Where do I start
Amp ManPeople are always asking questions about my music and/or bands I've been in. To tell you the truth, I've been playing for some 18 years or so and been in countless bands. Some really don't have all that much recorded music available and have never put it out (except for Thrashers' Skate Rock cassette tapes, 4 or 5 videos we've been associated with like Santa Cruzs Wheel on Fire and Streets on Fire, and the Speed Freaks wheel series). I have tons of cassettes and a couple of long length c.d.'s compiled of songs that represented 2 or 3 bands' material that I originally made just for history's sake and for the bandmembers to have.

My current band just recorded a rehearsal c.d. from 24 bit adat live just to get the feel of a recording studio. It is always much different from the band's usual rehearsal spot in my buddy's garage, which is complete with skate ramp in the backyard. Recording my/our music is a fantasy come true after all these years of patiently honing our craft awaiting our turn. To turn an idea from strumming on the couch to banging it out in the garage with the guys to refining it and blasting away in the studio is any musician's dream come true.

But to get back on track, and since I've really never told the story before, I'll give you a little background of my musical history.

DIY Years
Back in high school (1980-81) my old girlfriend had an acoustic classical thing that I tried to bang around on. After seeing punk bands for the first time, it was truly possible to go play even though you couldn't really play. People didn't mind the out of tune guitars that weren't perfectly in harmony with everybody else. It was punk. It was ugly. It was sloppy. It was belligerent and chaotic and even awful at times but things got better because of lots of hard practice, passion, and enthusiam for the cause you believed in. Everybody had to start somewhere and the big difference then was the appeal of morphing something you liked into something completely different by speeding it up, twisting and strangling it and slowing it down. Just doing whatever but not being afraid to show it to the public even though you weren't an accomplished musician. You're taught not to fail, so therefore you don't ever try until it's too late for fear of not being able to cut the mustard.

That was punk and along with that came the idea of do it yourself (DIY). If you couldn't find punk rock clothes, make them. If you needed a punk t-shirt, you got some stencils, a can of spray and after a couple of beers you had a killer new look. A new kind of kick. You need some stickers. Take a printing class and viola....punk stickers. The whole outlook was punk rock and skateboarding. Nothing more, nothing less.

A Cast of Crazies
So I bought my first guitar at a pawn shop on Garey Ave. in Pomona when I turned 18. The guitar was a Gibson ES-125 with one P-90 soapbar pickup. It was my dream: half acoustic/half electric. Plus the blues guys played em'. I played and played and took lessons from an old guy named Lou who had played with Count Basie back in the golden era of music. To this day I remember what he taught me because I couldn't make the chords at first and it took me over 6 months to learn one song progression. I jammed with anybody who would let me, including my best friend in high school, George Bellanger. (George later went on to play drums in Christian Death but that's another story for another day). The "White Rhino," he played drums in the marching band and stole some drums to play in his garage.

Chuck Kritzen also taught me early surf guitar because he said, "You gotta learn the basics." So our first attempt at band-dom took place in the garage with my 2 skate buddies. Then James McGarrety (bass player for Christian Death ) got a bass as did Vince Dennis (later went to Body Count) who scammed a Fender Mustang 3/4 scale beginner bass. So now we had a complete unit to barge and make some noise to drive all the neighbors crazy. But it didn't last long.

Craig Rowe (Pipeline skate local) entered the picture as a singer and bought a bass
as James and George left to do Christian Death with Rik Agnew (ex-Adolesent) and with Roz Williams (who commited suicide last summer), an outcast from the college town of Claremont. Vince was hard to hook up with because he lived far away in Pomona next door to my Uncle.

The Wild Ones
So next we hooked up with Rich Enriquez, a fellow skater who lived in Chino but had a cousin who lived in LaVerne by Craig. The cousin said we could practice in his custom built garage studio. We formed the Wild Ones, aptly named from the Brando movie and played our first show at a backyard party. By then I graduated to a '59 Silvertone with gut strings and a Fender 1963 blonde Bandmaster amp complete with an outboard reverb unit. Of course we sucked but everybody loved us in their drunken, party-inspired stupor.

Craig could barely sing and play bass at the same time so we got another guy named Mike Occiatio who lived in Glendora. When Mike came to his very first tryout/audition we asked him if he skated and he replied, "Yeah." He then said he skated with Salba yesterday not knowing that I was right there standing in front of him. We all got a good laugh out of that one and it's cool to grind him about that tidbit of information every once in awhile.

So at least Mike could play and he always tuned our guitars for us because we were clueless. We also started to actually sound alright once Mike showed us how to play the right part at the right time.

It was also about this time that Kurt Ross entered the Wild Ones picture. We always wanted 2 guitars and we kinda stole/borrowed Kurt from Red Brigade/Kent State, whose bandmembers lived in Ontario and went to Chaffey High School across town. So the 5 of us played the summer of 1982/83 at backyard parties all over the valley, local clubs in L.A. like Cathy deGrande and the Galaxy Roller Rink, the L.A. County fair in Pomona, and The Pomona Pipe and Pool skatepark with the Joneses (fellow skater Steve Olsons' band with Steve Drake and Mitch Dean who later played with the second incantation of T.S.O.L.). Our sound owed much to the N.Y. Dolls, Johnny Thunders, Wayne County and the Electric Chairs, Elvis, X, The Cramps, and drunken sloppy blues.

We played with the Misfits in early '82, the Red Devils, Agent Orange, the Joneses, Billy Zoom from X, Christian Death, 45 Grave, and many others I've forgotten. Shortly thereafter Craig quit skating and left the band. We visited him and brought 12 packs of his favorite beer and got him in more trouble then he already was. His mom hated me.

Kurt started singing for Craig. But then Rich quit because he got engaged to a drama queen girlfriend. Off into the dust he rode, never to be seen again. Eddie Neville from Kurt's band took over on drums and a new era was born: 10,000 Heartaches (named after a Hanoi Rocks tune). Craig still sat in, but less and less, and after a while it was just me, Mike Occaitto, Kurt, and Eddie.

The Flame-Out
10,000 Heartaches only lasted 6 months or so, and then I named the band the Flamethrowers. We actually already had a following from the early combined success from our other bands. Kent State was featured on the Rodney on the Rocks compiliation album.

Fender Rules Agent O gigIn 1985 we aquired Jeff Moses from the Claremont Colleges where we frequently played at a campus coffeshop. From 1983/84 until about 1986-87, we played all over town from LA. to O.C. and in between. We played with Redd Kross, Specimen, 45 Grave, Billy Zoom, Agent Orange, The Red Hot ChilI Peppers, Lords of the New Church, T.S.O.L., Sin 34, The Replacements, Cadillac Tramps, Guns and Roses, Poison, L.A. Guns, and too many others to remember. This is when the L.A. glam thing was starting to happen and the rest of the Flamethrowers saw stars in their eyes and decided to kick me out of the band that I had started (I wasn't glam enough and played Fender amps not Marshalls). So I started skating more and more and then got another pro model on Santa Cruz Skateboards.

Redd Kross gig Agent O gig Meanwhile, I started another project with some other friends who had bands going at the same time as the Flamethrowers. We hooked up with Mark Cole, the first Manson Youth bassist. He was in a band previously named West End (1982) with Tracy Robar, another long time skater from back in the pre-Pipeline days of Baldy pipe and L-Pool. Tracy had been playing guitar longer than any of us and was into the same stuff I was. The Flamethrowers originally had a 2 guitar part in which it was hard to distinguish who was playing what. That separated into the usual rhythm/lead deal, which didn't really fit into my program. Tracy was much more interested in the song writing process where 2 guitars made one sound. Ever since that fateful New Year's eve at Bobby Eras's house on Kelly Avenue near 18th Street in Upland (a half mile or so from Baldy Pipe where we jammed for the first time) we've been in and out of bands with each other since 1987.

Screaming Lord Salba
Billy Zoom gigAbout this same time period, the Flamethrowers kicked Eddie Neville out for alleged drug usage that got in the group's way of the yellow brick road. We quickly snapped Eddie back up into our next project: Screaming Lord Salba and his Heavy Friends, a take-off on Screaming Lord Sutch from England who was a take-off on Screaming Jay Hawkins. It was all a joke but we had fun regardless. We played around town and did a little recording that ended up on the 2 Santa Cruz videos. It just kinda fizzled out because I was singing, which is okay if you like listening to drunken alley cats go off all night.

Slaves of Rhythm
We got Steve Body, a friend from Claremont, to sing in our newest venture: the Slaves of Rhythm, which was blues rock mixed with punk (if you can picture that). We were decent, but only did like 5 or 6 shows and then fizzled again.

Dirty Bastards
Next came the Dirty Bastards with 3 ex-Flamethrowers (Mike O, Eddie N, Kurt R), me, and Tracy. We played a combined songlist of past and present hits much to the delight of our older fans. We did a Whiskey show on the Sunset strip with GunClub and our old friends Agent Orange, as well as some crazy frat parties at U.S.C. college. We did the annual Flamethrowers shows for New Years and a special benefit for a friend who had cancer and raised her $4,000.00.

