Soul Jazz Records continues its Punk 45 compilation series with its sixth instalment, Chaos in the City of Angels and Devils. Available on CD and double vinyl, the album features tracks from LA’s first generation of punk and the subsequent hardcore scene.
LA's two key phases of punk occurred between 1977-1981. The first wave emerged in downtown Hollywood and involved a handful of bands who played, rehearsed and hung out at the Masque club.
The Masque was opened by Brendan Mullen in 1977 as a cheap rehearsal space for young bands such as the Motels, Controllers, Skulls, Go-Go’s and Berlin Brats. It soon became a gig space and a epicentre for first generation punk groups, including the Germs, X, the Weirdos and Bags.
But, with no real safety measures – save one security guard who was hired after a regular was killed by the pair of mass murderers known as the Hillside Strangler – the club was shut down by the fire department in 1978.
This first generation was succeeded by hardcore, which swept across LA’s middle class suburbs. A cure for teenage boredom, hardcore was a faster and stripped down version of punk with a capital “A” for anarchy at its core.
The scene mixed punk with skate and surfer ideologies, attracting LA skateboard heroes such as Tony Alva, Steve Olson and Duane Peters. Hailing from inland Orange County and nearby beach towns – including Hermosa, Huntington, Fullerton and Redondo – groups such as Black Flag, the Adolescents, the Middle Class, TSOL, Angry Samoans, Bad Religion and Minutemen took inspiration from the first wave Hollywood punk groups, while providing their own take on punk.
Chaos in the City of Angels and Devils comes with a 64-page booklet that documents the LA punk scene in detail. It also includes cover art and photography from music photographers such as Jenny Lens, Melanie Nissen and Edward Colver. There are also features on bands and record labels such as the Urinals, Flesh Eaters, Dangerhouse, Posh Boy, Frontier and Upsetter.
The compilation follows from earlier Punk 45 releases that cover punk from Cleveland, Akron, UK, USA and proto-punk, as well as the book Punk 45: Cover Art of Punk written by critic Jon Savage.