|Origin||Los Angeles, California|
|Genres||Punk rock, rock|
|Associated acts||Los Cruzados, Tito & Tarantula, Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds, The Psychotic Aztecs|
The Plugz (also known as "Los Plugz") were a Latino punk band from Los Angeles, California that formed in 1977 and disbanded in 1984. They and The Zeros were among the first Latino punk bands, although several garage rock bands, such as Thee Midniters and Question Mark & the Mysterians, predated them. The Plugz melded the spirit of punk and Latino music.
The Big Takeover magazine was an early fan of The Plugz, and editor Jack Rabid most recently played one of their songs, “In the Wait”, on August 12, 2019.
The band was formed in 1977 and was a contemporary of the bands featured in the film The Decline of Western Civilization. Their songs reflected the anger and angst of growing up Chicano, and this was reflected in their sardonic hi-speed version of Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba". The Plugz are generally acknowledged as being the first D.I.Y. punk band in L.A., having started their own PLUGZ RECORDS and later Fatima records.
The band was initially composed of:
- Tito Larriva (Lead vocals/guitar)
- Charlie Quintana (drums) (d. 2018)
- Barry McBride (Bass/Backing vocals)
This lineup recorded the band's first album, Electrify Me (1979). Produced and engineered by Alan Kutner
After McBride left (sometime in 1979-80), he was replaced by John Curry from The Flyboys, who left to form Choir Invisible less than a year later. Larriva and Curry wrote the title track to the second album Better Luck. The musicians on the band's second album, Better Luck (1981), were:
- Gustavo Santaolalla (Bass/guitars/Charango/Backing vocals)
- Anibal Kerpel (keyboards)
- Steve Berlin (Saxophone)
- Bruce Fowler (Trombone)
- Steve Fowler (Saxophone)
- Brian Qualls (Piano)
Tony Marsico joined the band in late 1980, and Steven Hufsteter began playing lead guitar with the group in 1984.
With the addition of Steven Hufsteter on lead guitar, The Plugz also feature prominently on the soundtrack to the movie Repo Man. The group performed "Hombre Secreto," a Spanish version of Johnny Rivers' "Secret Agent Man", "El Clavo y la Cruz" and original instrumental background music for the film. Both "Hombre Secreto" and "Reel Ten" (the instrumental soundtrack for Repo Man), featured Hufsteter on lead guitar.
Plugz bassist Tony Marsico and drummer Charlie Quintana together with their friend-guitar player JJ Holiday accompanied Bob Dylan on his appearance on Late Night with David Letterman on 22 March 1984 for three songs: "Don't Start Me Talkin'" (by Sonny Boy Williamson), "Jokerman", and "License to Kill".
In 1984, The Plugz name was retired and the three members continued as the Cruzados with Steven Hufsteter.
The Plugz reunited the three founding members for The Masque 30th Anniversary Party and Book Release show on November 11, 2007 at The Echoplex in the Echo Park district of Los Angeles, California.
- "Move // Mindless Contentment / Let Go" single on Slash Records (1978)
- Electrify Me (1979) PLUGZ RECORDS
- "Achin' / La Bamba" single on Fatima Records (1981)
- Better Luck (1981)
- Los Angelinos - the eastside renaissance (compilation) (1983)
- Repo Man soundtrack (1984)
- Bob Dylan & The Plugz (1984)
- New Wave Hookers soundtrack - Electrify Me (1985)
Track listing - Electrify Me (1979)
- "A Gain - A Loss" (Tito Larriva)
- "The Cause" (Tito Larriva)
- "Electrify Me" (Tito Larriva)
- "Satisfied Die" (Tito Larriva/Barry McBride)
- "La Bamba" (public domain)
- "Adolescent" (Tito Larriva)
- "Braintime" (Tito Larriva)
- "Wordless" (Tito Larriva)
- "Let Go" (Tito Larriva/Barry McBride)
- "Infection" (Tito Larriva)
- "Berserktown" (Tito Larriva)
Track listing - Better Luck (1981)
- "Better Luck" (Tito Larriva/Curry)
- "Red Eye No. 9" (Tito Larriva)
- "Achin'" (Tito Larriva)
- "American" (Tito Larriva)
- "In The Wait" (Tito Larriva)
- "El Clavo Y La Cruz" (Tito Larriva)
- "Blue Sofa" (Tito Larriva)
- "Touch For Cash" (Tito Larriva)
- "Gas Line" (Tito Larriva)
- "Cesar's Song" (Tito Larriva)
- "Shifting Heart" (Tito Larriva)
- "No Love" (Tito Larriva)
In popular culture
- The Plugz' song Adolescent was used in the film Scarred (1984).
- The Plugz' songs El Clavo Y La Cruz and Hombre Secreto (Secret Agent Man) were used in the film Repo Man (1984) and appear on the soundtrack LP. The Plugz also composed the instrumental score for the movie, part of which appears on the soundtrack as Reel Ten.
- The Plugz' song Electrify Me was used in the adult film New Wave Hookers (1985).
- The Plugz performed as Bob Dylan's backing band on Dylan's 1984 Late Night with David Letterman appearance.
- "The Big Takeover Show - Number 238 - August 12, 2019". The Big Takeover. Retrieved 2019-10-18.
- Spitz, Marc; Mullen, Brendan (2001). We got the neutron bomb : the untold story of L.A. Punk (1st ed.). New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0609807749.
- Nevarez, Leonard (January 31, 2012). "Tito Larriva: the hombre secreto of L.A.'s culture industry". Musical Urbanism.
- Marsico, Tony (2011). Late Nights With Bob Dylan. Scam-Co. ISBN 0557015456.
- "Plugz Reunion at the Echoplex 11-11-07". YouTube. November 13, 2007.
- Thomas, Bryan (March 16, 2017). "The epic saga of Tito Larriva, the Plugz and the "St. Paddy's Day Massacre" at the Elks Lodge, 1979". Night Flight. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
- Murray, Noel (July 17, 2013). ""I was a teenage dinosaur, stoned and obsolete": The lure and lessons of Repo Man's soundtrack". The Dissolve. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
- "Blog Extra: Tito Larriva on Repo Man". From & Inspired By. August 11, 2016. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
- Ensminger, David A. (2016). The Politics of Punk: Protest and Revolt from the Streets. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 187. ISBN 9781442254459.
- Giles, Matthew (May 19, 2015). "The Strange Story of Bob Dylan's Triumphant First Letterman Performance". Vulture.com. Retrieved March 7, 2019.