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Since the late 1970s, California has had a thriving regional punk rock movement. It primarily consists of (but is not limited to) bands from the Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, San Francisco, and San Diego areas.

Contents

History

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Pre-1976

Los Angeles had a very strong glam rock scene in the early 1970s and, as was the case in New York and London, many figures from the glam rock scene would play notable roles in the later punk scene. The LA glam rock scene was centered around a club called the English Disco, run by Rodney Bingenheimer, who later, as a disc jockey for KROQ's "Rodney on the Rock", did much to promote LA punk bands.

In the mid-1970s, a wave of protopunk hard rock bands emerged, most notably The Runaways.

1976–1980

Starting in 1976, following the exposure of punk bands like the New York Dolls, Ramones, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned, Buzzcocks and the Stranglers, a number of punk bands began to form in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas. Among these bands were The Weirdos, The Germs, The Dils, The Go-Go's, The Screamers, The Dickies, X, The Plugz, The Weasels, The Zeros, and The Bags in Los Angeles, and The Avengers, The Nuns, Crime, Mutants,Tattooed Vegetables, Negative Trend and the Dead Kennedys in San Francisco. California punk of this period was musically very eclectic, and the punk scene of the time included a number of bands whose sound strongly crossed over to Art Punk, new wave, synthpunk, Rockabilly, chicano rock, and hard rock.

Around 1978–1979 in Southern California, the first hardcore punk bands arose, including Middle Class, Black Flag, ANTI and the Circle Jerks. Hardcore bands and fans tended to be younger than punks of the older LA scene and came mainly from the suburban parts of the Los Angeles and San Diego area, especially the South Bay and Orange County and San Diego. This resulted in a rivalry between the older "Hollywood" scene and the hardcore "suburban", "surf punk", or "beach punk" scene. Those in the "Hollywood" scene often disliked what they saw as the musical narrowness of hardcore and the violence associated with "suburban" punks (the Orange County and San Diego punk scenes had a particular reputation for violence), while the "suburban" punks looked down on what they perceived as the lack of intensity of older "Hollywood" bands (The Germs being a notable exception with lead singer Darby Crash) and the fashion consciousness of "Hollywood" punks. The Penelope Spheeris documentary The Decline of Western Civilization, shot in 1979 and 1980, documents the period when the older LA punk scene was giving way to hardcore and features performances by bands from both scenes.[1] Decline was filmed in part at punk shows sponsored and promoted by David Ferguson, who in 1979, formed CD Presents, a recording label that would record and promote a number of pioneering groups from the California punk scene. Ferguson and CD Presents organized New Wave 1980, the first festival gathering and showcasing punk bands from all over the West Coast.

The Pogo,Slam-dancing,The Mosh and The Great Tempo Change.The growing influence of So-Cal and Orange County Punk Rock on the San Francisco Punk music scene was evident in the "Tempo Change"of the late 70s: As punk music went from "slow and sloppy";[sex pistols] - to faster and faster tempos of Speed-Metal Punk [pick a band];The dance called the Pogo - "Hopping up and down,caroming off other dancers in a pinball like fashion" - was replaced by "Slam-dancing" a bit rougher version of the Pogo and then came the 'Mosh';a "reckless new phenomena."- The "Mosh pit" was where punks would "Mosh" about in a circle with their "fists flying out to the sides in such a way as to strike other random Moshers".This produced quite a bit more bloodshed during punk shows in the last few years of the 70s..The faster the song - the more violent the Moshing.This was a major game-change in punk rock shows.Now punk dancing had become more "sporting"and more people joined in on the dance floors.

By 1981, hardcore had largely displaced the older Hollywood scene and become the dominant expression of punk in both Northern and Southern California. By this time, many of the older punk bands had broken up or become relatively inactive. A few, such as The Go-Go's, ANTI, The Dickies, and X, went on to mainstream success (in some cases abandoning punk entirely), while a few others, such as The Dead Kennedys, embraced hardcore.

1981–1986

In the early 1980s in California, hardcore was the dominant form of punk. Many considered Black Flag to be the definitive hardcore band of the time. Other notable hardcore bands active in that period included the Circle Jerks, The Adolescents, Bad Religion, Youth Brigade, Fear, Rich Kids on LSD (RKL), Minutemen and TSOL in Southern California, and The Dead Kennedys, Crucifix and The Afflicted in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Though hardcore became dominant during this period, punk also began to diversify. Agent Orange had a noticeable surf rock influence, while The Angry Samoans were strongly influenced by 1960s garage rock. The Descendents and The Vandals developed a sound later known as pop punk. Flipper never embraced hardcore at all, instead having a highly unique, slow, distorted, bass-heavy sound that some credit as having influenced later grunge music. Social Distortion became popular by playing a form of Punk Rock mixed with a rockabilly/Rock n'roll influence.

