Contrary to what you might think, true indie rock was invented during the late 1970s by bands that recorded in analog studios, released music on records (or cassette tapes), and hoped for a sweet record company deal and a lot of play on terrestrial radio stations. Those years before Pro Tools and MP3s and file sharing and MySpace and YouTube may seem like the Dark Ages, but it was a time of DIY mentality, and it came out of the punk tradition. Punkers hard up for a record deal pressed and distributed their own records, and, in time, some of the power-pop bands that followed did the same.
Chief among this DIY crowd was a San Francisco trio cofounded by an ex–New Yorker named Paul Collins. The Nerves booked their own tours and released their own 7" EP on their own label. One Way Ticket would be rereleased years later by Alive Records, and critics would rave that Collins and his band had laid the foundation for new wave. But, in 1976, the Nerves couldn’t make ends meet.
By 1977, Collins had ditched San Fran for Los Angeles and had switched from drums to guitar. He started a new band called the Beat (not to be confused with the Beat in England) and, as it was with the Nerves, Collins’s tight, harmonious, three-chord songs inspired many. The Beat sat at the cusp of the British/American power-pop and new-wave explosion that heralded dozens of new bands such as the Knack, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, the Plimsouls, the Police, and Graham Parker. But Paul Collins, for all his brilliance, never got the credit he was due.
Collins restarted his band as Paul Collins’ Beat, and in 2010 they released a CD with a title that much of the rock press agrees with: The King of Power Pop! He is.
Baja Bugs and Jungle Fever also perform.
- Wednesday, September 22, 2010, 9 p.m.
- Soda Bar, 3615 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego