Back in 1977/78, when punk was first breaking on the West Coast, I lived in San Diego and there was no place (at first) for under-age punks and new wave fans to see live, local music. But that didn’t stop Dan McLain (then drummer for the Penetrators and proprietor of Monte Records, and later better known as Country Dick Montana, drummer and larger-than-life singer/drummer for the Beat Farmers), from pushing for places to play, usually rental halls. This created the San Diego scene. Eventually you had the Skelton Club and a club in an old theater in La Mesa and weekly shows at the Lions Club in North Park.
San Diego was a big city and it there were fewer than a handful of places that catered to DYI music.
My band played garage parties and tennis courts. This helped us build a fan base of, oh, four people. There was Dave, Sherry, Brian and our drummer’s mom.
Bakersfield, much smaller — but seems to have a pretty vibrant local scene. There are pizza joints and old warehouses and shopping malls and ice cream parlors. N.L. Belardes, my primary source for all local music news and reviews, writes about a pizza restaurant not far from my house that is now now hosting punk shows.
If you’re a under-age, aspiring musician, Bakersfield offers plenty of opportunity, and I think that’s good for the music and good for the kids. And it’s great for them that somebody like N.L. is documenting their scene.
Dan McLain, Buddy Blue, R.I.P. The music lives on.