The Plugz

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.

The Plugz at the Cathay de Grande in Los Angeles, February 1982, photo by Vincent Ramirez.

Their first 7″, Move, came out in 1978 on Slash records. Their debut LP, Electrify Me (1979), which featured a ripping version of the classic “La Bamba”, and the follow-up, 1981’s Better Luck LP, were well received, and tracks from the latter would eventually find their way onto the soundtrack to the cult classic film Repo Man.

The Plugz performed as Bob Dylan’s backing band on Dylan’s March 22, 1984 Late Night with David Letterman appearance. Performing three songs with his band of post-punk musicians, Dylan delivered what many consider to be his most entertaining television performance ever. The combo first performed an unrehearsed version of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Don’t Start Me To Talking”, then a radically different arrangement of “License To Kill”. The final song was a peppy, somewhat new-wave version of “Jokerman” that ended with a harmonica solo. At the end of the performance, Letterman walked onstage and congratulated Dylan, asking him if he could come back and play every Thursday. Dylan smiled and jokingly agreed.

A. Official Releases 

1. Plugz – Move
Label: Slash
Catalog Number: SCAM 102
Format: Vinyl, 7″, 45 RPM, EP
Released: 1978

Notes: This version with the standard yellow-and-black picture sleeve picturing the band on the front and lyrics inside. Some early promo copies featured the speical black and white “tie” picture sleeve that the ealiest copies had before the regualr sleeves had been printed.

A ‎– Move
B1 ‎– Mindless Contentment
B2 ‎– Let Go
Backing Vocals [uncredited] on B2: Exene Cervenka

2. The Plugz ‎– Electrify Me
Label: Plug Recordz
Catalog Number: none
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, First Pressing
Released: 1979

Notes: Recorded live in a studio. Independently released on the Plugz own label, in conjunction with Real Life Records.

A1 ‎– A Gain – A Loss
A2 ‎– The Cause
A3 ‎– Electrify Me
A4 ‎– Satisfied Die
A5 ‎– La Bamba
B1 ‎– Adolescent
B2 ‎– Braintime
B3 ‎– Wordless
B4 ‎– Let Go
B5 ‎– Infection
B6 ‎– Berserktown

3. The Plugz ‎– Achin / La Bamba
Label: Fatima Recordz
Catalog Number: FTM 79
Format: Vinyl, 7″, 45 RPM, Single
Released: 1981

Notes: Released with two known sleeve colors, white or goldenrod. The white cover differs from the goldenrod cover: the “La Bamba” side of the goldenrod cover features the band name, the white version does not.

A ‎– Achin
B ‎– La Bamba

4. The Plugz ‎– Better Luck
Label: Fatima Recordz
Catalog Number: FTM 80
Format: Vinyl, 12″, 33 1/3 RPM, LP
Released: 1981

Notes: Released on The Plugz own label Fatima Recordz

A1 ‎– Better Luck
A2 ‎– Red Eye #9
A3 ‎– Achin’
A4 ‎– American
A5 ‎– In The Wait
A6 ‎– El Clavo Y La Cruz
B1 ‎– Blue Sofa
B2 ‎– Touch For Cash
B3 ‎– Gas Line
B4 ‎– Cesar’s Song
B5 ‎– Shifting Heart
B6 ‎– No Love