Decibels of History
Photo by James BunoanA year and a half after his OC rock-history exhibit was put on view at the Orange County Fair, the Weekly's own Jim Washburn is doing it all over again, only bigger, longer and better. And this time, it's in a real museum—the Fullerton Museum Center (FMC)—so people won't be easily distracted by the lingering odor of cotton candy and cow dung.
Like the OC Fair show, the FMC exhibit is dubbed "The Orange Groove," and will trace OC rock from its beginnings with Santa Ana's Rillera Brothers (likely the county's first rock & roll band), touching on an assortment of important people, bands, clubs, dates and historical artifacts. Instead of the brief, three-week engagement it had at the fair, though, this version will be around until May—plenty of time to ogle Gwen Stefani's Super Bowl outfit, Chris Gaffney's fifth-grade class picture and rare Dick Dale performance footage, among hundreds of other items.
Taking full advantage of the museum's expanse, Washburn says there will be at least twice as much stuff this time—as of last week, he was still figuring out ways to shoehorn everything in.
But that's a good problem to have, and Washburn promises a much more comprehensive look at the various music phases OC has seen over the past 50 years. In addition to the OC Fair material, he's uncovered such artifacts as the huge, hand-painted plywood boards that used to hang at the Prison of Socrates club on Balboa; the Stratocaster that belonged to Kathy Marshall, Queen of the Surf Guitar (the show also pays tribute to the Leo Fender-invented Strat, which turns 50 this year); and canceled checks made out to Alice Cooper, who played a gig at the Marina Palace in Seal Beach. Remedying one of the few gaps from the fair exhibit, Washburn says he's obtained tons of material on OC's '60s folk scene and info on many of the clubs where people such as Jackson Browne and Tim Buckley popped their E-strings, like Anaheim's long-gone Paradox. Naturally, there will also be plenty of punk and roots-rock relics.
The museum has been talking about doing some special, live-music nights to coincide with the show, which would be a terrific plus. But as good as this exhibition looks (and once again, we're not kissing Jim's ass just because he writes for the Weekly), Washburn still isn't confident everyone will walk away happy.
"I don't doubt there'll be something to disappoint somebody," he says. "There's probably more about OC roots rock than some people would care to know, but it should still give people a good idea of all that's gone on here over the years."
"THE ORANGE GROOVE" AT THE FULLERTON MUSEUM CENTER, 301 N. Pomona ave., fullerton, (714) 738-6545; www.ci.fullerton.ca.us/museum. TUES.-WED. & FRI.-SUN., NOON-4 p.m.; Thurs., Noon-8 p.m. special preview reception fri., 6-9 p.m., $15. ThrOuGH may 22. $3-$4.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Orange County, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.