Spent on a life in punk rock: “If it all ended tomorrow, I’d feel fairly compensated.”
“We started in 1979 in the garage, ended in 1982, reformed in 1992, disbanded in 1997, and reformed in 2002,” says Mike Sainz, aka Mike Spent of Carlsbad punk rockers Spent Idols. “Along the way, we recorded and released music in Japan, Italy, Germany, the USA, and, just recently, South America.”
"I Am a Lion"
...by Mike Spent/Black Belt
Spent also fronted a late ’90s group called N.Y. Whores and sang with the Dead End Kids and Last Year’s Hero. His newest band, Black Belt, released its debut single this past summer, “I Am a Lion,” recorded by Richard Duguay (Duff McKagan, Peter Murphy). “Richard holds a platinum record from Guns ’N Roses for his work on the Spaghetti Incident,” notes Spent. “He’s been producing music for the Dogs and the Pagans lately, so we spoke about collaborating.”
Black Belt sometimes features two former Idols, bassist DNile (who worked on “I Am a Lion”) and guitarist Jerm LeMaster. “This has been a studio venture. We took our time and crafted these songs for over six months.”
For the occasional Spent Idols performance, the singer is backed by LeMaster along with Casey O’Brien (guitar) and Zach Gralnic (drums). “Sad to say, we lost our drummer Jesse Valadez in 2011 to cancer. My original guitarist, Gabey Spent, is battling throat cancer. I did put together a band of local San Diego talent and we toured five states [as Spent Idols] last year.” The group also released a new fan-funded rarities CD in South America featuring demos and unreleased tracks.
Spent admits it’s a scramble to make a living, but he doesn’t regret pursuing a full-time music career. “I’ve been retired from the nuclear industry since 1997. Music is my passion, it’s simply an extension of who I am. I never had a money motivation. If it all ended tomorrow, I’d feel fairly compensated.”