Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The genesis of Elvis Christ

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

(Jack Gamboa continues his Che-infused memoir of his mid-’80s band.)

Elvis Christ "On the Gym Steps"; UCSD, Friday March 6, 1987 (collection Jack Gamboa)It was the very first day of school after summer break. I was walking to my Propaganda Films of the Third Reich lecture. (I had already taken Bram Dijkstra’s “Devils, Vampires and Other Horrible Creatures of 19th Century Literature.”) Suddenly on the path to the quad I saw my best childhood friend Steve. I had not seen him in months!

Elvis Christ; "On the Gym Steps," UCSD, March 6, 1987 (collection Jack Gamboa)He was a guitarist, so we were talking about the local band scene, I was telling him about the rockabilly outfit the Wild Desires. I “BongoChild” drummed for Dave “LadiesLove” Ellison on Magnatone Typhoon and bass legend Andy “ThunderTrain” Seidlinger on lownotes. A bad-ass situation too perfect to last. We had broken up a few months before. Andy had also been playing my borrowed drums for a pair of punks who called themselves Leather Geek, but he transferred to UCLA to study Structural Engineering. I told Steve: “I would love to meet up with Leather Geek! I never saw them play, but I hear that they threw legendary parties. Rumor has it that Jory is an excellent guitarist, and Eric did a poetry reading of ‘Walk This Way’ by Aerosmith!” Steve was laughing and digging that. So we were gossiping about musicians and stuff like that. We turned a corner and entered an open lawn area (I think it was called ‘the Quad’ in those days) …


The Penetrators in August:
SDMA lifetime kudos, Casbah gig

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Detail: Penetrators group shotAugust 2011 is a momentous month for San Diego hometown heroes the Penetrators, when lead singer Gary Heffern returns from Finland in time for the band to receive a recognition for lifetime achievement at the 2011 San Diego Music Awards August 8! The event will also occasion another Penetrators reunion performance at the Casbah August 13.

“As a child, I was told, ‘You will never amount to anything,’ ” Heff recalls. “Still that voice in the back of my head repeats that over and over again. It’s a mantra I fight against on a daily basis.

“When I first heard the Ramones’ ‘Beat on the Brat,’ the New York Dolls’ ‘Trash’ and the Sex Pistols’ ‘No Future,’ they weren’t just words but anthems to me, something that was personal, and all mine … People who understood those songs and what they meant to me became instant friends … It was us against the world …


The Crawdaddys at Rhino Records!

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

(Crawdaddys Redux: Joe Piper channels his inner Andrew Loog Oldham to write this eyewitness account of the Crawdaddys’ long-awaited return to the stage last Sunday.)

What was originally intended to be a “low-key warmup gig” for the reunited ’81-model Crawdaddys prior to their jetting off to Spain for a prestigious appearance alongside The Nashville Ramblers at a bullfight or somesuch (actually “Go Sinner Go!! 2011″), quickly turned into The Event Of The Summer one whole day before summer even officially kicked off.

A capacity crowd crammed into the Rhino Records pop-up store on Santa Monica Blvd. last Sunday evening to raise money for a most worthy cause (MusiCares, providing a safety net for music people in times of need — feel free to contribute any time) and get their Rave Up R&B groove thangs righteously refurbed.


Local heroes

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Detail: The Penetrators onstageRay Brandes is not only a San Diego musical treasure in his own right; he’s also established himself as a remarkable curator of our musical history.

Ray’s recent biographies of the Penetrators, the Unknowns, the Crawdaddys and the Zeros, among others, are unprecedented for their depth, narrative clarity, and comprehensive work with the original musicians and other key sources.

Other contributors to Che Underground: The Blog have added more pieces to the puzzle, with posts on formative bands such as 5051, Claude Coma and the IVs, and the Injections.


Then and now: Adams Avenue Theater

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

(Roving correspondent/ photographer Kristen Tobiason revisits and documents the scenes of our youth. Today, the Adams Avenue Theater meets “Project Runway”!)

Detail: Discount Fabrics marquee, August 2008 (photo by Kristen Tobiason)No one could have imagined that this hallmark of our glory days, the Adams Avenue Theater (3325 Adams Ave.), would metamorphose into something so random as Discount Fabrics. I don’t think it’s as humiliating as it is simply bizarre.

The humiliation occurred in the late ’80s, during the venue’s brief reincarnation as the Purple Rain Club. The transforming of a theater into a fabric store has a thread of irony that keeps San Diego “weird.” Frankly, I prefer it to the gentrification that has sucked the charm out of other neighborhoods.

Discount Fabrics never remodeled. Outside of the merchandise, everything looks the same as it did. A quarter-century later, there is still a reflection of the building’s punk-rock roots. Shadows still linger, and I can imagine an entryway streaked with the scuff of Doc Martens and cigarette butts; blood, sweat and spit in the hall; the pit, a cluster of motion, like hornets, swinging fists and bodies, a stage bomb, a swan dive from the balcony …

Detail: Discount Fabrics balcony, August 2008 (photo by Kristen Tobiason)Detail: Discount Fabrics entry, August 2008 (photo by Kristen Tobiason)Detail: Discount Fabrics stairway, August 2008 (photo by Kristen Tobiason)Detail: Discount Fabrics facade, August 2008 (photo by Kristen Tobiason)Detail: Discount Fabrics stage area, August 2008 (photo by Kristen Tobiason)


Welcome to the Che Underground!

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

This site and blog will be the gathering spot for us to assemble the inside story on the vibrant scene that flowered in San Diego around 1983 and 1984 and performed many of its most crucial shows at UCSD’s Che Cafe.

This “Che Underground” encompassed the varied sounds of the Answers, Hair Theatre, Noise 292, the Rockin’ Dogs, and the original and definitive Wallflowers. It spawned collaborations and friendships that have lasted a quarter-century. But it produced few artifacts and monuments, since the participants were frankly too busy enjoying the creative milieu to document it systematically.

We plan to change that. Welcome to the Che Underground!