I moved out of my parents home within months of my 18th birthday.
I wound up living off of Florida and Garfield in an Apartment complex on the northwest corner.
This was to become the scene of a non stop parade of parties, fun and debauchery, one that would be difficult to top.
6 friends from high school, shared 2 three bedroom apartments directly across from each other on the ground floor.
Two doors down, another three bedroom apartment was occupied by yet another crew of insane individuals that grew up together in South HB that were always down for a good time…
We all worked crappy jobs yet somehow managed to always have money in our pockets.
It all came together in a perfect storm of fun and madness.
The Apartment complex was dubbed “The Bronx” for reasons unknown..something to do with the movie, “Fort Apache- The Bronx” starring Paul Newman…it didn’t really matter..the name stuck and we quickly merged into the “Bronx crew.”
We lived to surf, party, play music and work on “Cal Bugs”…heavily modified VWs with Porsche wheels..( I drove a shitty 600 dollar 73′ Mercury Capri that I bought because it had a good stereo and a sunroof… Stylin!)
Details of the assorted scenes of madness will be mostly withheld to protect the innocent. ( Although nobody who participated would qualify for that designation…)
Being underage, we had to get resourceful when it came to obtaining the adult beverages that became fuel for the non-stop party train.
There was a Ralph’s Supermarket located in what is now a Stein-mart…It would become our go to resource for libations.
The backup was always “Todi’s Liquor Barn” up on Atlanta and Beach Blvd.
After numerous forays by all of those involved attempting to score, it was decided that Bronx resident, Dennis C. was our point man on these missions.
Dennis C. was the best looking and smoothest player among the crew and developed a knack for flirting with the middle aged cashiers that looked the other way, when he rolled up on the register with a case of Lucky Lager or Brew 102.
The only brain exercise we got was deciphering the puzzles on the underside of the bottle-caps..
Dennis would simply charm them into cooperation with our nefarious objectives.
He even somehow managed to get more than one of the mature cashiers, to come on back to the Bronx after her shift ended, and charm them out of their panties.
Weeknight parties were just a reason to get smashed and prepare for the weekend. “Thursday Niter’s” were commonplace occurrences, where we would pool our resources and send Dennis across the street to Ralph’s on a mission to score a jug of that crappy imitation grape drink and a bottle of Ralph’s “Plain Wrap” Vodka ( The label had a blue stripe. The only word on it was “Vodka”) . This would become the infamous “Purple Jesus”…
Weekend parties were epic, with an average of 100+ people packed into the courtyard, or in one of the three apartments that had wide open doors.
But doors were for people that we didn’t know well.
Friends came into my apartment through a low open window in my dining room, that was open to the parking lot.
They simply stepped over the 18 inch high sill and walked in.
I alternated as DJ at these parties with Mike D, who was one of my longtime friends and band mates in a few bands.
Mike and I were were the rhythm section in a few HB bands that never amounted to anything but a good time….Mike on an old American Fender P-Bass, with me on an old 60’s era Pearl drum kit I bought at a garage sale for peanuts.
We actually rehearsed in a master bedroom of one of the units, one in which a cute young blind girl in her 20’s lived upstairs.
Every time we fired up the amps, she would bang on the floor with a broom in a vain attempt to get us to stop.
This always resulted in apologies and promises to never do it again, promises that were repeatedly disregarded…
Practices would continue until Guitarist Rohn Z. broke another top e string.
He never bothered to bring an extra.
He finally gave up and just began playing with 5 strings.
We played a variety of punked up surf instrumentals with no singer.
Dennis C. was offered the gig….we thought his charming good looks would draw in the girls to our shows.
Once it became apparent he could not sing, we gave him the boot and resumed as a trio, informally dubbed “The Impossibles”.
It sounded much like this…(when Rohn had a top E string…) we never set out to sound like Agent Orange.
It was an organic outgrowth of growing up in HB, surfing and listening to all the same bands and influences.
Back to the Parties…
We all had crates of vinyl that we curated and shared.
Mike D. worked as a manager at the Licorice Pizza on Brookhurst and Adams.
Needless to say, he didn’t pay for records.
Both of our collections grew to massive size, that were occasionally whittled down by unknown party guests that would help themselves to anything that caught their fancy…Japanese Vinyl, colored vinyl, always the sought after targets by the record thieves. ( easy come, easy go…)
Mike liked a lot of the post punk bands that emerged in 1980. The Cure, XTC, R.E.M., Gang of Four…
I still loved my hard, fast, distorted punk rock noise…we took turns throwing LPs on the turntable…the songs I have included were only staples that managed to turn up repeatedly in one form or another.
Mike stumbled across this record…and it was always a go to track… this one usually got spun early just to set a fun vibe.
Fleshtones- Theme From the Vindicators…
I played the shit out of the Rezillos album and we often just let it track all the way across the side..but i was always partial to this cut…
The Rezillos- Cold Wars.
If Mike D. were preoccupied with one of our lovely young party guests, I would jump the line and toss this record on..another one that was worn out over time…Billy Idol’s first band, Generation X and their debut album..
Generation X -Kiss Me Deadly.
Mike would usually recover in time to toss out something by the Psychedelic Furs…who he dug the shit out of…
Psychedelic Furs – Into You Like a Train.
Sometimes interlopers were allowed to spin music. Dennis C. was partial to the Specials…he would get his skank on and break out this track…
The Specials – Little Bitch
This album was a perennial favorite.. and got a lot of spins..another Irish band.
The Undertones- Family Entertainment
When somebody wanted to make the girls squirm uncomfortably, they would hit up Ken W.’s crate and spin this gem…
The first line ” Who is this and what do you want?” was classic… and it only got better , as long as you could handle the Sax.
James White and the Blacks – Stained Sheets
What would a Bronx party be without something by these guys…keepin’ it fun!
The Dickies – Manny, Moe and Jack.. The only song ever written about an auto parts store…
Mike was big on U2.
“Boy” was a staple on the turntable. Chicks dug it.. go figure…
U2 – Electric Co.
By this time I would usually let mike run with it for a while so I could focus my energy on being a good party host. He had an ear for good shit and turned everybody on to fresh stuff all the time… He liked a lot of the Power Pop stuff… I just let him roll with it.
20/20 Remember the Lightning
The Records – Starry Eyes
This was usually followed by something from my crate. The “Black Album” from the Damned always was a go to LP.
The Damned – Wait for the Blackout…
No doubt my Bronx Crew mates will read this at one point and suggest songs that I have not posted… No problem. I’ll just tack em’ on the bottom and keep going… just like those weekend parties… Cheers!