do I start
My current band just recorded a rehearsal c.d. from 24 bit adat live just to get the feel of a recording studio. It is always much different from the band's usual rehearsal spot in my buddy's garage, which is complete with skate ramp in the backyard. Recording my/our music is a fantasy come true after all these years of patiently honing our craft awaiting our turn. To turn an idea from strumming on the couch to banging it out in the garage with the guys to refining it and blasting away in the studio is any musician's dream come true.
But to get back on track, and since I've really never told the story before, I'll give you a little background of my musical history.
That was punk and along with that came the idea of do it yourself (DIY). If you couldn't find punk rock clothes, make them. If you needed a punk t-shirt, you got some stencils, a can of spray and after a couple of beers you had a killer new look. A new kind of kick. You need some stickers. Take a printing class and viola....punk stickers. The whole outlook was punk rock and skateboarding. Nothing more, nothing less.
A Cast of Crazies
Chuck Kritzen also taught me early surf guitar because he said, "You gotta learn the basics." So our first attempt at band-dom took place in the garage with my 2 skate buddies. Then James McGarrety (bass player for Christian Death ) got a bass as did Vince Dennis (later went to Body Count) who scammed a Fender Mustang 3/4 scale beginner bass. So now we had a complete unit to barge and make some noise to drive all the neighbors crazy. But it didn't last long.
Craig Rowe (Pipeline skate local) entered the picture
as a singer and bought a bass
The Wild Ones
Craig could barely sing and play bass at the same time so we got another guy named Mike Occiatio who lived in Glendora. When Mike came to his very first tryout/audition we asked him if he skated and he replied, "Yeah." He then said he skated with Salba yesterday not knowing that I was right there standing in front of him. We all got a good laugh out of that one and it's cool to grind him about that tidbit of information every once in awhile.
So at least Mike could play and he always tuned our guitars for us because we were clueless. We also started to actually sound alright once Mike showed us how to play the right part at the right time.
It was also about this time that Kurt Ross entered the Wild Ones picture. We always wanted 2 guitars and we kinda stole/borrowed Kurt from Red Brigade/Kent State, whose bandmembers lived in Ontario and went to Chaffey High School across town. So the 5 of us played the summer of 1982/83 at backyard parties all over the valley, local clubs in L.A. like Cathy deGrande and the Galaxy Roller Rink, the L.A. County fair in Pomona, and The Pomona Pipe and Pool skatepark with the Joneses (fellow skater Steve Olsons' band with Steve Drake and Mitch Dean who later played with the second incantation of T.S.O.L.). Our sound owed much to the N.Y. Dolls, Johnny Thunders, Wayne County and the Electric Chairs, Elvis, X, The Cramps, and drunken sloppy blues.
We played with the Misfits in early '82, the Red Devils, Agent Orange, the Joneses, Billy Zoom from X, Christian Death, 45 Grave, and many others I've forgotten. Shortly thereafter Craig quit skating and left the band. We visited him and brought 12 packs of his favorite beer and got him in more trouble then he already was. His mom hated me.
Kurt started singing for Craig. But then Rich quit because he got engaged to a drama queen girlfriend. Off into the dust he rode, never to be seen again. Eddie Neville from Kurt's band took over on drums and a new era was born: 10,000 Heartaches (named after a Hanoi Rocks tune). Craig still sat in, but less and less, and after a while it was just me, Mike Occaitto, Kurt, and Eddie.
In 1985 we aquired Jeff Moses from the Claremont Colleges where we frequently played at a campus coffeshop. From 1983/84 until about 1986-87, we played all over town from LA. to O.C. and in between. We played with Redd Kross, Specimen, 45 Grave, Billy Zoom, Agent Orange, The Red Hot ChilI Peppers, Lords of the New Church, T.S.O.L., Sin 34, The Replacements, Cadillac Tramps, Guns and Roses, Poison, L.A. Guns, and too many others to remember. This is when the L.A. glam thing was starting to happen and the rest of the Flamethrowers saw stars in their eyes and decided to kick me out of the band that I had started (I wasn't glam enough and played Fender amps not Marshalls). So I started skating more and more and then got another pro model on Santa Cruz Skateboards.
