L.A. Explosion
(Bomp BLP 4004) - 8/15/79
(London SH-Z-8540 (UK))
(Trash TRSH-2001 (Japan))
(Line LLP 5015AS (Germany))
(Lolita 5041 (France 1985 reissue))
(Bomp BCD4004 (2003 CD reissue))

Lolita Cover

London Front

London Back

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Back to Discography

1) She Don't Know Why I'm Here (infoMP3)
2) This Kind of Feeling (infoMP3)
3) The Bombing of London (infoMP3)
4) Century City Rag (infoMP3)
5) Walk Like Me (infoMP3)
6) Slavedriver (infoMP3)
7) Every Summer Day (infoMP3)
8) The Rack (infoMP3)
9) Objections (infoMP3)
10) A Fool Like You (infoMP3)
11) Someone's Laughing (infoMP3)
12) I Don't Wanna Be in Love (infoMP3)
13) Be-Bop-a-Lula (infoMP3)
14) Looking At You (infoMP3)
15) The Rack (reprise) (info)
16) She Don't Know Why I'm Here (single version) (CD Bonus Track) (infoMP3)
17) Bombing of London (single version) (CD Bonus Track) (infoMP3)
18) Every Summer Day (single version) (CD Bonus Track) (infoMP3)
19) Hitler's Brother (single version) (CD Bonus Track) (info
20) L.A. Explosion (single version) (CD Bonus Track) (info
21) We're In Control (from Bomp Records' "Waves") (CD Bonus Track) (infoMP3)


"L.A. Explosion", as conceived at the end of '78, was to be the ultimate Last showcase album. (Being a first album, that kinda goes without saying.) It would feature the best of the stuff we'd worked out during our one year recording career, including definitive re-recordings of our first three singles.


It did represent a good cross-section of some of our best stuff, but the "She Don't Know Why" re-recording is arguably inferior to the original, and the third single ("L.A. Explosion", the title song) didn't even get re-recorded. Ah well...

I'd been exploring '60's motifs musically since early '74 (at least), but between August of '76 and April '77 I went a little nuts. The emerging punk thing seemed to me to be a rebirth of Rock & Roll, and I had this urge to play with some of the various genres prevalent in the last Golden Age, some ten years earlier. I did Beatle influenced stuff, Stones, Who, Kinks, Surf, Garage Blues, Garage Psych, Folk Rock, you name it. Each song was deliberately designed to come out the way it emerged - it wasn't accidental by any means.

One unexpected result of that flurry of sixties songwriting was that to this day I find myself incorporating '60's motifs into my stuff unintentionally. It used to worry me, and indeed for a time in the mid to late '80's I deliberately rejected anything that sounded retro. Which in retrospect (no pun intended) was stupid.

You write how you write, you write what you want to write. You gotta please yourself if you want to have a prayer of reaching anyone else.

Anyway so I'm older and wiser now, and back in the late '70's I was too young and stupid to care about the "retro" epithet.

Now I was writing a lot of punk stuff too, again copping from Modern Lovers, Dictators, Pistols, Ramones, Clash, etc. - working a lot of stuff out in the process of attempting to find my own voice. There would also be ballads, more traditional straight ahead rock, the occasional medieval malady (Don Waller coined that term), etc.

At the end of '78 Bomp was ready to spring for a Last album. We spent December '78 through mid February '79 in a small practice studio in Santa Monica working material out under the direction of John Harrison, staff engineer at Village Recorders, former Hawkwind bassist, and now our producer. He assisted us in choosing songs for the album, and though it's a fairly representative cross section of the stuff I'd been writing it does seem to have turned out rather '60's biased. Hadn't really planned on that happening.

Recording details for all this will follow, but a word here about the production is relevant. The goal of Randall Wixen, our manager, and John Harrison was to "clean us up". I was not opposed to the idea - after all, we were a bit ragged, and we did want to make a good album. It would however transpire that Harrison was vehemently against almost anything approximating distortion. The few times we attempted to introduce an appropriately funky amp, fuzz tone, etc. (anything to get that drone thing happening), the results were disastrous. Not musically disastrous, because we were never able to get far enough into the distortion experiments to find out.

