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Save Music in Chinatown 2 recap with Money Mark, CH3, and Hector Penalosa from The Zeros; plus bonus reviews: Dum Dum Girls, A Minor Forest, Kevin Seconds
Friday, Feb 14, 2014 4:01PM / Standard Entry
The second Save Music in Chinatown benefit gig took place last Sunday. Yes, it was rad and I’m not just saying that because my wife and I started the series to raise money for music education at our daughter’s school. On a purely musical level, it was a dream bill for me that started with DJ Adam Bomb playing the best of SoCal punk (Weirdos, Germs, Adolescents, you get the idea).
Next up was Hector Penalosa from The Zeros, original punks from Chula Vista. That band is a national treasure and Hector is the coolest guy ever, supporting the cause since we announced it and driving up with his buddies from San Diego to take part. First he played a ripping set with his on-point Beatles band, Baja Bugs, which reminded everyone of when the Fab Four was young, rocking, and out of their minds. A real blast of primo garage rock. Then he debuted new solo material, which sounded amazing. Look for the solo record soon.
Channel Three is another legendary group that played in Chinatown during the original waves of punk. So it was really cool when they accepted my invitation to play our matinee. Although the stark gallery space with cookies and coffee on the back table was pretty much the opposite of the dark, beer-soaked bars they typically play, the band brought a full-on raging punk set that included guest contributors Maria Montoya (“You Make Me Feel Cheap”) and Tony from the Adolescents (The Simpletones’ “California,” below).
They ended the set with with their best-known song, “I’ve Got a Gun,” but turned it into “I’ve Got To Go” in recognition of the handful of kids present who could handle loud punk rock. Founding members Mike and Kimm also told a story about how they learned how to play guitar in after-school music programs. That band is as down for the cause as they are O.G. SoCal punks.
Co-headliner Money Mark is as cool as they come. When the supporting musicians who were supposed to come to the show flaked, he just brought a bunch of gear and turned his slot into a demo. He proceeded to show how he used the pile of gear that looked as if it came from thrift shops and junkyards. But mostly he showed the role of curiosity and fun in music, which captured everyone’s eardrums and imaginations. How does he turn scrap electronics into soulful funk?
The next benefit will be in May. Hopefully it will help us raise this school year’s contributions to the 10 grand level . Stay tuned for details…
The Dum Dum Girls played a sold-out record release show at the end of last month. Opening the show were the new wavy Baths (below, left, ex-Abe Vigoda) and psychedelic pop of Dream Boys (right). Very cool.
The new Dum Dum Girls record is choice slice of gothic wave, but I like the new cuts even more live. The feel is so much more rockin’ and the musicians feel more like a kick-ass band or gang of musicians to me. The expanded five-piece mixed in about half of the new songs, and I’d imagine the band will really have its touring legs back under it by the time it tours and drops in on Coachella… They’ll be a real force of nature. And did you see them on Letterman? Wow.
A reunited A Minor Forest played at The Satellite last weekend. Andee (KUSF cap) has stayed at my house with three bands: J Church, P.E.E., A Minor Forest. What a great guy, and holy crap was it great to see him on tour again. Sadly, I missed most of Rob Crow’s Gloomy place when we were jabbering away outside with our mutual friend Una Kim of Keep shoes fame.
A Minor Forest sounded amazing. How the proto math rock trio found their heavy-duty chops and regained their organic chemistry after so long is beyond me. Complicated, melodic, and heavy all at once. It’s hard to explain so you’ll have to see them for yourself when the band hits the road this spring…
Tonight, I took my daughter to the Kevin Seconds in-store at Amoeba. The Pride of Sacramento told stories and played folk-flavored (but not wimpy in any way) songs off his new album, and previewed a song off the next 7 Seconds LP. He also explained why he’s playing singer-songwriter type stuff these days. The rest of 7 Seconds has families, kids, and commitments and just can’t tour as much as he’d like. Hence, the stripped-down approach, which didn’t sound that raw at all with sweet backing vocals from his wife Allyson and gentle percussion from his friend Kepi Ghoulie.
