I'm the kinda fool that,...
I'm the kinda fool that, if I had a $3000.00 Postage stamp I'd mail a letter with it
Or Follow your heart and don't follow the labels. Includes my suggestion of bands every Punk Band should hear.
"We generate monster/we generate victims/we generate islands adrift in a system"
TSOL-terrible People' from their new LP Disappear
Here we sit again on the edge of "what the hell", just on the outskirts of "just whatthe hell were you thinking", which is just south of "Ah fuck it" and "O.K. that's it, fuck all of you. I'm out of here." Once again there is a Bush in the white house and he's all ready to strip mine national park in the vain of James Watt and of course, drill for oil. Ah and welcome back to the mighty great trickle down economics. You know that bright idea that if you give more money to the people that horrid the most, that some how they are going to spend more money and along the way help the poor. Haven't I heard this some where before. Oh then there's the $300 back thing. Can you say Government cheese?
Whenever I hear the word bush, I think of this punk couple I used to know Iva and Hans. Hans was an alcoholic and Iva didn't drink but she would buy Bush beer to torment Hans. She wouldn't let him have one until he said, "Busssssh". Hans would sit there and lick his lips and scrim in he's seat covered in the army of flies that followed him to all the ends of the earth and then with this whipped look on his face, say under his breath, "bush". "What was that?", Iva would respond while she opened the can and held it in the way someone would hold a fetish object. Hans would reply broken and whipped, "Bussssh". She would then with a big grin on her face hand him the beer and say, "Now what do we say?" Hans with the half way up to his lips, shaking all the while would say, "Thanks Iva." Soon the beer would be gone and it would start all over again until the 12 pack was gone. I often wonder what their sex life was like.
Enough about politics, let's talk about something that really matters-Music. Since moving out on the music business(quit booking), I can now go back to being what I always really was, a music fan. So for the first time in about 5 years, I'm not getting 30 to 100 CDs a month that I have to listen too. Once again I'm free to listen to whatever the hell I feel like. I can buy music and not have to listen to 8,000,000th Korn or NOFX rip off band. Free, Free, Free at last.
So, I had some time to kill last week and I was sitting at Best Buy with a little money to burn and decided to go through their CDs from A to Z. You really don't truly understand how shitty music has gotten or the sure number of shitty bands there are out there. Also the lamer the band the larger the number of CDs by that artist there is. The more pointless the band, the more lowest common denominator, the more simple unchallengeable the music economics is the more copies of that CD are for sell. I understand economics but hasn't everyone that ever wanted a copy of White Snakes Greatest Hits already marched their mullet into Best Buy and gotten a copy? I'm always reminded of the Agent Orange song 'Break down', "The public gets what the deserve/not what they demand." Even though that song was pinned well over 20 years ago it holds more true now, then it did then. I did find two good CDs The first TSOL album since 'Beneath the Shadows'(let's just forget about the whole Glam rock period shall we) 'Disappear' and the new Business record which is well a Business record. The new TSOL record is just a painful remind of how good Punk can be.
There are just so many bands rehashing the same tried old bull shit over and over and over again. I mean what happen to sitting down in the basement or the garage and coming up with something true new and revolutionary. Is that passion lost or have we just became so jaded that we don't even try? I've been reading a couple of interviews in issue 48 of the Big Take Over with Tomato Duplenty(RIP) and Dave Smalley and the thing that keeps coming up over and over is the lack of passion, direction, diversity and just plain originality of the modern punk and the music scene. Almost to the point that you wonder if anyone is even willing to take chances anymore. Think about it when was the last time you heard a new band that just came out of nowhere, made the hair on the back of your neck stand up and blazed ahead from there. A few bands come to mind like At the Drive-In, Slipknot(I have to give them their dues, they have been taking chances from the start), Amen and etc...
