THE INJECTIONS STORY (with digressions)
The year was 1979, or so, maybe. I'm not sure. And anyone who was there and claims
to be sure is no friend of mine. The only happening place as far as new music in
San Diego was the Skeleton Club started by Laura Frasier (she was a nurse, thank
god). Even back then local punk rock impresario Tim Mays was involved, as usual,
helping to kick-start the whole punk rock scene. It was Saturday night and the Germs
were playing or doing whatever it was they did. Darby the lead singer was working
the crowd for spare change and daring his fans to like him. Most of the nascent
punks there didn't know if they actually liked the Germs, but they certainly liked
the feeling of primitive elitism, the anti-haircuts, the cool clothes, and the fact
that Darby insulted each member of the audience personally. I remember Jim Call,
a member of the Penetrators, and I seriously discussing whether or not Darby was
Whatever, the Germs played their loud, chaotic, obviously unrehearsed set. It was
down right frightening and further proof that music as we had known it was finished.
It really was scary if you were a musician who practiced and had any technical skills.
It sounds crazy now, but back then, before punk rock, it was thought to be a good
thing if you could play your instrument really well. This resulted in thousands of
grown men sitting in their bedrooms, walls covered with posters of Jimi Hendrix and
Clapton, playing guitar six hours a day. The original idea of punk rock was to take
music away from the guitar heroes, the technicians, and the record companies, giving
it back to the people, even girls. Letting a girl in your band was a revolutionary
act, and a fat ugly one like the Germs first drummer was madness according to the
old school rockers. (That fat girl was kicked out of the Germs, or quit, or just
got lost on the way to a gig and started the Go-Go's eventually becoming a skinny
Before and after the Germs played, local misfits, The Injections, got on stage and
did their set. Even though they hadn't reached the level of mad confident incompetence
the Germs had, Injections lead singer, Lou Scum, was absolutely out of control and
knocking on the door of Darbydom. Most of the audience ignored them. However, a dozen
people stood in front of the stage hopping around and spitting on each other. Lou,
drenched in sweat and spittle, was having a great time regardless of anything else.
There were maybe a hundred punk rockers in San Diego at this time and all of them
had come to see the infamous Germs. Most of these punks, if not all, were in bands,
starting bands, or capable of talking about starting a band very convincingly. After
the show everyone stood out in front of the Skeleton Club and talked about their
Tim Mays got on stage and asked if anyone had a place for some of the band members
to crash. I foolishly volunteered thinking it would be way cool to have my own Germ.
Drummer Don Bolles and his girlfriend Dinah Cancer came over to my apartment. Compared
to Darby and Pat Smear, Don and Dinah seemed very nice and downright gracious. (They
were, I swear to God). We had only been at my place for ten minutes when Don and
Dinah scared my girlfriend Leilani and I by suggesting a group sex scene. They brought
it up in an innocent casual way, and took it well when we left them alone in my
apartment. Leilani and I spent the night at my mom's house in La Jolla.
The next night at the Skeleton Club I met Lou Scum who was working the crowd in a
Darby-like fashion after the Injections set. Lou heard that Don had been at my apartment.
He was an ambitious networking punk, so he tracked me down hoping to make friends
with me or anyone famous, or anyone who knew anyone else that had heard of a famous
person. I liked Lou immediately. He was intense, lovable in an awkward way, and able
to talk about four or five unrelated subjects at the same time. He grilled me for
every detail about my run in with the Germs.
Lou was flabbergasted when he found out I'd met all of the Germs. The whole band
had driven Don and I over to my apartment after the Skeleton club gig the night before.
My girlfriend, Leilani, had just moved to California from Hawaii. Leilani's favorite
bands were the Stones and Neil Young. She had that 70's shag David Bowie haircut
and used every device from the worlds of science, folklore, and female fashion to
make herself into a California Baby Doll Bombshell. LA punk rockers hated this look
with an unholy passion, and had actually declared sort of a jihad against its practitioners.
While we were driving from the Skeleton Club to my apartment, two horrible punk rock
girls, who'd come down from LA with the Germs, harassed my girlfriend Leilana unmercifully.
She had epilepsy, and the stress brought on a seizure. Darby, Pat, Dinah, and the
mean punk rock girls were astounded by Leilani's attack. Lou wasn't there in the
van, but he was astounded when he heard the story. He thought there was a secret
meaning to the whole incident, and spent an hour trying to figure it out. After
I'd known him for a while I realized he thought there were secret things going on
behind the scenes, just out of his reach, always. After hearing the story of my
close sexual call at the apartment, Lou berated me all day for not giving famous
people whatever they wanted. After he tired of that, he spent the rest of the evening,
and all the time I was with him the following day talking about his band that was
going to be bigger than Led Zeppelin and the Clash (put together). Although I had
seen them the night before and already knew it, he told me repeatedly that they
were called the Injections and three out of four of the band members were in the
Navy. Lou (Bob O'Neil) Bruce Perrault, and Joanne, (Piggy Gargoyle) were all from
back East where Punk Rock started. Lisa Astin, Injections bass player, was a native
San Diegan I think, a civilian and also a member of the Dinettes, a fairly famous
San Diego band at that time.
