The Plugz – Electrify Me (Plugz Records) 1979. One of my favourite bands ever were The Plugz. They were part of the first wave of the LA punk rock scene. Back in the 1980′s The Plugz, along with most of the Dangerhouse roster and The Flesheaters, were regarded with almost mythic status by my friends and I. We never saw their records. We never heard these records and unless we wanted to pay some ridiculous cost to some collector dork in the back of MRR, we never would hear them.
The one thing we did though, was hear about them. Bands like The Plugz were referenced in interviews. They were talked about by the older punkers who remembered them. They were endorsed by bands we liked.
In fact, my first exposure to The Plugz was in an episode of New Wave Theatre where Keith Morris himself, introduces them. Now to a hardcore kid circa 83, what better fuckin’ endorsement could you possibly have?
The song The Plugz did on New Wave Theatre was much more indicative of the more polished rock sound of their second album “Better Luck”. It was a great LA-type song entitled “Hey Elizabeth” Regardless, I still wanted to hear the punk stuff!!!
I next heard The Plugz on the Repo Man soundtrack where they did an amazing version of “Secret Agent Man” in Spanish entitled “Hombre Secretor” It actually sounds better in Spanish and I love the original. But alas…later Plugz again.
So, finally in the early 1990′s, I got to hear their first album from 1979 which was entitled Electrify Me. It was re-released on Restless Records for a very short time. Imagine my surprise when I found it in a cutout bin. It instantly became one of my favourite albums ever and I have played it at least a million times since that fateful day.
One of the factors that contributes to the overall unique-ness of The Plugz is that they were from East LA instead of Hollywood. The main man behind the band was Tito Larriva and he definitely added a Los Angelino element to the sound. It is more upbeat and celebratory than a lot of punk LPs at the time. On “Let Go” for instance, Tito and the band reference a lot of old school dances like the Freddy, the Watusi and the Peppermint Twist in the middle of the song. If you are looking for something super-hardcore this ain’t it. If you are looking for something to play at a party…look no further.
It’s hard to believe now, but in the late 1970′s the LA punk scene was disregarded by a lot of hipper-than-thou types In NYC and elsewhere as being a rip-off of the British Scene. This of course, was completely untrue. Avoid hipper-than-thou types at all costs.
Think about it….bands like The Bags and The Dickies were clearly influenced by the more cartoonish and slapstick elements of the entertainment industry, which is certainly part of the local LA culture. Bands like The Flesheaters and X were informed by wild western mythology as well as the secret, hidden (at the time) subcultures of the 1950s…all parts of the LA myth. Bands like the Crowd were inspired by the beach and surf culture. It goes on and on. All of these influences combined to create a very unique scene. In fact, the LA punk scene was the most removed from hippie subculture of any US scene in the 1970s. This is why LA was set to be the birthplace of hardcore…There was no hippie residue. it was already ground zero.
So anyway, I digress…
The Plugz were influenced by the sights and sounds of East LA. It informed their music and made it all the more unique. You can hear it obviously in The Plugz cover of “La Bamba” but if you listen closely you can feel it running thru the whole album.
So bring this over to the next BBQ you attend. Play it at full volume. If any hipper-than-thou type starts being an ass…smack em for me, will ya? Remember, we’re not lost…we’re just desperate…