The Screamers were an American electropunk group founded in 1975. They were among the first wave of the L.A. punk rock scene. The Los Angeles Times applied the label “techno-punk” to the band in 1978. In the documentary Punk: Attitude (2005), the Dead Kennedys cite the Screamers as a key influence on their group and as one of the great unrecorded groups in rock history. (further reading…)
The Germs were an American punk rock band from Los Angeles, originally active from 1976 to 1980. The band’s main early lineup consisted of singer Darby Crash, guitarist Pat Smear, bassist Lorna Doom, and drummer Don Bolles. They released only one album, 1979’s (GI), produced by Joan Jett, and were featured the following year in Penelope Spheeris’ documentary film The Decline of Western Civilization, which chronicled the Los Angeles punk movement.
The Germs disbanded following Crash’s suicide on December 7, 1980. Their music was influential to many later punk rock acts. Smear went on to achieve greater fame performing with Nirvana and Foo Fighters. (further reading…)
Started in 1977 with a shoestring budget, Chris Ashford’s one man record company documented the early punk scene in Los Angeles.
Chris Ashford may not be a household name, but over 40 years ago, he released a single by his teenage friends, The Germs. That single, Forming / Sex Boy, is now widely recognized as the first Los Angeles DIY punk release. Shortly after, Ashford was approached by The Dils’ manager to put out a single for them. This was issued as What 02, The Dils’ I Hate the Rich. At the time, Ashford was frequenting The Masque in Hollywood, and from there recorded The Controllers, The Skulls, and the Eyes. In 1982, the What Records? name was sold, around the same time Ashford began releasing surf rock and taking his music business in a different direction. (further reading…)
Considered to be the first Latino punk bank, The Plugz (also known as “Los Plugz”) came together in 1977 in Southern California. The Plugz were part of the family of bands that was influenced by the Germs and played at legendary clubs like Madame Wong’s and the Masque. They are generally acknowledged as being the first D.I.Y. punk band in L.A., having started their own PLUGZ RECORDS and later Fatima Records. (further reading…)
The Alley Cats were a Los Angeles-based punk rock trio featuring Dianne Chai (bass and vocals), Randy Stodola (guitar and vocals), and drummer John McCarthy. They were part of the first-wave L.A. punk rock scene. X’s John Doe described the band as having “made some of the toughest, most nihilistic music on the scene.” (further reading…)
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…)
Starting in 1976, following recent releases of recordings by punk bands such as the Ramones, a number of punk bands formed in the Los Angeles and Orange County area. Among these bands were the Flesh Eaters, the Weirdos, the Germs, the Controllers, the Deadbeats, the Skulls, the Angry Samoans, Agent Orange, the Dils, Black Randy and the Metrosquad, Catholic Discipline, the Go-Go’s, the Alley Cats, Kommunity FK, the Screamers, the Dickies, X, the Zeros, the Bags, the Plugz, the Consumers, and their successors, 45 Grave.
The Weirdos are an American punk rock band from Los Angeles, California. They formed in 1975 and broke up in 1981, were occasionally active in the 1980s, and recorded new material in the 1990s. Critic Mark Deming calls them “quite simply, one of the best and brightest American bands of punk’s first wave.”
The band was formed in 1975 by singer John Denney and his guitarist brother Dix, initially using the band names the Barbies and the Luxurious Adults. The Weirdos were originally a 1950s-inspired hard rock and roll band that, like the Ramones in New York City, predated the UK punk scene. While initially trying to distance themselves from the genre name “punk” that was created in New York, ultimately the band, in the words of John Denney, “just kinda became more like this punk ROCK N ROLL type thing and we kinda went with it because the fans wanted it. They wore us down and we just said ‘OK, fine! We’re punk rock, similar to the Ramones. Whatever you say.’” (further reading…)