CHEIFS, THE: Holly-West Crisis: CD

Jan 28, 2009

I love the Cheifs. They were a defining moment in punk music for me. Not very widely known, they were Hollywood punks who played in LA and OC punk’s initial waves in ‘80 and ‘81, gigging with the Germs and X and, later on, the Adolescents, Angry Samoans, and TSOL. The Cheifs were great in that they took the newness, nihilism, and swinging of Southern California’s first wave – from the Gears and the Plugz – but weren’t scared to put a bit more spastic speed into the mix. The perfect bridge between two short-lived eras. The thing that gets me, when I mention them to the populace at large, I get shrugs. It may be that they didn’t have a cool logo for t-shirts or that, not until ‘97, when Flipside released the entire Cheifs output (including stuff that’d never been been put out) that you could find any of their music for less than a $300 7” on Ebay. However, I remember mentioning the Cheifs to Bill Stevenson of the Descendents and before I could get the question out, he was pounding out the drums to “Riot Squad” on the arm of a couch. When I was working at Flipside, too, I remember Henry Rollins writing in, on the back of a postcard, “Thanks for releasing the Cheifs. You made the world a better place.” Absolutely admired by their contemporaries. Here’s a bit of trivia. One of them got a shitload of Xanadu (the movie with Olivia Newton John) t-shirts, turned them inside out, and spray painted of them (If you look closely to the picture of George, you can see there’s a sticker over his Xanadu shirt). The problem? They spelled “chiefs” wrong. It’s stayed “incorrect” ever since. Since Flipside went under, Dr. Strange has the good taste and sense to give this excellent slice of punk a re-issue.

 –todd (Dr. Strange)