#22 I Ride My Bike-Cracker. The Inland Empire: A Love Story.

 

I Ride My bike- Cracker

 

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Blatant Plug:   Don’t forget to buy your Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven Campout Tickets. Only those that by advance tickets get the cool laminate.  Sept 10th and 11th Pioneertown California in the fabulous Joshua Tree region of the Inland Empire.  Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven, Gram Rabbit, The Bellrays,  Miss Derringer, J Roddy Walston and the Business, McCabe and Mrs Miller, Ashley Raines, The Dangers, Jonathan Segel, Johnny Hickman,  The Dangers  and more.

Buy tickets here.

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In early 1992 shortly before  we released the first Cracker record we went back to the Inland Empire to rehearse.  Five of the key members of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker were from the Inland Empire. John Hickman, Victor Krummenacher, Chris Molla, Davey Faragher and myself. In a way it’s the spiritual home of both bands. It was where we first learned to play  where we started our first bands and it was where most of our families still lived.

The Inland Empire? Sounds exotic. Not really.  I briefly described it in an earlier post. But let me go into a little more detail.

First the Inland Empire of California  consists of the far eastern exurbs of Los Angeles, much of the Mojave Desert, the San Bernardino Mountains and the Coachella Valley.  But what you really need to know is that the Inland Empire is to Los Angeles what New Jersey is to Manhattan.  And it is held in the same contempt.  The Inland Empire is not  “The Valley” as in valley girls.  The Valley is relatively affluent and sophisticated compared to the Inland Empire.  From here on out we refer to this area as the locals do, it’s “The IE.”

 

The IE starts as you enter the San Bernardino valley. After the long hill on I-10 past Covina. The San Bernardino valley finished a poor third when the giant postwar migration to California began.  The suburbs of the San Fernaando valley and the San Gabriel valley were preferred choices of eastern immigrants. They were also more expensive.  The San Bernardino Valley was dry semi-desert and hot as hades in the summertime.  Bucolic ranches, vineyards and citrus groves yes, but alongside industrial decay, steel mills, chemical plants, and the general detritus that surrounds all military installations.  There were at least 7 military bases there when I was growing up in the early 70’s.  So we got the poorer immigrants,  the less affluent,  a lot of southerners,  and folks fleeing the driest coldest parts of the great plains.

You continue east on I-10 and around Colton you begin to hit the barrios, and you feel that you are now in The Borderland.  That area that is neither the US nor Mexico. It covers a large areas of the southwest. Mostly along the border but it is not contiguous.  So here even 100 miles north of the border there are pockets of The Borderland. (Borderlands is a real term used in Geopolitical theory i didn’t make it up)

 


Continue further  east on I-10 and just as you go up into the San Jacinto pass you realize you have definitely left Los Angeles and are in The West. You might as well be in West Texas.  The buttes, the steeply cut dry creekbeds, the chaparral, the brushy hillsides with horses and cows scattered in the distance. Same if you head north towards Las Vegas through the Cajon Pass.

 

 

This was a wonderfully weird place to grow up. It was a place in constant transition.  But more importantly balkanized.  One moment you were driving through an abandoned industrial site the next minute you would be in a beautiful orange grove.  Fragrant and like an Eden with running water in the stone lined irrigation ditches. The ditches themselves ancient. Dug hundreds of years ago by the Spanish missionaries and the Indians.

You would exit the gates of Norton Airforce base and immediatel pass the row of strip clubs and bawdy drinking establishments,  then old postwar cinderblock houses long in decay, now barrio and part of The Borderland, then suddenly more farmland ranchland and orchards.  Here and there gleaming pockets of McMansions.  They seemed to pop up overnight like mushrooms. The new residents seemed to always be peering warily over their fences at those of us who lived in the older decaying serttlements amongst the dying vines and orange trees.

 

Every once in a while a dying orchard would be bulldozed.  Every day as young teens we stood and watched. Eventually the area was flattened into the neat outlines of streets and houses.   The day the surveyors came and planted their flags was the moment for which we were waiting. For that evening after dark we would creep out of our neighborhoods and pull up the surveyors stakes.  We didn’t know why. Something told us those were OUR groves and the surveying stakes only brought those that peered warily over their fences at us.

