Back together for Burger Boogaloo, raunchy surf-punks the Trashwomen reflect on SF's garage heyday
MUSIC During high school one day in a sleepy Marin County enclave, Tina "Boom Boom" Lucchesi went to a local record shop where Erik Meade of Jackson Saints and the Pukes worked, and he put on a Redd Kross album. "Total obsession," Lucchesi says now, a few decades later, from her punky, vintage-filled Peewee's Playhouse home in Oakland. "He was playing the Teen Babes from Monsanto record, and I was like, I'm going to buy that — and I did."
This week, Lucchesi's early 1990s-born wild surf-punk group the Trashwomen will play alongside Redd Kross for the first time ever, during the two-day slackfest Burger Boogaloo (Sat/6-Sun/7, noon-9pm, $25/day. Mosswood Park, 3612 Webster, Oakl., www.burgerboogaloo.com). The Boogaloo, a yearly collaboration between Orange County, Calif. label and shop Burger Records, and East Bay promoters Total Trash Booking, is known for bringing an eclectic, sometimes manic mix of surf, punk, garage, doo-wop, and retro rock'n'roll acts commonly associated with both organizers.
This year, for the first time, it's all outdoors, and the headliners are impressive: Redd Kross, Jonathan Richman, the Zeroes, the Oblivions, Fuzz, the Trashwomen. The rest of the lineup is too, including Audacity, Mean Jeans, Shannon and the Clams, Mikal Cronin, Guantanamo Baywatch, and more.
The Trashwomen immediately stuck out in the stellar lineup, mostly because the other groups are all active bands. The Trashwomen haven't played together in four years (during a brief reunion for Budget Rock in '08), and before that, they'd been broken up since '97. So why now?
For Total Trash's Marc Ribak, the choice was obvious. "In the Total Trash babe bible, Trashwomen rank number one!"
But for said babes, it was all about Redd Kross. "Redd Kross is playing! We're all big fans, so we were like,'we've got to do it!'" says drummer Lucchesi, sitting on a teal patterned couch in her home next to bassist Danielle "Lead Pedal" Pimm, and guitarist Elka "Kitten Kaboodle" Zolot.
Though they also mention getting stoked to see Mexican punk legends the Zeros, and Portland, Ore. sloppy surf-rock group Guantanamo Baywatch.
"We've gotten a lot of offers, but we all have busy lives. There was a time when we were doing it but then you know, it kind of fizzled out," she adds. "In the early '90s, when the garage thing was so great in San Francisco, we played with the Mummies, the Phantom Surfers, Supercharger, we all played together. And then it just kind of died out, and we did get sick of it, and each other. But it's fun, I like getting together and playing with these guys once in awhile."
While their initial run ended in '97, the group left a lasting impression on future generations of San Francisco garage groups, particularly girl groups, which has surprised Zolot. "I have my Instagram, and a lot of young bands that are still in high school [post on there] like 'oh I look up to you,' 'you inspire me to write music and be a girl on guitar,' and I'm like, how did you even hear about us? It's cool, but sometimes it shocks me that young people know who we are."
It's a combination of sound, style, and era that carries on the Trashwomen torch. Likely the Internet accessibility of music had a hand in it too. The music itself, on albums like debut '93 record Spend the Night with the Trashwomen (Estrus), is a raucous jumble of raunchy original garage anthems ("Cum on Baby," "I'm Trash"), syrupy rock'n'roll numbers ("Daddy Love"), and surf-punk covers of rare '60s gems like the Fender Four's "Mar Guya" and Starfire's "Space Needle."