Talked to Mr. Seconds a little bit afterward and he was nothing but cool to everyone who was lingering around the stage, hoping for an autograph, a photo, or just some mojo. When he asked Eloise what she liked, we talked a little bit about Channel Three playing our benefit. He said, ” I saw pictures of that!” How awesome is it that I get to meet so many of my musical heroes and they turn out to be awesome people…
Coming up: King Buzzo at The Satellite…
Monday, Feb 3, 2014 2:49AM / Standard Entry
I met Pat Hoed when he was playing bass for Down By Law. It was after the Chemical People moved on as Dave Smalley’s backing band, and I recall that lineup playing at Jabberjaw as well as releasing a pretty great double 7 inch. Actually, I interviewed them for Flipside, too, and I fondly recall having pato and chips with Pat and Jaime Piña at Jaime’s pad after a Chems show…
Since then, our paths have continued to cross. Way back when it would be at the Hollywood Book and Poster booth at Comic-Con and then at underground wrestling events (where Pat did commentary as Larry Rivera) in the alley behind Mondo Video A-Go-Go on Vermont. Afterward, it was at Brujeria gigs (the Satanic drug-dealing Mexican death metal band in which he donned the bandana and sang as Fantasma, whom I interviewed along with Pinche Pinch for Giant Robot) and punk movie premieres (We Jam Econo, Filmage).
But what came to mind as I was setting up the next Save Music in Chinatown show was him playing vintage punk and hardcore records as Adam Bomb, his alias for the famous KXLU hardcore show, The Final Countdown. I can’t believe that my old friend and L.A. punk mainstay (who was in Nip Drivers, Left Insane, and a ton of other bands) said yes.
Really stoked that you’re contributing to our benefit! Did you go to punk shows in Chinatown back in the day?
Hello, glad to be a part of this! When those Chinatown shows were happening, I wasn’t able to drive. The Hong Kong Cafe seemed so far away. And out here in Los Feliz, I was alone on punker island. None of my friends wanted anything to do with this strange music so I was confined to shows at Baces Hall and the Other Masque that was on Santa Monica and Vine. Good times, man!
Last time I saw Adam Bomb in action was the closing of Track 16 with Middle Class and Meat Puppets. You played a great set. Do people ask you to come out and play records very often?
That was a great show and I thank Jordan and Dave of We Got Power for the opportunity to have played that one. I don’t get too many invitations these days. I also still play bass in quite a few bands so I think it’s hard for people to distinguish my true aim: bass or DJ? It would be nice to pick up some more DJ action but with so many people doing it these days, it’s tough. Maybe I need some “representation.”
How many bands are you in currently, anyway?
Right now there is The Golden Rulers, Black Widows, The Probe, and The Rush Riddle Orchestra. I’ll let you know if anything else comes along. I’ll never get tired of bass!
Do most people on the street know you as Adam, Pat, or Fantasma?
All three! I don’t mind it–but don’t forget Larry Rivera!
Anything else to add?
Really looking forward to this event, man! I’m down for anything that helps to further the efforts of music education in this city. And cheers to you for putting this together, Martin. See you on February 9!
Save some dough by purchasing advance tickets at the Eventbrite page and then check out the archives of Adam Bomb’s greatest Final Countown shows on KXLU featuring Venom, Suicidal Tendencies, The Circle Jerks, C.O.C., The Mentors, The Beastie Boys, and more.
You can find out more about the man, the myth, my friend, at the links below:
Saturday, Feb 1, 2014 3:23AM / Standard Entry
Of course, Money Mark was featured in the pages of Giant Robot mag many times and even played our big outdoor show in the streets of Little Tokyo with J Church and the Red Aunts. That must have been in 1995 or so. I still buy his records and go to his shows whenever I can, in recent years at JANM, The Troubadour, Amoeba, Spaceland (with the Mattson 2), and that HUF show with Tommy Guerrero, Ray Barbee, and Fredo Ortiz (where I shot the pics above and below). Mark’s bands and sets are always different but the music is as grooving as it is experimental and straight from the heart. His songs are impossible to dislike. He’s the reason why Check Your Head and Ill Communications are the heaviest Beastie Boys albums.
It was just a few weeks ago that I reconnected with Mark at the Troubadour, where Fredo’s Bongoloidz were playing a show. We caught up with each other regarding our gigs and our kids, and of course I mentioned that my wife and I started a series of DIY benefit concerts to raise money for music education at our daughter’s school. When he said that he’d play our show, I said no way. It’s too small. Then he said, “Really, I would.”
So here we are, looking forward to the matinee with him, Channel 3, and Hector Penalosa from The Zeros at Human Resources on February 9.
