The Linda Lindas and friends say VOTE!

Although none of The Linda Lindas are old enough to fill out a ballot, they recorded a kickass get-out-the-vote song and made a cool video, too.

Check out this brand-new, 100 percent DIY effort featuring a ton of cameos from original L.A. punk lifers (Alice Bag, Phranc, Mike Watt, Tony Reflex from Adolescents, Hector from The Zeros, Mike from Channel 3, Atomic Nancy), pals from Jabberjaw days (Adam from Jawbreaker, Allison from Bratmobile, all three members of Emily’s Sassy Lime), familiar faces from Olympia’s pop underground (Tae from Kicking Giant, Lois Maffeo, Nikki McClure), favorites from The Smell (Bethany from Best Coast, Jennifer from Bleached, Randy from No Age), and more.

Pretty solid crew for a band of 10- to 15-year-olds, and the song is a ripper, too! Now what are you going to do to about the election?

Complete list of special guests in order of appearance: Mario Correa, Atomic Nancy, and Zen Sekizawa; Jenny Angelillo (Neighborhood Brats); Ray Barbee; Pat and Lety Beers (The Schizophonics); Mike Watt; Senon Williams (Dengue Fever); Allison Wolfe; Lois Maffeo; Randy Randall (No Age); Camylle Reynolds (Midnite Snaxxx); Alice Bag; Tae Won Yu (Kicking Giant); Wendy Yao (Emily’s Sassy Lime); Amy Yao (Emily’s Sassy Lime); Emily Ryan (Emily’s Sassy Lime); Adam Pfahler (Jawbreaker) and Amy Dumas; Laura Ling; Tony Reflex (Adolescents); Hector Penalosa (The Zeros); Rawl Morales (Mike Watt & The Secondmen) and Paloma Bañuelos (Bombón); Nikki McClure and Jay T. Scott; Bethany Cosentino (Best Coast) and Jennifer Clavin (Bleached); Daniel Wu; Money Mark; Sasami Ashworth; Maya Tuttle (The Colourist); Mike Magrann (Channel Three); Phranc; Pete Chramiec (Verbal Assault).

Save Music in Chinatown 6 on KCHUNG’s Crystalline Morphologies


Thanks to my longtime friend and Save Music in Chinatown supporter from the beginning Gabie Strong. She invited Nate Pottker and me onto her Crystalline Morphologies radio show on KCHUNG to talk about the cause, play some music related to the shows, and get the word out about our May 31 lineup.

For the first time, I actually tried to scribble down mini sets to play. Here’s how they went:

Anarchy Jerks – Oi! Oi! Oi!
Adolescents – Monolith of Mountlake Terrace, A Dish Best Served Cold
Mike Watt & The Black Gang – Rebel Girl
Brain Failure – Living in the City
Dengue Fever – Glass of Wine (demo)
The Zeros – Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White
The Gears – Let’s Go To The Beach
Channel Three – Indian Summer
Birdstriking – TV at 7PM
Carsick Cars – Ono
P.K. 14 – Voyagers (I think)
Dear Eloise – Castle
The Bicycle Thief – Max, Jill Called (Live at Save Music In Chinatown 4)


I tried to play a Chui Wan song after Dear Eloise, but the CDR didn’t work. Bummer. Maybe you heard them on NPR lately anyway? I’ll try again on KXLU’s Molotov Cocktail Hour next week…

In the meantime, stream or even download the show at

Thanks, Gabie! Thanks, KCHUNG! Seeya May 31!

Happy Chinese New Year/Adolescents at Amoeba/Mike Watt & The Tom and Jerry Show in Long Beach

ghfc2When I was a little kid, I remember my Popo lighting firecrackers on her freshly swept porch and it scared the shit out of me. Being a third-generation Chinese American, I didn’t really understand everything about it. I still don’t. But getting together and feasting was really cool and so were the gold and red decorations, lunar animals, and lucky money.


So I’m super stoked that my wife’s family is also Chinese and that our daughter goes to school in Chinatown. Chinese New Year is an extra big deal now–like Thanksgiving (family getting together), Christmas (kids getting gifted), and the Fourth of July (pyrotechnics) all in one.


My in-laws hosted an early Chinese New Year dinner last weekend and it was massive. For the 20 or so guests, there must have been eight or nine entrees (not counting the vegetarian dishes they made just for me). I love how noodles are served for long life. hairy seaweed is served up just because it sounds like “fat choy,” and all the other reasons behind the menu which happens to be amazing.


I used to try to explain some of the traditions to Eloise’s mostly non-Asian classmates when she went to preschool at Bellevue Park in Silver Lake. I’d give a short lesson topped by the lion dance from the beginning of Once Upon A Time in China. Now she goes to first grade at a school that observes the holiday on an official capacity with a minimum day and Eloise even makes her own lai see just for fun (above).


We won’t be setting off any firecrackers at midnight (illegal) but we did catch The Adolescents’ in-store at Amoeba this evening (questioning the law). Holy crap, they’re on a huge roll with a very solid lineup and so many great songs on their excellent new LP. Yes, they ended the generous and ripping set with the store’s namesake song.


Eloise and I arrived super early, said hi to Mike when he was setting up the drums, and sheepishly asked for Amoeba stickers so we could lurk in front. He said, “No problem. You’re like family!” How cool is he and the rest of the band? How great is it that one of the best bands in the world is also the best people?


After the show, we waited in line to have the new LP and the most recent Save Music in Chinatown flyer signed by our friends. It was extra cool that there was a handful of people in line who introduced themselves as having attended our benefits, including the one in which the Adolescents played a surprise set. It’s awesome to feel like part of something bigger.


Oh. Mike Watt’s set with the Tom and Jerry Show for the Live after 5 program in Long Beach last week was excellent, too. Another famously nice legendary musician to emerge from L.A.’s punk scene and help raise money for the music program at the public school in Chinatown that Eloise attends.


One more late breaking CNY item… On Friday, the very cool coordinator at Eloise’s school asked if we were going to attend the parade in Chinatown. He said that she could hold the banner and how could we pass that up?


Mayor Eric Garcetti happened to be nearby at the parade’s start, I asked if he’d take a photo with the schoolkids, and one thing led to another. Eloise, two friends, and a teacher were asked to ride along…


Our Year of the Sheep, Ram, or Goat (take your pick) is off to an awesome start with awesome music, food, family, friends, and some surprises. May yours be filled with all of that, plus health, happiness, and at least enough fortune to get by.

Save Music in Chinatown 5 photo dump with Mike Watt & The Secondmen, The Gears, and Adolescents (surprise set)


Save Music in Chinatown 5 happened on Sunday and I’ve finally unloaded the SD card… Everyone knew the show would be badass when the universally loved and respected Mike Watt went on first with the Secondmen. The heavy trio blew the minds of the kids and adults alike with their jazz-fueled punk (or is it the other way around?) and only true legends could follow.


Clockwise from top left: Mike Watt with Secondmen Pete and Jerry, as well as Missingmen member Tom Watson; Adolescents crew digging Watt & The Secondmen; members of the Missingmen, Red Krayola, and HowardAmb; photographers Ben Clark and Krk Dominguez in the crowd with Una from Keep, Laurie from Track 16, and so many others…


I like these photos of Mike Watt & The Secondmen because you can see Steve and Tony from the Adolescents and Axxel G. Reese hanging out in the background. In the second panel, the bassist for Minutemen, fIREHOSE, DOS, and so many other projects is encouraging the audience, “Start your own band!” at the end of the set. Perfect for a show raising funds for music education at Castelar Elementary.


Clockwise from top left: Tony Adolescent and Krk from Flipside; Me with Chris from What? Records, Iloki Records, and Wondercap Records and Watt; Steve from Adolescents with Lisa from Frontier Records; thanks to KCHUNG’s Kings of Punk DJs and Gabie for lining them up. What would our city do without KCHUNG or KXLU?


The Gears played next and their combination of first-wave punk energy (coming from The Controllers) and rockabilly swing makes for one badass live show. I already love all of their recordings from old to new but in concert they’re just plain unstoppable. Look for a documentary on the Masque-era favorites to make the rounds soon.


Left to right: Tony Adolescent said that when you’re a singer who’s following a frontman like Axxel G. Reese, you just keep your feet planted and don’t even try; Ace has been doing sound for Adolescents shows for decades and kindly made ours sound better. That’s Save Music in Chinatown co-conspirator Nate the Man on the far right.


Musical badasses. Too bad The Gears didn’t play “Don’t Be Afraid To Pogo” since I trained my six-year-old in the original punk dance move in advance. But omitting “I Smoke Dope” from the set was totally understandable. And did I mention Mike from CH3 came up with his crew? I totally blew it and didn’t take a picture with him, but what a rad guy. His band played our second benefit and I first saw The Gears with on a show they booked at Alex’s Bar years ago…


Clockwise from top left: The Gears circa 2015; Me with Lisa from Frontier Records, Mr. David O. Jones, and Chris from What? Records, Iloki Records, and Wondercap Records; Adolescents playlist being scribbled; Save Music in Chinatown crew includes my wife Wendy and pal Nate.


A solo acoustic set by Steve Soto was advertised as the top bill–and he was actually going to start off with a few songs–but the band decided to just dive into the unannounced Adolescents show with “Rip It Up”! Lots of songs off the Blue Album but also from the ripping new LP which is finally coming out domestically on Frontier next month.


Left to right: Before the surprise set, Tony described his ties to Chinatown, including meeting his wife in the courtyard between the Hong Kong Cafe and Madame Wong’s during the neighborhood’s punk glory days and his in-laws attending the Italian-language church up the street; filmmaker and good friend Pryor, Wendy, and the family of Ben from Evil Hearted You, who had played a rare show at the previous benefit.

smic5-11 Tony has been very supportive of our DIY fund-raising matinees since we started last year, but I never dared to think that he and Steve would actually bring the Adolescents to one of our benefits. I’ve always loved the band because they are as political and funny as they are polished–a perfect balance of purpose, anger,  and tunes. How amazing is it that they made time to gather for our very humble benefit at an old kung-fu-movie-theater-turned-art-gallery.


After wiping down and cleaning up Human Resources and then having dinner with my family and friends who stuck around, I had just enough time to hustle over to Cafe NELA and catch a secret set by The Gears, who played an all-requests set with the missing songs and more. Excellent.


Thanks to three of my favorite bands who happen to be the best humans ever, friends like Grant and Eric at Human Resources who make the shows possible, contributors and helpers at the bake sale (and interTrend/Imprint for providing coffee), raffle donors (Keep Shoes, Donut Friend, Berndt Offerings, Scoops Chinatown, Tum Yeto/Toy Machine, Jawsey Bruce Records, Sticky Acres, The Beatle Years, and so many more), Gabie, Steve, and Max who promote the shows on KCHUNG and KXLU, and everyone who spreads the word and attends the show. How awesome is this for Castelar students and the Chinatown community, and how far can we take this scene that we’re growing?


Our next benefit is on Sunday, May 31, and when the lineup comes together you’ll see it here first…

Cool shows: The Dream Syndicate, Mike Watt & The Secondmen, Baja Bugs, King Tuff, TV on the Radio


Cleaning out the SD card and airing out some of the better photos before they are banished to the hard drive. Above: The Dream Syndicate freaking out at the Echoplex (November 22, 2014).


Froth at the Echoplex (November 22, 2014). They opened for The Dream Syndicate and were kind of like Phaseshifter-era Redd Kross with more droning.


The Dream Syndicate at the Echoplex (November 22, 2014). So noisy, so refined, such perfect songwriting and execution by the self-described “just a punk band from L.A.”


The Dream Syndicate at the Echoplex (November 22, 2014). Key songs: When You Smile, Tell Me When It’s Over, Halloween, Medicine Show, That’s What You Always Say, Days of Wine and Roses.


Backbiter at Cafe NELA (November 21, 2014). The Raji’s regulars ended their sludgy-but-never-dragging set with a badass cover of “Kick Out The Jams.”


Mike Watt & The Secondmen at Cafe NELA (November 21, 2014). Loved their Echoplex set earlier in the week, but this one was much cozier and heavier and they played “The Red and the Black”! Afterward, I handed them flyers and said thanks for the next Save Music in Chinatown show that they’re playing…


Neverland Ranch Davidians at Cafe NELA (November 21, 2014). Stripped-down, and sweaty punkabilly trio led by Tex Mosley.


Baja Bugs at Rebecca’s in South Park (November 8, 2014). Saw our pal Hector Penalosa (My Revenge, The Zeros) play with his ripping early Beatles band at a benefit for cats and dogs. So much fun, such a great guy.


Colleen Green and La Sera at the El Rey (November 6 2014). Perfect openers for King Tuff’s homecoming show. Musically cool as a cucumber and sweet as sunshine, respectively.


King Tuff at the El Rey (November 6 2014). Recently saw KT at Amoeba (and the car wash) but had to see him again in a full-on concert. The new album is awesome and his live show is a blast.


TV on the Radio at the Fonda (November 22, 2014). After digging TVOTR at the massive Hollywood Bowl a couple of times, I got to preview the band’s great new songs in a theater. Instant classics along with old favorites, and later I got to meet the great Kyp Malone from Jon Moritsugu’s Scumrock, too. But that’s another story for another post…

Announcing Save Music in Chinatown 5: Mike Watt & The Secondmen, The Gears, Steve Soto (Solo, Acoustic)


The lineup for our next Save Music in Chinatown show came together in about 48 hours. On Tuesday I had lunch with my old pal Chris Ashford, who happens to be making a documentary about The Gears. He hit them up, and the next day they generously agreed to play.

The Gears at Alex's Bar (May 14, 2013)
The Gears at Alex’s Bar (May 14, 2013)

Yesterday morning, Save Music in Chinatown’s secret weapon Nate Pottker received a response to a cold email that he had sent to Mike Watt about the show. The legendary bass player was down, adding that he and The Secondmen would love to open for The Gears.

Mike Watt & The Secondmen at Fun Lovers Unite! at The Echoplex (November 18, 2014)
Mike Watt & The Secondmen at Fun Lovers Unite! at The Echoplex (November 18, 2014)

Right away I shared the good news with Tony Adolescent, a supporter of SMIC from the beginning. He said that his bandmate Steve Soto was up for playing a solo acoustic set for us. In about 10 minutes, they checked the date and locked it in.

Steve Soto with The Adolescents at the tribute to Bill Bartell at  The Echoplex (December 19, 2013)
Steve Soto with The Adolescents at the tribute to Bill Bartell at The Echoplex (December 19, 2013)

And there we have it: another killer benefit gig to raise money for music education at Castelar Elementary, and another excellent punk show in Chinatown to boot. I’ll put up a Facebook event page and Eventbrite ticketing page after Thanksgiving, but until then keep an eye on the Save Music in Chinatown community page for updates and everything else.


Check out the Facebook event page and ticketing at Eventbrite, and we’ll seeya at Human Resources in Chinatown on Sunday, January 11!

Fun Lovers United: Mike Watt & The Secondmen, Jenny Lewis, Sarah Silverman, Tim Heidecker, Neil Hamburger, and more…


I’ll gladly pay to see Mike Watt play anytime, anywhere, with any configuration of his kick-ass musician friends, but throw in a special set by Jenny Lewis and then add a gang of top-shelf comedians on top of that? Damn. On top of that, the Fun Lovers Unite! show was a benefit organized by my friend Josh Mills and his pal Maccabbee Montandon, inspired by the memory of the former’s brother. Asher Montandon was shot and killed for no reason in the summer of 1992, planting the seeds for them to start the Fun Lovers Unite! fund-raising concert and awareness campaign to promote more sensible gun laws.


Once I got through the line that snaked down Glendale Boulevard and entered the sold-out Echoplex, I immediately ran into Josh (above, with me) and told the human being how proud I was of him and Mac (above, right). People get outraged all the time. But how many actually do anything? And if they do, is it close to being this awesome?


Shannon Watts from Moms Demand Action (above, top right) was present to describe her organization’s cause and thank us ticket purchasers and the bands for supporting them. Emcee duties were handled by the self-deprecating-to-the-point-of-being-paranoid comedian and writer–not to be confused with the MMA fighter with the same name–Ali MacLean (above, bottom right), and first up was the 12-string, take-it-easy atmosphere of The Everyday Visuals (above, left).


I was there to see Mike Watt & The Secondmen, who were fresh off a 53-gig tour supporting their latest mind-blowing opus of post punk, post jazz, and all rocking rhythm and heaviness, Il Sogno del Marinaio. Although the masterfully ripping set was sort of a homecoming, the fresh faces in front seemed to be camping out for Jenny Lewis. Even so, Watt and crew never hold back one iota from their utmost musical potential when they’re onstage, whether it’s at a packed venue, in a backyard, or in front of a sea of future fans. So satisfying, every time.


Jenny Lewis kicked off her special appearance with “Just One of the Guys” before busting out a couple of Watson Twins collabs and then an acoustic Rilo Kiley song. I’m actually not super familiar with Lewis’s catalog, but it’s obvious that she is a consummate musician and commanding performer and her fans were totally freaking out. How cool to check her out close up for a solid cause.


I don’t know much about comedy, either, but the 20-minute sets that followed were funnier than shit. Kurt Braunohler (above, left) explained why he’s going to hell and Sarah Silverman (above, right) described her summertime survey asking straight, male, God-fearing audience members across the country if they would let Him come in their mouths. Meanwhile, Tim Heidecker (below, left) had a harder time picking up the microphone than Soap-on-a-Rope and Neil Hamburger (below, right) revealed the secret history of the Echoplex. (Two words: Marcel Marceau.)


And just like that the show was over, leaving an empty stage with puddles of sweat and drink spilled by America’s Funnyman in front of a bunch of smiling people. The topic of more sensible gun laws was never actually addressed head-on by the performers, and that was fine with me. The idea of simply surviving and having fun is the best argument, after all, and Josh and Mac conveyed that perfectly in their first Fun Lovers Unite! benefit gig. Can’t wait to see who they line up for the next one…


Join the Fun Lovers Unite! group on Facebook for more coverage and information on future shows…