Jul 2010 / THE EYES

THE EYES date from the earliest days of punk rock in Los Angeles.  I ran across their first recordings on a 1998 compilation album of releases on What Records? called What? Stuff, on Bomp! Records, that I just picked up.  The first two bands listed on the cover, the Germs and the Dils are fairly well known as these things go; I had some of their songs already elsewhere, with “I Hate the Rich” by the Dils being a particular favorite.  The third band on the list was the Eyes; predictably, despite what the liner notes describe as their “all-star lineup”, Wikipedia has nothing about them.  In Allmusic and also in Wikipedia, there is a short article on a mid-1960’s Mod band from London called the Eyes, along with references to several other bands of that name; of the punk band though, there is nothing at all, except that the cover for one of their 45’s is mistakenly included on the Mod band’s Allmusic page. 
What Records? is a good example of the Do-It-Yourself spirit that brought punk to life in the first place:  By the mid-1970’s, the technology was good enough and vinyl was cheap enough that bands could put their own records together without going through the corporate record labels; and there were enough independent record stores around that getting shelf space was also doable.  In this case, Chris Ashford was a friend of members of the Germs; in the great 1970’s tradition, they had just made a crude two-track recording of a song called “Forming” in the guitarist’s garage, so Ashford released it as a 45 and distributed it all by himself.  The release date of July 19777/77 – would resonate with those of us in a casino area like Biloxi.  The B-side, “Sex Boy” was a live performance made during the filming of the first Cheech and Chong movie Up in Smoke (which had a great cast by the way – Edie Adams, Strother MartinStacy Keach and Tom Skerritt).  Somewhat surprisingly, this disk by the Germs is regarded as the very first punk rock single to come out of LA, even though it was released nearly 18 months after the landmark first album by Ramones came out on the other coast. 
Chris Ashford then set out to record the other bands that were performing at the city’s first punk club, the Masque.  The Eyes were one of these bands, with a sound that was described on the liner notes of What? Stuff as “poppy but hard edged”.  “Don’t Talk to Me”, featuring vocals by Charlotte Caffey came out on the third What release; the flip side actually had two songs:  “Victims” by the Skulls plus the wonderful “Neutron Bomb” by the Controllers (which was also released as the A side on What 04).  Another song by the Eyes with an equally compelling beat is also included on the compilation album, called “Kill Your Parents”.  (I want to say it was tongue in cheek, but honestly, I can’t tell for sure!). 
Charlotte Caffey left the band shortly afterward to become one of the founding members of the Go-Go’s (one of my all time favorites); she was bass player in the Eyes but became lead guitarist in her new band.  Despite their girl-next-door rep and cheerleader-good-looks, this most successful of the all-female rock bands was well rooted in LA’s punk rock scene:  The other two founding members, lead vocalist Belinda Carlisle and guitarist Jane Wiedlin were numbered among the back-up singers called the Blackettes that performed with Black Randy and the Metrosquad
Drummer DJ Bonebrake also left the Eyes to become the last of the founding members of one of the biggest LA punk bandsX (having a rich sound that could almost be described as post-punk despite their 1977 founding date).  Exene Cervenka was yet another Blackette; her name – a riff on her real name Christene, with “Ex” replacing “Christ” (a la X-mas) – probably inspired the band’s name. 
A 1996 compilation album documenting a 1977 live show that I don’t have, Live from the Masque, Volume 3 opens with six songs by the Eyes with bizarre titles like “Take a Quaalude Now” and “The Happy Song”; it also features what is regarded as their best known song “Disneyland”. 
The last original bandmember in the EyesJoe Ramirez kept the band going a while longer and got several more 45’s released on Dangerhouse Records.  He was also among the rotating lineup in Black Randy and the Metrosquad and released a song with the Brat.  Reportedly (under a different name), he later joined the thrash metal band Slayer
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The Honor Roll of the Under Appreciated Rock Bands and Artists follows, in date order, including a link to the original Facebook posts and the theme of the article.
Dec 2009BEAST; Lot to Learn
Jan 2010WENDY WALDMAN; Los Angeles Singer-Songwriters
Feb 2010 CYRUS ERIE; Cleveland
Mar 2010BANG; Record Collecting I
Apr 2010THE BREAKAWAYS; Power Pop
May 2010THE NOT QUITE; Katrina Clean-Up
Jun 2010WATERLILLIES; Electronica
Jul 2010THE EYES; Los Angeles Punk Rock
Aug 2010QUEEN ANNE’S LACE; Psychedelic Pop
Sep 2010THE STILLROVEN; Minnesota
Oct 2010THE PILTDOWN MEN; Record Collecting II
Nov 2010SLOVENLY; Slovenly Peter
Dec 2010THE POPPEES; New York Punk/New Wave
Jan 2011HACIENDA; Latinos in Rock
Feb 2011THE WANDERERS; Punk Rock (1970’s/1980’s)
Mar 2011INDEX; Psychedelic Rock (1960’s)
Apr 2011BOHEMIAN VENDETTA; Punk Rock (1960’s)
May 2011THE LONESOME DRIFTER; Rockabilly
Jun 2011THE UNKNOWNS; Disabled Musicians
Jul 2011THE RIP CHORDS; Surf Rock I
Aug 2011ANDY COLQUHOUN; Side Men
Sep 2011ULTRA; Texas
Oct 2011JIM SULLIVAN; Mystery
Nov 2011THE UGLY; Punk Rock (1970’s)
Dec 2011THE MAGICIANS; Garage Rock (1960’s)
Jan 2012RON FRANKLIN; Why Celebrate Under Appreciated?
