You Ought to be Ashamed of Yourselves!
Two weeks ago, we took a shot at it ourselves, trying to name the 100 best OC bands of all time–and then watched as the list blew past 100 to 110 and 120. We stopped at 129, and then turned to you for your thoughts.
OUT OF TOUCH
The people who put together the list of the top 129 bands must not have been around back in the day. Shattered Faithwas arguably the most influential band in Orange County. How could you leave them off the list? Either they pissed someone off in your group or you guys are completely out of touch.
OPENED FOR TORK
You didn't even mention Dyke Bridge. You mentioned a fucking karaoke singer but not a band that went on to help spawn the Tiki Tones (half of them founding members of DB) and Tijuana Bullfight (whose guitarist was a founder of DB). Sadly, their demise came about when their lead singer went off to tour with Moris Tepper and eventually moved to Chicago to produce The Jenny Jones Show. Orange County suffers every day from the type of memory loss your writers show here. It is precisely this that allows people to continue building Mediterranean-style single-family dwellings over land that was once the subject of the plein-air artists. Dyke Bridge was a Costa Mesa born-and-bred band and was the unofficial opening act for Peter Tork! What the fuck do we have to do in this stupid burg to get some recognition? Jesus H. Christ! No wonder musicians flock to other places. Eat me.
Former lead singer/accordionist, Dyke Bridge
Thank you for confirming that National People's Gang really did suck. Oh, by the way: Chad Jasmine is not really "gone," he's merely, as they say, "gone to Florida."
National People's Gang/The fUZ
You did an outstanding job. Two omissions, though. One, the Sandals. Their soundtrack for Bruce Brown's Endless Summer has been heard and enjoyed by more people than about 100 of your listed bands combined. The San Clemente band was fronted by two brothers from Belgium, classically trained musicians who had much more musical ability than any surf band around. Second, Bishop contributed a lot to the live music scene in the late '70s when there was hardly anything going on but lounge shows. They were perhaps Orange County's only glam rock band and the peripatetic Michael Bishop was the closest thing we had to a real rock personality. Later they stripped down and assembled a nice, tight set of songs, some of which they produced on their own label, right here in OC in the pre-punk dark ages. The last time I saw Michael Bishop perform, he was singing with a pre-punk leather band fronted by Hunt and Tony Sales, the sons of Soupy.
THE FATHER OF US ALL
You missed a big one: From 1977 to 1981, the Mechanics were the band that everyone from Fullerton copied. Mike Ness still mentions them as his biggest influence and the Adolescents--Rikk Agnew, especially--swiped riffs from them and put them on LPs. The Mechanics were the first OC band to headline the Whisky, Starwood, Masque and Troubadour, and its members went on to play with D.I., the Cramps, Adolescents, Joyride, 22 Jacks, Joey Ramone, China White, Hard As Nails, Cheap As Dirt and La Mort.
Seriously, how could you go through all of the trouble to pull so many great OC bands out of your ass and leave out The Ziggens? The Ziggens are one of those bands that make you proud to be a fan. Years ago, I quoted Miguel from Skunk Records, in my college paper, saying "no one has ever had a bad time at a Ziggens show," and for the last 10 years I have found no one who can prove him wrong. And don't even try the excuse that they're an LBC band because of their affiliation with Skunk. Brad, Dickie and John reside in Fullerton and Bert and family live in Huntington Beach. The Ziggens have sold out every small venue in SoCal and played with many of the bands that top your list at one time or another. They've gotten more college radio play than a lot of bands on your list and even had a brief stint on the now defunct KROQ (at least in my mind) with "Somethin' About a Waitress." Hell, you guys even turned to Brad Ziggen to write a piece for you back in 1996 to make some sense out of Bradley Nowell's untimely death. I was thoroughly impressed that while all of the OC punk staples got their due, you managed to pull names out of the woodwork like Swamp Zombies and Primitive Painters. But come on. Let's give credit where it's due.