It was great running into you a Fredo’s show. Do you remember when you met him?
I met Fredo on Fairfax as he was loading his congas into his truck after playing a gig at the Largo. I didn’t know him at all! What caught my eye was his shirt that read, “I’m Chicano.” But I didn’t hear him play until he was hired to play with the Beasties. Australia was our first stop.
These days you’re a regular on another mutual friend David Choe’s DVDASA podcast. How did this happen and how is our other homie and podcast contributor Bill Poon doing as a newer addition?
I love Poon! What a deceptively smart guy. Bill def has his own style. After Poon, they broke the mold… I was a guest on the podcast and Dave said that there would be an open seat for me any time I wanted to sit there. And, as you know, I don’t say much but I interject a few quips now and then.
You’ve played music in stadiums and on Yo Gabba Gabba! Why are you taking part in a rinky-dink show like our Save Music in Chinatown benefit?
Everything starts small, and I’m all for getting in on the ground floor and making shit happen. Really it’s my story, too! I def cut my teeth in the rinky-dink circuit: backyard parties in my Gardena ‘hood, church carnivals, lunchtime at school, farmers markets. Actually, there are no small gigs anymore because every gig has the potential of getting hits on the net!
Can you tell me anything about the set you’re going to play? Something from Stand Up For Your Rice?
I’m not sure what my set is going to be like. Maybe it’ll involve dancing bears. That’s all I’m gonna say. You (and I) will have to wait.
Got any current musical endeavors that you can share?
A lot of music projects are always happening in my world. Getting back on bigger stages in cool venues is in my near future. I’m involved in the Who Is William Onyeabor? project through LuakaBop. Looks like the Greek will host this show sometime in April. The show plays in UK with Damon Albarn and the other dates in the US are with David Byrne. I’m sorta MD, and my backup band includes the fantastic Sinkane from NYC. I get to play the main keyboard parts that William played, which should be fun. I’m also putting out my back catalog soon–and playing other rinky-dink shows around town and around the world.
Anything you want to add?
Happy birthday, Eloise!
Get advance tickets from Eventbrite, check out the videos below, and seeya at the show!
Friday, Jan 31, 2014 12:47PM / Standard Entry
Of course, Hector Penalosa is best known as a member of The Zeros. The much-loved Chula Vista punk rock ‘n’ roll band played their first show on a bill with The Germs and Weirdos; was involved of the Elks Lodge riot show with The Go-Go’s, Plugz, and X; and opened for The Clash. But he’s also one of the nicest dudes ever. We began corresponding when he thanked me for reviewing a concert. Who does that? And then he began supporting the first Save Music in Chinatown show on his own. Not only did he encourage his friends to go, but he actually drove up from San Diego to attend it and brought some posters and a CD for the raffle. One of my musical heroes turned out to be one the coolest guys ever.
So how could I not ask him to take part in the second Save Music in Chinatown benefit? He’s going to play a set with his Beatles cover band, The Baja Bugs, which will be a blast, and then preview some new solo material. I’m super excited and honored that Hector is on the bill with Channel 3 and Money Mark, and hopefully this short Q&A will get you ready as well.
You headline some pretty big shows and just toured Japan. Why are you driving up to L.A. to play our little benefit?
To answer your question, it may seem like a little benefit but for the school children and the effect music can have on their lives, well, it’s a HUGE benefit in my eyes. I love to play and if I can help out with my musical capacities, why not?
Was the Zeros recent trip to Japan cool?
Tokyo was surreal! Sensory overload with the neon signs, gigantic video screens, loud audio, and lots and lots of people on the sidewalks. I was knocked out by it all.
Tomoko, the bass player of Supersnazz was our hostess after the Saturday night gig and we had so much fun. We went to a karaoke place and rented a room with three other musicians from the opening bands and had a blast for about an hour. I was in seventh heaven having the two brothers from Teengenerate on the bill.
The bands that played with the Zeros were really nice to us, and we all spent time together after the gigs at The Poor Cow Bar, owned by Fefe from Teengenerate.
Did the Zeros play Chinatown back in the day?
The Zeros did play in Chinatown L.A. back in the day. Madame Wong’s was one place we played, in late ’79 with the Alley Cats and The Go-Go’s, I think. And we played another spot with The Dils. Can’t say I remember the name. Maybe the Hong Kong Cafe? It was on the second floor and it faced the street. I remember that.
