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Five San Diego Indie Bands from the '70s-'80s That Should Reunite

1. DFX2 On a sidewalk in Hillcrest near the Albertson's the letters DFX2 are inscribed into what was once wet concrete. I have to think it was done in memory of the band that everyone was talking about in the early 1980s. DFX2 seemed poised to blast out of San Diego and on to big arena gigs and fame. Led by twin brothers Douglas Farage (vocals and rhythm guitar) and David Farage (lead guitar and vocals) the other members were drummer Frank Hailey and Eric Gotthelf on bass who would replace Matthew Pray after the release of Where Are They Now. DFX2 released two EPs, and their songs “Emotion” and “Maureen” were minor radio hits but the band's videos saw much air on a newly emerging format: MTV. The band officially broke up in 1989.

2. Montezuma's Revenge When I used to peddle my bike to SDSU back during the 1970s I frequently saw Montezuma's Revenge gig posters all up and down El Cajon Blvd in the windows of businesses and on College Avenue telephone poles. They were an unusual high energy band with a long and successful run that began in 1973. They played a mix of country-rock-finger style songs that defied categorization. They called their music bionic bluegrass, but the music industry had no idea what manner of marketing label to assign them. Minus a record deal and residuals, they remained pretty much a road band with a run of better than a dozen years that saw them on the stages of the Calgary Stampede, the Grand Ole Opry, and at almost every state fair and grandstand show in between.

3. Jerry Raney and the Shames This power trio came to life during the late 1970s from the remains of one of San Diego's best-known and longest running indie rock bands: Glory. Jack Pinney, Gregg Willis, and Jerry Raney would become regulars at the Bacchanal, My Rich Uncles, and the Spirit. I saw them at one of the old KPRI Halloween Balls once. They opened for another power trio, 707 from Detroit (by then, their keyboard player had split) who were getting a lot of airplay from their one single "I Could Be Good for You." The Shames blew 707's doors off, but they were men about it and went on anyway.

4. Trees Grossly underrated and overlooked are words often applied to a former San Diego musician named Dane Conover. In 1981, fresh out of a killer San Diego band called Puppies, Conover got a Kim Fowley-inspired record deal with MCA and recorded Sleep Convention as the band Trees. It was a critical success but a commercial failure, a fact that has been blamed on mismanagement by the label. Conover ended Trees shortly after and began making music with his wife. People who know him say that he still is to this day, albeit in Northern California. Conover, by the way, is the author of a Beat Farmer's song called "Happy Boy" as popularized by the late Country Dick Montana.

5. Claude Coma and the IVs One for the record books, but a seriously original and gifted effort at that. Started in 1979, this was one tight-ass, driving unit that played mean and economical poprock behind Coma's weirdness: "I'm sick of the bus/I can't take it no more/Let's kill these people/What are they good for?" They were Claude Christensen, guitarist Don Story, John Gunderson on bass, the drummer Terry Micalizio, and David Davenport on keyboards. I remember seeing them at the Spirit Club and at the perpetually stinky Zebra Club in what today is called the Gaslamp but back then was simply called downtown. I remember thinking Claude seemed … older than the rest of us, but that may have just been an illusion. They split in the '80s. These days, Coma is said to be living his life as a woman.

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1. DFX2 On a sidewalk in Hillcrest near the Albertson's the letters DFX2 are inscribed into what was once wet concrete. I have to think it was done in memory of the band that everyone was talking about in the early 1980s. DFX2 seemed poised to blast out of San Diego and on to big arena gigs and fame. Led by twin brothers Douglas Farage (vocals and rhythm guitar) and David Farage (lead guitar and vocals) the other members were drummer Frank Hailey and Eric Gotthelf on bass who would replace Matthew Pray after the release of Where Are They Now. DFX2 released two EPs, and their songs “Emotion” and “Maureen” were minor radio hits but the band's videos saw much air on a newly emerging format: MTV. The band officially broke up in 1989.

