Since 2012, music collective Freak Style Booking has breathed new life into the Long Beach DIY music scene by booking hundreds of DIY music shows for all ages audiences, featuring many now-popular bands that played some of their first gigs at a FSB show. Acts include Rudy De Anda and The Frights, and other bands who fall under the sonic umbrella where punk, pop, garage, surf and lo-fi intersect have gotten a lot more recognition since then, and so too has FSB evolved into a venerable name in Southern California's underground music vernacular.
For FSB's head honcho Droozie Lane, there have been many ups and downs in those three years since he began organizing shows, but his demeanor is mainly positive as he focuses on discussing his objective to open shows to all ages, since he attended all-ages shows in his teens. "It was those early childhood experiences that inspired me. I admired the effort that someone put into making something good," Lane says. "I started going to shows at an early age, and I wouldn't be the same person if I were going to shows that were 21+ only. I probably wouldn't be booking shows now."
Lane later went on to help book shows at revered skate/music palace Unit B Studios, but FSB was something that grew organically from him hosting bands to play at parties in his living room. From that bit of experience, he began to connect with other bands in the area, many of whom were still in the initial stages of forming together: Corners, a band known for its atmospheric post-punk sound, was playing surf punk in their early days at FSB shows; The Frights began playing music in his living room when the members were at the wee age of 18. Other bands that have played FSB shows include The Garden, Japanther, Froth, Summer Twins, and more. And the response towards FSB has been overwhelmingly positive in return, despite going against the grain of Long Beach's noise ordinance laws; Lane says he's received support from Lolipop, Burger, and Porch Party Records. "[Burger Records] has been nothing but supportive of FSB for the last few years. They're down for whatever I've had in mind, like reposting fliers on Instagram, things of that nature. They're really DIY-friendly," says Lane.
This Saturday, FSB celebrates its three-year anniversary with a mega-showcase of talents at an all-day DIY music festival called Midnight Mass. As it is the biggest show FSB has produced, Lane enlisted friend Jarett Killan of Astro Lizard Records to help put it together in less than three months, going the legal route to make the event as big as possible. Held at Long Beach's MADHaus, there's a who's who of amazing bands that have blown up in the Southern California garage punk scene in recent years from Kim and the Created, Death Hymn Number 9, to San Pedro punk legend Mike Watt with his band the Missingmen and skate icon Tony Alva with his band His Eyes Have Fangs.
The show also boasts sponsorship from Pabst Blue Ribbon and Tony Alva Skateboards, with vendors like Top Acid, Lo-Pie magazine, Shady Grove Foods, and Porch Party Records; visual projections by Meza Technology, pizza from Long Beach's Broadway Pizza.
More than a celebration of the last three years for FSB, Midnight Mass is also a means for Lane to bring some underground music recognition for Long Beach. "We want people who normally go to OC or LA for shows to recognize Long Beach a little more. Long Beach is a kind of weird gray area that hasn't quite been tapped into yet," explains Lane. Beyond Midnight Mass, he's looking into the future for FSB, which includes becoming a management company with a full roster of bands under its name, and of course, inspiring the youth of Long Beach to take up DIY efforts like he was.
"Hopefully the younger kids will have more opportunities to have shows in the future and a bigger, more thriving and unique music scene, something that is uniquely Long Beach, that OC and LA people will want to check out."
Midnight Mass featuring Kim and the Created, Mike Watt and the Missingmen, Useless Eaters, Bombon, Rudy De Anda, Dustin Lovelis, Retox, The Frights, MELTED, The Buttertones, Dinosaurs, Death Hymn Number 9, His Eyes Have Fangs, and Adult Books takes place Saturday December 12 at noon. Tickets are $15 at the door. Visit https://www.facebook.com/MidnightMassLB for more info.