Things used to not be this way. The first time I heard the Birthday Party, Big Black or Black Flag for that matter, it was like they were from another planet. Where is that element today? They just kicked in the door and said, "Hey fuck everything you heard before, this is going to destroy all that, we are going to kill you and you are going to enjoy every minute of it." Sure there wasn't a lot of money and /or respect at first but look what their music did to the bunch that followed. Even the bands that drive you nuts but are doing something completely new are needed, even if they really suck. I mean look at Flipper, what the fuck would the Melvins be like without Flipper. Even though I hate Flipper and the Melvins, their music had meaning and caused changes. Unlike the millions of "orginal" cover bands that clog the punk/underground/alternative/pick a catchy name scene.
The saddest thing is the punk scene. It wasn't always this way. If you go to any early scene in the world and look at the bills that were put together you notice that there was a lot of diversity in the beginning. Like LA you had bills with X(Punk/Rock-a-billie/roots), The Screamers(techno punk), The Weirdos(garage punk) Black Randy and the Metro Squad(Funk Punk) and etc... all on one bill and it was all called punk. This is way these old school fucks get on my nerves, they hate everything that is new and different but at the same time claim to have the "Spirit of 77" or something else equally lame. These bright smucks would have hated the scene they claim to love so much. Why? cause these bands sound so different it would have hurt their small closed little minds.
So, who's to blame? I don't know. The fact that MTV plays such a big part in breaking new bands and insure that movements are on a national level instead of a grass root thing. I don't think is going to change anytime soon especially when you consider that MTV's viewership keeps getting younger and younger. The other big difference between then and now is the deregulation of the radio industry. It's sad to think that most major markets are controlled by 3 to 4 corps. and the independent are quickly being bought up. I think it's safe to say that within the next 5 years radio will be as diverse as network TV with 4 or 5 companies controlling the airways.
Something I have noticed is that since the raise and fall of successful Punk, is that the scene that once had a large underground network of promoters, Zines, Bands, Booking Agents, and etc... is really finding it hard to survive. Too much money, too quickly and a whole generation of new punks with a completely different view of what it means to be punk. I'm not in any way shape or form to sit in judgement of those that gained from the popularity of punk in the mid to late 90s. They did what they felt was right for them. Many of them had been paying their dues for years in the back of some van living off 7 11 hot dogs with no interest or idea that one day they would see their records go gold let alone platium. I'm sorry but if you did something you love and it was your art and your life and someone came to you and said, "How would you like to make a lot more money doing this thing you do and share your art with a hell of a lot more people?" You should jump on it. That's as long as you don't have to change your art to do it. I hate to burst some bubble, wait I don't hate to do this but most of the orginal punk bands were on major labels or put out records on major labels. From the Ramones, X, the Sex Pistols, Dead Boys and the Clash to Black Flag and the Circle Jerks.
Anyway that grassroot network is gone and it is going to take a very long time to rebuild it and I really wonder if the bands and those involved have the heart and will power to do it. Toward the end of my booking career, the bands all to often seemed more concerned with where the back end start, their deli tray, and the bottom line then who they were doing business with and their fans. That is sad to me and it should be to everyone who ever paid $5.00 to see 5 or 6 great bands and remembers when bands hung out with their fans after the show till 5am listening to music and sharing stories. As the live music business slow slides into the red, I'm almost happy to see it fold so we can get passed the bottom line and back to the music. Please keep the accountants and business majors out of my music.
So, I've taken the long way around the barn on this one but I thought for this one, I would help all those new bands starting out there to gain a different sound and maybe their own voice and some one else. Here it is, the bands that every punk band should hear before trying to get on stage:(these are for the most part off the top of my head and there are a number of other bands that should be on here I'm sure)
Self Titled. By far the kings of the Orange County Punk bands.
Great lyrics and a driving sound that would define OC punk.
Victim in Pain-The Greatest NYC Hardcore record.
The Angry Samoans
anything before 1987. Biting in your face lyric delivered fast
and without mercy.
At the Drive-In
God what can I say that I haven't already about this band. Buy it all now. What punk/emo is suppose to be.
The Avengers one of SF first bands. Female vocals with a straight head rock sound. Known as the band that blew the Sex Pistols of the stage.
All you people that bitch about new school have BR in part to blame. Their best stuff is the early stuff available on the 80-85 CD. After Suffer they pretty much put out the same record over and over but you have to give them their dues for being the thinking man's punk. Out of the post Suffer stuff Strange than Fiction stands out in my mind.
