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June 2024
Vol. 23, No. 9


San Diego Songwriters, Part 5: Garageland

by Bart MendozaJune 2012

In this series we’ve covered some of the biggest songwriting successes to emerge from San Diego. Of course songwriting success isn’t just what makes it on the charts, but also what makes a lasting impression/influences future generations. Nowhere is this more evident than in the explosion of mod/powerpop/garage/punk groups that sprang up in the late seventies and early eighties. While sales may not have rivaled local chart contenders, it speaks volumes that not only have these tunesmiths have had their music covered by artists from San Diego to Japan, but they’re all still writing and performing.

Only versions released on vinyl or CD are included. Any additions to this or any of the other articles / lists are greatly appreciated. I’ve excluded my own music from these lists.

Ray Brandes is currently singing with the Sidewalk Scene. He’s also recorded with the Mystery Machine, The Tell Tale Hearts, The Town Cryers, The Shambles, The Riot Act and more.

Mark DeCerbo is best known as the front man for powerpop heroes Four Eyes, but can also be found playing with Rockola and singing with the Steely Damned. In 1976 he released a rare single with the group Copenhagen.

Javier Escovedo is a member of the Zeros and was also in the True Believers.

Robert Lopez is a member of the Zero’s and is also known as El Vez.

Carl Rusk is a solo artist as well as the front man for the Nashville Ramblers and was once in the Mystery Machine.
Mike Stax is currently with the Loons, having spent time in the Tell Tale Hearts and the Hoods. He’s also the editor of the brilliant Ugly Things magazine — a must for fans of ’50s, ’60s and ’70s rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, etc.

WRITER                                      ARTIST                                     SONG

Ray Brandes                                  Rachael Gordon                        “I Know You’re In Love Again”
Agentes Secretos                         “Crawling Back to Me”
Shutdown ‘66                              “Crawling Back To Me”
Mark DeCerbo                              Lisa Sanders                                “Gold”
Javier Escovedo                           Hoodoo Gurus                            “Wimp”
The Nomads                                “Wimp”
Wild Weekend                             “Wimp”
Mono Men                                    “Wimp”
The Resinators                            “Wimp”
The Statics                                    “Wimp”
South Fithy                                   “Wimp”
Wild Weekend                             “Wimp”
Wild Weekend                             “Black & White”
Sator                                              “Black & White”
Dirt Shakes                                   “Black & White”
Wild Weekend                             “Cosmetic Couple”
Wild Weekend                             “Don’t Push Me Around”
Electraluxx                                   “Don’t Push Me Around”
The Morning Shakes                  “Don’t Push Me Around”
The Pneumonias                         “Don’t Push Me Around”
Wednesday Week                       “They Say That Everything’s Alright”
Teengenrate                                “Wild Weekend”
La Secta                                       “Wild Weekend”
(w/Calvin Russell)                      Calvin Rusell                              “So Blue (About You)”
Robert Lopez                               The Muffs                                    “Beat Your Heart Out”
The Real Losers                         “Beat Your Heart Out”
The Illegal Movers                    “Beat Your Heart Out”
Carl Rusk                                      The Spectors                              “The Trains”
Mike Stax (w/ Bill Calhoun)     The Young Pennsylvanian’s    “You’re A Dirty Liar”

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