Our older brothers were more devious and cunning.  They would carefully move the surveying stakes a foot or so.  Wrecking the squares and rectangles. Leaving behind subtle trapezoids.

We lived in places like Okieville,  Mentone,  Greenspot, Crafton and East Highlands.  The newcomers lived in developments like Rio Vista or Hacienda Heights.  They came from Los Angeles and Orange County.  We came from dull and poor towns in the Midwest and South.

There were constant booms and busts.  I remember at least four times my parents modest lower middle class neighborhood suddenly emptying out. The cul de sacs dotted with overgrown lawns and bank repossession signs.  In the late 70’s a new development up the road failed and entire cul de sacs were empty.  But it was nothing new. It’d been going on for centuries.

The Cahuilla and Serrano came and failed. The Spanish missionaries the Mexican ranchers came and failed. Then came the Mormons who settled this area, prospered  for a time and then suddenly abandoned this godforsaken place. Railroads came and failed.  The steel mills came and failed.  the defense companies came and then failed.  Even the military bases. But each wave left a few people behind. Generally the weakest and the misfits. And this created a strange patchwork, a balkanized country.

No one is from the IE.  Your family came here usually to escape something.  To erase the past and start anew.  To quote Joan Didion:

“Here is the last stop for all those who come from somewhere else. For all those who drifted away from the cold and the past and the old ways”

(Curiously that quote I just found is in a book of her essays titled “Slouching towards Bethlehem” also a quote from The Second Coming)

The weather here is brutal.  It’s not uncommon to have temperatures in the summer of 110 or 115 degrees.  In the fall and winter brutal and strangely warm Santa Ana winds whip down through the passes at 70 miles an hour.  It is a startling experience the first time it blasts you in the face.  From may through september the mountains lock in the smog and dust from Los Angeles.  The sky and the land are often grey and a horizon can’t often be distinguished. And then there are the terrifying wildfires.  They would often blacken the sky so it was like night in the middle of the day.  A snowstorm of ash would cover the cars and sidewalks.

Pretty gim right?  Not really it was a fun and diverse place to grow up.  We rode bikes on the empty roads and abandoned places. Skateboarded in abandoned pools and reservoirs.  We shot bb guns in the citrus groves or chased the wild peacocks through the chaparral. I kissed a Mexican girl under a backyard trellis’ of bougainvilleas climbing roses, another I met secretly at night along the eucalyptus windbreaks that demarcated the ancient settlements. Yes even the plants were immigrants, and balkanized.

And it seemed that a curiously high percentage of us played music. Sometimes at night from my bedroom I could hear two or three competing bands.  There was the Tex-Mex/Norteña (or Conjunto) band a block to the north.  A latin rock ensemble to the west and 2 doors down a Steely Dan knockoff.

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In an earlier post I mentinoned the blog Rock Prosopography 101.  One of the writers of that blog has a theory that there is an inverse relationship between the vitality of a music scene and property values. In other words cheaper towns and suburban areas produce more bands and musicians (as long as they don’t become outright ghetto).

In my experience this is very true.  For when we were young teenagers and we wanted to start playing electric guitars and drum sets, we would just set up in the garage, or the family room of some sprawling rancher and play.  If our family didn’t tolerate us, there was always some old barn, empty storefront or farmhouse that some kind adult would let us use.  As we got older and more serious we often rented little spaces.  They became our little clubhouses.  One was the unused office at the front of an industrial park $50 a month in 1980.  Another was the old waiting room at an unused train station.  I think we payed $75 dollars a month for that one 1982.  And then there was always the older brother or stoner friends that had the little farm cottages in one of the semi rural areas like Devore or San Timeteo Canyon. you could stage a full on PA and blast away like you were Led Zeppelin. Johnnys band actually rented and practiced in an old bar deep in the barrio in Riverside.  They also put on their own underground shows their and a lot of the time the drummer lived there.

