THIS IS ABOUT THE FIRST BAND I EVER PLAYED IN, BACK IN THE LATE 70'S
CONTROLLERS PHOTOS FROM THE RONN SPENCER PHOTO SESSION FOR THE CONTROLLERS SLASH INTERVIEW:CLICK ON THE THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PICTURE (YOU CAN STEAL THEM IF YOU WANT GUYS)
THEY WERE STARTED BY KID SPIKE( JEFF AUSTIN ) AND JOHNNY STINGRAY IN THE SUMMER OF 1977. THEY WERE LIVING IN SANTA MONICA TWO GUYS FROM LANSING MICHIGAN. STINGRAY WAS GOING OUT WITH SPIKE'S SISTER AND THEY'D KNOWN EACH OTHER THROUGH THAT RELATIONSHIP. STINGRAY TAUGHT SPIKE HOW TO PLAY GUITAR AND THE TWO FORMED A BAND.THEY FOUND THE MASQUE THROUGH A NEWSPAPER AD AND MET BRENDAN MULLEN AN EX-PATRIOT FROM THE UK WHO WAS USING THE MASQUE AS A REHEARSAL SPACE. THE CONTROLLERS WERE THE FIRST BAND TO PLAY THE MASQUE; BRENDAN HAD INVITED SOME PEOPLE DOWN TO SEE THE PLACE AND THE CONTROLLERS AGREED TO PROVIDE ENTERTAINMENT. WORD SOON SPREAD AND THE MASQUE BECAME THE PUNK SPOT IN LA.
ANYWAY, SOMETIME BETWEEN OCTOBER AND JANUARY SPIKE AND STINGRAY FIRED THE OTHER TWO MEMBERS FOR WHATEVER REASONS. I'D SEEN THE ORIGINAL CONTROLLERS AT THE WHISKY WITH THE DILS AND RECALL THINKING THE DRUMMER SUCKED AND THAT I COULD DO A BETTER JOB. STINGRAY SAW ME AT THE MASQUE ONE NIGHT ON THE DRUMS JUST GOING OFF AND APPROACHED ME ABOUT AUDITIONING. I SAID SURE AND THE FOLLOWING WEEK I SHOWED UP AND JAMMED WITH THEM. THEY SEEMED HAPPY WITH ME AND I CONTINUED LEARNING THEIR SONGS. OUR 1ST SHOW WAS AT LARCHMONT HALL WHERE WE BEGAN OUR SLOW BUT SURE RISE ON THE PUNK SCENE. I'M TILL WORKING' ON THIS PAGE ANYBODY WITH ANY INFO ON CONTROLLERS MAIL'EM TO ME.....
1. the controllers first show with karla maddog on drums was at larchmont hall. people started coming to their shows when word got around that they had a new drummer and that the band sounded good. controllers played their 1st whisky show with maddog which got a glowing review in slash magazine. maddog was a one person promotion machine going around telling everybody about the controllers and how badass they were with her on drums. they recorded their 1st record with maddog for the siamese label. it was 3 song ep suburban suicide.
on the record was the title track, slow boy and do the uganda which features the lyric wanna be black and look like idi amin and do the uganda. people could have taken that line as a racial slur but with maddog in the band ( she's black in case you didn't know ) it just made the song funny you cant be a racist if you have a black person in your band.
the controllers then headed north to sf to play the mabuhay run by the notorious dirk dirksen. the band had heard stories from other bands who claimed dirk didn't like to pay bands but gave it no thought. after the show, which also featured vancouver's top band doa, maddog went to dirk to get their 300 dollars which he'd guaranteed. dirk paid up without a pause and always treated the controllers fairly and booked them on good bills. the controllers also played the deaf club the indian center and the sf art institute. sf went maddog crazy after search and destroy featured an interview with maddog, who talked about drums and gang violence. in the summer of 78 the controllers went to austin texas to play at a club popular with college students who were into the la punk scene. they even had do the uganda on their jukebox!! the band's appearance was damaged by the opening band who played so long the controllers only had time to do 7 songs. of course they do things different in texas but forgot to tell the band.
the band began it's stints at the hong kong cafe where they noticed their audience was growing and la was starting to like them as much as sf did. they were approached by chris desjardins of the flesheater to do 3 songs on a compilation of la bands which came to be known as tooth and nail. the con trollers recorded jezebel another day and electric church. but there were problems between spike and stingray. the band played their last show together at the hong kong cafe to a whole fresh group of controllers fans who had no idea this was their last time seeing them together, the show was one of their best. the controllers had ( well maddog was the one ) gotten slash magazine to do an interview and give the band the attention they deserved. kickboy was surprised to find the band funny witty and serious about their music. all the local la bands who knew the band well were in awe of the maddog fanclub ( people were always screaming maddog! as soon as she appeared and maddog never failed to give em a show and played like a tornado at every show.
kid spike went and joined the gears ( formerly la shakers ) with axel g. reese on vocals dave drive on drums and brian redz on bass. the gears recorded an lp which featured elks lodge hall don't be afraid to pogo and trudie trudie. the gears grew popular and even played the sanra monica civic. stingray formed kaos which gained notoriety in la. maddog moved to vancouver and started the .45's with randy rampage from doa brad kent from the avengers and heather the incredible singer. they played club 88 with x ( the night penelope spheeris filmed them for the decline of western civilization, and a few other shows but randy got homesick so the 3 canucks went home and maddog was without a band. she joined sexsick with kira roesller but drifted out of that and left town to sf. eventually she went to london,thinking she could join siouxsie and the banshees, who were in need of a drummer.(go to maddog in the uk for that story).
maddog got homesick and said farewell to europe and returned home to new york. she returned to la in 1990. in 91 kid spike had formed skull conrtrol which had billy bones singer of the masque house band the skulls and they were doing controllers and skull songs. when spike heard maddog was in town he quickly enlisted her drumming services. skull control started gaining a new audience plus bringing back controllers fans who'd heard spike and maddog were together again. they recorded a cd of old controller songs ( upgraded versions ) and new skull control material. released by the iloki label ( run by chris ashford of the old what label ) the cd was called radio danger. it had old controllers classics like hot stumps and electric church( featuring the germs pat smear on lead guitar ) and new tunes bad nirvana and the energetic title track radio danger where maddog's drumming is mutant jazz. skull control played in sf to a sold out show of controller fans that had never seen the band but had tooth and nail and were hardcore fans. however after 6 years of good reviews and packed shows lack of a record deal caused skull control to disband. they played their last show at club mesa in costa mesa and said farewell in fine fashion by rocking totally out. lee joseph is going to release a cd with all the tooth and nail and suburban suicide cuts on one cd sometime in july. I'm trying to find out the label's name. i'll get back to you on that. controllers 1977-1979 skull control 1991-1997 well spike and maddog stuck it out a little longer the second time around. well we had to show these kids who think they're playing punk how the real thing is done. radio radio no radio danger....i'm taking that final ride............
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