Coma-Tones (Viper Room LA 1995)

People wonder why I can be really hard to impress when they try to turn me on to the latest Trash Rock band with the ‘junky chic’ aesthetic, loads of which have been stumbling out of LA and Brooklyn forever now and this is why.

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I lived in LA from 1996 until roughly 2004 and this was hands down my favorite band to come out of that scene and according to many, the best. I saw them twice and I consider myself very lucky. Over the years and as recently as a couple years ago, I’ve also been lucky enough to become friends with and share the stage with Jimmy James and his other band The Hangmen and he is easily the most solid rock guitarist in town and has been for years and The Hangmen are still at it.

I briefly knew Divo Garcia and met Gio Vitanza a few times and they were the nicest guys. I was really saddened to hear about Gio’s passing a few years ago back in Florida. Check out this live set from 1995 with Divo on guitar (when I saw them he had switched to bass) and I believe this was their first drummer Grant ‘Bo’ Johns who had passed away by the time I caught up with them. I used to have a copy of their Syl Sylvain produced 7″ which was signed by Grant which I’ve since lost, though I still proudly own their ultra rare 12″ EP. But really, they were a live band, fun, ferocious, they came from the heart and went straight for the nuts as you can experience in the video below.

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12 inch 45 on Offbeat Records 1992

A few words from Classic Rock Mag :

“There was deliciously seamy underground in LA rock n’ roll in the 1980’s, filled with freaks and weirdos and druggy shamans and bleary-eyed dead-enders who ran all the way to the end of the America to find somebody to love, and still came up wanting.

The most infamous character in that whole scene was probably Jeffrey Lee Pierce of voodoo gospel-billy blues-punks The Gun Club, a man who allowed rock’n’roll to thoroughly destroy him, but there were plenty of other would-be rock messiahs trawling that town, from the Leaving Trains’ cross-dressing gonzo rock journalist Falling James to displaced cow-girl Texacala Jones of Tex and the Horseheads to The Flesheaters’ punk poet Chris D. There were bands that took the Hollywood glam template and turned into something remarkably more perverse, like future-shock rockers Rebel Rebel, needle-punks Stars from Mars or gender-bending provocateurs The Ultras, and then were the bands that were just plain ol’ mean, like the aforementioned Motorcycle Boy, The Humpers, The Hangmen, and The Coma-Tones, bands that took the basic Stones/Aerosmith template and dragged it right into the depths of LA’s sun-bleached depravity.”

Again, a big thanks to Louis Elovitz for being there!


 

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