Five Types of Orange County Punks

Five Types of Orange County Punks
Dave Watt

Orange County has long been a hub of American punk rock, serving as the starting point for major bands including The Adolescents and Social Distortion. With so much history nearby, the county understandably is home to a healthy number of self-identified punk rockers. Just who are these people? We went in search of the five most prevalent types of punk lurking along the local beach fronts and on suburban lawns. Here they are.

See also: Seven People You Meet At a Guitar Store

Five Types of Orange County Punks
Dave Watt

5. The Scabbies

Some call them crust punks while others say they are merely Old School. Your elderly relatives call them "hideous eyesores." No matter how you describe them, do not engage one in conversation about music. Otherwise you'll be lectured about the failings of punk culture and your culpability because you pay your phone bill and hold a steady job. Suffering a pathological misery as caustic as the guitar tones of a Crass LP, the Scabbies criticize any band that commits more time to touring than protesting. Amusingly, a head-scratching number of them maintain Mohawk hairstyles and other old fashions that 86 percent of the world now associates with fame-whoring Disney fuck-up Demi Lovato. In fairness, the refusal of Scabbies to abandon their ideals does demand a little respect. The next time you see one nodding off on the boardwalk, be a good sport and slip a few dollars into his pocket rather than the opposite, like you always do.

Just watch out for needles.

Favorite band: No one is good enough to be their favorite.

Five Types of Orange County Punks
Dave Watt

4. The Dad Brigade

Like the superheroes cluttering the movies nowadays, these middle-aged punk rockers conceal their true natures behind outwardly bland personas. Unlike Batman, they do a piss-poor job of leading double lives--give them an inch and these suburban attorneys and sales reps will harangue you with a mile of all things punk fucking rock (PFR). No one is safe from the Dad Brigade. They costume their children in Vandals onesies and disrupt playdates by changing the Pandora station from Rafi and Friends to Early 80's Anaheim Skate Punk. They ruin barbecues and business meetings alike with unsolicited recollections of their favorite Agent Orange shows, detailing the set lists, opening acts and notable episodes of snorted depravity in the men's room. Like faded athletes still hyping their big season, the Dad Brigade cannot let past glories fade, a doubly tragic fate because their glories are not tangible accomplishments but concerts they passively watched in clubs long since converted into Chipotles.

Favorite band: You've never heard of them. You weren't around at the time.

See also: 10 Rules of Mosh Pit Etiquette  

Five Types of Orange County Punks
Dave Watt

3. Hot Topic Trixies

One night in 2012, a young woman saw an episode of The Voice in which the jowly, candy-voiced Jabba the Hut lookalike Cee Lo Green wore a T-shirt depicting a skeleton man and the cryptic expression, "The Misfits." The curious girl opened her I-pad and entered "The Misfits" into Google, wherein she learned that a replica of Cee Lo Green's shirt could be purchased, in pink, from Hot Topic. Our heroine grabbed her mom's car keys and sped out to the nearest Hot Topic location where she bought the Misfits shirt along with a Misfits patch and Pez dispenser. During a later Google search, our friend learned that The Misfits are not characters from a zany Family Guy spinoff, as she had assumed, but an old band from New Jersey. Although our friend has yet to listen to any records by The Misfits, she has since learned that their style of music is often described as "punk rock."

And that is why the girl who smears bubble gum on her desk and makes no effort to stifle her bristling hot egg farts in gym class just announced on Facebook that her favorite music is - what else - punk rock.

Favorite band: Look at the T-shirt.

Five Types of Orange County Punks
Dave Watt

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2. Brozos

An alien circling the earth in his spacecraft is observing Southern California, studying the social mores and cultural interests of its populace. The extra-terrestrial, to his astonishment, recognizes that SoCal has an abundance of the "bro" humans he previously observed on college campuses in Indiana, Central Florida, and Connecticut. The spaceman is further amused that the bros of Orange County, like their counterparts elsewhere, like to grow unsightly hair on their chins, speak relentlessly of girls yet surround themselves only with other males, and have an unhealthy attachment to a children's toy called "Xbox." As for musical interests, the alien noted the following:

"The Bros of Orange County believe every band should have one member who tosses his guitar to a roadie and does backflips during the final chorus of each song. They also have a strong emotional bond to Strung Out, claiming they are one of the few bands making music for people just like them."

Favorite band: Anyone on the Fat Wreck Chords label. Otherwise, something "chill" they can smoke to.

Five Types of Orange County Punks
Dave Watt

1. Creamers

We'd call them "vanilla punks" and be done with it, but we know they'd use their fancy grad school vocabs to demand a more comprehensive rundown of what makes them so irritating. Here goes! Like their namesake coffee additive, these punkish folks have a diluting effect on everything that is bold, abrasive and physically affecting. Coincidentally, "The Creamers" sounds like the kind of band that originates in Brooklyn and approaches music with the same gentrifying impulse that powers the installation of gleaming new kitchen appliances, kitschy light fixtures, and reclaimed hardwood floors. Creamers are unwittingly androgynous; they like to use the word "problematic." They suffer a congenital frigidity and mask it with a glib interest in social justice, which they act out by complaining about the lack of overweight fashion models (in fact, they are getting ready to bombard our comments section with vitriol right about now). We liked them better when they were still in college, had no disposable income, and were content to base their identities on whoever they slept with.

Favorite band: Bleached

See also: The 50 Best Things About the OC Music Scene The 50 Worst Things About the OC Music Scene The 25 Greatest OC Bands of All Time: The Complete List

Follow us on Twitter at @OCWeeklyMusic and like us on Facebook at Heard Mentality.


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