Time and time again, L.A. has proved itself to be the global epicenter of live and recorded music. Bands drive here in rusted-out vans, singers flock to open mics, and every block from La Puente to Ventura has at least one garage full of dudes trying to perfect the one riff that will send them to YouTube stardom.
But with all that rocking, all those throbbing practice spaces, there are more than a few who will just fizzle out and crawl back to their respective flyover states. Here are the worst of their ilk:
10. Classic Rock Lifestylers
You know who you are, with your black jeans, Bad Company T-shirts, fuzzed-out manes, and arcane knowledge of the string brands Jeff Beck used on his 1970 North American tour. In case you missed it (and you did), there was music written after 1975 and a lot of it is pretty damn good. Your slowed-down Foghat covers ain’t going to “get legions of Sunset Strip beave all revved up” or whatever in this decade, dudes.
9. Angular, Minimalist Post-Punkers
One note. Reverb. [Pause] Another note. Reverb. [Pause] Yet another note. [Pause] More reverb. “We use an obscure time signature called ‘slower than a nursing home orgy’ and our main influences are Slint, Philip Glass, and an octogenarian pushing a walker up a steep hill.” Grad school music theory projects probably look great on the page, but they don’t pass muster when played in front of people — not in this town.
8. The Wackness
Uncle Fartface’s Scrumdiddlyumptious Secret Cabinet of Clowny-Faced Zombpocalypse Furby Idiosyncrasies isn’t meant for this city. Take that shit straight back to Austin.
7. Freak-Folk-Trip-Psych-Hop-Klezmer Dudes
Seriously, please pick a goddamned genre. This sort of thing was cute in high school but it doesn’t really fly in the real world. Look, you’ll probably sell out Portland with your ten drummers, four accordions, seven guitarists playing obscure Central Asian string instruments and one lady rapping in Ancient Greek — but not the City of Angels.
6. The “Authentic” Delta Blues Band…From Arcadia
There's a fine line between “striving for authenticity” and sonic blackface and you guys are usually way over the line. “We’re honoring a tradition,” you might say, but you’re pretty much just a burnt cork away from a hate crime.
5. Cardio Unit, Franklin High School’s 1998 Battle of the Bands Champion
Jeff's got that job downtown these days and Jose's in law school, so it's probably just not gonna happen. Not right now, at least.
4. Still in Corpsepaint
Guys (and yes, it's always guys), let's try something new, shall we? We live in a city where there are sleeve-tatted suburban moms in Cannibal Corpse T-shirts at Target and a fair number of them probably know exactly what GG Alin’s jockstrap smelled like. Your make-up skills are about as shocking and in-your-face as an AC/DC onesie.
3. Shirtless and Greased Up
We thought this kind of thing went down with the Good Ship Scott Stapp, but it still manages to pop up from time to time. Unless your entire band's skin requires lube to stay attached to their bodies and they’re deathly allergic to fabrics, you may not go greased-shirtless in any venue smaller than the Coliseum. Deal?
2. “Supergroups” Comprised of Unknowns
They've got Jed (bassist, Failed Band), Scud (lead guitar, Another Failed Band) and Tad (session drummer, Multiple Failed Bands). With their powers combined, they’re primed to mediocre the shit out of your eardrums. “All Overdrive, no Bachman or Turrner” isn’t exactly the setup that brings all the fans to the yard in the Southland, friends.
1. The Band That Never Plays Shows
“We’re just putting the final touches on our new record,” says the band who never tries to play in public. Not. Going. To. Make. It. The Beatles didn’t just wake up and shit out Revolver on their first trip to the studio. No. They played German strip clubs (shudder) for years before they got good enough to press something on wax. L.A. is packed to the breakwaters with half-assed bands that do nothing but talk about laying tracks. But hell, even the most pathetic comedians manage to comb the sadness out of their beards and hone their skills at open mics. Get out there, or get into something else, please.