Note – For some reason, I am unable to embed any videos or songs, so I’ve had to just include the links.
Everyone knows that Seattle is the birthplace of grunge rock and hyper-caffeination. However, if you were a Gen-X’er in South Florida during the late 80s to early 90s, you probably know we had a pretty neat little music scene happening locally as well. Of course, that was back before SoBe became “THE” spot for eurotrash and dance music junkies. Lincoln Road was still an open-air strip mall made up of tacky tourist shops, and Ocean Drive was more populated by leathery octogenarians than topless Latin American girls. A typical night on South Beach was not made up of an overpriced, under-portioned dinner at “Trendy Café du Jour” and all night dancing at “The Club the Jersey Shore Kids Couldn’t Get Into.” Rather it included cheap beer on tap and an overly amplified band on the stage of a tiny, dark, sweaty dive.
In addition to being an “alterna-girl”, I was also fortunate enough to have friends in bands, so I got to spend a lot time in these local spots (God, how I loved the Kitchen Club and Washington Square and Club Beirut), watching bands perform. Unfortunately, this was long before YouTube and cellphone videos, so a lot of those performances are nothing more than fun, distant memories. I still wanted to see what I could find online, and maybe feature of few of these great bands here, if for nothing else than to satisfy my own fond recollections of the time.
This first band is Humbert, my friend, Ferny’s, band. Ferny and I sat next to each other in music class in high school (yes, I took a music class. Yes, I am tone deaf. Don’t judge!) and he is totally one of the sweetest, most genuine people I have ever known in my life. He is one of those people that you just immediately like from the first moment you meet them, because they just exude good karma. Humbert (named after the pedophilic stepfather in “Lolita”) is actually the second incarnation of this band. Originally they were called “I Don’t Know” which made for a lot of fun at some of their shows. For example…
Random drunk guy: “Wow, this band is great! Who are they?”
Me: “I Don’t Know”
RDG: “I don’t know either, but they’re awesome!”*
(Yes, that totally happened.) I also remember it was kind of a big deal when they got to perform in a local TV commercial for Macy’s (I think it may still have been Burdines at the time). Anyway, I found this video on YouTube of their song “Hugo.”
Another great band from the time was Quit. I didn’t really know them personally; it was more of a casual “hi again; great show!” kind of acquaintance. But they had a great pop-punk energy and seemed to be really down-to-earth, nice guys. They also had a version of the “12 Days of Christmas” that was awesome! I had it on cassette, but I couldn’t find it online. Too bad, because it was really great. Anyway, here is a link to some of their songs I found on MySpace.
One of the more popular bands at the time were The Goods, fronted by brothers Jim and John Camacho. Jim actually went to Miami Dade College with me (back when it was still MDCC) and we’d run into each other on campus occasionally. He was really sweet and came across as somewhat shy. John, the brunette brother, was always a little more outgoing and a lot of the girls I knew had crushes on him. I also remember one of the other guys (Tony, maybe?) having a sweet mohawk! This is my favorite song from them, “I’m Not Average.”
One of the local bands that was more rock than indie (we used to call it “alternative” back then) was Saigon Kick. Now this is kind of a sad story, and the details are spotty as this is one of those “heard it from a friend of a friend of…” deals. They were super popular locally, the hair metal scene in LA was booming and they finally got noticed by Sebastian Bach of Skid Row. This led to them being signed by a record label (just checked their wiki and it says Third Stone Records). BUT, sadly for them, this happened right at the start of the Grunge movement and they didn’t do so well. It’s too bad, really. I saw them live and they were pretty good. Anyway, “Love Is On the Way” was their biggest song and actually got a fair amount of play so here it is.
My favorite local band was Forget the Name. They were really great performers and lyrically talented (I’ve always connected more to a song’s lyrics than anything else). Their singer, Rene, was also my personal crush because he totally gave off that broody, dark-and–twisty artist thing that I always liked in boys (when I was young and stupid). Plus he totally looked like INXS’ Michael Hutchence. I actually still have a CD from them that I listen to occasionally. Miraculously, I did find a recent video of them on YouTube! Yeah, that crush? Not so much anymore.) But this is still my favorite song from them (which, if I remember correctly, was also used as part of that Burdines ad campaign), “She Tried.”
So that was a fun, albeit a bit melancholy, trip down memory lane for me. *sigh*… Good times…
Peace out, yo!