It turned out that any time we broached the subject in word or deed we proceeded to butt heads with John Harrison. Nothing would get done, everyone would argue and we would waste a lot of precious time. Since without John Harrison there would be no album (he was sneaking us into the Village in the dead of night, usually), we quit trying, and let John have his way.

On the plus side, he indulged my every overtracking whim, and a good listen to the album on headphones will reveal a bizarrely large amount of vocals and instruments playing over and around each other on nearly every track. So I had my fun.

Unfortunately, the result is not what people were expecting. At the time we had a total of three hilariously awful sounding singles. Not that they sounded bad, per se, but they were so low fi, so primitive, so awash in reverb that it was difficult for most people to listen to them. Word on the street was, however, that we were poised to do amazing things, and would certainly produce a masterpiece once we got into a proper studio.


The word on the street after "L.A. Explosion" came out was: "What happened?" All my friends, from Phast Phreddie to Chris Morris, from the Screamers' KK to Bomp's Greg Shaw, were appalled (though some grew to like it). It sounded way too weak, way too tame, and was missing all the fire and power of our ragged live performances.

In spite of all that, KROQ played the thing and we found ourselves catapulted to the upper echelons of the local scene (for about two months, but I've told you that story).

We vowed to make sure we didn't repeat the same mistakes with future recordings.

Now, 22 years later, none of our subsequent recordings have had anywhere near the impact of this one, and the "L.A. Explosion" album is considered by many to be a classic, and by most to be our finest hour.

Go figure...

—Joe Nolte

She Don't Know Why I'm Here (Joe Nolte, April 1977)

See that girl with the raven hair
I wish she were mine, but she don't care 'cause
She don't know why I'm here

So many others – and just the same
They all come out 'cause it's part of the game, but
That's only when they're here

Take a look around and you'll see what I mean
It never could have been ten years ago
The answer should be plain when you stumble back again
They never felt the kind of pain
The real world brings

See that girl with the soft blue eyes
They never seem to close or show surprise but
They don't believe they're here

She's looking at me, but I don't know
If I look back she'll run on home 'cause
She don't know why she's here...

This one's for you
You modified petrified hypocrites
God! To raise your children like goldfish
In plastic naugahyde cells

Are you coming out baby?
Who'll be my baby?

Most of the songs I wrote about girls were indeed about living, breathing, actual, specific girls. In most cases I'm going to identify said sirens by an initial, so as not to offend them. In this case, however, since the song is not specifically a torrid romantic diatribe but rather a socio-political observation, I'll name names. Brother Mike had known these three girls from his glitter days, and introduced me to them January 1977. We all hung out, I would occasionally drive them to the all-too-rare-in-those-days punk rock show, etc. etc. It was watching their reaction to and fondness for the early punk bands, while being in the unfortunate situation of not being able to gig yet, that I began to feel like a glorified chauffeur... the three girls were Helen, Mary and Trudi.

Trudi was the "girl with the raven hair" - she became the only non-musician in the scene to have a fanzine devoted to her, and is currently married (with children) to K.K. - drummer for the late lamented Screamers.

Mary was the "girl with the soft blue eyes" - she is better known to those who remember the glory days as Mary Rat.

Helen is better remembered as Helen Killer - the girl who punched Sid Vicious in the mouth by accident in '78.

Musically the song is an obvious homage to the Castaways' "Liar Liar".

