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The Unknowns

RIYL

Bruce Joyner & the Tinglers, the Penetrators, Xterminators, the Zeros, Sensational Big M.R. and His All-Bitchin' All-Stud All-Stars, the Crawdaddys, the Tell Tale Hearts

Inception

San Diego , 1979

Influences

The Ventures, the Penetrators, the Crawdaddys, Buddy Holly, Gene Vincent, the Yardbirds, Chet Atkins

Discography

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“Anyone who had the opportunity to see the Unknowns play had an unforgettable experience,” says San Diego musician and historian Ray Brandes on the Che Underground website. “Crisp, staccato drumming and the dripping-wet reverberation of Mosrite guitars through Fender amplifiers was punctuated by the yips and howls of the legendary melodramatic lead singer, Bruce Joyner, who sang from a chair or aided by a cane, looking every bit like a down-home Barnabas Collins in search of fresh blood.”

Joyner (whose own band would be called the Tinglers) and guitarist Mark Neill arrived in San Diego together in a blue 1960 Chevy they drove from Georgia. Local punks the Cardiac Kidz introduced them to their original rhythm section, Joe Foy and Jack Donahue, both of whom were out of the band by 1980, replaced by Steve Bidrowski and Dave Doyle. Sue Del Guidice, aka Sue Ferguson of the Dinettes and Harpco, played keys for a short time in 1979.

Playing at local venues like the Skeleton Club (once raided by cops as the Unknowns were playing), many called them a surf guitar group, though guitarist Mark Neill told the Snare 'zine "I'm just finding out about 'surf guitar,' which everybody out here says I play. What the fuck is surf guitar? I play instrumental style guitar."

Their 1981 debut EP on the Sire label, Dream Sequence, was followed in 1982 by a self-titled album on the small indie Invasion label. The group split in 1983, though a new version was launched from L.A. two years later with a three-piece lineup featuring Mark Neill and Dave Doyle, now backed by drummer Craig Packham. They remained occasionally extant through 2006.

Neill reunited with Bruce Joyner for awhile in the band Sensational Big M.R. and His All-Bitchin' All-Stud All-Stars.

The Unknowns were scheduled to perform a reunion gig at the Casbah in January, 2010, but a scheduling conflict scuttled the show. The first time the definitive lineup played San Diego in nearly three decades finally happened September 3, 2011, at the Casbah.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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