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Images from the L.A. rock scene of 1978 to 1989

Demonstrating for Quiet Riot, 1979. Photo: Ken Papaleo
As a New Yorker I’ve sometimes asked myself why Los Angeles often didn’t appear to produce as many good musical acts as its size might lead you to expect. This was in the 1990s and after, when the closest answer to “What’s L.A.‘s answer to the Pixies?” might well have been “the Red Hot Chili Peppers,” which isn’t a great answer. My indie-rock bias and physical distance from the L.A. scene aren’t the only factors that would lead me to underrate what the city has produced, another one would be time. If you jump back just a decade or two, L.A.‘s music scene was as vital as anything the country had to offer, what with Minutemen, Black Flag, the Go-Go’s, RHCP, X, and the Dickies, not to mention such hard rock stalwarts as Van Halen, Faster Pussycat, Motley Crüe, and Guns ‘n’ Roses. And that only scratches the surface, as an invigorating new photo exhibition suggests.

Opening yesterday, the Los Angeles Public Library has a remarkable exhibition dedicated to throwing open the library’s Herald Examiner archives (as well as the Gary Leonard collection) for the years 1978 to 1989. The show features iconic shots of talents as diverse as Eddie Van Halen and Eazy-E as well as countless other important vital contributors to the L.A. music scene. At its best, L.A. music possessed a theatricality and immediate legibility that other cities may have lacked. Not sure what exactly that quality was, but the word “glitz” has been used so often to describe L.A. that we’ll just go with that one. And yet glitz had nothing whatsoever to do with the trenchant and incendiary punk of Minutemen or Black Flag or Descendents. Los Angeles is 100 neighborhoods in search of a city, and its music scene reflects that too, in a good way.

The exhibition is called “From Pop to the Pit: LAPL Photo Collection Celebrates the Los Angeles Music Scene, 1978-1989,” and it can be visited at the History & Genealogy Department of the Central Library location at 630 W. 5th Street through June 28. In addition to the acts shown here, the exhibition covers such diverse musical talents as Jetboy, All, the Runaways, Burning Tree, Faster Pussycat, the Nymphs, X, and the Unforgiven.

The show features an attractive catalog that runs a very affordable $13.75 on Amazon.

Dream Syndicate, ca. 1982. Photo: Dean Musgrove

Minutemen, 1983. Photo: James Ruebsamen

The Go-Gos, 1981. Photo: Anne Knudsen
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Gorburger talks cock with Flea (Kinda NSFW)

Gorburger has tea with Flea, where the foul-mouthed, alien/monster/talk show host asks the musician/writer/actor about his cock, its sock size, and what to do about unrequited love.

From The Gorburger Show season 2, episode 1.



Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Flea releases solo EP ‘Helen Burns’: Featuring Patti Smith

Over the past couple of days, Flea has caused a major tremor of excitement as he announced news of his first solo EP Helen Burns.

Described as unlike anything he has created with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Flea tweeted that:

i recorded most of the ep when we finished our tour for stadium arcadium. it is not rhcp music or even close to it. it is a trippy freakout.

on helen burns, i play trumpet, bass, synthesizers, drum machine, piano, and a bunch of other shit

all proceeds from my helen burns ep will go towards the silverlake conservatory of music

it will be available for down load at any price you want to pay, it will be a donation to the silverlake conservatory of music

Patti Smith also sings on the EP, along with the Conservatory Choir, and a vinyl copy is also available which “is autographed and contains a piece of a bass string” which Flea has played live.

Over at the download page, Flea added:

Hi people who like The Red Hot Chili Peppers! I love you a lot! Mucho! Just wanted to give you a heads up about this little record “Helen Burns” I am putting out on the Silverlake Conservatory website.

Warning! It is not a Chili Peppers record. It does not have songs that are like the Chili Peppers at all. It is a mostly instrumental, weird and arty record, the music is mostly just me creating soundscapes that are very emotional for me, but certainly not for everyone! Just me tripping out at home. I am putting it out to raise money for The Silverlake Conservatory of Music a community based non profit music school that i am an integral part of. There you have it. See you all soon i hope! and all proceeds from the Helen Burns will go to the Silverlake Conservatory of Music.

I reckon most of our DM readers will love Flea’s excellent Helen Burns EP, which you can Download here, and follow the great man on twitter here.
Now, as a bonus here’s an early RHCP interview with Flea and Anthony Kiedis from 1986.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Red Hot Chili Peppers rock out with their cocks out, Germany, 1985
06:42 pm


George Clinton
Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers live at the Rockplast Festival, Essen, Germany on August 17, 1985. According to the YouTube poster, this was the first show the Red Hot Chili Peppers ever played outside the USA. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but the group’s enthusiasm level is palpably high here and the band are obviously having a great time.

The audio/video quality on this is an A+ and the performance is bold, punchy and tight. I’ve seen the RHCP in concert a number of times over the years and they always deliver live. This typically energetic show is certainly no exception.

George Clinton, who produced their second album Freaky Styley, appears during “Hollywood. For the encore of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire,” the ballsy band return to the stage clad only in their socks. GIVE UP THE FUNK!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
LA Punks: A TV News investigation from 1983

In 1983, KTTV Channel 11 News aired a series of reports on Punk Rock and “punkers” in Los Angeles area. It’s a fascinating over-view of the West Coast Punk bands, people and fashions, though at times veers into self-parody, as reporter Chris Harris pitches his story with all the earnestness of an Alan Partridge, who thinks he’s uncovered a Pulitzer-winning scoop of teenage “violence, abuse and self-destruction”, only to find it’s all just a bit of fun.

Harris kicks off his 5-part investigation with a look at a riot in Mendiola’s Ballroom, explaining what happened and asking that always pertinent question:

“Did the police use excessive force?”

I think we know the answer to that. Three cheers then, for Harris as he states quite categorically that violence was the exception and not the norm with “punkers”.

Listening to some of these young people talk, one could almost imagine they were talking about current events and OWS, as they discuss hopes for change, and that “the world will get better.” Plus ca change…

The series includes rarely seen footage of many of LA’s punk bands, and has interviews the likes of Spit Stix and Lee Ving of Fear, Keith Morris of Circle Jerks, Nick Lamagna and Felix Alanis from RF7.
Also, look out for a young Flea, seen here just prior to his quitting Fear and joining the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The whole of the KTTV Channel 11 News investigation of Punk, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment