Long-gone locals reuniting to play the Casbah this week include the Dave and Deke Combo (January 22), the Dragons (January 23), and a triple-reunion bill on Saturday, January 30, with new-wave pioneers the Unknowns (1979–1982), alt-country purveyors the Town Criers (1987–1990), and the mod-minded Manual Scan (1981–1990).
“It doesn’t seem a lot like a reunion, considering the number of bands in which the four of us have played together over the years,” says Ray Brandes, whose fellow Town Criers will include David Klowden, Peter Miesner, and Mark Zadarnowski. “When we started playing, the garage, mod, and punk scenes had all but dried up here locally. We set off to find a new audience with rhythm and blues, rockabilly, and country music. What made us a little different is that we were less traditional, less purist, in that most of us had come out of a ’60s pop and R&B background.”
For the Casbah reunion, Brandes says, “We’ll be performing a couple of songs from the one recording we did with Mark Neill at his Soil of the South Studio [Main Street, El Cajon], as well as some other originals and covers of the International Submarine Band, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Merle Haggard.”
The Manual Scan lineup will feature Reader contributor Bart Mendoza and Kevin Donaker-Ring (both now of the Shambles), with Tim Blankenship and Morgan Young. “The hardest part has been whittling down the number of songs we can fit in our time slot,” says Mendoza. “We’ll leave the door open to further Manual Scan shows, but on a one-off, special-event basis.” The band will soon reconvene to record with onetime Rolling Stones producer Alan Sanderson at Signature Sound.
The Unknowns (perhaps best known for their appearance on Night Flight’s New Wave Theatre) will include Mark Neill (guitar), Dave Doyle (bass), and Craig Packham (drums), playing their first public set in around five years.
Also appearing on January 30 will be the Blues Gangsters, a lineup of vintage players from the Rockin’ Dogs, the Answers, Everybody Violet, and the Wallflowers. The Penetrators reunion scheduled for that date will not be happening; the band cites “personal reasons.”