—Joe Nolte

This Kind of Feeling (Joe Nolte, Jan 14, 1977)

Listen to me baby I got something on my mind
Shoulda told you long ago, I guess I was too blind
Please come closer-don't tell me it's to late 'cause
Oh-oh – It looks like I'm in love with you

I wanna dance with you and I wanna hold you tight
Every hour of the day, girl, I want you by my side
I'll be true till the day I die so
Oh-oh – Say you love me too

This kind of feeling would always descend
On somebody else
And now it's got me too
I don't know what to do
How can I explain the way
I feel today
Tell me what to say

To make you believe in my hour of need
I'm feeling blue
I can only turn to you

But before you say a word here's something you should know
If you don't feel a thing for me and wanna tell me so
Just walk away and I'll understand 'cause
Oh-oh – I'd rather see you free than sad with me


I wanted to write an ersatz Beatle song - in the period spanning late Summer '76 to late Spring '77 I was obsessed with recreating various 60's motifs, little knowing how such a brief obsession would mark me nor the influence it would arguably have – so I thought, if one wants to really sound like someone, one should aspire not to sound like them, but rather to sound like whoever they were trying to sound like. So I imagined myself as a young John or Paul trying to rip off the Everly Brothers, and came up with this. It's not about anyone, as far as I can remember.

—Joe Nolte

The Bombing of London (Joe Nolte, March 1977)

Bombs started knocking some heads downtown
Whole population fled underground
Heard the thunder – drove me deep into my bed
Closed my ears to what the people said

Roaring sirens just outside
Give me time – ready by nine
I'll join the people in the caverns deep
Say my prayers and go back to sleep

Flames are getting higher
Bombs still falling
Do I hear you screaming
Cool it down – don't touch the wall
It's coming down...

Tokyo Rose, babe, is just a name
Far away – across the sea
Somewhere where there is no planes
Submarines or battleships

Swear I'm gonna see it through
In years to come I'll settle down
But I won't forget...

More Beatle obsession, word-wise. Musically, this one started out in the early '70's. In 1971 I saw a film (don't remember the title) which was either about the Olympics or Drag Racing. In one scene they cut to a nightclub, where this Japanese band was playing what we would now term "Classic Punk Rock" – i.e. Seeds, Music Machine type stuff. It was oddly moving and inspiring, and indeed was one of the primary primal influences leading to the formation of The Last. I had a cheap electric guitar and amp at the time, and tried desperately to reconjure the song they played at home. Never could quite finish it.

(In retrospect, it's immediately obvious that, tune-wise, it owes a great deal to "The One Who Really Loves You", "Mother In Law" and "Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind" – there was something about that 1-1-1-6 melody that obsessed me throughout my childhood.)

Anyway, in 1977 I returned to it, and imagined the Ramones trying to do a Japanese band trying to do the Seeds, and Bombing resulted. Musically, it's pretty much what I wrote at the age of 15.

Lyrically, I was thinking about how being born during the Nazi bombings of England could have potentially affected the outlook and psyche of the various Beatles, and after that it pretty much wrote itself.

—Joe Nolte

[The film Joe saw in 1971 was The Games]

Century City Rag (Joe Nolte, Spring 1975)

I cut my hair on fashion's decree
To present myself effectively
My clothes are neat and wrinkle-free
My jacket is clean and tidy

Won't you stay for a little while
Let me bowl you over with my smile
High society's gonna hear from me
My dentistry and style

No clod of dirt will stain my shirt
I stay inside and I don't get hurt
No corporate executive will cut me down
I'm meticulously careful when I play around

Let me tell you 'bout my busy days
Let me brag all my blues away
I epitomize success with my eyes
I keep my friends at bay

To present myself effectively
My clothes are always tidy
I evaluate people subconsciously
To decide what they can do for me

Let me tell you all about my game
Don't you know that we're all the same
To be a success you must follow my path
But you won't get far
I've stolen the map.


The old progressive/anarchist band I'd had with Vitus had broken up in the fall of 1974, and in early 1975 I was experimenting with a few different styles. I wanted to do something different – progressive wasn't it, clearly, I wasn't about to go metal (too obvious), so what resulted was a combination of strange medieval ramblings and my first serious forays into ersatz 60's recreations. Among them was this obvious Who ripoff, lyrically based on someone Vitus & I had known who was one of the most manipulative people we'd ever met, musically aspiring to sound like the lost song from "The Who Sell Out".