Battalion of Saints
A band that maybe better known for the number of members that died young. Blazing fast punk with a slight metal edge in a take no prisoners vain. They did a number of reissues on Taang a few years back. RIP is the best because it is mostly their really hard to find early stuff like the Fighting Boys single.
Big Black simply took a bull dozer and plowed through the wilderness. Striped down Raging guitar with a Rolland Dumb Machine with lyric often Biographical or based on factual events. Steve Albini recorded many of the early tracks(Lungs) by himself in a welfare hotel in Chicago. Often thought of as the Grandfather of the Chicago Wax Trax Industrial movement of the late 80s. I'm really unsure of what is still in print but 'The rich man's 8-track' is a good start.
The Birthday Party
Originally known as the Boys Next Door, BP started in Australia with it's rythem driven assault. Fronted by Nick Cave with his lyrical version of a Faulkner based American, they painted a dark picture of drug addiction, alcoholic induced nightmares and some of the darkest places music has gone to date. Known for a live show that went beyond attacking the audience but demanding by force tat the audience felt the pain and destruction of their art. I'm not sure what is still in print I know that 4AD put out a best years ago called 'Hits' and reissued a number of their albums.
Black took punk to a level of directness that few had done before or have since then lost their way and turned into a pretty boring guitar solo. Their best stuff is reflected on 'First 4 Years' and 'Everything Went Black' both pre-Henry Rollins. The Rollins period peaked on 'Damage' and 'My War'. Even though they did continue till the end to produce music that influences a number of bands and the Stoner Rock scene of today.
These guys were never really a punk band but they were an active part of the LA Punk and Roots movement of the late 70s and early 80s. The Blasters are not even the purest of Rock-a-Billie bands but what they were was some of the finest song writers to come out of the Roots movement. The two Alvin Brothers produce a sound that would put a smile on the face of anyone but not in the champy way that The Stray Cats and most of the modern Rock-a-billie bands did and do. They produced music that mattered. Unlike many roots/rock-a-billie bands they didn't solo recreate the past but used the past as a road map to create music that was all their own bright and lively. A couple of years ago they reissued their first LP 'American Music' as far as the rest of their catalog I wish someone would get around to putting it out on CD and save me the time and trouble of recording them. Also check out Grammy winning Dave Alvin's Solo stuff on Hightone Records.
My, god what can you say about the Buzzcocks. They are the god fathers of pop punk. Some would think this a bad thing but the they did it in a way that made it solely their own. Lyrics with a seldom heard level of wit and intelligence set to driving tunes that you never get out of your head. They may have also been one of the first punk bands to really explore the emotional scuttles of growing up and the struggle of adulthood. Also unlike many of the modern day pop bands their songs did not follow a cut and paste form and evolved a great their 5 or so years. I would suggest either 'Singles Going Steady' or Their best of 'operator's Manual' because they both give a good or all view of how good they really were and how much they evolved without just sucking ass.
With this band you want to stick with 'Only Theatre of Pain' after that they really start to get, well, silly. I remember asking my friend what they sounded like they first time I heard about them and him saying, "Like a boiler room covered in coal dust with only the fire to light it." Goth before it mated with neo-romantic, electronica and industrial. In other words before you could dance to it. It paints a dark picture of a punk spawned hell. Know also for onstage threatics like nailing a cat to a cross and etc.. and with the guitar sound of OC's guitar sult Rick Agnew(Socail Distortion, Adolescents, D.I. and etc....) leading the way into the basement. I often wonder what would have happened, if the Goth and Goth/punk scene would have taken this direction instead of the one it did.
The Circle Jerks
God anything they put out but especially 'Group Sex'. Starting out after Keith Morris quit Black Flag throw all he's records away and said he didn't want anything to do with music again, they defined what LA Hardcore punk would become. But unlike many of their contemporaries and those that followed they lacked the stale form of song after song sound the same. I always felt that Greg Hetson(Red Cross, Bad Religion) had a great deal to do with this and that Bad Religion would lose some of their staleness if he wrote more of the songs. By far the longest living band of their generation with close to 15 years together, they made a lasting impact and they have just started doing reunion shows.
