Starting with Pelado Records 10 years ago and growing to include Road to Ruin Distribution, Nervous Breakdown Records and soon Self Destruct Records, Pat Grindstaff found his place in Orange County punk rock mostly by staying away from it.
So Pelado Records came first.
Yeah. This month is the 10-year anniversary. The first seven-inch I did was 10 years ago this month. Number one was a band called the Dead End Kids from Florida.
Were you based in Orange County then?
Yes, I was. I've been in Orange County since 1986.
Did OC punk have anything to do with your coming here?
I knew Disneyland, Huntington Beach, Social Distortion and Agent Orange. I grew up in a really small agriculture town in the Salinas Valley. We'd come down once in a while on vacation with my parents, and I loved it and knew that's where I wanted to go. When your favorite bands growing up are from a certain area, that's where you want to go.
What's the story on your record distribution company, Road to Ruin?
That's only been around about two and a half years. It's grown quite a lot in that time. I'd been doing Pelado at the time about eight years and had been lucky and gotten in with some distributors. I had friends who had labels and weren't getting into the same doors I was getting in. They were always asking me for help. So I just kind of started Road to Ruin as a way to help out friends, and it grew from there.
For people not familiar with what a record distributor does compared to a record label—what's the difference?
The labels do all their own independent promotion of their bands, but we do all the sales. We also do digital distribution for them as well. We have a partner we work with that gets things into iTunes, MSN and all of that stuff.
And how about your newer labels? How does Nervous Breakdown Records differ from Pelado?
I started it for straight-up early '80s American-style hardcore. Pelado Records is more '70s-style punk and power-pop. I'm 37, so I grew up on hardcore. There are some bands now that I like other than all the metal crap that passes for hardcore now.
How about Self Destruct Records?
That's brand-new. I haven't put out a release. That's another one of those things—stuff I like that doesn't really fit on either of the other labels. It's more of the British-influenced stuff—GBH and Exploited. A lot of my favorite labels growing up, like Dangerhouse and Posh Boy, they put out certain kinds of styles. I was trying to keep labels a little separate and not confuse people too much. That's why I started a couple different ones as opposed to everything under one label.
Do you have a favorite current local band?
There's a band from Huntington Beach—they're young kids—called Tipper's Gore. They're like an early '80s kind of hardcore band. They just put out a CD. They're from Huntington, and they hang out at Vinyl Solution a lot. They're really cool.
Is Vinyl one of your favorite local record stores?
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Yeah. Vinyl Solution's been my longtime hangout. Bionic in Huntington is always a good place to go. But Vinyl Solution's the place I've been loyal to for many years.
It seems like Pelado doesn't focus much on Orange County bands.
To be honest, I've only officially put out one release from an Orange County band. It's kind of been on purpose. Hostage Records does a really good job of giving the newer bands around here a chance. That seems to be the label that a lot of local bands want to do their first release on. I kind of thought, "I'm not going to be in competition with people who are friends." I thought by doing stuff worldwide or nationally it would help my label get known. Actually it's probably better-known everywhere else but Orange County. My best market for quite a few years was Europe, Germany. This part of the country was really the last place to catch on.