The Cheifs

In November of 1979, Bob Glassley and a few friends piled into his car for a road trip down the West Coast. It was a retired police cruiser from the Dorris California Police Department, an all-white Plymouth with a souped-up engine. At the time, Glassley sang for a young punk band from Portland called the Rubbers. They were on a mission that day, to make some alliances in the Los Angeles music scene, and to line up some shows for a touring caravan of Portland bands. “We set out for L.A., and the motor blew somewhere outside of Stockton,” Glassley says. “When we got back on the road we found out it was the day they were taping the Hollywood Christmas parade. All of the freeway exits were closed, so we just kept driving around the city, looking for an off-ramp.”

Eventually they made it into the city and crashed at the Holly-West in Hollywood. The space was a former MGM studio and office building on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Western, housing everything from a porno studio and a church led by a gay preacher to rehearsal spaces where musicians lived, practiced and spent most of their time hanging out.

One day, Glassley was listening to a group making noise in a nearby room when a young man with bright blue hair — George Walker — poked his head around the doorway and asked if anyone played bass. “I said I did, although that was a serious stretch,” Glassley says. “I owned a cheap bass back in Portland, so I felt qualified.”

Walker was a gay black man in the late ’70s L.A. punk scene at a time when there were few out gay or black punk musicians.

The two became friends, and after sticking around and playing music for a few days, Glassley was invited to join the group and play bass alongside Walker on guitar with singer Jerry Koskie and drummer Kenneth “Rabit” Bragger. Soon they would come to be known as Cheifs. (further reading…)

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