The 80s East LA Music Scene | KCET
The 80s East LA Music Scene
THE UNDERTAKERS, from East Los Angeles, first started practicing during mid-1977. They decided early on not to go for the "leather or New Wave look" and would instead wear black suits on stage to emulate their namesake. By 1978 they found Art, who became their singer. In 1979, the band hooked up with Willie Heron, from LOS ILLEGALS, who helped the band get on many bills at the Vex and other East L.A. clubs that would host punk shows.
The band played heavily during 1979 through 1982 and played at clubs like the Vex, Starwood, Hong Kong Cafe, and the Whiskey to name a few. The band opened for many bands including D.O.A., ALLEYCATS, PLUGZ, GEARS, FLEASHEATERS, SUBURBAN LAWNS, and others. Thee Undertakers recorded their first demo in 1980 and returned to the studio in 1981 to record what was to be their first LP. The band was going to have their LP released through Tito Larriva's Fatima Records label (who released PLUGZ LP and THE BRAT EP), but after a falling out between Tito and the band, the record never materialized and sat in the can for twenty years. In 2001, Grand Theft Audio released their awesome collection of studio recordings from 1980-81 (get it!).
"The Cry", Attitudes, Fatima Records, 1980
Formed in 1979, The Brat is often cited as one of the central creative forces of what was sometimes referred to as the East L.A. Renaissance of the early '80s. They played their first gig at the opening of The Vex, housed in the now defunct Self Help Graphics and instrumental in providing access to many local bands at the time. Their unique style of aggressive pop, highlighted by intelligent lyrics and passionate stage performances, engaged audiences and won them critical acclaim as well as the covers of Lowrider Magazine and the L.A. Weekly.
The Brat have shared the stage with many bands of note including R.E.M. and X. They recorded an EP called Attitudes, which was produced by Tito Larriva, of The Plugz and released independently by Fatima. The E.P. was cited as one of the five best independent releases in 1980 by BAM Magazine. Their contributions to Chicano music have been documented in several books including Barrio Rhythms by Steven Loza, Land of a 1000 Dances by David Reyes and most recently Loca Motion by Michelle Habel-Pallan.
Currently the founding members, Teresa Covarrubias and Rudy Medina are compiling a collection of previously unreleased material, including several songs by former Doors producer Paul Rothchild, a digitally remastered CD of their Attitudes EP, and a DVD of live performance clips from the early '80s.
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