Powerflex 5
Powerflex 5So back to the future of 1999/2000. It was Tracy Robar (guitar tech for Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, 9 Inch Nails, L 7, Sheryl Crow, Ry Cooder, and David Lindley), me (Screaming Lord Salba), and Mark Cole (car enthusaist, surfer, telephone man). Plus, we had yet another personnel change in drummers occur with the added dimension of one Corey Miller (well known, world-wide established tattoo artist who owns a shop called 6 Feet Under and the Manson Youths' first drummer). He used to jam in punk bands like Manson Youth and now plays in a swing neo-band named RumbleKing. Together the 4 of us make up Powerflex 5, named after the first multi-colored precicsion wheels to be offered by, you guessed it, Powerflex skateboards.

Our sound owes a lot to many great instrumental bands. The Powerflex 5 sound is an electric gumbo of ingredients that include drag, surf, rockabilly, strip blues, 60's trashcan rock, spaghetti westerns, B-movies, punk, huge cement pipes, folk, lounge, R&B, and Mexican marachi all rolled into one whacky sound which Kelly Bellmar says I should call "Albacore."

Gigs O' Plenty
Though we've been together officially a little more than a year, we've played some pretty good shows. Last year's annual Salba B-Day bash led to an invitation to perform at the E.M.P. museum in Seattle for the HEY PUNK exhibit/forum/demo. The major players of skateboarding's past came forward and offered their opinions on the how, what, and why skating and punk rock mixed in California and elsewhere. In attendance were the greats of skating like Tony Alva, Steve Olson, Duane Peters, Pineapple Saladino, Skip Egblom, C.R.Stecyk, Glen E. Friedman, Mofo, Tim Kerr, Steve Turner, Wez Lundry, Mark Hubbard, Red, Brian Brannon, and me. The bands featured were T.S.O.L., J.F.A., MonkeyWrench, Agent Orange, Powerflex 5, and the U.S. Bombs. Every band that played at the E.M.P. has skaters or other people closely associated with the original movement back in 1979 to today.

After that show we jammed a lot in the garage at Richard Beso's house and did a couple of backyard parties and get togethers. We played at the last A.S.R. trade show Independent Trucks party thrown by IndyTeam captain Joey Tershay and Bob Denike from N.H.S. about a month ago February 3rd. It was 3 days before my 38th B-day and the show featured the SuperSuckers, The Hell Brothers, and Powerflex 5. The skate allstars featured Brian Brannon from J.F.A. on keyboards for "San Ofore" and "Double A Fueler" and singing my song "Las Vegas." Then Chuck Hults from Deckcrafter fame got up and did Chuck Berry's "Let it Rock" and then Devo's "Gut Feeling" where I switched to drums. Then Ron Emory from T.S.O.L. got on guitar, Jonny Ray Bartel (Knitters, Red Devils, Mick Jagger) got on bass, and Steve Olson on guitar and vocals to sing "Born To Lose" and "Jetboy/Jetgirl" by Plastic Betrand. Needless to say, it was classic to get all the skating greats on one stage and let it loose.

Three weeks later we did the Old School Skate Jam at the Simi Valley skatepark. Todd Huber and his partner Scott Radinski, along with Eric "Arab" Groff, put this together to gather all the greats of skating from the 70's. Participants who showed up included Dale Smith, Bob Skolberg, Henry Hester, Chris Yandall, Waldo Autry, Jerry Valdez, Ray Flores, Wes Humpston, Jim Muir, T.A., Dave Hackett, Bob Biniak, Paul Constantineau, Martty Grimes, Polar Bear Agnew, Jimmy Plummer, Steve Olson, George Orton, Scott Dunlap, Alan "Ollie" Gelfand, The Carrasco brothers, Chris Chaput, Freddie DeSoto, Eric Grisham, Pat " Muckus " Mullus, Kevin Anderson, Rod Saunders, Lonnie Hiromoto, Howard Hood, Dave Andrecht, Eddie Elguera, Doug 'Pineapple' Saladino, Ed Economy, Chris Strople, Tom "Wally" Inouye, Curtis Hesslgrave, Hunter Joslin, Brad Stradlund, George Orton, Brad Bowman, Dave Ferry, Art "Gumneck" Dickey, Marc Smith, Steve Cathey, Dennis Martinez, Bobby Garcia, Layne Oaks, Lelani Kiyabu, Mike Folmer, Billy Ruff, Micke Alba, Duane Peters, Steve Caballerro, Lance Mountain, The brothers Hirsch, Al Losi, Don "Fish" Fisher, Jay Smith, Mike McGill, Jeremy Henderson, Dave Ferry, Mike Smith, Bryce Knaights, and Eric Dressen. Even the old papparzzi tribe was about with videographer Ray Allen leading the charge. Also present were the real Skateboarder Magazine lensmen Glen E.Freidman, Jim Cassimus, and Ted Terrebone, who basically covered it all before most of the current crop of 'skateers' were even thought of yet.