When I went away to college in Santa Cruz I realized what a great advantage this had been for me.  I had many cool friends. I wanted to play music with some of them cause they had such advanced tastes.  But they were always much less experienced than I.  These folks had grown up in places like San Francisco, New York City or Boston.  They just hadn’t had their hands on the equipment very often.  So when the CVB guys came to Santa Cruz we were more experienced than our peers and this seemed to give us an advantage.  (Jonathan segel grew up in Davis in the central valley and had the same advantage we did).  I also get the sense that the IE produced a fair number of hollywood studio “cats”.  I mean just check the discography of two guys that went to my high school  John Jorgensen and Davey Faragher.

So looping all the way back to the beginning of the story.  Davey Faragher, Johnny Hickman,  Josef Peters and I decided that we would meet up before some Cracker tour and rehearse for a couple days in Redlands CA in the IE.  And this is the way we did it in the IE: We didn’t rent a rehearsal space. There weren’t any.  We just called around until Johnnys brothers found some friends who had a little house out in the old sheep pastures.  They were just your usual Southern California Heschers*.  Rockers of no real denomination.  Pot-heads, harmless ne’re do wells.  We could rehearse in their converted garage/ party room as long as their friends got to come over and party and listen.  Mind you these rehearsals were in the middle of the day.  We spent a day refreshing the songs from the album.  The second day we got into this trippy jam.  I mean it had a couple really good guitar riffs and chord progressions the kind that made a traditional punk song.  But then we kept trying to get it to explode into this freak out middle sections.  Punk rock riffage into a 1969 bad acid biker jam.  It wasn’t the window pane acid jam. It was the shitty stuff that came later. the stuff cut with speed.  Angrier. Post-Altamont.     And at some point we nailed it.  We walked outside into the bright December or January sunlight,   the grass was impossibly green. ( In the IE our grass is green in the winter).  A couple of the Hescher dudes followed us out “Dude that shit was trippy”.  Yeah it was.  It was the song I Ride My Bike.

And that’s the Inland Empire. And that’s the story of I Ride My Bike. Almost.  I forgot the most important part of the story.

 

In the IE we also rode motorcycles. Small on off road bikes.  Yamaha and Honda 250 four strokes. They were ubiquitous and everywhere.  It was part of the fabric of everyday life. There was nothing like riding one of these bikes through the narrow orchard roads late at night. Especially in the summer when the only cool air in the entire IE  was trapped in those groves.  It was liberating. Especially half buzzed.  That is what this song is about.  A simple incantation to take me back to this time.  “I ride my bike, I drive my car  take me back to you”  The rest of the song isn’t really intended to describe that place and time.  But  to just evokes the general feeling.  A feeling and an energy I associate with that place.

*Heschers are sort of surburban white trash but also rockers. Despite what urban dictionaries say I believe it was a slang word originated by a small group of punkers in the IE.  And i may be able to prove it.   It believe it to be a mispronunciation of our word “Hessian”but this is for another post.

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[INTRO & BREAK:]

[Em][F#m][G][D]
[Em][F#m][G][D]
[Em][F#m][G][D]
[Em][F#m][G][D][REPEAT BREAK]

VERSE 1:
[Em] And I [F#m] ride my [G] bike [D]
[Em] And I [F#m] drive my [G] car [D]
[Em] I drive it [F#m] all a-[G]-round just to [D] take me back to [Em] you [F#m][G][D]

VERSE2:
[Em] And I [F#m] comb my [G] hair [D]
[Em] And I [F#m] wear a [G] dress [D]
[Em] I wear it [F#m] all a-[G]-round just to [D] take me back to [Em] you

CHORUS:
I ride my [A] bike, [G] take me [D] back to [Em] you
I drive my [A] car, [G] take me [D] back to [Em] you
[Bm] I ride my [F#m] bike, [C] I drive my [G] car, [D] take me to [Em] you
[Bm] I ride my [F#m] bike, [C] I drive my [G] car, [D] take me to [Em] you

