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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on March 31st, 2009, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 10, Issue 3 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 10, Issue 3

Hey! Ho! Let's go!

Krider is a punk rocker

By ROB KRIDER


Rock on
This is Them, with the Sun’s Rob Krider (donning his punk glasses) rocking the Central Coast punk rock scene at Linnaea’s Café in 1996.
PHOTO COURTESY ROB KRIDER
Before I was a husband and a father, I was an impressionable boy attending Cal Poly. Like most impressionable boys, my main task was trying to impress girls. I tried all sorts of schemes: surfing (never very good), growing my hair long (never washed it), and getting my nose pierced (never again). Surprisingly, girls weren’t impressed.

Instead of concentrating on our college studies, my roommates and I were busy concentrating on the best way to get more ladies into our super cool bachelor pad, and—more importantly—how to keep the ladies there once we somehow coaxed them inside. Nobody thought to clean the bathroom. Then one day my best friend, Todd, came up with the age-old, tried-and-true plan of starting a band. Once the idea was on the table, it was settled instantly. We were a band. The fact that none of us really knew how to actually play music never came into the decision-making process.

The only real question was what kind of band we would be. Since it was the summer of 1994 and Offspring and Green Day were rocking the airwaves (I told you we were impressionable), we would be a punk band. Had it been the summer of 1990, chances are we would have become white rappers, thanks to the success of Vanilla Ice. All I can say is thank God it was ’94. I bought some nerdy-looking black glasses and was instantly different. I was punk.

We named our band Them, having no idea there actually had already been a band named Them with some old dude named Van Morrison back in the 1960s. We didn’t know any better. None of us was a music major. I was a journalism major (minoring in beer), Todd was studying accounting, and Nadare was a bio-chemical-something. I didn’t even understand the name of his major, let alone what he was supposed to be learning at college. We liked the name Them because it’s a play on words and the whole “Who’s on First?” shtick.

“Hey, let’s go see Them play tonight.”

“Who?

“You know, Them. They’re cool.”

Later, we found out that people actually said, “Them? They suck.”

It was actually a good thing that we decided to be a punk band, because Todd only knew three guitar chords. After listening to the Ramones’ first album over and over, we realized three chords were all that was needed. I started writing songs about what people always write songs about: girls. It worked for John Lennon, so I figured why reinvent the wheel? The only change I made was by inserting the F-word somewhere into each song to give Them an authentic punk rock sound.

We found a drummer who was on a tennis scholarship at Cal Poly, and he was about half as good as the one-armed drummer from Def Leppard (if Def Leppard’s drummer had his one good arm tied behind his back and he beat the drums with the stick in his mouth). We told him he could be in the band as long as nobody ever found out about his secret life as a tennis player. It just didn’t seem very punk rock.

Our first show was a battle of the bands in the Cal Poly dorms. We didn’t win. A friend of mine came up to me after the show and said, after listening to us, he wanted to cut his ears off. The good news was Todd met a girl, which meant the band was a success. We made T-shirts and stickers right away, because everyone knows the most important part of being in a punk band is putting your stickers all over public restrooms. Unfortunately, somebody in town (not a fan) thought it would be better to take our stickers and put them on every stop sign in town. The sign read, “Stop Them.”

We rocked on, regardless. We booked fraternity parties, and I continued jumping around screaming the F-word, Todd kept playing ear-splitting guitar chords (three of them) and meeting girls, Nadare played only the top string of his four-string bass, and our drummer, as drummers do, got canned. He missed a concert due to a stupid tennis tournament. The good news was we got a real drummer from an Orcutt hardcore band called W.D. Boogie. His name was Dom and he knew how to play music, which was a weird thing for our band.

Dom introduced us to the Santa Maria/Orcutt bands like In Spite of the World, the O’Gees, and Lompoc’s very successful Drunk In Public (who actually scored a record deal with Fearless Records and toured the country). Our biggest honor as a band was opening for Drunk in Public.

We played shows anywhere and everywhere. We booked clubs in L.A. and Santa Barbara, but we also played a kid’s birthday party in Grover Beach. He was turning 14. His mom paid us in cake after the show.

The Cal Poly/San Luis Obispo crowd recognized us for what we were: four talent-less goofballs from the dorms who decided to make a band just to meet women. (It did work: I met my wife, whom I love.) Santa Maria/Nipomo/Arroyo Grande kids saw us differently. For whatever reason, they actually liked us. Whenever somebody gave us a hard time in SLO, we just said, “Whatever. We’re huge at AG High!”

Them came to an end when my wife and I got married and our son was born. One of our last concerts was smack dab in the middle of my honeymoon (which my wife, understandably, has still not forgiven me for). Hey, hey! Bye bye! Rock and roll will never die! m

Rob still says the F-word, but without music behind him. Dom, however, still beats the skins and is now in the Santa Maria band The 1st Line. Check them out (no, not Them—the 1st Line) at myspace.com/the1stline.




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