Meanwhile, I started another project with some other friends who had bands going at the same time as the Flamethrowers. We hooked up with Mark Cole, the first Manson Youth bassist. He was in a band previously named West End (1982) with Tracy Robar, another long time skater from back in the pre-Pipeline days of Baldy pipe and L-Pool. Tracy had been playing guitar longer than any of us and was into the same stuff I was. The Flamethrowers originally had a 2 guitar part in which it was hard to distinguish who was playing what. That separated into the usual rhythm/lead deal, which didn't really fit into my program. Tracy was much more interested in the song writing process where 2 guitars made one sound. Ever since that fateful New Year's eve at Bobby Eras's house on Kelly Avenue near 18th Street in Upland (a half mile or so from Baldy Pipe where we jammed for the first time) we've been in and out of bands with each other since 1987.
Screaming Lord Salba
Slaves of Rhythm
Our sound owes a lot to many great instrumental bands. The Powerflex 5 sound is an electric gumbo of ingredients that include drag, surf, rockabilly, strip blues, 60's trashcan rock, spaghetti westerns, B-movies, punk, huge cement pipes, folk, lounge, R&B, and Mexican marachi all rolled into one whacky sound which Kelly Bellmar says I should call "Albacore."
Gigs O' Plenty
After that show we jammed a lot in the garage at Richard Beso's house and did a couple of backyard parties and get togethers. We played at the last A.S.R. trade show Independent Trucks party thrown by IndyTeam captain Joey Tershay and Bob Denike from N.H.S. about a month ago February 3rd. It was 3 days before my 38th B-day and the show featured the SuperSuckers, The Hell Brothers, and Powerflex 5. The skate allstars featured Brian Brannon from J.F.A. on keyboards for "San Ofore" and "Double A Fueler" and singing my song "Las Vegas." Then Chuck Hults from Deckcrafter fame got up and did Chuck Berry's "Let it Rock" and then Devo's "Gut Feeling" where I switched to drums. Then Ron Emory from T.S.O.L. got on guitar, Jonny Ray Bartel (Knitters, Red Devils, Mick Jagger) got on bass, and Steve Olson on guitar and vocals to sing "Born To Lose" and "Jetboy/Jetgirl" by Plastic Betrand. Needless to say, it was classic to get all the skating greats on one stage and let it loose.
Three weeks later we did the Old School Skate Jam at the Simi Valley skatepark. Todd Huber and his partner Scott Radinski, along with Eric "Arab" Groff, put this together to gather all the greats of skating from the 70's. Participants who showed up included Dale Smith, Bob Skolberg, Henry Hester, Chris Yandall, Waldo Autry, Jerry Valdez, Ray Flores, Wes Humpston, Jim Muir, T.A., Dave Hackett, Bob Biniak, Paul Constantineau, Martty Grimes, Polar Bear Agnew, Jimmy Plummer, Steve Olson, George Orton, Scott Dunlap, Alan "Ollie" Gelfand, The Carrasco brothers, Chris Chaput, Freddie DeSoto, Eric Grisham, Pat " Muckus " Mullus, Kevin Anderson, Rod Saunders, Lonnie Hiromoto, Howard Hood, Dave Andrecht, Eddie Elguera, Doug 'Pineapple' Saladino, Ed Economy, Chris Strople, Tom "Wally" Inouye, Curtis Hesslgrave, Hunter Joslin, Brad Stradlund, George Orton, Brad Bowman, Dave Ferry, Art "Gumneck" Dickey, Marc Smith, Steve Cathey, Dennis Martinez, Bobby Garcia, Layne Oaks, Lelani Kiyabu, Mike Folmer, Billy Ruff, Micke Alba, Duane Peters, Steve Caballerro, Lance Mountain, The brothers Hirsch, Al Losi, Don "Fish" Fisher, Jay Smith, Mike McGill, Jeremy Henderson, Dave Ferry, Mike Smith, Bryce Knaights, and Eric Dressen. Even the old papparzzi tribe was about with videographer Ray Allen leading the charge. Also present were the real Skateboarder Magazine lensmen Glen E.Freidman, Jim Cassimus, and Ted Terrebone, who basically covered it all before most of the current crop of 'skateers' were even thought of yet.
