Sit back, relax and I’ll impart a Tale Of Punk Rock. Children, I guess I was lucky enough to have witnessed some of the most notorious music ever to be wrung out of a Plain White T-Shirt. I’m speaking today about hitting up Hollywood at least a couple times a week back in the late 1970’s , having my ears and eyes blown out by a bevy of artists, the likes of which will never be seen or heard again. The Bags, The Weirdos, The Germs, Zeros, Catholic Discipline, Johanna Went, IUD, I could go on for a week…and then we have THE ALLEY CATS hailing from glorious downtown LOMITA, CALIFORNIA. Randy Stodola, Diane Chai, and John McCarthy. Quite possibly the hardest working band from this, the inception, and sadly the last vestige in my memory, of anything truly interesting happening in The Los Angeles Music “Scene”. Got me? This was when you could go to a show at The Starwood, The Roxy, The Whikey A Go-Go, The Masque…have a blast, Pogo on a slippery, beer soaked floor, fall down, and before you hit the floor, someone would grab your arm and pull you right back up on your feet. Poseur Clothing in Hollywood wasn’t open yet with their phony Pre-Fab Punk Rock Garb. There were a lot of Thrift Shop skinny ties, mohair sweaters and fedoras. I must have seen The Alley Cats about fifty times. Hollywood, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Orange County. It didn’t matter where you were. They were everywhere. Randy and I have been friends for years. He’s one of the most well read, funny, talented, and articulate chaps I’ve ever met. He’s given me a few amazing things lately. Original Dangerhouse singles (one is a test pressing). Some very old and precious show flyers. He autographed my copy of Nothing Means Nothing…”Good Luck, Saint Dirk, Randy.” You can see the tattered nature of my original “Nothing” single. They changed the artwork later because you couldn’t see John in the photo. Hence the Porno-Style Moustachioed John McCarthy on the second version. How fucking Punk Rock is that? 100% Punk Rock. John is a powerhouse drummer…a very dynamic performer. Diane? Well, just forget it. Not another female (nor male) punk rock musician got anywhere near her possessed, throbbing demeanor. Okay, Alice Bag is right on par. Randy Stodola…one of the very few Punk Players that could actually play any kind of lead guitar. His lyrics border on the psychedelic. Street stories about a kid being killed by a limousine, Ice cream, Jesus, Junk and despair. Randy gave me the snapshot seen here. The Alley Cats playing at The Masque September 1977!!! There was a time when Dez Cadena’s father Ozzie was booking Jazz Shows here in San Pedro at The Sheraton Hotel. Kenny Burrell was playing and Randy, Mike Watt and I went out for the night. Randy showed up wearing Pseudo-Pirate Gear. Eye Patch…the whole bit. The Bouncer announced that he wasn’t going to let Randy in. I remember asking “Don’t you know who this is? Do you know who you’re talking to here?” The guy looked so confused at my line of question and was left with no option but to promptly admit us into the venue. Back to the map. I’ve included a video with this post to give a taste of what things used to be. Thanks to Randy for so many great shows and wonderful songs…it is all so deeply etched.
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I love this guitar. It’s been beaten. It’s been smoked on. Maybe been in a few Topless Bars. It has almost zero frets left. Worked to death without retirement. It’s light weight. It sings. These went to a double Seth Lover Designed Humbucker-Pickup configuration right after this, but I love a Telecaster and this has the standard Tele Design. Not to knock the Seth Lover Pickups…they’re great with a maple fretboard! Get yourself an original 70’s Starcaster and see what I mean. Paul Reed Smith is like “Lips and Dicks” (hot dogs?) compared to the tone you can get from either of these Telecasters that I’m describing. I guess I won’t be getting a Paul Reed Smith Dealership anytime soon but who cares? No love lost. I found this guitar in Dallas about twenty five years ago. Check out the Dry Lake-Bed Smoke-Stained Pickguard. The worn-out attributes and cracks in the wood…my floor! Who could ask for more? I’ve played some of the Mexican Manufactured Models and some are great and cost way less than one of these originals, but you should buy one! Not from me though, those people won’t give an independent guitar shop the time of day now. Am I bitter? No, probably just disappointed that in the good old days these Sales-Clowns would drive all over the country, beg, and take on Dealerships with anyone who would just talk to them after getting out of their Country Squire Wagon and show them a piece or two. Now, you’ve got to be NASA or something to get them to even deal with you. Here I go again, crying about the state of things….when people are starving and rioting and/or making tons of money. Buy a Telecaster from a small shop and see what you can do! I have three of them and they’re all amazing! Give up The Strat Habit! Jazzmasters and Telecasters are the best guitars Leo ever brought to life. Oh yeah, and put on some Harry Nilsson. It will blow your 2011 mind!
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