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

Imperial Bassics

Mod in I.B. — not an easy thing to be, according to the Bassics.
Mod in I.B. — not an easy thing to be, according to the Bassics.

The Martinez brothers say their cue to start their band was an omen.

“We found these two guitars sitting right outside a neighbor’s fence,” says Sam Martinez, lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist of the Bassics. “It was like somebody wanted to give away old stuff. We kept going back there all day. Nobody claimed them, so we just nicked them. It was like it was a miracle.”

Sam, 19, and his bassist brother Vino, 21, say that was the beginning of the Bassics, a mod-conscious quartet from Imperial Beach.

“One was a Les Paul Epiphone. The other was a nameless heavy-metal guitar. We fixed them up and learned how to play. We used to take the trolley and go downtown to busk to save up to buy the parts and equipment we needed.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

Sam says the inspiration to play rock in the first place began a few years earlier. “One of my brother’s teachers at Mar Vista showed Help! by the Beatles in class. That did it.”

The Bassics (which includes drummer Carl Mendez, 18, and guitarist Nick Pineda, 16) don’t have it as easy as they would have 50 years ago, when harmonies and power-pop chords by bands such as the Who and the Kinks were on the air everywhere. In fact, if you’re a kid growing up now in I.B., they aren’t anywhere.

“There are actually no bands in I.B. It seems people in I.B. are very apathetic to the music scene and to live music in general. I.B. is classic San Diego. I love this place. But people don’t get out of their houses much.”

When they play 21-plus bars, three of them have to wait outside when they aren’t onstage. But the Bassics don’t particularly care to play the all-ages venues. “Soma is usually for the pop-punk or screaming scene.”

So, why are hardcore screamers so popular? “People want to latch on to their own identity, even if it’s cornholey type shit.”

Martinez says the band owes a lot to the support of their friends, especially a neighbor who gave them a place to practice and a manager who has invested in recording time and equipment.

Video:

"New Difference" by Manual Scan

As performed on a San Diego TV show in 1984

As performed on a San Diego TV show in 1984

Helping them get their first Casbah gig was a musical soulmate, Manual Scan founder and Reader contributor Bart Mendoza.

“Our friend’s dad said he was really into Manual Scan in the ’80s. He showed us a YouTube video. We all wondered if he was still around. We found out not only was he still around, but he is still in the scene. He dug us.” Vino Martinez wrote a song about the stifling I.B. non-culture called “Everyday Life.” “When you’re angry everything comes out good,” says brother Sam.

The Bassics appear February 2 and February 3 at the Casbah.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Marche De Noel Winter Fair, Banksyland, Snowside Winter Festival

Events December 9-December 10, 2022
Mod in I.B. — not an easy thing to be, according to the Bassics.
Mod in I.B. — not an easy thing to be, according to the Bassics.

The Martinez brothers say their cue to start their band was an omen.

“We found these two guitars sitting right outside a neighbor’s fence,” says Sam Martinez, lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist of the Bassics. “It was like somebody wanted to give away old stuff. We kept going back there all day. Nobody claimed them, so we just nicked them. It was like it was a miracle.”

Sam, 19, and his bassist brother Vino, 21, say that was the beginning of the Bassics, a mod-conscious quartet from Imperial Beach.

“One was a Les Paul Epiphone. The other was a nameless heavy-metal guitar. We fixed them up and learned how to play. We used to take the trolley and go downtown to busk to save up to buy the parts and equipment we needed.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

Sam says the inspiration to play rock in the first place began a few years earlier. “One of my brother’s teachers at Mar Vista showed Help! by the Beatles in class. That did it.”

The Bassics (which includes drummer Carl Mendez, 18, and guitarist Nick Pineda, 16) don’t have it as easy as they would have 50 years ago, when harmonies and power-pop chords by bands such as the Who and the Kinks were on the air everywhere. In fact, if you’re a kid growing up now in I.B., they aren’t anywhere.

“There are actually no bands in I.B. It seems people in I.B. are very apathetic to the music scene and to live music in general. I.B. is classic San Diego. I love this place. But people don’t get out of their houses much.”

When they play 21-plus bars, three of them have to wait outside when they aren’t onstage. But the Bassics don’t particularly care to play the all-ages venues. “Soma is usually for the pop-punk or screaming scene.”

So, why are hardcore screamers so popular? “People want to latch on to their own identity, even if it’s cornholey type shit.”

Martinez says the band owes a lot to the support of their friends, especially a neighbor who gave them a place to practice and a manager who has invested in recording time and equipment.

Video:

"New Difference" by Manual Scan

As performed on a San Diego TV show in 1984

As performed on a San Diego TV show in 1984

Helping them get their first Casbah gig was a musical soulmate, Manual Scan founder and Reader contributor Bart Mendoza.

“Our friend’s dad said he was really into Manual Scan in the ’80s. He showed us a YouTube video. We all wondered if he was still around. We found out not only was he still around, but he is still in the scene. He dug us.” Vino Martinez wrote a song about the stifling I.B. non-culture called “Everyday Life.” “When you’re angry everything comes out good,” says brother Sam.

The Bassics appear February 2 and February 3 at the Casbah.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

37K sidewalk repairs needed in San Diego

Should take about 20 years
Next Article

The wildest things on the Funky Fries & Burgers menu

Freak shakes are what might result if an ice cream truck crashed into a candy store
Comments
1

I like what the Bassics are doing, hope they keep it goin! As far as (Mod) music goes in IB, The Trebels started around the late 70's and played well into the 80's (even opening up for Chuck Berry). They played everything from The Who to the Small Faces, The Downliners Sect, originals, R&B, and did it WELL. Members went on to form The Hoods, The Evil Eyes, The Imperial Beats, The Loons, Phantoms, and The Hi-Tones (with Action Andy). The New Breed (named after The Jam's "Dig The New Breed" lp) comprised of Mar Vista kids (& one National City kid) who played original Power-Pop & Garage through the late 80's and the early 90's, skinny ties and all. 70's era Funk-Rock group "Last Chance" was responsible for the Imperial Beach anthem "IB Cruisin," blasted from every smoky car window west of I-5, down Palm Avenue, then sizzled into the sand & sloughs~

April 16, 2015

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close