REPEAT BREAK

REPEAT VERSES 1 & 2

REPEAT CHORUS
[Bm] I ride my [F#m] bike, [C] I drive my [G] car, [D] take me to [Em] you

[MIDDLE SECTION:]
[Em(Em+6 and Em7 embellishments) throughout]
This is a story about a dog, a dog
When I ride my bike
And my hair is blowing straight back
I think of you wearing that brown mohair sweater
Soft mounds of breasts underneath
Or better yet one of those spindly aluminum lawn chairs
I’m putting sun tan lotion on your long legs
A-wearing a broad rim straw hat
Pair of Mickey mouse sunglasses
Looking just like lolita
Looking just like lolita
White sheets hanging on the line
White sheets blowing in the wind
A satellite dish pointed straight up at the heavens

[G][A][C]
[Em] A satellite dish pointing stright up at the [G] heavens, Isis![A] (Isis) [C] (Isis)

[Em] Isis! [G] Isis! [A] (Isis) [C] (Isis)
[Em] (Isis) [G] Isis! [A] Isis! [C] Isis!

[Em] Isis! [G] Isis! [A] Isis![C] Isis!
[Em] Oh yeah! (Isis) [G] arrrrrrrrrr
[G#][A][A#][B][C][C#][G][C#][Eb][E][Eb][C][Eb][E][(random sliding bar chords above 12th fret)][(FADES INTO:)]
[E]

[Bm] I ride my [F#m] bike, [C] I drive my [G] car, [D] take me back to [Em] you X4

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46 Responses to “#22 I Ride My Bike-Cracker. The Inland Empire: A Love Story.”

  1. Jerry Johnson Says:

    I enjoyed this blog very much. David, you painted a picture of your home town and I visualized this warm California place of abandon homes and pools turned into skate parks. I think you should write a book. Perhaps someone has already told you this but I am saying it again. nice job.

  2. Ralph Torres Says:

    An astute description of this irrigated edge of the desert. It hasn’t changed – expect for the changes.

  3. Is Murrieta consider part of the IE?

  4. Love the IE story. I was born and raised in West Covina, went to college at Cal Poly Pomona and had a family cabin in Cedar Pines Park near Crestline and lake Gregory. So I know the IE intimately. Your story of the surveyor stakes brought back vivid memories. We would play all day and into the evening in the vacant fields, usually army or cowboy and indians, pulling out mustard plants with big dirt balls on the roots — they made great handgranades. The surveyor sticks were the best — sword fights!
    Yes, those evil wooden stakes would show up one day like skinny tombstones with plastic flags and create a dark foreboding air. You just knew your favorite playground and secret cigarette forts were soon to be bulldozed and replaced with houses, strip malls or car dealerships.

    The glory days of the IE and eastern San Gabriel Valley.

    • Do our remember a place called Tangled Pines? They were cabins my dad took me to when I was a kid. We used to go up to Crestline and hit the beaches — I remember a waterslide that landed you right near the lake. Good times. Great memories.

      • no i don’t but i’m sure it was cool in that IE funky sort of way.

      • The waterslide is at Lake Gregory. Other great landmarks up there were Mazumdar’s Temple, now owned by the Moonies, and, of course, Santa’s Village at Skyline Forest.

  5. This is a fantastic post. It graphically illustrates–with graphics!–how housing and electric music interact. Acoustic or quiet music doesn’t need a power source and usually doesn’t irritate neighbors, but anything loud needs a building with power and either insulation or isolation.

    Music scenes thrive when housing is cheap and in transition. When buildings are being abandoned or built, musicians can move into the empty spaces for a while. Transition isn’t static, and at some point either the buildings fill up with better paying residents or decline so much that even the musicians move out. Places like the Haight Ashbury in San Francisco or the IE have had both results at different times.

    This post is a great illustration of how electric music literally fills the interstices of late capitalism, and will continue to do so (about the only positive I can think of with respect to today’s “Housing Bust”).

  6. Jesse Lavery Says:

    Thanks for such a vivid story about one of my favorite Cracker songs!

