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VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND | ROCKTALK

Reunited Plimsouls Add New Spirit to Old Group Effort

Singer/songwriter Peter Case quit to play solo in '85 but brought the band together last year with two original members and a drummer.

May 09, 1996|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Plimsouls, one of the most fondly remembered bands of the early '80s L.A. scene, never could melt the frozen hearts of music critics. But the group did well enough--with an EP and a couple of albums--for the band to break up in 1985.

Singer/songwriter Peter Case, the guy to blame it on, will lead the resurrected Plimsouls to Nicholby's in Ventura on Friday night. Opening will be Blimp, that local folk-rock trio with a new CD.

In their prime, the Plimsouls toured plenty (including numerous gigs in 805 area code), were all over TV music shows as well as radio, tottering on the verge of becoming the Next Big Thing. Then in 1985, Case left the band to pursue a solo career; and one of his solo albums has to be a contender for longest title: "The Man With the Blue Post-Modern Fragmented Neo-Traditionalist Guitar."

"I'm still into the solo thing completely, but I keep the band going as well," said Case during a recent phone interview. "Playing solo is one of my very favorite things to do. I love that stuff, just a guy and a guitar; I guess it goes back to Robert Johnson and those guys," he said referring to the 1920s blues musician.

When not just a guy and his guitar, Case is also a Plimsoul, at least since the band regrouped last year. In addition to Case, two original members return: guitarist Eddie Munoz and bassist Dave Pahoa. Clem Burke, formerly of Blondie, will beat the drums. Despite being back, the band's album output remains at 2.5--two albums plus the extended play.

"Things have been pretty good, been writing new songs, playing a lot. We recorded a bunch of new stuff and we thought by now we would've had a record out," said Case.

"But the Plimsouls have always had stuff on little labels and we'll probably do that again. The Plimsouls are a better band now, and the songs are better. We're ready to record right now. It was like I was just getting my songwriting ability together when I left the first time."

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The first time around, the Plimsouls were part of the L.A. scene that included bands such as the Blasters, the Go-Go's, Sparks, the Gun Club, Oingo Boingo, the Dream Syndicate and the Knack. None of those bands has much in common apart from the time frame in which they worked and a catch-all phrase "New Wave" that got them on the playlist at KROQ.

"We never really had anything to do with any of that New Wave, skinny tie, power-pop stuff like the Knack. The Plimsouls were always more of a rock band. We always played more physical stuff, and the lyrics were pretty intense," said Case.

"We were a more aggressive band that played hard-edged pop with a folk-rock influence."

The Plimsouls will be on stage around 11 p.m. after Blimp. To find out more about this $7 show, call the venue at 653-2320. It's at 404 E. Main St., Ventura.

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Juicy Rumor Department: The Ventura Theatre--the only local venue where touring rock bands can shout, "Howzit goin,' Venchura?"--hasn't, as yet, been sold, according to manager Richard O'Halloren.

"Some people, some out-of-towners, are interested in buying the place from Dr. Angelo Elardo, the building owner," says O'Halloren. "But it hasn't been sold, and even if it were, it wouldn't affect us. We have two more years to go on our lease plus a 10-year option after that. We're having too much fun," O'Halloren said.

So take that, you out-of-towners.

And this: A Ventura City Council proposal that would demolish a block of old downtown to erect a multiplex cinema could be about 100 steps from the Ventura Theatre's front door. Could this new theater negatively affect business at the old theater?

Ventura Theatre promoter Gary Folgner doesn't think so: "Any business they put downtown would be great."

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Ya Coulda Been There: Nick Taylor, the Nick of Nicholby's in Ventura, really digs 2 Lane Blacktop. He must because the Bay Area band played twice at his place last weekend. Except for that KNBR Giants sticker on the bass case, these guys are cool.

Front man Dean Del Ray jumped around like a demented Chuckie on steroids (without the knife), occasionally wailing away on harmonica, singing all those cool roots-rock songs and trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to get the women to dance.

Jerry Marquez, whom Del Ray calls King Jerry with good reason, is an amazing player who wails away on a plugged-in acoustic guitar. Nothing like Marquez has been seen around these parts since Harold Lee of Los Guys.

Good natured and goofy, the band has an anthem-like rocker, "Jackie," getting airplay on KROQ, which never hurts. 2 Lane Blacktop will be here again next month. It's worth the drive just to hear them play "So Fine" and "Liquor Store," a definitive barroom rager.

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