Atomic Cafe 1980

I remembered an amazing stylie-thing from the late 70’s a few days back.

Imagine if this girl has twice as much volume to her hair, it was slightly teased, or ratted on the top and she lost the cliche jewelry and T-shirt image and had a more authentic rock, thrift store aesthetic. Oh, yeah, and imagine she was a screamingly cool Japanese-American waitress in the late 70’s.

Like most I’ve been super busy so I just had to jot myself a note and trust I’d get back to it. Today’s the day.

For the new year 1980, I’d taken a break from San Francisco and returned to the place I was raised — Orange County, CA.

After finding that there was a whole new music scene rising in the wake of punk I had to inform my OC friend that she really out to check out some of the new clubs.

OC was barren. They eventually turned the old rock/funk venue into a punk place but Orange County, probably because of it’s super white faction, was always overly fond of hard core, dumb-ass nazi-punk.

From the southern district we hit the freeway and drove up to LA where some really interesting music was happening. It was still the home of the music industry and common career think, even for alterna-musicians, included the common wisdom that one must move to L.A. to “make it.”

At that time there were quite a few clubs. The Whiskey had not yet become the pay-to-play venue it was during the hair-band days. The still had the best of cutting edge rock and roll –X, the Blasters, Los Lobos — way early.

They weren’t the most happening. I preferred Club 88. I saw good music there. It was small and funky. And my fave three bands — X, the Blasters, Los Lobos — among many others played there. I saw the Meat Puppets there for the first time. They blew my mind and won my heart. 

The Starwood was happening. It was huge and strange. Always seemed a little sleazy in that peculiar wrecked-Hollywood kind of way. DEBAUCHED in a less creative way that other places that were more sincerely devoted to the music. Hey, but what do I know.

I danced there with my friend Melodie to and “X” song  for a few minutes. I looked over and noticed “X” guitarist Billy Zoom was watching us with his bemused space-alien-dairy-boy smile, his large lake blue eyes shining.

I had a wicked crush on him at the time.

All these things are the flora and fauna that spring from the memory I had of the Atomic Cafe

It’s the one in the top photo. Check out this LA, 1980s site.

That memory was of the of the two Japanese-American, goth-punk waitresses that worked there. Follow that link and read a quick bit about the history of this downtown LA landmark.

This is Atomic Nancy probably later in the 80s. The hairdos I remember were extremely long and ratted at the top. It looked fabulous. No bleached or chopped sections but the bangs.

This is the place everyone went to fill their bellies with noodles after the last great show of the night. The place was smoking hot. Punky fliers everywhere, musicians, freaks, artists, the best waitresses and the best music on the juke box. I loved to play “Adult Books” by X. I don’t even think the album “Wild Gift” had been released yet but the atomic Cafe had a pre-release single, a 45 rpm disc in their sound machine. It was a dream.

Must go sew squid then off to the news shack to slap those items on the internets.

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One Response to “Atomic Cafe 1980”

  1. music4videos Says:

    Cool post. I will look for these places when aroung the next time. I’ve posted some rock music videos on my blog, if you like to visit.

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