David Rinck’s rock star aspirations may well have been born at a 1980 punk concert. “Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers at the Whisky a Go Go...he was the king on a good night, one of the greatest bluesmen ever. The Muddy Waters of punk rock. They brought the house down that night.”
His local ties date back to 1981, when the singer/guitarist/sax player cofounded the original Wallflowers. Somewhat punk, a little mod, and always rockin’, the band wrote songs about dangerous San Diego locales of the time, such as “Funland” (about a long-gone downtown game arcade frequented by hookers and sailors) and “Paradise on 4th Avenue” (mainly chronicling that street’s early punk hangout, Studio 517).
“To be honest, I feel sort of comfortable with places where there isn’t a lot of law and order, possibly as a result of growing up with a less-than-great relationship with authority,” said Rinck.
From 1988 to 1989, Rinck studied economics in Beijing, China. “I was in Tiananmen Square during the whole uprising. Basically, my whole class died when the tanks rolled in.”
Long after he departed San Diego, Rinck continued to perform and record with local players, including the Ramblers (with Music Power producer Eric Camillo), the Blues Gangsters, founded in 2008 with Dave Ellison (Rockin’ Dogs), Dave Fleminger (the Answers), Kristi Maddocks (Everybody Violet), and fellow former-Wallflower Matt Johnson. Until just a few weeks ago, he was also playing with the reunited Cardiac Kidz, one of the city’s earliest punk bands.
“Over the course of all these years, a sort of musical canon has evolved. I love tunes like ‘Rubber Room’ from the Wallflowers, ‘Candy Rock’ by the Rockin’ Dogs, ‘Find Yourself a Way’ by the Cardiac Kidz, and ‘Tigershark Blues’ by the Blues Gangsters. Some of these songs I’ve played on several continents, with multiple bands.”
As of 2011, Rinck is living in northern Africa. “Tunisia is a great place to be right now, because of the political opening, which is also producing all sorts of new freedoms for them in culture as well. They’ve been tied to France for many years, so there’s a huge thirst for American music these days. San Diego bands that feel like coming out would find a great reception.”
He doesn't lack for company in Africa. “I have an African cat named Aysho that’s like family to me. He’s fought falcons and stuff. He got bit by a venomous snake once in Kenya, and we had to give him anti-venom, but he lived.”