    Here’s hoping for some more b-side type of songs and/or the other stuff from the Tucson EP.

  7. zendixie Says:

    yes, when this is finished, if it ever is, it needs to be a book.
    didn’t FZ grow up in the IE? i remember reading that as a teen he had a studio in lancaster. you really have a way of painting a picture with these stories.
    the thing about poorer areas producing more or better music is obvious. look at appalachia ,new orleans, the mississippi delta and rural texas.
    you still didn’t explain the dress thing. i’m sure splinter really wants to know.

    • yes zappa was in montclair or claremont. or very close to there. zappa was definitely IE. check out San Bernardino for his take on the IE.

    • Doug E Rotten Says:

      The theory that low-ish rents concentrate musicians into a potent distillate does make a certain amount of sense.
      But, there are counterexamples.
      I am not exactly sure how cheap Austin was in the late 80s but there was quite a scene there. I don’t have the impression it was inexpensive.
      A counterexample I know more about is he DCCore punk scene of Minor Threat and Bad Brains, which was based in private school-affluent suburbia. The key there might have been negligent parenting! Otherwise why would you let Bad Brains play in you living room for dozens of substance-addled prep schoolers?

      • Austin was totally cheap in the 80s. I almost moved there. It still is relatively cheap compared to San Francisco new york Boston etc.

        I was never into the dc hardcore scene. Too much dogma. I also didn’t understand a scene that based itself on violent straight edge thugs running around knocking beers out if peoples hands. And punching people. Dc hardcore scene was a small number of bands. I mean name em off. Finally in my honest opinion the music was shit. Not one hummable memorable tune in the whole fugazi minor threat catalogue.

        Odd you mention bad brains. They were excellent musicians and quite enjoyable to watch and listen to. I assume they came from some part of dc where the rents were cheaper. They didn’t go to prep schools either.

      • Chris Rathman Says:

        Historically, the music scene in Austin was helped by Willie and Waylon setting up camp there in the early 70s – kind of an escape from the Nashville sound. And I suppose it was a cheap enough place in the early 80s for Daniel Johnston to fall off the carni wagon and somehow survive on a McD salary. 🙂

      • It isn’t always as simple as cheap rent. The original notion of American “garage rock”–of which their were some very good examples in Colton and Riverside in the early 60s (The Bush, The Misunderstood, etc)–comes from new suburbs. In a new suburb, the garage is still empty, and teenagers can practice in it. Once a suburb has been in place for a while, garages get full.

        A whole neighborhood or town doesn’t have to be “cheap” for electric music to thrive. I’m sure parts of Austin were quite expensive and nice even in the 1980s, but I’ll bet it wasn’t where the musicians lived. Also, cheap housing is less of a factor than cheap rehearsal space. Electric music is loud, and where it thrives naturally there are usually old warehouses or a decaying industrial area.

        Maybe the Nature Conservancy could purchase some decaying urban areas as a Rock and Roll Wetlands? Preserving the Natural Habitat of species that are important to the Cultural Ecosystem? Well, its a thought…

      • perhaps they could by large swaths of detroit. and set it aside as a band reserve.

      • Just spotted a Bad Brains CD at a library book sale about an hour ago.

  8. These just keep getting better and better. Thank you!

  9. Yes, it really does need to be a book, and this should be chapter one.

    Zappa and Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) grew up in Palmdale and Lancaster, somewhat North of San Bernardino (on the other side of the Angeles National Forest). However, Zappa worked in a recording studio in Pomona in about 1962-63, and ended up owning it. The Mothers got their start playing places like Pomona and Riverside–I don’t know if it counts as IE, but it wasn’t Hollywood.

  10. I agree with everyone who said a book should be written. I really find these blogs interesting and need to be published on a wider scale encapsulating more readers than the few who are on FB.
    Cheers for these stories.

  11. Sandy Bandana Says:

    This is great writing! I mean it. My old drummer grew up in Cabazon and he was a genius.

