Everybody with two brain cells to rub together and even the most rudimentary grasp of history knows San Francisco was THE music mecca of the 60’s. Countless legends broke out of SF in the 60’s and 70’s, but what a lot of people don’t remember are the awesome Bay Area bands in the 80’s and 90’s.
For today’s flashback I’m going to focus on my faves from the SF “scene”. Not all the bands were FROM San Francisco, but they all played there because that is where the vast majority of the venues are in the Bay Area.
And before anyone gets their panties in a wad, I will NOT be including metal or hip-hop in this Flashback. Yes, there were plenty of them around – well, not so much hip-hop as metal, but those scenes were still burgeoning. The Rock/New Wave/Punk bands were getting most of the attention. At least throughout the 80’s. I do like hip-hop and some metal (Def more into hip-hop than metal for sure tho) but there were so many bands back then that I loved, I’m just going to focus on them.
And here we go!
To me, this album was the Pinnacle of SanFran music in the 80’s. I was fortunate enough to see them live a few times and even got to hang out with them backstage at a couple of those shows.
Once while working in downtown San Jose I ran into their drummer Brian and we had lunch together on Market Street. Super nice guys, outstanding records.
Ok, this wasn’t their best song maybe, but it sure was fun! Every dance floor I ever witnessed would be PACKED when this song came on. And Pearl could really belt it!
Eddie and the Tide were born just a little outside the bay, but they made their mark here. This record was produced by Eddie Money (RIP) as I recall and got tons of radio play here on KOME and KSJO, two of San Jose’s biggest stations at the time. This video, or at least parts of it, were filmed in Santa Cruz when I was (practically) living there, so they felt like the Home Team to me.
Back when they were THE rising stars here, there was a contest on KSJO – A “Best of the Bay” thing where local bands would get a song played and the listening audience would call in to vote for the best song. The “prize” was an opening slot for Eddie and Co. at an old club in Campbell called Puma’s. Much to our shock and delight, my band won and we got the opening gig. It was the first time we played with a real “pro” band, not some kids coming out the garage like us, plus radio people at the gig… It was incredibly exciting and terrifying at the same time and by far the biggest crowd we’d played for up until then. Good times. Great memories. I was absolutely certain they were going to be a huge band, but for some reason they just never took off.Pity.
I was maybe 14 when I first heard Romeo Void, and was hooked. They were pretty creepy sounding to me and really captured the gritty sound of the city. Short lived band, but the songs have withstood the test of time. Still sounds creepy and gritty 40 years later. The dissonant guitar still gives me chills.
Last but certainly not least, Translator. You could not get away from this song when came out, it was infectious and everywhere. Surprisingly, these guys beat the “sophomore slump” and put out a brilliant second album. I only got to see them once, as an opening act for someone I can’t recall at the moment.
Ok folks, that is all I got for the day. Don’t fret if I missed your favorite, this is a mighty fertile field. I’ll come back to dig up some more gems from this Era before too long.
Thanks for reading (and listening!)