But as all skaters know, the list grew expontentionally to include a slew of 80's stand outs like Edgy Ratageui, Brain from J.F.A., Ron Emory from T.S.O.L., Steve Turner from Mudhoney, George Wilson, Jonny Ray Bartel from the Red Devils/Knitters fame, John Lucero, Alambamy Jay, Pat Ngo, Jeff Grosso, Kelly Bellmar, Marty Jiminez, Chuck "Barely" Hults, Barret "Chicken" Deck, Nick "Maddog Jr." Henderson, Jim Gray, Paul Schmitt, Buck Smith, Monty Nolder, The Godoy Brothers + Knox, Marc Waters, Dave Swift, Grant Brittian, Miki V., Tony Hawk and son, Tony Magnuson, Kevin Staab, Dave Ruel, Cholo and the S.C.U.M. crew, Todd Swank, Mike Vallely, Aaron Murray, Ben Schroeder, Jason Jessee, Tom "Babyman" Groholski, Buddy Carr, Beau Brown, Chris Cook, Bill Danforth, Rob Mertz, Ricky Barnes, Tim Payne, Everett Rosecrans, and a shitload of people I might have seen but have forgotten because I had too much stuff on my mind as usual.
Powerflex 5 jammed on the decks of the street course and played to over a hundred people skating at once in a chaotic mix of old schoolers, new kids, and tech dogs. It was really cool and again we played with Brian Brannon from J.F.A. Chuck Hults did his 2 songs, and Ron Emory from T.S.O.L. and Steve Turner (bass for Mudhoney) jammed with us on "Born To Lose." (I sang because Steve Olson could not be found.) Lance Mountain's kid said that it was "the raddest version" he heard yet. Agent Orange followed us and raged all night long until 2:30 a.m. when finally everybody went home.
Tracy and Corey had to go on the road again for their respective jobs that take them to the far corners of the Earth. So, we didn't get to play again until March 3rd for my annual 2001 B-Day Bash (band entertainment, local get together, pool, raffles and giveaways). Powerflex 5 headlined the bill that included skater Alan Losi's band "QuarterPound," Grampa's Porno Collection, and O.C.'s Tiki Tones, which features our guitarist Tracy Robar (Tracy jams with 5 bands when he's in town). Brain from J.F.A. got up and did his thang and Chuck Hults/Chuck Barely ruled on his duties to a packed skater house that included Micke Alba, Brett Thompson, Pipeline locals Tim Galvan, Mike Serna and family, Cesar, Mike Smith, Tas Pappas and DAD, James Lang, Slob and bros from North County, Rhino and Preston, and Dave Ruel and Tracy Little. We were even blessed with Doug "Pineapple" Saladino, Cholo from S.C.U.M., Jerry and Pat Bliel (the team manager from Vans), Philly Dave and Carter, Nat and Billy from Hawaii, and Keith Stevenson (who surfed, skated, and snowboarded all in one day and still made it to the show in one piece).
The party ruled with drunken maniac-ness that only the Badlands can provide. The casaulty list for the night included 1 hook and ladder firetruck, 1 ambulance, 8 police cars, 1 split lip, and a broken open head wound from flying glass. All in all a good night. Thanks to all the companies who sponsered great products for the raffle giveaway: Volcum, Indy, Spitfire, Deluxe, Black Label, Sessions, Vision, Smith pads, Thrasher, Pro-Tec, 411, Hurley, and Fender.