I love how The Baja Bugs play all the time and have the coolest flyers. How did the band come to be?
The Baja Bugs started in 1999 as a means to help a friend who was a Beatles fan. He wanted live Beatles’ music at his wedding and had inquired prices from L.A. Beatles’ tribute bands. He was quoted $4,000.00 for an hour’s performance by The Moptops and couldn’t afford such a price, so I offered to play Beatles’ music at his wedding for a lot less money. He agreed and, of course, then I had to get a band together and learn an hour’s worth of Beatles tunes. Suddenly I had a challenge on my hands that I, myself, put there!
The Baja Bugs was never a long-term plan. It was supposed to be a wedding gig and nothing more. But the groom referred us to other people needing a Beatles band and we haven’t stopped since.
Can you tell me about the solo material that you’re working on?
I am always writing songs and I have a lot of them already “in the can,” so to speak. Recording is one of my favorite musical endeavors. I have released two solo albums, Hector on Cryptovision records from New York, which was released in 1988, and Music for Cats on Bam Balam records from Murcia, Spain, in 1996.
So it’s time to release another one, I’d say! The current songs are rock/pop with an aggressive guitar sound, sing-along melodies, and riffs that stick to the listener’s ears. That’s what songwriting is about–plus the feeling that music translates .
Besides recording my own songs, I’ve recorded many singer/songwriters who have an ear for good melody, riffs, hooks, etc. They inspire me to become a better songwriter, as well.
Anything else you want to add?
Looking forward to February 9th!
Check out the videos, below, and get advance tickets to the show (for less than at the door) at the Eventbrite page.
Thursday, Jan 30, 2014 2:23PM / Standard Entry
Yes, it’s awesome to throw DIY benefit shows to raise money for music education my daughter’s elementary school and great to help the community where my grandparents and in-laws have hung out. But on a purely selfish level, it gives me an excuse to work with some of my favorite bands and people. So while I have Mike Magrann committed to playing our February 9 show at Human Resources, I figured I’d ask him the latest about Channel 3. They were OG punks on Posh Boy records, they were on not one but two Rodney on the ROQ compilations, and now they are playing Save Music in Chinatown. Rad!
CH3 seems to be playing more than ever. How did this run of shows begin?
As we grow more, ahem, mature it is a lot tougher to get us four guys together for a weekend jaunt or two-week tour but we do okay. And it seems that playing out a lot breeds more gigs, ya know? If we can make a point to hit certain cities or go to Europe each summer, then we can count on the shows being a little better next time through. A few more familiar faces and–most importantly–we know the good places to eat!
You’ve been touring with friends, playing festivals, and getting your portrait done by the dude who draws Allroy and Milo. Why are you playing our rinky dink benefit?
Ha! It’s all due to the persistent nagging of one Martin Wong! But it’s actually an honor to be able to put your music to a good use, and music education is something near and dear to our hearts. Kimm and I, who are famously friends since second grade, always shared a love of music growing up and we actually learned to play guitars together at an after-school program in seventh grade.
Besides, it’s always nice to play at venues out of the norm. I mean, we’ve played enough 1 a.m. sets at mildewy dive bars to last a lifetime. Let us do a matinee with cookies and coffee once in a while, for God’s sake!
Did your band play much in Chinatown back in the day? Got any stories?
We played at Wong’s Chinatown venue once but it was well after its prime. But we did play a lot at Esther’s Santa Monica venue, where she would always chase us out of the kitchen for making out with girls and trying to steal beer!
Our first-ever gig after making the Posh Boy EP was across town at the Brave Dog on 1st Street…
Whenever I Google Channel 3 or look up the hashtag on Instagram, I always see Thai TV starlets. Do you know anything about that scene?
I know, right? All I know is we get an awful lot of posts on our Facebook page in Lanna and Lao scrīpt! I don’t know what the hell they’re saying but a fan’s a fan, even if they do think they’re logging onto their fave soap opera page!
Looking back, pre-Interweb, it was a pretty bad idea naming the band CH3. You Google us and we always come up on page 2 after Methyl compounds of hydrogen and Thai television stations. Although we are able to get some pretty cool T-shirts from the local CH3 news teams throughout the Midwest, so there’s that…
Check out the very funny Channel Three blog HERE.
And get advance tickets to the show HERE.
Then watch some video below…
See ya at the show!
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March 20, 2008