Heavy metal music was also a strong influence on many of the hardcore punk bands of the time, with some bands, such as Suicidal Tendencies, Black Flag, and TSOL strongly crossing over to heavy metal later in their careers. The genres of crossover thrash, thrashcore and metalcore grew out of this fusion.

The hardcore scene, particularly in Los Angeles and Orange County, gained a reputation for violence because several violent punk gangs had formed in Southern California, and because white power skinheads latched onto the punk scene in both Northern and Southern California. Reputed violence at punk concerts was featured in episodes of the popular television shows CHiPs and Quincy, M.E., in which Los Angeles hardcore punks were depicted as being involved in murder and mayhem.[2] In the early 1980s, punk concerts increasingly became sites of violent battles between police and concertgoers, particularly in Los Angeles, but also in San Francisco. Henry Rollins argued that in his experience, the police caused far more problems than they solved at punk performances. At one point, Black Flag was under heavy surveillance by police convinced that the band was the cover for a drug ring.

Many punk lyrics during this period focused heavily on anarchist, leftist, or progressive politics, and was seen as a reaction to Ronald Reagan-era politics.

1987–1995

By the end of the 1980’s Black Flag, The Dead Kennedys, The Descendents and Flipper had all broken up, and a new scene was developing in the San Francisco Bay Area. This new scene would produce bands like Screw 32, American Steel, Blatz, Crimpshrine, Operation Ivy, Green Day, Good Riddance, Jawbreaker, The Lookouts, The Mr. T Experience, NOFX, No Use for a Name, Rancid, Samiam, AFI and Swingin' Utters.

Some Los Angeles area groups like Guttermouth, Jughead's Revenge, Lagwagon, The Offspring, and Pennywise, also started to gain a following during this era. This was also true for some bands in other areas of the state such as Sacramento's The Groovie Ghoulies. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, San Diego was home to a burgeoning post-hardcore scene centered around bands like Pitchfork, Rocket From the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, and Unwritten Law. Several of these bands played important roles in the so-called math rock movement.

During this time the punk off-shoot queercore gained an audience in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Notable bands such as Pansy Division and Tribe 8 worked with queercore specific labels such as Outpunk, as well as with punk labels such as Alternative Tentacles and Lookout! Records.

Shortly after the Rodney King beating video was made public Oxnard punk band Global Warning writes and releases "Beat Me Right" as a direct response denouncing the police and their tactics.

Unlike the last wave of bands who had harder music and that lyrics focused much on politics, many of the San Francisco bands (with a few exceptions like NOFX) had more Ramones influenced music, that include a more pop punk sound, and lyrics that focused on things like relationships and having fun -- traits that are arguably anti-Punk.

Many of these bands also appeared on Lookout! Records, a label started by Lookouts frontman Larry Livermore. They also helped make successful the well-known club,[citation needed] 924 Gilman Street.

Mainstream success

In 1989, Social Distortion signed with Epic Records becoming the first band from the scene, since The Dickies in the late 70's, to get a major label deal. Their album, simply titled, Social Distortion became a minor hit with four singles "Let It Be Me", "Ball and Chain", "Story of My Life" and a cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" all charting on the Modern Rock Tracks top 25.

In 1993, following the success of Social Distortion, and other punk-influenced bands like Green Day signed a deal with Reprise Records and released their first major label album Dookie in 1994. Dookie became a huge success, peaking at #2 on the Billboard top 200 album chart. Shortly after the success of Dookie, The Offspring’s album Smash achieved similar results. However Smash unlike Dookie, was released by Independent punk label Epitaph Records, becoming the bestselling independent album of all time, and paving the way for other independent punk bands to achieve success. Blink-182 having already released their debut album Cheshire Cat were beginning to gather a following in San Diego and they would soon grow, along with The Offspring and similar bands to achieve massive mainstream success in the late 1990s.

Soon thereafter, Blink 182, Green Day and The Offspring, were joined by Bad Religion, NOFX, and Rancid, whose albums Stranger Than Fiction, Punk in Drublic, and ...And Out Come the Wolves, were all certified Gold or Platinum (with the last two being released on Epitaph).

