Country Dick Montana: Last of the Grown Men

In high school did record reviews for the student newspaper, the Foothill Echos. I thought maybe I could be a music writer someday.

At the time, the punk and new wave scene in San Diego was just emerging and at the forefront was The Penetrators. Dan McClain was the bands drummer. He had graduated from Grossmont HS a year or two before I arrived. As a GHS alum, he would be the perfect subject for a feature story, I thought, so I arranged an interview with him. I went to his apartment with my tape recorder and recorded our conversation.

Then I never transcribed the tape. I never wrote the article. I eventually lost the tape. These are regrets.

Dan went on to become Country Dick Montana, the larger-than-life leader of the Beat Farmers, a band that got record deals, appeared on David Letterman, had a couple of minor hits, toured the world, and gained a reputation as perhaps the greatest bar band in the nation. When Dan died in 1995, I was an editor/writer for a group of weekly publications in eastern San Diego County and co-owner of East County Online. So I finally wrote a feature story about Dan. His obit.

Through various moves, technology changes and failures, server migrations, I lost the original online posting of the story and it hasn’t been available on the web for years. A while back it occurred to me that the Way Back Machine ( might have a copy. After some searching, I found it. I grabbed the HTML and have reposted it on this domain. You can read it by clicking here.

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