The Mystery Machine
Ron Silva once dubbed June to August of 1981 “Hedgehog Summer,” and it certainly seemed like the ubiquitous black leather-clad quartet, led by disgruntled Crawdaddy Silva and featuring the Ideals’ Ray Brandes, Carl Rusk and Paul Carsola, were providing the soundtrack to each and every San Diego surfer’s weekend descent into alcoholism. Autumn leaves must fall, however, and at the end of 1982, when drummer Carsola finally grew bored with wandering the streets of Mission Hills, looking for cool Pepsi bottles whilst pretending to be in the Hamburg Beatles, he left the band, declaring that he never again wanted to play anything but “Spy Music.” Ron took the Crawdaddys to Los Angeles, where they became the Howling Men, and Carl and Ray sat around 2378 Presidio Drive, longing to once again play for an appreciative audience.
Folk-rock was on the turntables that winter, and by the time the snows melted and the darling buds of May were in bloom, Carl and Ray had recruited the frequently abused and vastly underrated Mark Zadarnowski to play bass, and Ray’s little sister’s boyfriend and saxophonist-turned-keyboardist Bill Calhoun to provide three-fingered chords. The final piece of the puzzle arrived that summer in the form 5051 singer and all-around cool guy David Klowden, who lied about being able to play the drums in order to get an audition.
The Mystery Machine found its appreciative audience at a wine-and-cheese soiree thrown by Dr. and Mrs. Rusk, when it decided to hold its practice that July night in full view of the pipe-smoking, tweed-jacket set. Three official gigs followed before Carl packed up and left for the San Francisco Art Institute: the first August 12 at San Diego’s Headquarters, the second August 20 at Orange County’s Radio City, and the final gig August 26 at Los Angeles’ Lhasa Club.
Ray Brandes: vocals, tambourine • Carl Rusk: 6-string Guild Starfire, 12-string Rickenbacker 370-12, vocals • Mark Zadarnowski: bass • Bill Calhoun: Vox Jaguar • David Klowden: blue Japanese Majestic drumset
Discography: “She’s Not Mine,” Battle Of The Garages Vol.III (Voxx Records, 1984) • “She’s Not Mine,” Destination Bomp (Bomp Records, 1994) • “She’s Not Mine,” Roots of Powerpop (Bomp Records, 1996)
All Fall Down (The Standells)
No Matter What You Do (Love)
I Wanna Meet You (The Cryan’ Shames)
Baby What Am I Gonna Do? (The Dovers)
Going Out of My Mind (The Easybeats)
Funny Feelin’ (The Easybeats)
All Good Things (The Remains)
She’s Not Mine (Carl Rusk)
Untitled Original (Carl Rusk)
One by One (The Blues Magoos)
She’s Gone (The Dovers)
I’m Not Trying to Hurt You (The Outsiders)