  12. lynn marie Says:

    yeah! I grew up in wooded coastal florida, and my friends and I used to pull up the survey stakes too – I can totally relate to the “OUR groves” opinion – we were like “OUR woods!”

    these stories behind these songs are great. well written and fascinating reads, thank you!

  13. Damn Dave, This sheet is awesome. Think you could be a novelist if you put your mind to it.

    Thanks for doing what you do!!

  14. As much as it’s nice to get some of the references from your songs “annotated” it’s these slices of what your life was at the time that I am enjoying the most. There’s an intriguing network of autobiographical connections between your songs across the bands/years/albums.

    It’s all exotic Americana for us Europeans, but we can relate to the musical scenes: Liverpool (twice) / Birmingham (reggae/ska not metal) / Manchester (ongoing) in my life time. Which were all industrial urban areas with cheaper homes.

    And then there’s the university towns.
    Brighton seems to have a good scene right now, but it’s not cheap.

    • Ade, you need to be there to experience this. Magical place. I actually turned plenty of people on to CVB & Cracker while I was there and traded what I know about the UK for their knowledge and insight. One day we must arrange to make it there.

      Re: http://rockprosopography101.blogspot.com/
      Finally managed to read this. Brilliant stuff. Thanks for posting this.

  15. Cool story Mr. Lowery. I lived in SoCal from 2000 to 2009…coming from Atlanta, my first stop in Corona was quite the transition for me. I went there as a musician and one of my first sources of income was as a substitute school teacher for riverside county. I worked in schools in areas like hemet and murietta and even the city of riverside. I eventually moved to L.A,. but I have fond memories of the IE. Yeah, people in L.A. and O.C. bashed the IE, but I met a lot of cool kids out there…
    Anyway, I actually have a copy of Tucson. Love all 4 tunes! I got on board with Cracker right away. You guys were a HUGE influence on me. I would never have composed and recorded this song had it not been for you and Johnny. http://www.youlicense.com/SongDetails.aspx?ID=82014
    Peace.

  16. Great story. I looked up the IE on wikipedia, curious about the origin of the name. Among other things I learned that Cracker *is* one of the ‘established’ bands that sprang from this region (not CVB?). Also, the tallest building in the IE is a casino resort.

    • I replied to the comment following yours but had intended to follow up on yours. (If you’re interested, see the reply to “Brea Says: August 7, 2010 at 3:17 pm”)

  17. I guess if you weren’t able to grow up in Texas, this wasn’t too bad of a place. 🙂 I know what you mean about looking back on a place after you leave and appreciating it so much more. My hometown was like that: we all whined while we were teenagers about how boring it was, but in retrospect, we had a great time and never ran out of things to do. (And if we DID get really bored, we would just wait til the sun went down and go cow tippin’.) I’ve never been to California (though my little brother lived in Marin Co for about a year), and I hope I can visit one day.

    • Morongo! That’s the casino you’re referring to. I visited that casino once when m dad had tickets to see Bruce Hornsby (“The Way It Is.”) We had a good ol’ time…even Hornsby was a kick!

      I’ve since noticed that some great bands have played there, like the B-52s. CVB/Cracker should do a gig there — make it a Return to the IE show!

  18. Very nice post–I love writing like this about interesting places.

    FWIW, I grew up in Florida like Lynn Marie, but where were was between the old suburbs and the new Everglades-edge sprawl. And in the 70s the older parts of town still got quiet outside of the winter season. Even as a young kid, I used to disappear for hours on my bike (bicycle in this case), and it’s still one of my favorite things to do.

  19. You’ve got a lot of Steinbeck in you, don’t you? Write the novel.

    • Yeah, David’s writing a book here. And it’ll be a great read beyond the Cramper community.

      • I agree — I mean, I don’t know about “Steinbeck” but David’s certain got the writing chops. We already knew he could deliver poetry — now it’s obvious he can write in a variety of styles.

