South county punks received heartbreaking news when they found out Ernesto "Buck" Llamas passed away from natural causes May 7, 2017 just four days after his 39th birthday. The news came unexpectedly for his family and all who loved him. He was a staple in the South OC punk scene, best known for playing guitar in such bands as The Extortions, Blood Soaked Hands, Buckface and No More Saints. Locals have called him everything from "the mayor" to "the world's big brother," even a king of the local punk scene. He worked together with Biff Cooper to build Power Plant Records and Reactor Radio where every "toxic" Tuesday he hosted his internet radio show Buck's Not Dead Punk Rock Ear-Fuck Internet Radio Thing. The goal of the station always was to stimulate and promote the local music which he dedicated his life to.
Buck grew up in San Clemente from Las Palmas Elementary to San Clemente High School and would stay in his hometown until his death. He received his nickname from his father when he was little after the phrase "the buck stops here" and shortly afterwords at 8-years-old, his uncle Rudy Sanchez got him fixated on four-chord aggression after he gave him a German punk compilation. His interest with the music grew with his brothers and uncle being from San Juan Punks and eventually he picked up a guitar at age 13 and never stopped playing. Music became his life and he'd spend the next 26 years jamming, compiling a massive record collection, joining different bands, going to every show he could, eventually starting Power Plant Records, starting his own radio show and working odd jobs to fuel his dedication to music. The biggest impact he's made on others though appears to be his personality and according to his brother Pete Erro. "That guy had the biggest heart ever," Erro says. "He didn't care about himself too much but he cared about everyone else."
"He had a heart of gold," Buck's cousin Danielle Llamas Stewart says. "He'd do anything for anybody. If you were in need, he would be there but he would also give you a hard time so that you wouldn't get there again. He was just the most amazing person... there was only one Buck."
Over 100 longtime friends and family came together for the 18-band Buckfest at Karmen Bar in Laguna Nigel last Saturday to celebrate Buck's life with OG punkers drinking, moshing, jamming out and all celebrating his life the way he lived it. His friends laughed as they shared stories of Buck passing out drunk butt naked or with a beer can stuck to his head and snoring loud as hell. His band mates from No More Saints told the story of how the time they opened for Charged GBH, Buck locked his guitar in his car so Colin "Jack" Blyth of GBH let him use his guitar for their set which left Buck speechless. Everyone talked of his legendary big hugs and just how much of a hilarious person he was. Just standing in the room, you could feel how much this man was loved and how much he will be missed.
"Buck had an impact on the punk rock world." Buck's friend and organizer of Buckfest Troy Uncivil says, "Next year, we want to do a two-day Buckfest, get some really good bands to play. We're going to do Buckfest every fucking year."
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All the proceeds of Buckfest are being donated to a nonprofit started by Buck and Biff Cooper which will utilize the recording studio inside Power Plant Records to record music written by foster children for free. The nonprofit will also help them start up their social media sites and give them 100 CDs so the kids start selling and spreading their music. The idea for the nonprofit comes from Bucks ethos of utilizing "music and art as a way of overcoming life's grief" and Cooper wants to see Bucks legacy carried on. Cooper has every recording of Bucks radio show which can be found online and he plans on pressing them on tape but the show will go on every Tuesday at 8 p.m. as usual.
"We've actually been playing them on re-run." Cooper says, "We're going to have friends and his family, people that really knew him or even people who were just touched by his life and have a rad punk rock collection, and we're just going to have them spin their records on the air and have them talk about him. The nights people aren't there, we're just going to spin a re-run of his show."
Despite his passing, Buck will be kept alive by those who loved him and all this brings a smile to his grieving mothers face who is happy so many people felt so strongly about her son.
"All this happened and we didn't expect it." Sarah Llamas says. "But I think he live his life to the fullest because he loved what he was doing, he really did... and I just want to say I love him and I miss him."