Ken Leighton 5 p.m., Jan. 24
The Sensational Big M.R. and His All-Bitchin' All-Stud All-Stars
Country Dick Montana: Drums, Vocals | Mark Neill: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric) | Chris Sullivan: Bass guitar | Jim Call: Vocals | Gary Heffern: Vocals | Bruce Joyner: Vocals | Joe Piper: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric) | Randy Landis: Vocals | David Farage: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Horns, Vocals | Mark Zadarnowski: Bass guitar, Vocals
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- “Gary Heffern Meets Iggy Pop” · Sept. 25, 2013
Inception: San Diego, 1980
In an article by Ray Brandes posted at www.cheunderground.com, Jim Call describes the rotating roster of local players that once made up the Sensational Big M.R. and His All-Bitchin' All-Stud All-Stars: “The band, 13 unwieldy punk-rock musicians, was anything but tight. But we played with pretend booze-fueled gusto and punk rock enthusiasm, and it was obvious to all that we were having a grand time — most of all the Big M.R. Himself.” That would be former Penetrator and future Beat Farmer Dan McLain, aka Country Dick Montana.
The band also included guitarist Mark Neill (the Unknowns), singer-guitarist-horn player David Farage (one of the twin brothers of DFX2), bassist Chris Sullivan (the Penetrators), drummer Tim (Private Sector), and the Stax of Sax horn section - Jim Call, David Farage, and Mark from Private Sector. Additional vocalists included Gary Heffern (the Penetrators) and Bruce Joyner (the Unknowns).
A later lineup included guitarist Joe Piper, singer-bassist Mark Zadarnowski (the Crawdaddys), and singer Randy Landis.
Their debut gig was Saturday, June 7, 1980, at the long-gone Zebra Club. Local music history blog www.cheunderground.com quotes Gary Heffern recalling, “Dan told all the girls to start screaming — so they did! I think everyone either liked it or was confused by it, but it was definitely a defining moment of the making of Country Dick.”
Penetrators keyboardist and saxophonist Jim Call summarizes the band’s impact on audiences fortunate enough to see one of the four performances: “I still think Steve Esmedina was most apt when he said watching the All-Studs was a little like seeing ‘a favorite uncle dance around with a lampshade on his head.’ And what was it? It wasn’t Young, Loud, and Snotty. It wasn’t 'Jocko Homo.' It wasn’t a bar cover band. It almost seemed anti-punk. It was completely unexpected in that time and place. But the large crowd would meet us partway. They all entered into the jumped-up spirit of the thing. It was a hilarious spectacle. It was completely party.”
“The real legacy of the All-Bitchin’ All-Stud All Stars, however,” says Landis, “is that it was an important early step towards building a community of San Diego musicians. It was also a beautiful illustration of one man’s ability to envision, direct, and create an entirely original spectacle and ultimately turn himself into a tongue-in-cheek, mythological hero.”