Hand's down their best release is their Self Titled(UK version) but to get the real feel of the band you need the box set 'Clash on Broadway'. It always amazed me the amount of material they put out in suck a short amount of time but also just how much they evolved in that time. Though at times over indulgent and unfocused they really showed what a band can do if they have a thrust for music and a drive to expand their influences. Unlike their peers like the Sex Pistols they continued to evolve and impact music after the first wave of punk was long gown. Like the "Last Gang in Town" they held out and true to their beliefs. Though in hindsight many were very misguided they did bring social and political problems back to pop music and the underground as well. Not to mention that they helped to bring both Ska and Rasta music and culture into American Pop Culture. The thing that strikes me the most about the Clash is how many "Street Punk" bands copy them but haven't figure out that you don't have lyric directed at morons to get your point across. Stupid lyrics for stupid people is an insult and a fucking let down.
The great great grandfathers and grandmothers of Phyco-billie and the Rock-a-billie revival. 'Songs thy Lord Taught Us' is a good record to start with. For the most part they took old rare Rock-a-billie songs, changed the lyrics and played them with two guitars with no base. This created a totally unique style and sound. There is no way to really do it as well as the Cramps do it. There is a connection between Lux and Poison Ivy that can not be reproduced even though many have tried.
Often thought of as the Heart Breakers of the left coast they were the first Punk band in California. They hailed from S.F. and wore cop uniforms and were openly Gay. that may not seem like much now but this was 1976. Murder by Guitars is probably their best known song. Fuzz guitars set in a driving rock and roll style. If you can find anything from these guys don't think twice pick it up. There have been a number of bootlegs over the last few years and I'm unsure if any official releases have came out.
I put these guys in because well, they just rock. I remember seeing them open for Social D and flat out blowing them off the stage. 'No Lunch' is their best. They are in the same vain as the NY Dolls or Thunders. A R&B based Glam and Roll but they reminded a lot of people that you can still rock without being a tough guy.
May well be the grand daddies of the Goth scene though they didn't start out that way. They did release the first punk single in the UK and they are still at it over 20 years later. I would suggest a best of for these guys anything with 'Neat, Neat, Neat', 'New Rose' and 'Jet Boy' on it. They were the first band to put out a punk single and tour the U.S. Heavily influenced the LA scene and might be responsible for spear heading or at least influencing Hardcore Punk.
The Dead Boys
You don't have 'Young, Load and Snotty'? What the hell is wrong with you. I really wonder if you should be reading this at all and if your in a band maybe you should think about starting a metal band cause you are more than likely clueless. The Dead Boys where hands down the troll under the bridge of the bridge of the NYC scene. They helped to widen the gap between the art school and the rock and roll.
The Dead Kennedys
OK all you need is 'Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables'' though some of what they did afterward was good they said all they had to say on their first record and the rest tend to be on the bland side and tend to repeat themselves. The thing that seems most over looked about this band is East Bay Ray's guitar. It was completely unlike anyone else out there. That was the really in my mind that sets them apart. Jello's lyric where witty but at times just seemed silly and really if he believes half the stuff he spouted off about it's a surprise he ever left the house.
Buy 'Milo goes to College' all you need to know is there.
This band maybe the most over looked mainly because everyone thinks 'Whip It' and the MTV thing but they may have been one of the true first punk bands. Coming out in 1974 in Akron, Ohio(Mark was going to Kent State during the riot and he said it was the most DeVo day of his life). They took performance art mixed with music that didn't fit into anything. They also came up with electronic drums, I know that maybe a bad thing but try to name one other band that invited a music instrument. Though many may find the lyrics to be kind of low brow there has always been a deeper level to them. Their best stuff is on 'Hardcore DeVo, Vol 1' which is Demos but 'Are We not Men?' is a classic that everyone should own. The thing about DeVo is their name stands for Devolution so they are just going to keep getting worse.
