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Rik L. Rik, 1961–2000

Rik L. Rik, a co-founder of the obscure but influential L.A. punk band F-Word, died last Friday after a six-month bout with brain cancer. He was 39. Born Richard Elerick in Covina, California, Rik co-founded F-Word in 1977 with guitarist Paul Sercu (a.k.a. Dim Wanker). As 16-year-old high school kids, they made their debut at the Masque club during fall of ’77 (F-Word and the Zeros from Chula Vista were the two youngest bands from the Masque’s first wave), blowing out the art-damaged 20-ish skeeks, trust-funded authority rebels, glitter-rock folks, Hollywood street people and others who mingled there.

Titled Like It or Not, F-Word’s only full-length album was recorded live and put out against the band’s wishes by their manager early in ‘78. Whatever its sonic shortcomings, it lays claim to being the first Class of ‘77 indie punk album in L.A. County. Rik’s subsequent tracks on the Beach Boulevard compilation (Poshboy Records, 1979), backed by the Bay Area’s Negative Trend, are also essential for connecting the early transitional L.A.-to-O.C. punk dots; along with the Simpletones from Rosemead and the Crowd from Huntington Beach, F-Word helped to spread the anybody-just-do-it punk gospel from inner-Hollywood cliquishness to Southland outer suburbia. Although virtually ignored by critics, F-Word inspired some of the first wave of O.C. teen punk bands such as the Adolescents and Social Distortion, as well as Red Cross from the South Bay.

Known for performing barefoot, Rik also frequently walked around L.A. shoeless, and sang in a voice often compared to Iggy’s, especially in the baritone range. Recently Rik had been working for Pierce Brothers funeral directors and had just been promoted. He is survived by a brother and sister, his son Dustin, and fiancée, Kipling Rowe.


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