MUSTARD: Fuzz-rock band from Pacific Palisades, CA. “Burn The Green” is the jam on their self-titled 7” released in 1990. Yes, the song is about the two things that concerns citizens of coastal Southern Californians the most: a) arson, and b) marijuana — all in one song. I know, take a deep breath there. OK, good. “Burn The Green” and the other two tracks on Mustard’s 7” “Song For D.” & “Groovy Waters” certainly showed their love for Minutemen and The Meat Puppets, respectively. However, “Burn The Green” is the clear standout, and a unique one, in that it’s fuzzy, catchy, and pretty weird, if you ignore the vocals.
Sigh, ok, I grew up in the Palisades, so I have to find whatever I can to show my hometown pride, even though my growing up there was mostly boring as hell.
Because of California’s Prop 13 and other weird tax and rent control laws in the state, my family grew up in lower-middle class bordering on poverty within one of the richest and most isolated neighborhoods in the city of Los Angeles. (San Pedro is the only more isolated Los Angeles neighborhood, though overall not nearly as wealthy.) Being situated right between Santa Monica and Malibu (each independent cities), the Palisades was just another part of L.A. most had to get through in order to head to surf-land, the latest folk cult in the Topanga hills, or just to find a place to get high, y’know?
Pacific Palisades was initially a perfect haven for Republican Deadheads, but the second tier of Hollywood that couldn’t afford Bel Air eventually moved in and made it far more liberal and more expensive over the years. People don’t realize how conservative Los Angeles is. As opposed to most cities, one can’t oust anyone from L.A. There’s always room in L.A.
Pacific Palisades is not a good neighborhood for a geek to grow up in — especially a music geek at the height of “Disco Sucks” 1980. As far as music goes amongst my classmates, there was a clearly defined pecking order that included only five bands, in order of RADDEST to LESS RAD: 1) The Grateful Dead, 2) Pink Floyd, 3) AC/DC, 4) Led Zeppelin, and — of course — 5) Minutemen. Minutemen?!
Dudes in the Palisades looooved them some Minutemen — thankfully the main saving grace of the *cough* music elite in town that gave this place some identity. Never mind that the South Bay was tens of miles south of West L.A.! Mi costa es su costa.
Look, I don’t know who Mustard are. I met one of the guys from the other Pacific Palisades rock band Treacherous Jaywalkers once, briefly. But it looks like the Mustard guys had their own label in the Palisades called P.J.D. Records. Mustard were/are Sean Wheatley on bass, vocals, and dentures; Steve Tounsand on drums, backing vocals, and bathtub; and Daryle Goldfarb on guitars, maracas, and “farbness”. Other bands on the mostly cassette label include(d) the aforementioned Treacherous Jaywalkers, Alter Drown, Out, Animal, Oblitasorus, Shower Of Smegma, Soil, Urinalysis, Smiling Jesus, Hedgehog, P.V.H.C., Caustic, Ralphs Eviction & Nihilist.
I’m not making this up!
Now that cassettes are the new vinyl (certifying this post with the official 2010 meme, doncha know), I hope somebody out there evacuates and exposes what once was (or perhaps still is) the fertile, lost Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California rock scene. If not, I’ll have to jot this down as another mark for the “Loss Angeles” series.