By Johan Vogel
Gather 'round youngens. Come and sit for a spell. And I'll spin you a yarn of olden times…
Y'see, back in the early 19 hundred and 90's, back when the crick ran fat with catfish and freedom was just another word for nothing left to lose, long before the town made international news for its cops killing unarmed, mentally ill homeless people, long before its downtown became a magnet for all-DJ's-all-the-time, even a few years before an infernal rag named OC Weekly launched, there could be found, in and around that colorful town called Fullerton, a sight that is, alas, quite rare today.
In a couple of faded old bars and funky independent coffee houses, and dammit right out in the open of Hillcrest Park and strange environs, when things went rarely right, one could behold the glory and the majesty of handmade, live-in-the-flesh, honest to goodness rock and fucking roll.
I know. I know. You've read about it in books. Seen the grainy old newsreels. Heard the legends passed down. I'm here to tell you it was all real. In fact, Old Fullerton had quite a tenacious little crowd of creative types scurrying about in those halcyon years of yore. For a time, you couldn't throw a rock in that town without hitting a shirtless poet, a van dyked playwright, a manic/percussive painter, or the flautist out in front of a full blown progressive rock juggernaut. Things were beautiful. Things were weird. …Things were mostly weird.
Anyway children, in the midst of those years, there eventually appeared, to the joy of at least their own ears, a humble and powerful conglomeration of disparate sights, sounds, and sensibilities that would come to be known as Homespun. It was a collection, a coalition, a collective, a condition. Some bands, some poets, some artists some freaks. There was a CD (back to the history books…) and a lot of completely insane shows. Bands made some music. Poets did some poeting. People gave a fuck and listened to real, homespun music. And they made a dent. Two of the bands, Room to Roam, and Trip the Spring made a list in the early 2000s of top 100 Orange County-spawned bands, and the others probably should have been there, but No Doubt had to be on the list somewheres.
But then, as it always must, the real world knocked on the door. And people got married, and had babies, and got real jobs–though most of them continued, in one way or 'nother, to make music, playing with or alongside such luminaries as Rose's Pawn Shop, Elliot Smith, and creating their own stuff.
Anyways, the guy who fronted the dough for that CD, Jake Ogle, never got back all the money he invested (these creative types were way more interested in writing and performing than selling merch). So, TWENTY-ONE years after the rease of the CD, this Sunday marks a reunion of the bands, most featuring their original line-ups, in order to raise the last few ducats to clear the slate.
The members of Plato's Stepchildren, Moonwash Symphony, Room to Roam and Trip the Spring are all a bit older, some a bit rounder, a few even prettier than they were. But they all still have that fire burning inside.
Back Alley Bar N Grill, 116 1/2 W. Wilshire Ave., Fullerton, (714) 525-3389. Sunday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. $10. 21-and-over. www.facebook.com/events/489826377849266/