed a tight, poppy punk band in the heady days of the first late-'70s LA punk explosion. The band crafted tight, tense tunes that bordered on new wave years before ad execs started copping the Buzzcocks to hawk their snake oil. They were adding keyboard flourishes to songs such as "Picture Perfect" when the Epoxies were infants, and had an instrumental theme song years before the Descendents made it a signature.
And while it was contempt bred by familiarity that originally broke up the Flyboys, that's less likely this time around, according to Walsh. "As you get to be about 21 years old, and you've known these people since you were 12 or 13, you get kind of sick of them," he says. "We decided we'd get together for a rehearsal just to see if the songs aged well and how we got along. The first rehearsal was really fun. Everybody was cool. It was 23 years later. People have aged, mellowed, gone through some bad things, some good things, and grown up a lot."
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Walsh is joined by original Flyboys John Curry and Scott Laskin, with the only non-original slot being filled by Jim Kaa of the Crowd. The band may even record a few live gigs just to give the old material the chance they feel it deserves in the marketplace.
Maybe big-time, cash-in-on-the-trend money wasn't really an option for a band that's a footnote in the Official History of Punk Rock, with only a self-released 45 and an EP to their credit, but Walsh realizes that as well.
"It's not like somebody was begging us. It just came together," he says. "And we play much better now!"
The Flyboys perform with the Drips, Red Army Fashion, St. Monday's Shakes and the Dynomite Brothers at The Liquid Den, 5061 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 377-7964. Sat., 8 p.m. $8. 21+.