OC Music RIP: The People and Places We Lost in 2017

It won’t be hard for us to say goodbye to this crazy, upside down year we’ve had in the local music world (or just the world in general). However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the important people and places in the OC music scene that are sadly not making the trip with us to 2018. The last 12 months have taken a great many things from us, often times unexpectedly and in heartbreaking fashion. In honor of the legendary OC musicians, beloved fans and once-popular venues lost in 2017, we reflect on this year in hopes of getting through another one, though it certainly won’t be the same without them around.

The People
Gabby Gaborno
Years from now, when Orange County fans of the Cadillac Tramps look back on the band’s legacy, they’ll remember loud guitars and a rumbling rhythm section that created chaos in the pit and bent genres to their will. They’ll remember late nights and wild shows that defined the Golden Era of the Orange County music scene in the early ’90s. They’ll remember the highlights that earned them a shot at the big time, and the lowlights that nearly tore them apart. But most importantly, they’ll remember Mike “Gabby” Gaborno, the frontman who laughed in the face of death.

John Carrillo
It was a startlingly abrupt end to the life of someone who was a constant presence at open mics and anywhere musicians gathered in Orange County the past 25 years. Carrillo, who recorded with such luminaries as legendary bass player Carol Kaye and appeared at bars and clubs and hosted open mics from the Gypsy Den and Alta Coffee to the Pint House and (the now defunct) Pepperland Music, leaves behind three recorded albums, a wife (BJ Carrillo,) and a flood of memories for those who knew him well, and for those who just made his acquaintance.

Michael “Dossicc” Ramirez
Ramirez will be remembered most as the too sick Dossicc, leaving behind songs with his hardcore rap group Rebellion Warfare, a 14 track mixtape with his best friend and Rebellion Warfare member Christ “Carnage” Caballero and songs with local rap groups like “Dusty Rebels” with SanTana’s Dusty Crates. Many hip hop shows at the Observatory included Rebellion Warfare as an opener, with them sharing the stage with legends such as The Psycho Realm, Raekwon The Chef, Pharaohe Monch and Souls of Mischief. Dossicc’s true mark as an MC? Embodying the streets of Orange County, standing in front of crowd’s in militant dress as a rebel, getting the youth of OC to bob their heads as Dossicc spoke to their frustrations and being one of the few MC’s in OC to get a crowd at the Observatory to mosh.

Known for his energetic punk and hip hop DJ sets at 2nd Floor in Huntington Beach, weddings, school dances, just about anywhere he was invited, MoDJ always had a smile on his face and a fresh mix ready to go. On June 19th, Mohamed ‘Mo’ Dandan was killed in a fatal motorcycle accident on the 405, just 3 weeks after the birth of his twin daughters. In addition to being one hell of a DJ with a successful career over a decade long, he’ll also be remembered as an amazing and dependable friend, a beloved fiancé, and a loving father.

Anthony Guarino
Whether it was his playing in Corrupted Ideals, Violent Outrage, The Iron-Ons, Final Conflict, Dodge Dart or The Heathens (and probably a bunch more), Anthony’s feel for punk was his musical forte. Simply put, the guy played energetic, guitar-driven rock ‘n’ roll as easily as he breathed. I was in constant awe of his playing and the way in which he understood music. I never told him that I would downstroke all of the songs and he never said he would play eighth notes on the high-hat. It just happened, as if we heard Griffin’s songs and knew they had to be funneled through a Ramones, Black Flag, Descendents and Dangerhouse Records perspective.

Carter Ankeny
The Orange County ska community lost its tiniest warrior Oct. 8. Carter Ankeny, 6, of Fountain Valley, was a beacon of light and innocence at ska shows throughout the county — but mostly at Suburban Legends shows at Disneyland’s Tomorrowland Terrace — even before he could walk, let alone dance. And when his life changed two years ago, when he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, the lives of many in the OC ska
scene were impacted, too.

Andrea Castilla
Orange County, a long time bastion of country music, was directly hit by this shooting and heartbroken by the news of locals who lost their lives. We were crushed to hear about the loss 28 year-old Andrea Castilla, a young country fan from Orange who was fatally shot during the asshole gunman’s violent 10 minute killing spree. In addition to working at Sephora and as a dental hygienist, Castilla was also the sister of Adam Castilla, singer and guitarist of breakout local band The Colourist. In a tearful goodbye on Facebook this week, Adam’s pain was felt by many who knew him and his sister personally.

Cory Case
On Dec. 7 at approximately 7:10 p.m., a man was struck by a blue, lifted Chevy pickup while crossing the street in Anaheim minutes after getting off the phone with his wife on his way home from the library. When paramedics arrived, the man was pronounced dead at the scene. At the time, the original story in the OC Register didn’t mention a name, and for many it may have been easy to brush off as another daily tragedy at the hands of a reckless driver. But for our local music community, the loss of Cory Case is a devastating blow, one that cost us a talented musician with a classic voice, a poet’s heart and endless potential.

The Places

Diego’s Rock-n-Roll Bar & Eats
We’re sad to say this is the second time in equally as many years that we’re reporting on the death of Diego’s. Earlier this month, organizers Scott Tucker and Vanessa Turbay of Sellout Productions, which leased the Santa Ana building and rebranded the former Mexican restaurant as a rock & roll bar, announced they were moving out of the prime spot on 224 E. Third St.

Pierce St. Annex
Over the past 41 years the bar has changed hands, but the current owner Mario Marovic decided to shut it down while they make plans for a complete renovation for their new venue called The Country Club. Think more upscale, early 1900s country club, with a look and feel that wouldn’t be out of place in “The Great Gatsby,” Marovic told The Daily Pilot. The biggest change on tap is converting the establishment into a full-menu restaurant. While The Country Club will still offer music and dancing, Marovic told the Pilot those will be secondary to food and drinks.

Pete’s Music
After 39 years of supplying instruments and gear to Orange County, Anaheim music shop Pete’s Music will be closing it’s doors. Rising rent, and better business at their Riverside County locations has drawn an end to the Anaheim store, which is unfortunate in an era of harder to come by mom-n-pop music shops.

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