2. Montezuma's Revenge When I used to peddle my bike to SDSU back during the 1970s I frequently saw Montezuma's Revenge gig posters all up and down El Cajon Blvd in the windows of businesses and on College Avenue telephone poles. They were an unusual high energy band with a long and successful run that began in 1973. They played a mix of country-rock-finger style songs that defied categorization. They called their music bionic bluegrass, but the music industry had no idea what manner of marketing label to assign them. Minus a record deal and residuals, they remained pretty much a road band with a run of better than a dozen years that saw them on the stages of the Calgary Stampede, the Grand Ole Opry, and at almost every state fair and grandstand show in between.

3. Jerry Raney and the Shames This power trio came to life during the late 1970s from the remains of one of San Diego's best-known and longest running indie rock bands: Glory. Jack Pinney, Gregg Willis, and Jerry Raney would become regulars at the Bacchanal, My Rich Uncles, and the Spirit. I saw them at one of the old KPRI Halloween Balls once. They opened for another power trio, 707 from Detroit (by then, their keyboard player had split) who were getting a lot of airplay from their one single "I Could Be Good for You." The Shames blew 707's doors off, but they were men about it and went on anyway.

4. Trees Grossly underrated and overlooked are words often applied to a former San Diego musician named Dane Conover. In 1981, fresh out of a killer San Diego band called Puppies, Conover got a Kim Fowley-inspired record deal with MCA and recorded Sleep Convention as the band Trees. It was a critical success but a commercial failure, a fact that has been blamed on mismanagement by the label. Conover ended Trees shortly after and began making music with his wife. People who know him say that he still is to this day, albeit in Northern California. Conover, by the way, is the author of a Beat Farmer's song called "Happy Boy" as popularized by the late Country Dick Montana.

5. Claude Coma and the IVs One for the record books, but a seriously original and gifted effort at that. Started in 1979, this was one tight-ass, driving unit that played mean and economical poprock behind Coma's weirdness: "I'm sick of the bus/I can't take it no more/Let's kill these people/What are they good for?" They were Claude Christensen, guitarist Don Story, John Gunderson on bass, the drummer Terry Micalizio, and David Davenport on keyboards. I remember seeing them at the Spirit Club and at the perpetually stinky Zebra Club in what today is called the Gaslamp but back then was simply called downtown. I remember thinking Claude seemed … older than the rest of us, but that may have just been an illusion. They split in the '80s. These days, Coma is said to be living his life as a woman.

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Comments
8

N.b.: The photo of "Claude Coma" above is actually of the Penetrators.

May 29, 2012

I'd love to see the Unknowns make this list, not to mention the Crawdaddys. The Zeros are already back together, so I guess that's one wish granted! :-)

May 29, 2012

Also, it was the Zebra Club (later Saigon Palace), not "Club Zebra." This was one of the formative clubs in that slice of San Diego, along with the legendary Skeleton Club.

May 29, 2012

Wow, Dave, you were at that Jerry Raney and the Shames Halloween show too?! That was at Sea World, circa 1980 or so, wasn't it? I remember the costume contest included a guy who drove in a Volkswagen outfitted as an erupting volcano, but he was disqualified because the car wasn't a "costume." I think the crew dressed as the Fruit of the Loom underwear fruits won first or second place.

For years after that show, I told people how great Jerry Raney and the Shames were. I've been following all his bands ever since. 707 wasn't too bad either, for that kind of Starship/Zebra/Hooters genre - I bought the album and still dig "I Could Be Good For You." My oh my.

May 30, 2012

The Fingers will perform for the first since 1981 at the Coronado High School All-Class Reunion at the Coronado Golf Course, July 3rd, 9pm. Admission is 10 bucks and the public is welcome.

None

May 30, 2012

Copenhagen/FOUR EYES!. Some great shows in and around OB back in the day.

May 31, 2012

I can remeber(barely)'gettin' all inebreeated andv sh-t' with Claude at 'My Rich Uncles' on El (right near the hooker turn 'round)C.Blvd. It seems funny that now,he parades dressed like one.

June 2, 2012

Don't forget the brain police!!! and framework. Brain police use to play at the community concourse in the late 60's

Oct. 2, 2014

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