  20. This stikes a chord with me. I came of age in Orlando in the 60s and early 70s, prior to Disneyworld. We pulled up survey stakes, camped out in the woods and built forts where there would be tract homes only a year or two later. Growing up in the IE or central Florida or anyplace where things are in a constant state of development has an impact on how we see the world and emphasizes the transient nature of existence. By the mid-1980s the central Florida i knew from just 20 years ealier was non-existent. How different from the experience of someone who grew up in an established, older city. My commitment to wilderness activism grew out of this.

  21. David, this is a great evocative piece of writing. And I say that as a native of the hated OC who only sporadically made it out to places like Elsinore or Rialto or Glendora or Moreno Valley. I will admit the heat and smog demolished my senses, and that I was not equal to the requirements of this landscape.

    I’m glad that all of you guys found it to be a nurturing place, because I only ever knew it in the context of ugly things like little league road trips and parental visitation rights. I have relied on the Cracker-Camper axis, Zappa, Queens of the Stone Age et al to set me right in this area, since you all have obviously been hardier than me.

    My sister went to school in Clairemont—though I assume that doesn’t really count as IE.

  22. duffmacduff Says:

    Fond memories of the IE.

    Lived in the Yucca Valley for 2 months back in ’97 on location mixing sound on a low budge indie flick that never saw the light of day on the big screen but is probably on tv in Afghanistan at 4am these days. We shot the movie in and around Pioneertown and at the house of the lead singer of Throwing Muses (she lived pretty darn close to PT).

    Anyhow, I would musically speak out, providing commentary on behalf of the crew in regards to the adverse summertime desert conditions, constant 18 hour work days and some of the oddities of working in the Yucca V by dj’ing Cracker and CVB tunes from the sound cart. Based on the location, these bands were the only musical choice in my opinion!

    There is nothing like a weathered and tired film crew rallying behind the likes of:

    “Movie Star” – the entrance/ exit song for the primadonna lead actress.
    “Hi-Desert Biker Meth Lab” – on continuous repeat during night shoots. The crew would break it down and dance to the 5 second drum solo each time, regardless of what they were doing. This drove the producers insane!
    “Surprise Truck” – When the tweaked out caterer would show up driving his truck literally right through the set. Based on his driving ability we always knew his culinary delights would be a “surprise” for the cast and crew.
    “No More Bullshit” – After working for 16 hours mostly outdoors or inside with no ac, the producers would ask us to work a few more hours “to help them realize their vision on the big screen”. This was my simple response.

    Just my humble view of how CVB and Cracker were weaved back into the fabric of their roots, while providing a great soundtrack on location in the IE.

    Thanks for another great post and detail into the foundation that makes up the bands.

  23. John Rigney Says:

    Loved your New Jersey/I.E. comparison. I grew up in Jersey and you are spot on. Just as New Yorkers have contempt for their brothers and sisters from across the Hudson, so do the people of Los Angeles towards inhabitants from the I.E. Also, and BTW, ZAPPA’s studio in the early 60’s was called Studio Z and was located in Rancho Cucamonga.

  24. Hi David,
    Enjoyed the story. I grew up in Manhattan Beach. We had heschers out there too. They were generally from Redondo or Hawthorne, places a little farther inland, even by just a mile or so. It was very elitist geographically. A popular bumper sticker at the time was “There is no life east of Sepulveda.” The biggest insult you could hurl at another kid was “Go back to Hawthorne!”

    The heschers went to our high school but they were easy to spot. They had long hair. And moustaches sometimes. They drove to school, usually beat up vans of muscle cars. Denim jackets and jeans. Some even wore Ugg boots way back then in the late 70s and early 80s. We called them “Australian heavy metal boots,” It was kind of the Dogtown look mixed with early metal. One day we got to junior high (this must have been ’79) and overnight someone had spray painted Judas Priest over all the classrooms in huge letters, in like a dozen places. Definitely heschers. The punkers got along with them actually, because they’d both ditch class and would smoke weed together, or the punkers could hitch a ride with the heschers out to the “dime store” (a street out in Hawthorne where dealers lined up and sold bags) or a little farther inland to where black guys sold “loads,” which were a combo of like three kinds of downers that got you… well… loaded.

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