Thank you for the 129 Greatest OC Bands Ever and including Big Drill Car. I am Frank Daly's mother and this article made me proud--and made my day! I will Xerox the Big Drill Car part for myself and am sending the rest of the article to Frank. He is married with a beautiful wife and a son and lives in Indiana. I am sure he will enjoy it. Thank you again . . . I KNEW they were good!
Nancy A. Andres
Let me say that this list is completely lopsided, opinionated and not well laid out. It's almost as if you put all the OC bands in a hat (forgetting a few) and just picked them out at random and then wrote a completely positive or hateful article about that band. I think the first thing I noticed was No Doubt ending up at No. 118. I've read plenty of articles in OC Weekly to learn that there isn't much appreciation for ND. After reading the less than positive article on them I continued to read the lower numbers just to see that none of the articles were very positive. If ND is so bad, why even include them in the list? I'd like to see a story on No Doubt and how they have grown and embraced Orange County as a steppingstone, rather than a hateful blurb. I'm tired of hearing how No Doubt has decided to try something new musically. God forbid someone tries something new and it sells records. I would just like to see an article of appreciation on No Doubt, that's all.
I cannot believe the crimes you've committed with this list of bands. How could you forget Huntington Beach's (hed)p.e.? They may not be everyone's cup of tea, but they have done the local music scene justice. They still continue to sell out the Anaheim (and LA) House of Blues. Take a listen to any of their three major-label releases and hear the Orange County references. They put Huntington Beach on the music map. What kills me is that you gave them coverage in the past. You blackballed (hed), but included Zebrahead, Lit, and Something Corporate?! "Something" is wrong with the voting process! You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. Credibility is lost! Stay away from those printing fumes! You guys are dusted!
Mark "FISH" Fisher
Whoever wrote this list does not know their OC band history. As an example, here are some bands you should have listed: (1) A La Carte: This band could fill any venue in Orange County during the '70s. (2) Crossfire. (3) Canyon. (4) Kickfire! (5) Triton. I ran a nightclub here in the '70s called Wild Man Sams and have lived here since 1958. You know, there was band history here in the '60s, but that went unmentioned in your list. Your article should be called "the biggest nobodies in music," since none of these artists is currently an entity in music's "big" picture. If you ever want to get on the same page as the real world as far as OC music is concerned, please contact me for information. It's free.
VINNIE, WHERE ARE YE?
I must say I was quite happy to see the inclusion of Vinnie James at No. 13. All American Boy is one of the most underrated CDs in a long time. Months before it was released, Vinnie was a regular at a restaurant I managed in Huntington Beach. We'd always talk about the music biz and he'd give me weekly updates on the progress of the CD. After it was released he gave me a copy and to this day the music holds up. Funny thing is, a few days before I read the OC Weekly article, I played it for a musician buddy of mine and he was quite impressed. If you're out there, Vinnie, and reading this, please know there are people out here who love your music and would love to hear more someday.
MORE SHATTERED FAITH
Where is Shattered Faith? You suck for leaving them off. They started the scene in HB in 1979!
GOONS JUST WANT TO KNOW
We found it crazy that DI was not mentioned in this list. Fronted by Casey Royer, who was also the drummer for the Adolescents, DI has been around since 1981 and toured all over the world with seven albums to its credit. Have you never heard the massively popular song "OC Life"? What about "Richard Hung Himself," which was featured in the movie Suburbia? I can understand if DI had to be left out because they are not part of some "system-approved list" of punk bands, yet mentioning the Adolescents and TSOL--certainly not system-approved punk bands--leaves us wondering why you blackballed DI. The goons at Punk Rock Skateboards would just like to know.
I've been around OC for some time, back to strawberry and lima bean fields. I remember Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds played in the lounge at the Grand Hotel before they recorded "Don't Pull Your Love," etc. I don't know if they would qualify as OC.
How could you forget the amazing OC band Children's Day? They were a Safari Sam's fave and were one of the best bands that ever came out of Orange County. Russell Scott, Ron Russell and Patrick Young made me appreciate that music really could be great! Others forgotten: Exobiota, Medicine Man, Bel Jar, Pontiac Brothers, the Din, Scarecrows.