Feb 2012JA JA JA; German New Wave
Mar 2012STRATAVARIOUS; Disco Music
Apr 2012LINDA PIERRE KING; Record Collecting III
May 2012TINA AND THE TOTAL BABES; One Hit Wonders
Jun 2012WILD BLUE; Band Names I
Jul 2012DEAD HIPPIE; Band Names II
Aug 2012PHIL AND THE FRANTICS; Wikipedia I
Sep 2012CODE BLUE; Hidden History
Oct 2012TRILLION; Wikipedia II
Nov 2012THOMAS ANDERSON; Martin Winfree’s Record Buying Guide
Dec 2012THE INVISIBLE EYES; Record Collecting IV
Jan 2013THE SKYWALKERS; Garage Rock Revival
Mar 2013THE GILES BROTHERS; Novelty Songs
Apr 2013LES SINNERS; Universal Language
May 2013HOLLIS BROWN; Greg Shaw / Bob Dylan
Jun 2013 (I) – FUR (Part One); What Might Have Been I
Jun 2013 (II) – FUR (Part Two); What Might Have Been II
Jul 2013THE KLUBS; Record Collecting V
Aug 2013SILVERBIRD; Native Americans in Rock
Sep 2013BLAIR 1523; Wikipedia III
Oct 2013MUSIC EMPORIUM; Women in Rock I
Nov 2013CHIMERA; Women in Rock II
Dec 2013LES HELL ON HEELS; Women in Rock III
Jan 2014BOYSKOUT; (Lesbian) Women in Rock IV
Feb 2014LIQUID FAERIES; Women in Rock V
Mar 2014 (I) – THE SONS OF FRED (Part 1); Tribute to Mick Farren
Mar 2014 (II) – THE SONS OF FRED (Part 2); Tribute to Mick Farren
Apr 2014HOMER; Creating New Bands out of Old Ones
May 2014THE SOUL AGENTS; The Cream Family Tree
Jun 2014THE RICHMOND SLUTS and BIG MIDNIGHT; Band Names (Changes) III
Jul 2014MIKKI; Rock and Religion I (Early CCM Music)
Aug 2014THE HOLY GHOST RECEPTION COMMITTEE #9; Rock and Religion II (Bob Dylan)
Sep 2014NICK FREUND; Rock and Religion III (The Beatles)
Oct 2014MOTOCHRIST; Rock and Religion IV
Dec 2014THE SILENCERS; Surf Rock II
Jan 2015 (I) – THE CRAWDADDYS (Part 1); Tribute to Kim Fowley
Jan 2015 (II) – THE CRAWDADDYS (Part 2); Tribute to Kim Fowley
Feb 2015BRIAN OLIVE; Songwriting I (Country Music)
Mar 2015PHIL GAMMAGE; Songwriting II (Woody Guthrie/Bob Dylan)
Apr 2015 (I) – BLACK RUSSIAN (Part 1); Songwriting III (Partnerships)
Apr 2015 (II) – BLACK RUSSIAN (Part 2); Songwriting III (Partnerships)
May 2015MAL RYDER and THE PRIMITIVES; Songwriting IV (Rolling Stones)
Jun 2015HAYMARKET SQUARE; Songwriting V (Beatles)
Jul 2015THE HUMAN ZOO; Songwriting VI (Psychedelic Rock)
Aug 2015CRYSTAL MANSIONMartin Winfree’s Record Cleaning Guide
Dec 2015AMANDA JONES; So Many Rock Bands
Mar 2016THE LOVEMASTERS; Fun Rock Music
Jun 2016THE GYNECOLOGISTS; Offensive Rock Music Lyrics
Sep 2016LIGHTNING STRIKE; Rap and Hip Hop
Dec 2016THE IGUANAS; Iggy and the Stooges; Proto-Punk Rock
Mar 2017THE LAZY COWGIRLS; Iggy and the Stooges; First Wave Punk Rock
Jun 2017THE LOONS; Punk Revival and Other New Bands
Sep 2017THE TELL-TALE HEARTS; Bootleg Albums
Dec 2017SS-20; The Iguana Chronicles
(Year 10 Review)

Last edited: April 8, 2021