—Joe Nolte

Walk Like Me (Joe Nolte, Feb 9, 1978 (revised Mar 20, 1979))

We graced Elk's Lodge
And the Metro Squad
With a gasoline bomb
And now they're gone

A gasoline bomb – and then you're gone
And now you're hiding in your room alone
Outside they're marching to a beat you know
Until they stop, now they're at your door

Not a lot to do
Not an awful lot to say
Don't know where you're gonna go

We're doing alright – a little lamplight
The map you drew just before they got to you
Is in my hands-is safe within
And someday soon we'll do it again

Make a new start
Create another front
Third World War

Find me, bind me, do what you want
We won't stop till we throw you off
When you got nothing
You'll know how set we are

Yeah! Watch them fall
Down to the street
They're running in the night-they're hiding in the dark
From Riverside to MacArthur Park
Say what you will
We made our mark
Brand new dawn

Now we got the bombs and we got the guns
If you're one of them you better run
You better run and take a stand
Let me count the blisters on your hands
You better walk like me


As originally written in '78 this was essentially a Clash ripoff - exploring the theme of punk rockers as the new proletarians, "let me count the blisters on your hands" being an obvious homage to the French Revolution, where if you didn't have enough blisters they typically guillotined you. I tried to write it straight but as it progressed toward the end it was clear that the anarchists singing had become the new dictators. Way obvious and cliche, but it was fun.

We'd already recorded the backings for it for the album when I attended the St. Patrick's Day show at Elk's Lodge, which turned into a Police Riot. Many friends were beaten up for no reason, and I, having seen the whole thing, was appalled. I've got pages on this, and may share them later. At any rate I immediately rewrote some of the words (the Riverside reference refers to a similar incident that had occurred days before at a Germs show in that city), and the song became a serious diatribe against the fascism of the time.

—Joe Nolte

Slavedriver (Joe Nolte, February 1978)

I got no time for you time
I got no time
I got no time for you, Mr. Slavedriver

You shout out your directions from the back of a coach
You look just like a shriveled, overgrown cockroach
You always act the same
And if you had your way
I'd work the hardest and you'd get the most

A fraction of your loot would pay my yearly wage
You ruin lives as easy as I turn a page
I hate your mocking bray
I hear it every day
I've got about as much compassion for the Bubonic Plague

Go away, Mr. Slavedriver
Don't want no more Slavedriver

Basically a tongue in cheek homage to all bosses. I started out pissed off against my current boss, but was unable to keep the song serious, for obvious reasons. There is an obvious "oh shit" just before the instrumental, so it was rather bizarre when KROQ started playing the thing in the fall of '79. Wow, swear words on the radio.

This was evidently a favorite of the early fledgling O.C. punk rock kids, who used to chant it while skateboarding.

—Joe Nolte

Every Summer Day (Joe Nolte, August 1976)

I wanna go back to when the world was free
When all my friends were just like me
Southern California 1963

Baby do you wanna take a ride with me
Down to the sand and the waves and the surf and the sea
The sun is out, the waves are breaking big
Baby baby say you'll take a ride with me

And we'll run
Under the summer sun
Ride the summer waves
Every summer day

I got a brand new car and I can take you around
To where the action is I'm gonna take you down
To Hermosa Beach 'cause the gang's all there
And I know that you can make it with your long blonde hair

Then tonight
We can make the scene
Down where the lights are bright
I think you know what I mean

New vibrations
Across the nation a new generation
We're feelin' the motion
A new education

Now I'm here – right where I wanna be
You know this kind of life is lookin' good to me
Dan't wanna grow up, I never wanna leave
Getting old is only gonna bring me misery

Let me stay
Right here with all my friends
The world is ours today
I hope it never ends

I'm gonna follow that sun
And I'm never gonna stop having fun
And nothing's ever gonna change my world
And I'm never gonna lose that girl

This girl I knew (who shall be identified as "L" a little later) was a few years older than I, and had gone to see the Beach Boys play at the grand opening of Wallach's Music City in Torrance in late 1963. The Beach Boys at that time were poised to become the biggest group in the country, and 1964 looked promising.

Then the damn Beatles hit.

Now, for me and many others, the Beatles were a necessary diversion after the horror of the JFK assassination. All this girl could think about, however, was "Oh shit – this is gonna destroy the Beach Boys".
Which, relatively speaking, it did.

Judging by recent interviews, Brian is still stewing over it.

So I started with that, and used the "last summer" of '63 as a general allegory for the folly of thinking that youth will last forever. Some 20 years later I don't feel as if I've quite become an adult yet, but I'm quite sure it's coming.

Anyway, it's a tragedy, a very sad song in the guise of a simplistic summertime homage. We almost got Brian Wilson and Dean Torrence to sing backup vocals on the album version, but schedule conflicts got in the way. Pity.

—Joe Nolte

The Rack (Mike Nolte/Joe Nolte, Dec 2, 1976)

He's feelin' publicized – they got the boy in bed
He's losing his disguise – they got the kid in bed
Boy fights back
They got him in straps

He know he's better than them
Even when he's out like this
He's a star but he's gonna crack
They're burnin' him out on the rack

Turn around, turn around, tell me where you are
This is no kinda life for a superstar
Bird on the wire, pull away these bars
I wanna feel the same way too

He's bleeding words in pints – they got the boy in the raw
He would've paid his fines but they want him in the raw
He cries – they laugh
They got him in straps

Poor boy, he's sinking fast
Lashes out on a whim
Never did nothing to them
So why they wanna do it to him


Don't gimme no jazz 'bout my rock 'n' roll
'Cause serious musicians ain't got no soul
I'm a superstar boy, but I oughtta know
I used to be an artist, too...


Mike joined the band in October of '76 as backup/occasional lead singer, proceeded to come up with a groovy new band name (The Last) and subsequently bestowed upon me a heap of lyrics he'd written. This one was based on his experiences while incarcerated in a mental institution in the early/mid '70's. He'd been locked up in solitary, strapped to a bed, for an incredibly minor infraction (not washing dishes fast enough or something) and this song was based on that. The institution was, I think, the Del Amo Hospital mental facility - if any of you are planning on committing anyone to that institution, I'd think again.
Oh yeah, that's the place where he learned to take drugs.

Anyway I set his words to an Ian Hunter type melody, and added the chorus, which had been floating around going nowhere for a while.

—Joe Nolte

I wrote the words, that is, most of the words.

I think Joe wrote the chorus, only he'd know for sure.

Based on my true-life adventure in a mental institution at the age of 12. Being the fact that I wasn't toeing the line at home, fighting with my brothers, etc., and the fact that a close relative was institutionalized for a few years (nervous breakdown), it seemed to my parents that I should talk with a psychiatrist who was based out of a brand new mental hospital in Torrance.

Now, in all fairness to my parents, they were told beforehand to pack an overnight bag for me just in case the fine doctor wanted to speak to me at length. As for me, I thought it'd be cool to talk to a shrink and possibly get out of going to school the next day. Anyhow, what was supposed to be, at the most, a one-night stay turned out to be 6+ months!

The song "The Rack" was inspired by my stay there, and needless to say, I could have written a book about my adventures! Maybe one day I will.

Just to throw one incident at you... I was given the task of returning the meal cart to the cafeteria every day after lunch (and I do mean RIGHT AFTER LUNCH!). One day, I got so entrenched with some movie on TV and forgot about the meal cart. I was locked up in solitary confinement for 1 week. which meant being alone in a room the size of a small closet with only a mattress (no blankets or sheets), a bedpan and urine container, and a single lightbulb that was on 24/7! No TV, no books, no visitors... NOTHING!

And I was only 12...

—Mike Nolte

Objections (Joe Nolte, November 1976)

Here comes a Man
To take away all of your friends
Baby watch his eyes
There's an army of blue coated thugs
In the street just outside
Awaiting the sign

No elections
We need a correction
Right now

Then come our leaders
Lying to you
In their suits and ties
To visit the zoo
See their outdated laws
Yeah, nothing is new
See the warrant in his hand
Gonna slap one on you

No Protection
I've got an objection
Right now

You can't tell the truth from the lies
There must be something that can bring them down to size
To put the pigs back in their sties
'Cause I don't wanna live in 1984

I want just a little more
Easy when you know the score
I think this life is ruining my mind
Give me something to live for
And hope for the country
You're blowing it now
And there ain't a lot of time

Tell me
Where can we go


Yeah, I voted for Carter. Big deal.

The music for this was actually completed Summer 1974. I could never find words for it, and originally scripted it as a love song for my current girlfriend (who shall be identified as "F" subsequently) in August '74. The lyrics, however, as you might suspect, were corny beyond belief. I liked the music however, and revisited it just prior to the 1976 Presidential elections, turning it into an arguably equally corny political diatribe.

Standells ripoff, you say?

Damn straight.

—Joe Nolte

A Fool Like You (Vitus Mataré, April 21, 1978)

What's a fool like you doing up on a chair
Not that I mind – I don't really care
But it's sad to see it go
Going mad – what a show

What's a fool like you doing there in the street
You can't walk straight, you can't lift up your feet
Nothing new – the likes of you everywhere
You just bore me, I don't mind if I stare

What's a fool like you singing songs of today
You're over the hill, you got nothing to say
Got no guts – ain't got no head
If you had eyes you'd see you're dead

Watch me turn your world around
Take your mess back underground

What's a fool like you got his hand in the jar
Telling us lies till we don't know who we are
See your words take their toll
The truth we see – you've no control


Vitus wrote this one – I think this was his first submission to The Last. The subject matter became an affair of much political discord, and shall go nameless here. In truth, we were waving swords at the wrong scapegoats. At any rate, take it as a rant against soulless industry executives, and a warning of the coming DIY revolution.

I realize we're fucked if Vitus gets online and decides to contribute. Oh well.

—Joe Nolte

Later we would lambast Greg for taking so damn long in getting our LP released. Then there were the distribution problems. It was during this period that we added the "With A BOMP BOMP BOMP" ending to "A Fool Like You." The song however had nothing to do with Greg Shaw.

We had experienced the A&R goons attending club shows to do their 'research.' They would sit at the bar in the back of the club, usually wearing a sport coat or very nifty new black leather jacket and order an expense account drink, then sit there frowning at us from their bar stool.

They'd be the only ass on a chair. "Fool Like You" was written for them. Yes, it's the weakest song on the L.A. Explosion LP but it made sense to include it. We were making our debut album without the slimey bastard on the bar stool.

—Vitus Mataré

Someone's Laughing (Joe Nolte, September 1976)

I feel bad
My thoughts are black
Someone's laughing behind my back
And as my heart
Begins to mend
Someone tires to hurt me again

Saw you just the other night
Your smile was warm and your eyes were bright
The moment felt so very right
When off you ran into the night
Oh now I know
The look you gave to me was just for show

I turned away and began to cry
Cried so hard I thought I'd die
It hurt to look into your eyes
I couldn't even say goodnight to you
Oh no
I don't wanna see you anymore

Brand new games
And new found fame
Like falling rain
It's all the same
But people change

Your new found friend, he seems okay
Looks as thought he's gonna stay
We could've been like friends some day
But I won't like him any way
'Cause he's got you
And I'm so lonely, I don't know what to do


This was written for "F". (I bet you were wondering when we'd get to the famous initialed girls.) Classic idiot male story of not appreciating what you had when you had it & letting it go & suddenly realizing what a classic mistake you'd made. The embryonic version of The Last (which was called The Power and consisted of me, Dave Harbison on bass, and Vic Pizarro on drums) made its debut at a party at the house of the aforementioned girl - we were too loud so everyone ended up outside and we found ourselves playing for the furniture. Later that night, I realized that what I'd had with this girl was irrevocably lost, and the next morning I wrote this song.