The success of these bands, also led to success for Southern California ska punk bands like No Doubt, Sublime, Reel Big Fish, and Goldfinger.

Art

The proliferation of punk concerts and albums in California generated a like proliferation of flyer and album cover art. Some of the artists involved in producing art for the early punk scene later went on to greater notability. Mark Vallen, a painter and graphic artist, was associated with the early LA punk scene; his work was featured on a number of fanzine and album covers. Gary Panter was also closely associated with the early LA punk scene and produced The Screamers distinctive logo. Raymond Pettibon (brother of Greg Ginn of Black Flag) was similarly associated with the LA hardcore scene, especially Black Flag and The Minutemen, producing Black Flag's distinctive "four bars" logo. Winston Smith, a San Francisco collage artist, was associated with the Dead Kennedys and also did a piece of artwork named "God Told Me to Skin You Alive" for Green Day's fourth album "Insomniac".

Notable venues

X 2004 concert photo at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco
  • 924 Gilman Street - Berkeley, 1986–present
  • Barrington Hall – Berkeley, until 1984
  • The Barn - Riverside, Ca
  • The Casbah – San Diego, 1989–present
  • Cathay de Grande – Hollywood, 1980s
  • Chain Reaction - Anaheim, 1990's-present
  • Che Cafe – San Diego, 1980–present
  • Club 12XU - Pomona Mid 1980s
  • Club Foot – San Francisco, 1978–1985
  • Club Vex – East Los Angeles, 1980s
  • Cobalt Cafe Canoga Park 1990-Present
  • Cuckoo's Nest – Orange County, 1978–1981
  • The Deaf Club – San Francisco, 1978–1979
  • The Elite Club – San Francisco, early 1980s
  • Fairmont Hall - San Diego, 1982-1985
  • Fenders Ballroom - Long Beach
  • The Farm – San Francisco, late 1970s–1980s
  • The Fatty Mocha – Merced - 1995-2000
  • Fleetwood – South Bay, late 1970s–1980s
  • The Glass House – Pomona, 1995-present
  • Godzilla's – Sun Valley, December 1981-January 1982 run by BYO
  • The Headquarters Nite Club - San Diego, 1981-1983
  • Jabberjaw Coffeehouse - Los Angeles, 1992-1996
  • Journey Night Club - San Diego, 1981-1982
  • The Jumping Turtle - San Marcos, 2006-present
  • Kings Road Cafe - San Diego, 1982-1984
  • Mabuhay Gardens – San Francisco, 1976–1986
  • Madame Wong's – Los Angeles, 1978–1985
  • North Park Lions Club - San Diego, 1979-1982
  • The Masque – Los Angeles, 1977–1979
  • On Broadway – San Francisco, 1980–1984
  • P.C.H Club - Wilmington, CA 1997-2000
  • The Phoenix Theater - Petaluma, 1982-present
  • Ruthie's Inn – Berkeley, 1980s
  • The Skeleton Club - San Diego, 1978-1979
  • The Showcase Theatre - Corona, 1994-2008
  • Slims - San Francisco
  • The Smell – Los Angeles, 1997–present
  • SOMA - San Diego, 1986-1999, 2002-present
  • Sound of Music (nightclub)– San Francisco, early 1980s
  • Spanky's - Riverside, Ca late 80s early 90s
  • Starwood Club – Los Angeles, late 1970s–1980s
  • Target Video – San Francisco, 1978–1981
  • Temple Beautiful – San Francisco, 1978–1980
  • Valencia Tool & Die – San Francisco, late 1970s–early 1980s
  • Majestic Ventura Theater - Ventura, Late 1980's-present
  • Whisky a Go Go – Los Angeles, 1964–1982, 1986–present
  • Jerry's Pizza & Pub - Bakersfield, 1999-present
  • Club Fred / Audie's Olympic Tavern - Fresno, 1980s-present
  • Chinatown Youth Center - Fresno, 2008-present

Notable labels

While a few bands like Green Day, The Offspring, and AFI appear on major labels, many of the bands are signed to local independent punk labels. Many of these labels were started by local musicians as a way to sell their own bands records, but grew into labels with a large roster of bands. Some of these labels include:

Fanzines

See also

References

  1. ^ Spitz, Mark and Mullen, Brendan. (2001). We've Got The Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk. New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-609-80774-9
  2. ^ Battle of the Bands - CHiPs Wiki

External links


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