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1980's Los Angeles


adore ohara / brave dog
Adore O'Hara

LA Punk Rock 1980s1980's punk / new wave scene
Billy Eye Downtown / June 25, 1981

"It's a weakness to want to be a hero. It's a weakness to go onstage and jump up and down. But it's a weakness that makes some of us a very good living."
- Pete Townsend

1980s punk los angeles

red wedding / LA punk
Red Wedding

Picture if you will a small dark bar crowded with punkers, gothic romantics and assorted downtown derelicts listening to and cheering- an opera tenor?!? In Diva make-up no less.

Adore O'Hare is an original amidst a crowd of derivatives- a logical extension of the underground music/performance movement. Closely cropped green hair, dressed in layers of scarves and multi-colored paraphernalia over the traditional jacket and tie, this large and imposing figure captivated an audience that most performers would think twice before facing - the weekend crowd at the Brave Dog.

This man is both bizarre and intriguing- presenting a variety of arias from Verde to Bizet- from Rossini to Mozart, his falsetto voice piercing the air, waving scarves and throwing beer into an audience obviously enjoying the novelty of it all. For whatever reason, a fair amount of talent perhaps, this guy struck a cord this night and walked offstage to the cheers of the audience ringing in his ears. Not so when he played the Cathay De Grande a few nights later; they were not as impressed and booed him offstage.

Still, what is novelty today may yet blossom into a whole new wave of performers- a movement back to the real roots of modern music. Time will tell if Adore O'Hara is what Lillian Hellman would call a 'kid of the moment' or a pioneer into a new phase of the artist in performance. Adore O'Hara himself told me, "I would like to be a catalyst, but not a martyr!"

- rare audio from his single-

red wedding Red Wedding

There are several groups that have a firm grip on a new music form, 'romantic', 'art-rock' or whatever you want to call it, groups that are imminently entertaining- particularly Wall of Voodoo, The Originals, Wild Kingdom, Strong Silent Types, among others. Red Wedding, who recently shed the name 'Hey Taxi!' and added a new drummer (Brian Ford), fits this category as well. The band made their glam debut on June 13 at the Brave Dog and it was an enveloping experience. It was also the second time this year that they have played the Brave Dog on Friday the thirteenth, whatever that must mean.

LA punk Rock 1980sRed Wedding plays music for the mind and guitarist Jim 'Spider' Taylor is one of the most incredible musicians you can hope to see anywhere for five bucks.

Red Wedding Album
- rare audio from the LP 'Up And Down The Aisle' -
"All Dressed Up", an LA underground classic.
In Real Audio format.

Another fine group, Wild Kingdom, plays mesmerising power-punk-pop that soaks in influences from all over the world, I saw them recently at Al's Bar. What they do best is juxtapose varient musical styles with bright vocals and the result is fun, fun, fun. Wild Kingdom always brings you an eclectic presentation, and they are also one of the most influentual bands on the scene.

Wild Kingdom pushes the boundaries of musical expression, and they do it with enthusiasm and strong individual performances. They've been playing the clubs a lot lately, they even have bookings on the Westside, so catch them.

If you want to see some of what I'm talking about, how about a show this weekend . . .
Aphotic Culture, Neighbor's Voices (who have been opening recently for Oingo-Boingo), and the bizarre performance artist Priscilla B (formerly of another group, but their name escapes me) at the Brave Dog on Saturday, June 27, 418 East First Street. Or just drop by Al's Bar sometime and see some of the stellar entertainment, 305 South Hewitt, both of these dumps are downtown.

los illegals / la bandEast LA's premiere punk club, Vex, is closing it's doors after a couple of great years presenting avante/hardcore bands like The Adolescents, Minutemen, Los Illegals, and many, many others.

The O.N. Club in Silverlake (3037 Sunset Blvd.) has been booking Ska/hardcore bands with great success and adding some name bands to their bookings as well. The O.N. Club is a wild place to hang out, among the crumbling infastructure of forgotten Silver Lake. Or as I like to call it, West East LA.

missing persons / dale bozzio

Missing Persons

Missing Persons has received a bit of coverage here. Judy and Eye just saw them recently at the new Dillon's near the UCLA campus in Westwood.

This was only the second time we both attended the same event (Eye don't get out to the Westside much), and this is one of those times we happily agree.

She will do the reviewing, I'll just say how impressed I am at the rate this group progresses, carefully refining their stage presence and material.

Their show is now remarkably different than the Topanga Corral show reviewed here a while back. I was especially knocked out by the way Missing Persons has taken their song "Walking in LA" from the weak, bouncy song it was, and turned it into a vital, searing, fast paced, biting reflection of the city around us.

punk rock LAJudy Zee will elaborate...

Read Judy's review
of Missing Persons


Red Wedding

Red Wedding

Here is a response to this article . . .

I am a big guy - and not skinny - and I remember freaking out both Adore O'Hare who tsked-tsked and Christian Death's Rozz Williams who groaned just be existing . . .

I remember smoking dope with George Hurley and Mike Watt on an old VW bug in the alley behuind the Brave Dog and them talking about this new band (the Minutemen) they had just formed. I remember hanging with an old friend John Dentino before the Fibonaccis. Ron Springer of the Fibonaccis, by the way, is now a priest. Hey Taxi were great. First saw them at Wong's East before the Brave Dog existed and we were blown away. Spider was a classic Chris Spedding type. Is he still playing? Why Nut were awesome too. A perfect Mexican punk band. I ran into Emiliano somewhere several years ago.