I'd really like to understand how one of the seminal OC punk bands, Shattered Faith (whose members, oddly enough, arerepresented by U.S. Bombs and El Centro), is excluded from this list of the "Greatest OC Bands Ever" and a piece of pop crap like Lit makes the list. Perfect. Using the Eddie Cochran criterion and this list's slant toward pop mediocrity, you ought to go ahead and add Karen Carpenter to the list--after all, she's been over there with Eddie at Forest Lawn since 1983. Normally an OC Weekly fan, currently disgusted, I remain,
DROPPING THE BOEHM!
Thanks for the rundown on the "129 Greatest OC Bands," which excavated many an unjustly obscure local act that deserves to be remembered, treasured, and above all, heard. Of course, you're going to get gripes about omissions, and here are mine. (1.) Not recognizing The Pontiac Brothers/Liquor Giants legacy on a Greatest OC Rock list was akin to leaving the Kinks out of a history of the British Rock Invasion. The Replacements and R.E.M. showed the Pontiacs proper love back in the true-alternative days of the '80s. Why couldn't you? And when the Fullerton-based Pontiacs crashed in '88, Ward Dotson formed the Liquor Giants and spent the '90s establishing himself as--listening is believing--the finest alterna-rock singer-songwriter-guitarist that OC has produced, including Mike Ness (I think). Hunt Ward up and do a cover story on his life and times. (2) One Hit Wonder. They were Joe Frazier to Joyride's Ali during the punk-pop '90s. Or maybe vice versa. Ask Dexter [Holland], who signed them to Nitro. (3) Sure, early TSOL was great, but Tender Fury and the Joykiller proved that Jack Grisham, goofball that he is, really matters as an artist. Also, you were too hard on Joe Wood. His version of TSOL was not just a hair band but did some gritty and honorable albums of bluesy hard-rock. Wood's "Cisco Poison" solo album was a keeper. (4) Mark Davis. Your news pages cream over his politician sister, Nadia; your music pages should do the same for him. Davis's You Came Screaming CD, from 1995, was a gem of intensity, tunefulness and spiritual-ethical probing. (5) Michael Ubaldini and Mystery Train. If the Fire Ants are the best rockers from Fountain Valley, they must have redrawn the boundaries around Mike's house. (6) Robbie Allen. If Springsteen ever heard "Amerasian," from Allen's mid-'90s project, Thermadore, he'd cover it and lie that he'd written it himself. Robbie is still going strong in Gypsy Trash alongside D.D. Wood. (7) Richard Stekol solo deserves recognition in addition to his work with Honk. With American soldiers dying in the line of duty, it's time somebody dug up "America Walking By," the most profoundly moving song I know about patriotism, sacrifice and grief. (8) Missiles of October. Really, this should have been a no-brainer. (9) D.I. You guys know your punk rock. So surely you have heard "Johnny's Got A Problem" and "OC Life," which are as good as punk rock gets. (10) So I take it that Sublime doesn't count as an OC band because, even though they played all their meaningful early gigs here, they lived in Long Beach? I always thought OC-Long Beach was all one scene for alterna-rock. And if Eddie Cochran gets credit for being buried here, why not Brad Nowell? (11) Bill Ward. Black Sabbath's drummer has pursued a solo career from his base in Seal Beach. Results: two thoughtful, emotive and complex, highly musical albums, more Who-ish and Floyd-like than metal-minded. (12) D/Railed. No nicer guys in the county, and no catchier or more diversified rock band. Wrote a great driving rock anthem in Portuguese, had a trombone section without being ska, and stole an album cover idea from Emerson, Lake & Palmer. If our local nine wants to reverse its tepid recent fortunes, I recommend it dump the thunder sticks and adopt the bouyant "Californy (Sing With the Angels)" as its new fight song. (13.) The Mechanics. Hard-rocking, Iggy-esque '70s godfathers to the whole Fullerton punk scene. They inspired the wee lads who became Social D and Agent Orange, and introduced the harmonized "octave" guitar sound that the Adolescents emulated on their blue album.
Boehm was theLos Angeles Times' pop music critic in Orange County from 1988 to 1999.
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