If you could shoot records for sucking real bad, this—a dim and dusty backroom at Irvine's iconoclastic community radio station KUCI 88.9 FM, stacked floor-to-fluorescent with moldering generations of LPs—would be a free-fire zone. In the other room (the one with the windows), you'll find KUCI's formidable "A-Play" archive, home to drool-worthy obscurities and stalwart classics alike, spanning the best of the 30-plus years since they fired up the transmitter and bathed South County with the Archies' "Sugar, Sugar." And then you'll find the rest of the 30-plus years of album collecting—the has-beens, the never-weres and the dear-god-whys—in the "B-Play" room. And we're pulling the worst of the worst—KUCI's weirdest hits—from the B-Play room just to see exactly how bad it can get.
"These records will never come back into print," longtime KUCI DJ Ned Raggett—our pick-and-shovel man on this grave-robbing expedition—explains. "There are no websites for these bands. This is the lost music."
He peeks at an LP cover by the band Angel: a quintet of androgynous glam casualties rendered in the airbrushe-moderne style popularized on the back sides of countless stoner vans.
"Of course," he says, "you could argue it's lost for a reason."
These are the real dinosaurs of rock, we learn: extinct, fossilized, buried here in this tiny cave of a room, as absurd and curious today as those monstrous Jurassic sloths that had brains in their butts—but ultimately even stupider. Bands like Bloodgood, Deaf Dealer and Death ("Death the band," says Raggett. "That's great because they're basically just saying, 'Hey, fuck you.'") or musicians like Damian the Beast and Punky Meadows couldn't have been destined for anything but hilarious failure. Even they must have known, watching a stoner buddy airbrush what would become their one and only album cover. And yet they dreamed. And then watched those dreams die. And now we laugh at them.
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The Ninjas, Warriors of Rock Of course, they wore ninja suits onstage. Of course, they had their own theme song (Falsetto Guy: "Weeee're the Niiiinjas!" Secondary Falsetto Guy: "The warriors of rock!"). Of course, they're now checking your receipt at Guitar Center before you leave. Heavy metal might have a higher suck-to-rule ratio than any other form of expression yet devised by Western culture, but these guys sucked even beyond ironic appreciation. People would stop by the studio as we were cringing to this and ask, "You LISTEN to this record?"
Illustration by Mark Dancey Aileen Quinn, Bobby's Girl During the 1980s, they made a movie out of Little Orphan Annie intended primarily to be shown after a nuclear holocaust to ensure that the living would indeed envy the dead. And just to twist the knife a little, they let freckle-faced star Aileen Quinn turn out this wrists-a-slittin' solo album that'd put the sag to even the most earnest of pedophiles. Use her perky take on "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" as birth control: a few seconds of Aileen's tomboy bray, and you'd sooner dip your dick in Drano than risk fathering any human being capable of something that hurts this deep. Caravan, For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night Gatefold LP of '70s dog-food rock (i.e., earth-toned mush consisting mostly of ground-up horse anus) featuring a doped-up-lookin' pregnant hippie chick wearing curtains and lyrics like, "I got something I want you to hold/My brother will tell you it's good for your cold." No drug could excuse any of this. "It's like Rush without the appeal," says Raggett. "Read into that what you want." Karl Von Stevens ("und his Six Pack!"), Beer Fest A sweaty, shit-wasted, possibly insane Teuton slurs his way through bierhaus polka-party classics like "Happy Little Oom-Pah-Pah" and roller-coaster call-and-response number "Ein Du Schone Schnitzelbank" (In the Pretty Schitzelbank). That the same country that produced Hitler and the Kaiser could belch forth something like this makes no sense. Or then again, maybe it does. Bloodfeast soundtrack This I-made-it-myself! soundtrack to gore auteur Herschell Gordon Lewis' zombie flicks promises a lot, with songs like "Legs Cut Off," "Tongue Torn Out" and "Look Into My Eyebrows," but all you really get are interminable kettledrum-driven instrumentals, splattered with the occasional soundbite and delivered with all the vim and vigor of a corpse stiffening slowly into rigor mortis. Here's every song: "Bom. Bom. Bom. Bom. Bom. Bom. Oh. God. My. Tongue. Bom. Bom."