—Joe Nolte

I Don't Wanna Be in Love (Joe Nolte, September 1977)

I don't wanna be in love
Don't wanna mess around with nobody no more
I don't wanna be in love
Don't wanna get fooled by nobody no more

Used to spend all my time
Talking on the phone
Used to lie awake nights
Dreaming like a fool
I used to be hooked to the energy drain
Spend all my money to be driven insane

Well I go with you to this and that
I shy away from you
When we get to where it's at
Well it ain't cause I hate you
And I'm not shy
But looking at you I can see the danger in your eyes

Love is a made up fantasy dream
Fades in the morning
Just like a dream


I never quite got together with "L" (look - another initial!) – it was weird for both of us even though there was obviously some sort of mutual attraction – so I tried to put the weirdness into a song, which ended up being this one.

—Joe Nolte

Be-Bop-a-Lula (Gene Vincent)

I borrowed Vitus's 4-track and messed around with a lot of stuff - obviously this was an attempt to do Gene Vincent's immortal song as the Doors would've. Best overheard response was in 1980 at Al's Bar, when one biker said to another, "You know who this guy reminds me of?" and the other responded "yeah - GENE MORRISON"...

Who could hope for more.

I think we were playing with the late lamented Top Jimmy, appropriately enough.

—Joe Nolte

Looking At You (Joe Nolte, Nov 29, 1978)

I'd do anything just to get you back
I made up my mind on the freeway
Lookin' at you

There's a game that I'm fond of playin', yeah
I like to pretend that I really don't care
You were just another girl in a one act play
I have my fun and I go my way
It happens all the time – so I really don't know why

The days are goin' so slow
And the nights don't move at all
And that's the way it's been since I heard you call

Well I wouldn't have believed when I first saw you
That you were the one who would be right through

Now I'm racing in the wind like a demon in the air
I'm running through the night but I just don't care
I get no sleep at nights
Girl you know the reason why

And I want you to believe
And I want you to understand
And I wanna know – I'm doing all I can

I made up my mind on the freeway
Hungry for the sight of you
And now it's been a week
And what do you think
I want another chance with you
With you

I made up my mind on the freeway
Lookin' at you

Well still in the night girl I hear them call
I'm racing the wind, I have no fun at all
And even when I stop
I know there's something wrong where I am
'Cause I wanna tell the world
I wanna scream and shout
Don't say No- I know I found it out
And you know I wouldn't be here unless it was true

And I want you to believe
And I want you to understand
And I wanna know
I wanna be your man


Also about a specific girl. However, since she's dead, I'll name her. Paula Pierce. As in Pandoras. Her boyfriends read as a who's who of L. A. rock, but I've made enough enemies already so I won't name them. Actually their names are a million miles away from me at this point.

Anyway we would run into each other at the New Masque in late '78 and inevitably end up in some parked car or another, and for some reason I started getting obsessed, and if you write songs obsession is a good thing, and anyway that's how this one came about.

Musically this is number two of my Tchaikovsky ripoffs. Number one was "She Don't Know Why I'm Here" - the chorus is a half speed take on Tchaikovsky's violin concerto, which I'd originally set to a surf beat in '74 as a joke, resurrecting it when "She Don't Know" needed a chorus.

Looking At You is based on the opening stuff from Tchaikovsky's Symphony #1. The same theme can be heard in Generation X's "100 Punks", which is coincidental, and the Descendents' "Silly Girl", which I'm sure they got from my song.

I revisited the same theme in one of my most recent songs, "Take Care Of Her", which is me doing Descendents doing me doing Tchaikovsky.

And Billy Idol can go bugger himself.

—Joe Nolte

Hitler's Brother (Jack Reynolds, Spring 1978)

Down in Germany
Back in 1933
There used to live a man
Who looked like Charlie Chaplin
About him we all know
What about his brother though

Ooo Hitler's Brother - ooo what a lover

The war went on and on
While the country sang his songs
They were fighting everyone
While his brother got it on

He split with Himmler's wife
Back in 1945
He hasn't been seen since
Not with anybody's mince

This was actually written by our drummer, Jack Reynolds. We were practicing one day and Jack just started spontaneously pounding out the beat and singing this thing – it had come to him on the spot. Recognizing an instant classic, we threw a couple of chords together (literally – this song has only two chords!), and boom – instant song. Ended up as the B side of "Every Summer Day," but unfortunately the acetate got dropped and the result was an annoying scratching sound all the way through the recording. We therefore made it the B side of the "L. A. Explosion" single, as well.