Lou talked, and he talked, and he talked about his band, about his singing, about
his songs until he convinced himself, his band, and even me that the Injections
were destined. . . for fame, or trouble, or world class confusion. . . and trouble.
The Injections played again the next weekend at the Skeleton club and by god Lou,
who had never been in any kind of band, was even more wildly entertaining, and he
dragged the rest of the band along with him.
The one hundred alleged punk rockers in San Diego that summer all started bands. They went
to every show and were supportive and appreciated even the mediocre local talents
who opened for the fancy LA and SF punks who traveled south in order to spread the
word of the death of rock and roll. The Germs, The Dickies, The Weirdos, Tuxedo Moon,
The Nuns, The Dils, The Zeros, The Avengers came and went, leaving the Injections,
the Exterminators, The Neutrons, The Executives and a few others who either died
or I've just forgotten. All these bands set fine punk rock examples, but Lou stood
out somehow. It was thought by many that he might actually be mentally ill. A desirable
trait in those early days. The navy accepted him and he'd made it through boot camp,
but anyone who'd gone through that knew mental illness wasn't a problem.
Because I expressed an interest in the Injections, Lou decided that I was a genius
who had to help him. I'm pretty sure we were all on drugs and drinking a lot, so
it wasn't hard to portray a mad, misunderstood genius. We decided to start a record
company and put out records by the Injections, and Lisa's other band who were also
pretty damn good, the Xterminators. My band the Intentions (Beatles-CheapTrick-Dead-Pistols)
and some 15 year old rich kids from Del Mar who had money to throw in with my money
(the source of which I'm loath to discuss) called The Executives. After I helped
the Executives write some songs and produced the hell out of them (I actually had
massive experience in the studio.) They sounded pretty darn good. The funny thing
about the Executives was that they told everyone that they were a ska band, because
that was the happening thing right then, even though you could see them play at every
single party that was on the beach that summer and clearly hear that they were a
jerky (rhythmically not socially) punk rock and roll band with no apparent ska influences
whatsoever. Even with my suspicious money and the rich kid's money, we were a little
short. So all the bands, their girlfriends and various assorted skinhead thugs went
into the wild mountains of Julian to chop down trees to make fire wood to sell.
Someone convinced us this was a good money making plan and it did make a little.
The thing was taking 50 punk rockers with chain saws and about 100 hits of LSD into
the mountains for a weekend not only disturbed the locals but also caused Lou Scum
to go all the way crazy and I was personally forced to call the police and have him
taken to County Mental Health. END OF PART ONE.
In Part Two of this harrowing tale... I started Radioactive Records, changed my name
to Joe Producer for two months, and took the music we'd recorded and put out singles
by the Injections, The Xterminators, The Executives and Intentions (that's me under
the alias Jimmy True). We printed up a couple thousand copies and put them in all
the local stores. I also recorded 12 more songs by the Injections that were never
released (though years later, Bad Compilation Tapes, released a homemade cassette
that included the songs). Somebody gave Lou some LSD and he ended up first in CMH
(County Mental Health) and then back in Boston with his mom. I moved to LA a little
later, leaving all the records with the bands and at the record stores. I did have
two boxes of the records with about 50 of each of the 3 bands each and seventy or
eighty of the Jimmy True out of the hundred that were pressed at that point. There
were 500 each or so of the other bands records pressed. I think. Definitely no more
than a thousand of any of them were ever pressed. The two boxes that I was keeping
for myself were stolen out of my car in the parking lot during a Bad Brains/Cramps
— Jim Woods
Apparently Henry Yu did some
needed condensing for Mr. Woods. Just so you know.
... and not long after Mr. Woods wrote the above piece, further interest was added
to the story of Radioactive Records when the following article appeared in the
San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper:
June 5, 2001
SUSPECT ARRESTED IN STRING OF HOLDUPS
SAN DIEGO — Police say a man they arrested last week is the same person who
has committed up to a dozen recent robberies. James Woods, 47, of University City
was arrested after a La Mesa Baskin-Robbins store was robbed Thursday night, San
Diego police said yesterday.
Police spotted a car described as the getaway vehicle being driven with its lights
out, gave chase and arrested the driver after he crashed the car near the College
Grove shopping center, said San Diego police robbery Sgt. Tony Johnson.
Police say they searched Woods' home after they noted similarities between the La
Mesa robbery and earlier ones in the area over the last two months. The robber would
target banks and stores, often disguising himself with wigs and fake facial hair,
Detectives found fake hair, hats, clothing and other material used to make disguises
at Woods' home, Johnson said. Woods was charged with multiple counts of robbery.
CONTACT: Break My Face