Ken Leighton 12:30 p.m., Feb. 21
Sound description: Good music.
RIYL: Good music
Influences: Mystery Machine, Dick Dale, the Morlocks, Gravedigger V, the Remains
Drummer Ron Silva got his start with the Hitmakers, who for a time regularly played legendary L.A. underground club the Masque, a place which was quite literally underground, operating beneath the X-rated Pussycat Theater at Hollywood Boulevard and Cherokee. Opened in August 1977, the Masque hosted early gigs by Black Flag, the Ramones, Wall of Voodoo, and the Go-Go’s.
“They [club operators] broke the old-fashioned elevator by trying to take a cow down in it,” recalls former Pussycat employee Dan Whitehead, “and later there was a murder in the place. They left the police chalk outline of the body on the floor and painted it DayGlo orange, to make it permanent.”
Silva then collaborated with neighbor Steve Potterf to form the Crawdaddys, an eventually legendary local garage band. Voxx Records has reissued the Crawdaddys' vinyl releases. Other one-time Crawdaddys include Country Dick Montana (later of the Beat Farmers) and hillbilly hell-raiser Mojo Nixon.
His next group, the Black Diamonds, included Carl "Mystery Machine" Rusk and Tom "Gravedigger V" Ward. His many subsequent band projects support the oft-repeated notion that Silva is tied with Rob Crow for having embarked on the "most musical adventures."
Local music historian Bart Mendoza once compiled an extensive list of those projects, including the Hedgehogs (with Ray Brandes, Carl Rusk, Paul Carsola); the Howling Men (basically the Crawdaddys, using the name of a Twilight Zone episode); the Hottentots; the Wickershams; the Nashville Ramblers; the Driving Wheels (pre-Loved Ones); Untamed Youth; the Termites (with Alec Palao and Jeff Jacks); the Saturn 5 (with Chris Von Sneidern); Ron Silva and the Monarchs (with Nick Rossi, Tom Ward); Ron Silva and the New Believers; and the Optic Nerve (according to his bio, anyway).
In 2015, Silva was playing around town in a group called the Gargoyles.