Though Jack Grisham denies it now, many referred (and still refer) to Vicious Circle--otherwise known as "The Cult"--as a violent "punk rock gang" based out of Long Beach and Huntington Beach.
Lead singer Grisham, who would later go on to front TSOL, was just a teenager at the time, and the band was short-lived--around for eight to ten months. Grisham started the band with drummer Todd Barnes (also of TSOL), guitarist Steve Houston and bassist Laddy Terrell in 1979.
Unfortunately, the brief history of Vicious Circle isn't well-documented, limited to just a few fanzines here and there. Luckily for those interested in this slice of Orange County punk rock history, Grisham has announced a limited edition vinyl release of 100-percent previously unreleased tracks.
"This release was a mixed bag for me--history-wise, I'm glad the recording came to light, it's a dark violent piece of Orange County that probably shouldn't be forgotten, but emotionally it hurts," shares Grisham today. "I'm not proud of what that music represented to a lot of us--it represented payback, aggression, and hurt, lots of hurt."
The pressing is limited to 1000, with 800 issued on black vinyl and just 200 on white- and blue-splattered vinyl. The record is packaged with a DVD containing a 45-minute interview with Grisham chatting about the Vicious Circle days. The record is retailing for $16.99 and released by TKO Records, both a record label and a record store, in Fountain Valley. TKO has the release available in their store now (18948 Brookhurst St.--see map below).
Julia Smut, drummer of the Smut Peddlers and of TKO Records, shares that she and Grisham are not only friends but also former exercise buddies: "We used to walk every morning, and we're in bands and we've played together and stuff. Mark Rainey, who's the owner of TKO Records and store, always wondered if there were [Vicious Circle] tapes that existed."
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Turns out, there were two tapes in existence. Grisham tracked the owner down and soon enough, Smut audio transferred the tapes and Rainey sent them off to a mastering lab in Austin, Texas.
"[The Vicious Circle recordings] were just little ghetto blaster recordings, but it really came out sounding real good, and we decided to put it out on vinyl and get it to the masses," Smut explains.
To learn more about Vicious Circle, click here to read the Weekly's April 2011 cover story on Grisham.