Dear Coastlines Editor:
I found D.J. Palladino’s piece on “Playing in the Bands: A Brief History of Isla Vista Rockers” in the Spring 2017 edition of Coastlines a fascinating look at UCSB’s long-standing connection with rock music. As Palladino wrote, many talented rockers, both students and legendary artists, hung out and played on campus and in the local community from the 70s to the present. It’s too bad that Palladino did not delve into the campus’ 60s music scene. Had he done so, he likely would have cited “The Tridents,” a talented surf-rock band comprised mostly of SAE fraternity members, who played house parties and local gigs. To this day, “The Tridents” play each year at the Santa Barbara Fiesta.
Randy Lewis ’68
I enjoyed DJ Palladino’s article on the Isla Vista music scene. He did refer to it as a “brief history,” but there is so much history that got left on the cutting room floor, especially during the 90s (I graduated UCSB in ’94). Glad Evil Farmer was mentioned, but others on the scene were worthy of calling out as well. Bands like Indica (thrash) and Munkafust (rock), both of whom were selected by MTV in separate years as the country’s best college bands, and both performed at MTV’s Spring Break festivals. My band, Psycho Graffiti, rehearsed in the exact storage space in I.V. previously occupied by Ugly Kid Joe. We played mostly the downtown SB scene, but got on the TV news performing in our rehearsal space with the door up during Halloween one year (probably ’92 or ’93). Also, in late ’93/early ’94, our bassist was UCSB bass instructor Nico Abondolo. Anyway, just wanted to share my appreciation for the article. Brought back some great memories.
Jeffrey Winslow ’94
Kudos to Palladino for the overview of I.V. culture. I was impressed that Sitterly got his notice and that those before Jack Johnson got their place in history. Education is a door to culture and I.V. had true depth. One could go to Borsodi’s and hear Steve Fishell, the Grammy winning producer, on Dobro. Then one could go to the park and hear the Cache Valley Drifters. If culture included media one could chat with a Nexus editor (Jason Ross) who won six Emmys or Jay Wiess, an A.S. president who won five Emmys. If it sounds like I.V. is like super soil to grow art and wisdom it is!
I could go on for hours on this, so just one more example. Tracy Gershon was voted the Billboard outstanding promotors in the U.S., and last year the outstanding music executive in Nashville.
A classroom with world class faculty is everyone’s dream, but outside of class, one has world class peers to offer 360 degree development of mind and soul-that is UCSB.
I valued the view of the islands but I cherish the path to cultural insight that is Isla Vista.
Dear D.J. Palladino,
I commend you on an interesting article but sadly you missed too many good working local bands that were active in I.V. during the 1970s. There was a great band called The Alexander Blues band with Charles La Mont who had a local hit titled “Love so Strong.” There was another popular band named Crayon, which played plenty of great gigs in the area. There was also, even if I do say so myself, a pretty good band named Noah’s Natural Rhythm that made a pretty good living-sort of!-playing for local frat parties and local clubs. You also forgot that there were clubs to play: The Headband in Goleta, The Barbary Cove, Road House 50, and even the lowly Strap were places bands could make a buck and have some fun.