Fast break neck speed with lyrics about everything from the mighty penis to water slides. Fun but also driving and without a doubt their own thing. A good start would be 'Incredible Shirking Dickies'.
I remember listen to War on 45 by DOA and think the best song that DOA did was Class War. After reading the album cover I realized that it was in fact a Dils' song. The Dils were formed by the Kinman bothers who went on to form Rank and File. They were by far the most political of all the early LA bands and have been said to have moved to SF because of the growing dislike the locals in LA had for them. It just wasn't hip to have a Maoist message in 77 Punk. Especially in LA. The music was driving and direct and they may have been the best punk trio of their time. The stuff you want to hear is off the What? single(see Eyes) and the Dangerhouse single. The songs 'You're Not Blank' and Class War stand out. They have appeared on a number of punk comps also.
They may well be the longest running punk band of all times. Started in late 77 they still haven't broke up and they still tour to this day. 'Bloody but Unbowed' is their best stuff in my opinion. The thing that also stands out about DOA is the fact that they do in fact practice what they preach even to the point of doing jail time for what they believe in.
There is only one record to my knowledge. McKay's follow up to Minor Threat and may have been the first true Emo band. Them along with Dag Nasty and the D.C. created a new direction for the punk scene to go in the post Hardcore late 80s and early 90s. The focus went away from changing the world to the problems we all face within. I think that this is still in print on the Dischord label.
Punk & Roll. The thing that makes them stand out is the way they approached song writing by only writing songs and putting out records that they themselves would buy. Call it cutting the fat.
Definitely went their own route through the late 70s Hollywood Scene. Starting out with DJ Bonebrake(X) on drums and Charlotte Caffey(Go Gos) with a basic almost Street Punk sound. They moved on to a high styled sound that was completely their own. They put out a single on LA's first Punk Label What? with their early line up which there are a number of bootlegs of(often including the Dils, Germs, Controllers and etc....) and then put out a single on the Dangerhouse. Dangerhouse put out a couple of comps with a song per single and some unrealesed material on Frountier in the early 90s.
There's insults and assaults that are designed to create fear and hatred "the Retard") and there are ones that just make you laugh. Fear was the latter and no one, I repeat no one did it as long as Fear. Their best stiff is hands down 'The Record'. The thing that they had that it seems a lot of the more abrasive bands don't is talent. They could have been less mean spirited and still made this list.
A campy horror rock band from Hollywood. The thing that stands out is how experimental they really were. check out 'Sleep in Safety' Kinda like a cheesy horror movie or a John Watter's film. Not really that deep or filled with social comment but a shit load of fun.
I can't really stress enough how important this band was and is. Often passed off as a untalented band Fronted by a Sid Vicous wantabe. The Germs may have given birth to Hardcore Punk in LA. Attacking sound with very deep lyrics. The Germs were the kings of LA and Darby Crash is thought to be the first Punk in LA. Every time some does the "Oh LA was just a copy of London" thing I hand them a copy of GI and ask which you rather be the father of your subculture aka Sid, a moron or Darby a genus. You lucky bastards can pick up MIA which has almost their complete catalog unlike me who had to dig and search for bootlegs and over priced singles.
Could be one of the most over looked LA punk bands of all times. Lead by Jeffery Lee Piercee who blended blues with punk to create a sound all his own. Then he mixed it with his own dark images and stories to create some of the most passion driven songs I've ever heard. 'Prayers on Fire' is a good place to start.
They were(are who knows this week) the leaders of the Punk & Roll revolution. Tight and direct songs that put a smile on your face but still induce the urge to kill. Add to that the witty and bright lyrics and you have a joy of sawing guitars, pound bass and thumping drums that could blow the roof of any venue or family dwelling you could think of. 'Plastique Valentine' is my choice.
Joy Division did something that thousands of Goth and emo bands have tried to do with no luck, convey the darkest corners of human emotion in song. Though they would have seen a large audience and saved us all from the pain of hearing New Order, they only lived a short time and on the eve of their first tour of the US Iam Curtis the driving focus of the band killed himself. I've often listen to the lyrics and mood of their songs and wondered if the pain in reliving the pain in songs night after night on stage drove him to it or if it was the thought of fame. I suggest 'Substance'.
