The Standbys were a punk band formed by students at Grossmont High School, earning airplay on local radio shows like The Modern World on KGB-FM and playing gigs at area venues like the Spirit Club, North Park Lions Club, and the Skeleton Club.
The roots of the band go back to jam sessions between guitarist Dave Astor, Sr. and his brother-in-law, including a few party gigs playing Ramones covers, soon accompanied by singer/bassist Tom Waller. According to Astor in a local Snare 'zine interview, "The name of the band came from it being flashed on the TV. It was either that or Technical Difficulties, but I couldn't spell it."
Word of mouth increased after they opened for the Clash at Golden Hall in October 1979. "The Clash were really nice," says Astor. "I've never been so scared in my life was I was at that show. But Mick Jones thought we were really neat."
Astor also recalled opening for the Germs. "The Germs are pretty hard to talk to. I tried to talk to Darby. He asked me to buy him lunch, and I said I didn't have any money, so he walked away."
The late Dave Astor, Sr. (father of Locust/Cattle Decapitation drum wizard Dave Astor Jr.), whose wife sometimes sang with the Standbys, also co-founded Battalion of Saints with Standbys drummer Ted Olson.
The Standbys released a 4-song 7-inch self-titled EP in 1980 on the World Records label, as well as an album called Buy Now or Die Dumb. The band split in 1985. A 1994 compilation album, Back to Front Vol. 4, contains their track "Withdraw."