Flipside at the time asked "What's up with the English accent?"

Well, Jack Reynolds is, indeed, from Britain. The accent was genuine.

—Joe Nolte

L.A. Explosion (Joe Nolte, Jan 6, 1977)

In these hard times I like to see
The boys and girls together
It makes me think of songs and things
Of smiles and rainy weather
Once that was me but I wanted to be free
And I guess you never really know
Where you wanna be

Well this whole town is breakin'
Even as we sing and dance, you know
We're orphans in the snowstorm
Dreams of false security, you know
Laugh while you can - soon you'll have to play your hand
And I guess you never really know
What you got to stand

L.A. Explosoin is on my mind
Wheels keep on spinnin' around
And we don't know
Yeah we don't know - oh - ohh

Well you can talk, you can joke 'bout the days of old
When kids would run in thousands
To the Whiskey, the Trip, on the Sunset Strip
Though the cops would swarm around us
Those days are gone, but I think I see the dawn
And I guess you never really know
When it's comin' on

The A-side of our third single, as well as the title song for our first album, even though it didn't actually make it onto the album. Confused? Me too. I can only surmise that it was originally slated for inclusion, and dropped at the last minute.

Anyway, musically this is pretty obviously a take on the Stones' "19th Nervous Breakdown". I'm pretty sure the opening riff was the first part written – I'd wanted to come up with a fakeout riff, where the band would come in on a One beat that was just half a beat sooner than the first time listener would have thought.

It worked. All too well, as a matter of fact. I have never had so much trouble teaching drummers any other song.

Lyrically, it was a nostalgic look at the glory days of the Sunset Strip during 1966, and a clarion call for a reawakening. You must remember that, at the time this was written, there was no real L.A. scene to speak of.

As we know, that changed...

[The lyrics above were transcribed] from the original written lyrics - this was written on the back of written lyrics to the Dave Clark Five song "WHEN", which means we were already considering covering it back then. For the chorus, I had the five syllable phrase that I knew would also be the song title - but hadn't decided on words for it. I pretty much had all the verses written, and just needed a catchy phrase. Originally that phrase was going to be "BIG CITY BLOW UP" (or something), and then I decided on "L.A. DISASTER". Ha ha. The third lines in the second and third verses were originally almost "Laugh while you can - soon you'll have to take a stand" and "Those days are gone but there's somethin' comin' on", respectively.

—Joe Nolte

We're In Control (Vitus Mataré, Spring 1978)

There's a killer in the room and he's looking at you
Hands in his pockets, he's got nothing to do
He'll stare, smile, nod, and walk away
Let the penguin fly some other day (let us pray)

Stay by yourself, it's safer than alone
Don't open the door, never answer the phone
Touch the air, don't follow tracks
See the light when you peer through cracks (we live in shacks)

We're in control, there's nothing you can do
We'll scare the pants off of fools like you
We can't tell the time of day
So we see the world in a different way (such a different way)

It's raining in your bed, it's raining just outside
It's cold in the pit, you've no place to hide
Feel the warmth of your comrades
Shot dead in the head in Stalingrad (that's too bad)

We're in control, it's all over for you
We see nothing wrong with the things we do
We can't even tie our shoes
But we look real neat when we break the news (we make the news)

There's nothing wrong with the things we say
We don't mean a word but that's okay
Break the stone from which you're carved
You'll eat our trash if we keep you starved (we'll keep you starved)

You haven't got a friend, your luck will never end
Thank the almighty for what we send
You don't know if he's one of us
You'll never know so get on the bus (get on the bus)

Vitus wrote this – one of his first. As best as I can figure, it really is about the oppressive Brezhnev regime. One of my favorite Vitus melodies ever. His original demo is probably better than the recorded version, but if we put his demo on this site he would almost certainly kill us.

This showed up on Bomp's "Waves" compilation in April '79, was released as a 12 inch in Germany by Line records, and is now on the Bomp CD reissue of L.A. Explosion.

—Joe Nolte

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