I included Middle Class for two reason, first they were one of the first bands in O.C. and they were fast as fuck. They could have been the first to uses the fast, slow hardcore style seeing how their first single came out in 78. I'm not sure what you could find today other then the Tooth and Nail comp(not the God rock label but the comp of that name) that I think was reissued at some point. They had a couple of singles but they are a bit rare.
I used to joke about how I went out looking for Social Distortion's Mommy's's Little Monster and came home with Minor Threat's Red album. They were without a doubt the largest influence in the Straight Edge/Hardcore scene of any other band I can think of. Many believe MT to be the first Hardcore band, I've never seen them as a hardcore band in the modern or earlier definition. They were a Hardcore Punk band in much the same way Black Flag and DOA were. The amazing thing about MT is the level of exposure they received on an independent level and with completely DIY distribution and promotion. I wish a few more bands out there would have as much passion as they did. The music is more melodic then many of their peers. Dischord has issued a CD with everything on it.
The Modern Lovers
The Modern Lovers are a different animal in themselves and were a heavy influence on the early NY Punk scene. Fronted by the one and only Jonathan Richmond they mixed what could be called an AM Radio sound with deeply emotional lyrics at times. Their was also a level of fun that was just missing in the early 70s. Their best known for there owed to AM Radio and the open road 'Roadrunner'. After a short lived period and some Demos that no record company would touch the dissolved into a softer sound. Jonathan was said to have said he wanted to make music that didn't scare children. The only thing that remains is the Demos which have been reissued a number of times and a live CD that came out a few years back.
Hailing from the 3rd city Naked Raygun had a sound and style all there own. In part because of the isolation of Chicago from LA and NYC. Driving high end guitars with a straight to the point delivery and lyrics that are nothing short of brilliant. 'Throb, Throb' is my choice with these guys because it also shows a bit of the experimental side of the band and the band has reissued most of their catalog on CD with live bonus tracks.
The New York Dolls
God, what can I say about the Dolls that hasn't been said a million plus times. They may well have been the grand daddies to the NYC punk scene. Just good old fashion RNR with ripping guitars.
Plugz are a joy. Best known for the stuff on the Repo Man Soundtrack but their first LP 'Electrify Me' is with out a doubt one of the finest blends of Roots Rock and Punk ever produced. Mix a break neck speed with traditional musician music created a sound all it's own. Like their peers Gun Club, The Blasters, Top Jimmy and the Rhythm Pigs, and X, who took traditional American music forms mixed them with punk and created their own sound, a new style and movement in the underground music scene.
In a lot of ways The Ramones may well have been the most important band in the NYC Punk scene. They kicked in the door and lead the way for a lot of bands. The thing that sets them apart from many of the early NYC punk bands is that they cared little about creating art or making a statement. Weather they knew it or not they were a statement in themselves. Stripped downed, straight to the point sometimes almost to the point of being painful. The broke away for the idea that rock stars were genius to be worshiped from afar because of their great talent. You heard the Ramones and you knew two things: 1.) You could do it too. 2,) That it was better then most of the other bands that were out there. Really I can't imagine anyone that hasn't heard these guys but then again.....
Rhino 39 were one of the first bands to sneak out from the Orange Curtain and into the LA/Hollywood scene. They were a strange mix of guitar effect, biting lyrics and driving tempo. Brightness is the only way I really know how to put it. They put out a single on Dangerhouse, Made a number of Comp appearances including 'Hell Comes to your House'(which was just re-issued and include Social Distortion, Legal Weapon Christian Death, Red Cross and 45 Grave).
Known for his work with Television, being the fashion base for Malcolm/UK punk clothing and the mold for the Sex Pistols course you have to mix in the Dolls, Ramones and Modern Lovers) and the one that penned the first punk anthem 'Blank Generation'.
Stiff Little Fingers
The best of the UK second wave. 'Inflammable Material' is their best effort.
Johnny Thunders & the Heart Breakers
Punk Rocks longest living and most famous Junk. Known for a mean spirited fuck everyone wit and a mean guitar. He is often thought of as the guy that invented punk guitar. He penned or helped pen a 'Chinese Rocks', 'Born to Lose' and countless other nihilist straight head RNR songs. Of course he was the lead for the Dolls and was a heave influence on a number of the early UK bands and the Punk & Roll and Glam bands. The thing that has always bugged me is how he could create moving emotional music at times and be suck a fucking asshole junk. Your best bet is one of the million re-issue/bootlegs of L.A.M.F..
TSOL is the best example I can think of a a band that changed it's style and progressed without losing it's edge or focus. The thing that sticks out about this band is they put out 2 EPs and 2 LPs, Though there was no change in the band each sounds different and on three or so different labels but are without a doubt a TSOL record. They had a strange history to say the least and may have in their own way helped to launch the LA Goth Punk scene. By 83 Jack had quit the band and for the most part ended TSOL. Todd Barns left soon after as Mike and Ron continued on as the band slowly moved into a silly Glam Metal band. The band went on without any of the original members until the early 90s, sucking ass all the while. In the late 80s the original members began getting back together for reunion shows off and on and then 99 toured with the Social Chaos tour. In March they put out Disappear and after listening to it untold times(it's been in the CD player for like 5 weeks now) I have to say that the band is still vital as it was over 20 years ago. I would suggest 'Thoughts of Yesterday' which is a best of comp that I think has been reissue or pick up anything from their catalog which Epitaph and Nitro has been reissuing left and right.
There was three bands from Hollywood that represented the holy of holy of So Cal Punk they were The Germs, X and the mighty Weirdos. Mixing a heavy dose of garage rock and a wall of sound with in match lyrics and insight. Straight form the heart of 77 they stapled, glue, and safety pin outfits together from theft stores and dumpsters to create a unmatched look. Unlike their UK peers who took the Nazi symbolism as the their club badge, the weirdos took the smiley face. By the end of the seventies they were by far the biggest punk bad in LA but do to the fact that they were well fuck ups. Unlike like The Dickies, X, the Germs and etc.... who went onto a boarder audience, the Weirdos were left behind. Not saying they didn't try, for example John Denny would dress up in a Space Suit and walk into the IRS offices, not say a word but leave their press kit and demo on the desk. Instead of IRS they got smallerlabels like Bomp!, Dangerhouse and Rhino. Little success outside of LA and really one wonders if it hadn't been for the punk recording fade of the late 80s and a shit load of bands listing them as influences if anyone would have known who the fuck they were. After calling it quits for about 7 or 8 years they began to do reunion shows off and on and then in 91(I think) they released a their first full length record 'Condor' and put out 'Weird World, Vol 1" with released and unreleased material on Fronter(are they even around anymore or were they bought up by Epitaph) and did a national tour(I think their first) with the Circle Jerks(their last tour). All wounds unhealed or what the hell ever cause them to break up but they still do a few shows around LA. If you are lucky enough to find 'Destroy All Music' or the Dangerhouse 'Solitary Confinement/We Got the Neutron Bomb' singles it's their best stuff and if you look around enough you should be able to find comps with all the material except 'Why Do You Exist?' After the first two singles there was 'Who? What? When? Where? Why?'(often called the Weirdos LP) and the 'Action-Designed E.P.' they were a little less focus but still better then half the shit put out today! You know when I first heard them, I was drunk off my ass, it was the middle of the night and I had this realization that they were what I was looking for when I first got into punk. That feeling you just can't get with every band.
X for a lot of People was the Soundtrack of our lives. From Los Angels on. They combined Rock-a-billie and American roots with Punk with some of the most insightful poetry. I could say so much more but you should be listen to these guys instead of reading this. Check out the Los Angeles/Wild Gift CD or their double CD The Unheard Music.
Well, hell I'm out of words but here some others that should have been on here or whatever and you should check out: Bad Brains, D.I., Vandals, Social Distortion, Refused, Valentine 6, (Hed) PE, Pegboy, Op Ivy and 7 Seconds. God I know there's more and maybe I'll some later.