By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Mondo Deco's emotional peak is "My Purgatory Years," a punky San Fernando Valley equivalent to Quadrophenia, boiled down into one magnificent multipart glam-rock epic told from the point of view of an especially bored and cynical teenager who can't stand his high school: "Give me an answer," Wilde cries out into the canyon roar of Hufsteter's guitar. "I think I've been institutionalized ... I used to belong to the scholastic society/But now I'm busy with my notoriety ... I'm not prepared for the real world/All I know is school and girls." The guitars don't care and continue crashing like waves against Wilde's pleas.
Unlike the demo of "My Purgatory Years" on Untold Rock Stories, the Mondo Deco version features an extended coda, which is unexpectedly beautiful. The song appears to end, with one of Hufsteter's power chords fading away. There's a moment of silence, followed by a brief, distant scraping sound, like a large metal door sliding shut or a massive power system being switched on. The sound is ominous, inexplicable, scary, foreboding — it could be anything. Then, Hufsteter and bassist Ainsworth begin to slowly exchange thunderous, doomy chords that tower like rows of massive columns over Wilde's ethereal hallelujahs, which flutter downward like leaves cycling airily in the wind. It's seriously one of the grandest, most majestic rock & roll fade-outs of all time.
Naturally, Mondo Deco was a commercial flop. The Quick may have been on a major label, but they were only on Mercury, which probably didn't know what to do with a band like them. The Quick were too ahead of their time for their own good, breaking up before they could fully take advantage of the power-pop resurgence that was just beginning. Ainsworth and Wilde would go on to some success with the Great Buildings, with Wilde eventually hitting pay dirt with the Rembrandts. Bizeau wrote tunes for the Runaways, including the title track of their second album, Queens of Noise. The ridiculously talented Hufsteter was either so burnt out or bitter about the whole Quick experience, he went in a somewhat different direction with his next group, the rootsy R&B band the Falcons (which included Benair). Later, Hufsteter composed several particularly bewitching spaghetti Western–style instrumentals on the Repo Man soundtrack, and he had stints with the Cruzados, the Dickies and the hard funk-rock '80s band Shrine. These days, he splits his time between L.A. and Europe, frequently touring with Tito & Tarantula.
There's not much real proof that the Quick ever existed, beyond their direct influence on the Dickies and '80s glam-punk bands like Redd Kross and, especially, Celebrity Skin, whose entire oeuvre sounds like it's based on just one Quick song, "Teacher's Pet." (Not that that's a bad thing.)
Perhaps the new reissue of Mondo Deco on vinyl (along with an upcoming version on CD with bonus tracks planned by Radio Heartbeat) will stir up some long-overdue interest in this unfairly overlooked and weirdly wonderful band. Not that there's any hurry or anything.
(Radio Heartbeat Records)