USA Today once identified the Generators as one of America’s most underrated of punk bands. In truth, a punk-revival band from late 1990s Los Angeles, the Generators owe much to the Britpunk of the 1970s. But then, what punk band doesn’t? Great Britain was the mother ship of punk. That ancient sound, hybridized with U.S. bands such as the Dead Kennedys (and maybe the Minutemen and Bad Religion) is more or less what the Generators chose to bring. They avoided the cheery music one could sing along to that we called pop punk, which bands and clones of bands brought to the nation’s airwaves and arenas in large numbers in the ’90s.
But one wonders about punk as a career choice: pop punk in its day was lucrative, while true punkers seemed generally to have a short life span. To wit, three records into a deal with Warner Brothers as Schleprock (this is the band that more or less became the Generators), and the members were burned out. They broke apart, they regrouped, and they returned as something bigger and better. At the center of both bands is a singer named Doug Kane who goes by the pseudonym “Dagger.”
When Dagger was a teen, he weaseled his way into L.A.’s best post-punk rock clubs of the day: Godzilla’s, the Vex, Cathay De Grande. Cathay de Grande was where bands like the Knack gigged before gaining fame. The club shuttered in 1986. The Circle Jerks were among those who played the farewell show. Consider the club a training ground for the fiercely competitive climate that would eventually spawn the Generators, which, after better than 15 years, is still generating. These days, the Generators may be aging guys with sleeves and attitudes and mortgages, but the band has a new record due out in May and a Euro-tour in the works. Good times while you can get them.
Smogtown and Wooly Mammoth also perform.
The Generators: Shakedown, Friday, February 1, 9 p.m. 619-804-9523. $8