When people talk about LA punk, they don’t really mean punk within the confines of the city of Los Angeles. Sure, there was the Germs
, and they did go to high school right in West LA, but a lot of the “LA Scene” lived outside the city limits, and some of them weren’t even in LA County. Social Distortion
hailed from the meaner streets of Orange County, the Dickies
were from Ventura, and Black Flag
, arguably the most famous and influential, were from a tiny town just south of the airport called Hermosa Beach. And that’s where my band Egghead.
played on Friday night.
Our drummer lives in New York, and was out here on business. Whenever we’re all in the same city, we try to play a gig. Somewhere near the city we’re all in. Our best offer for this last Friday night came in the form of a bill at Suzy’s in Hermosa Beach, put together by local heroes the Perverts
and our friends Regal Beagle
, who are my favorite band named for a Three’s Company reference (sorry, Saskatchewans’ The Furleys). Egghead. rehearsed once and headed south.
Let me say this: Hermosa Beach, the home of Gregg Ginn, the Descendents and The Circle Jerks is keeping the dream alive in a big way. I arrived to see the first Mohawk I’ve seen in years. AND IT WAS GREEN. OLD SCHOOL! FUCK REAGAN!!! When the Perverts took the stage (with a rollicking, spiky cover of Walk Don’t Run) an early 80s whirligig circular mosh pit started up, and everyone was having a grand time. Regal Beagle played a drum-tight set of fist pumping Ramones core, real fun ONE-TWO-TREE-FAW style. And then it was our turn.
The scene was leather jackets and torn t-shirts. Egghead. has always worn matching uniforms on stage, and tonight we wore our fake NASA flight suits. Trust me, sometimes we’re so loose that the uniforms are the only way people can tell we’re in the same band. We took the stage to our pre-recorded piano overture from our album Egghead. Would Like A Few Words With You.
We dedicated our second song to the ‘punk rock parents.’ In short, we couldn’t have alienated the audience more had we brought out a swastika and a flute. We played a looseygoosey half hour set, one woman came up and took some bemused cellphone photos and we were out. I don’t think we gained any new fans. But it was still fun. Even though the bar kept Fox News on during the set. Closed captioning, but still.
Changed out of my sweaty flight suit in my car. Tap, tap, tap as my car filled with light. There was a Hermosa Beach cop at my window. “I am stone cold sober, I am in here by myself, the car is mine,” I thought to myself. “My only issue is that I am not currently wearing pants. Oh, well, he asked for it.” I opened the drivers side door.
“Good evening, officer,” I said, because I really try to be polite to cops, at least initially. It’s the least punk rock thing about me.
“Changing. Brrr, it’s cold,” I replied, and it was, it was 50 degrees and windy.
“Changing? In your car?”
“Yes. Is there a problem?”
“We’re just making sure that nobody’s doing anything illegal in their cars.”
Well, Inspector Lestrade, where were you when all the pot in the South Bay was being smoked in the parking lot less than an hour ago? “Nope. Nothing illegal. Just changing in here, because if I went outside I’d indecently expose myself.”
“That would be illegal,” said the cop, deadly earnest. I bet, under different circumstances, he and I could be besties.
TAP, TAP, TAP. Another police officer! At my Passenger side window! And there goes my initial politesse with the cops.
“Wow. Slow night in Hermosa Beach, huh, fellas?”
“We treat everybody the same.”
What the fuck is that supposed to mean? And furthermore, it is getting very cold in my car and have I mentioned I don’t have any fucking pants on because I don’t and my balls have found their way up into my chest cavity so what’s next guys.
“It’s pretty cold, officer,” I try. “You guys wanna come in?”
That did it. With a curt laugh, the first cop backed away from the car. I was told to go about my business and drive safe, and I did just that, getting home around 1 am and relieving the sitter.
In short, your humble narrator played the home of Black Flag, tanked in front of an audience and then was needlessly harassed by the cops. Which IS the most punk rock thing about me.