But as all skaters know, the list grew expontentionally to include a slew of 80's stand outs like Edgy Ratageui, Brain from J.F.A., Ron Emory from T.S.O.L., Steve Turner from Mudhoney, George Wilson, Jonny Ray Bartel from the Red Devils/Knitters fame, John Lucero, Alambamy Jay, Pat Ngo, Jeff Grosso, Kelly Bellmar, Marty Jiminez, Chuck "Barely" Hults, Barret "Chicken" Deck, Nick "Maddog Jr." Henderson, Jim Gray, Paul Schmitt, Buck Smith, Monty Nolder, The Godoy Brothers + Knox, Marc Waters, Dave Swift, Grant Brittian, Miki V., Tony Hawk and son, Tony Magnuson, Kevin Staab, Dave Ruel, Cholo and the S.C.U.M. crew, Todd Swank, Mike Vallely, Aaron Murray, Ben Schroeder, Jason Jessee, Tom "Babyman" Groholski, Buddy Carr, Beau Brown, Chris Cook, Bill Danforth, Rob Mertz, Ricky Barnes, Tim Payne, Everett Rosecrans, and a shitload of people I might have seen but have forgotten because I had too much stuff on my mind as usual.

Powerflex 5 jammed on the decks of the street course and played to over a hundred people skating at once in a chaotic mix of old schoolers, new kids, and tech dogs. It was really cool and again we played with Brian Brannon from J.F.A. Chuck Hults did his 2 songs, and Ron Emory from T.S.O.L. and Steve Turner (bass for Mudhoney) jammed with us on "Born To Lose." (I sang because Steve Olson could not be found.) Lance Mountain's kid said that it was "the raddest version" he heard yet. Agent Orange followed us and raged all night long until 2:30 a.m. when finally everybody went home.

Tracy and Corey had to go on the road again for their respective jobs that take them to the far corners of the Earth. So, we didn't get to play again until March 3rd for my annual 2001 B-Day Bash (band entertainment, local get together, pool, raffles and giveaways). Powerflex 5 headlined the bill that included skater Alan Losi's band "QuarterPound," Grampa's Porno Collection, and O.C.'s Tiki Tones, which features our guitarist Tracy Robar (Tracy jams with 5 bands when he's in town). Brain from J.F.A. got up and did his thang and Chuck Hults/Chuck Barely ruled on his duties to a packed skater house that included Micke Alba, Brett Thompson, Pipeline locals Tim Galvan, Mike Serna and family, Cesar, Mike Smith, Tas Pappas and DAD, James Lang, Slob and bros from North County, Rhino and Preston, and Dave Ruel and Tracy Little. We were even blessed with Doug "Pineapple" Saladino, Cholo from S.C.U.M., Jerry and Pat Bliel (the team manager from Vans), Philly Dave and Carter, Nat and Billy from Hawaii, and Keith Stevenson (who surfed, skated, and snowboarded all in one day and still made it to the show in one piece).

The party ruled with drunken maniac-ness that only the Badlands can provide. The casaulty list for the night included 1 hook and ladder firetruck, 1 ambulance, 8 police cars, 1 split lip, and a broken open head wound from flying glass. All in all a good night. Thanks to all the companies who sponsered great products for the raffle giveaway: Volcum, Indy, Spitfire, Deluxe, Black Label, Sessions, Vision, Smith pads, Thrasher, Pro-Tec, 411, Hurley, and Fender.

Stay Tuned...
The possibilities are endless and hopefully we will have some new music for some ear sampling soon. Next slated on the grill are some shows with D.P.s' band, A Galaxy skate Rock show to feature some more skate bands like Mike Smiths' Ape Rock, Chuck H., Kelly Bellmar, and Chicken's band "Warsaw Explodes," Tom Knox's band, and many more. Agent Orange is also very interested in playing with us soon. I would love to do some commercial work or a skate video soundtrack in the future or, who knows, maybe my cousin Jessica "Dark Angel" Alba can get me a gig or two. Enough history for now.



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