By the way--Edwin of the afore-mentioned Moist and Meaty is in Cheeseburger now, they are excellent. There's another really good old Vex era band called Vida that includes Dez of Black Flag and George Hurley of the Minutemen and Tom Trocolli who roadied for all those guys back then. They are an exceptional band. Al's happened at about the same time and I cannot believe how long I've been going there. In fact I'm having my 40th Birthday bash there next Saturday. Weird. I guess if you didn't die or start a family or get addicted or go Jesus or showbiz or just fucking normal you just keep going at it. We're still married too. Excellent site. I'll be checking in again.

- Brick Wahl

"It's hard for me to believe that Red Wedding's last performance was over 15 years ago!

"Spider and I are alive and well and living in Oro Valley, Arizona (just northwest of Tucson). We've been a couple now for 29 years. It's been one long, incredible journey together, and we're still sharing good times.

Anyone who would like to say "hello" can contact us at: azpricklypair (at) worldnet.att.net.

- Michael Ely, Red Wedding


Michael Ely and Jim 'Spider' Taylor have resurfaced a new CD! "The Perfume of Creosote: Desert Exotica Part One" by Smoke & Mirrors. Click to order!

Now it's not often that I'm flummoxed, but this thing's got me beaten - what on earth category do you put it in? Is it prog-rock - or psychedelic - or ambient - or contemporary - or what? It's got all those and more across a staggering twenty-three tracks over 78 minutes of instrumental music. Bearing in mind I don't have the time to do a track-by-track breakdown, it's then very difficult to describe it as a whole. First off, it's rhythmic throughout, with chunky drums and deep bass that you'd find on something resembling a mix of Can, Banco de Gaia & early Ozrics. Then there's the melodies - lots and lots of layers of synths, keyboards and guitars, all presented in easily digestible chunks that are incredibly addictive, tunes like prog, atmospheres like ambience, powerful like Krautrock and heady like psychedelia - yet all so clean and full-sounding in terms of arrangements and production.. I have to say that I loved every minute of it, but who out there is going to buy it without a great leap of faith in my - and others - review, I really couldn't say. Something so different shouldn't be this good - but it is.

These original Data-Boy Music columns have been collected in a book with LOTS of new material and photos - it's the story of Data-Boy magazine and the LA Punk / Post-Punk scene. The story presented is a lot more complete!

LA Punk Rock

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Punk Rock Los Angeles


10-7-80 The first article, The Masque, Punk bands, Darby Crash & The Germs, The Garage

10-21-80 The Toasters, Great Buildings, The Go-Gos

11-2-80 New Wave nights in Hollywood, T.S.O.L, Shandi, The Smog Marines

11-16-80 Grace Jones, The Nobodys, Billy Sheets and the Elites, The Talking Heads

12-1-80 Hollywood Boulevard 'punks'

12-27-80 End of the year wrap-up, The Naughtie Sweeties, Dead Kennedys, Fear, punk riot in the OC

12-27-80 David Bowie as The Elephant Man

spinWORLDemail us!


1-05-81 Devo, Rock Against Racism

1-19-81 John Hiatt and The Toasters at the Starwood

2-03-81 Wendy O Williams, London aka Motley Crue, and Live Nude Girl

2-17-81 The Veil, Darby Crash death, Phil Seymour and The Textones

3-5-81 New wave night at the Odyssey, Ray Manzerek

3-19-81 The East LA scene, Hey Taxi!, The Rentz, The Plugz, The Detour, Human Sexual Response

3-19-81 Judy Zee on LA radio in 1981

4-02-81 Tonio K & Romeo Void, Oki-Dog, Flippers, A week in the LA clubs

4-16-81 XTC, Wall of Voodoo, Madame
Wong, and The Pop

4-30-81 U2 and Missing Persons

5-14-81 Billy Eye Rock Awards, Manakin

5-28-81 Missing Persons at the Topanga Corral

6-11-81 The Brat, Parapalegic Infants in Downtown LA and U2 in Santa Monica

6-25-81 Performance artist Adore O'Hare, downtown clubs, Red Wedding

6-25-81 Missing Persons in Westwood

7-09-81 Los Illegals, The Brat in Hollywood, Al's Bar, Johanna Went, Jerry Lee Lewis

7-09-81 John Cale live at The Whisky

7-23-81 Brave Dog, Stiff Little Fingers with Missing Persons, The Grandmothers

8-06-81 Bow Wow Wow, Malcolm McLaren, Mad Society, Ian Hunter , and the new psychedelia

8-22-81 Missing Persons, Jean Pierre Rampal

9-07-81 Filming at the Brave Dog, Red Wedding, Atomic Cafe, The Stains, Los Illegals, East LA bands

10-06-81 KROQ of the '80s, hardcore EPs, Missing Persons at The Whisky

10-20-81 West Hollywood & the end of The Starwood

4-7-82 New Wave Theatre, Aphotic Culture, The Waitresses and The Plimsouls

5-07-82 In the clubs, The Spoons, Nick Lowe, Madame Wong's West, Angry Samoans, Motley Crue

5-21-82 Interview with Terry Bozzio in 1982

8-27-82 Missing Persons, Red Wedding at the Whisky, Dream Syndicate, The Untouchables, The Go-Gos, Orange County hardcore

1-12-83 End of the year, Minutemen, Fear, Gun Club, Theoretical party, KROQ, Missing Persons

3-14-85 Red Wedding closes The Odyssey in 1985

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