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Spotlight On Local: Once Bitten, Twice Shire
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Marissa Bergen   |  
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Alan Santalesa and Izzy Stradlin in Shire

Anyone who’s ever watched a rockumentary on hair metal in the mid 80’s probably has a pretty good idea of what the night life was like up on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles… the spandex and leather… the drunken debauchery… But let’s back up a few years to a time when the hair was not quite so high, and the eyeliner was not quite so thick.

To start at the beginning would be to tell the tale of so many other 16-year-old kids with a rock n’ roll dream — rehearsing in their parent’s garage and playing the Hollywood High Battle of The Bands. Singer David Anthony and guitarist Alan Santalesa were getting frustrated after spending a year looking for a perfect rhythm section, and soon settled on some kids from the South Bay… and so Shire was born.

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Spotlight On Local: Betty Blowtorch – Carrying The Torch
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Marissa Bergen   |  
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Betty Blowtorch Original Lineup

[Betty Blowtorch original lineup (L-R) Blaire N. Bitch, Judy Molish, Bianca Butthole, Sharon Needles

If you were a rocker in L.A. in the late ’90s, the Pretty Ugly Club was the place to be. As I was arriving fashionably late, hobbling up the pavement in my too high heels, an assault of noise echoed into the street. Violent guitars and banshee wails filled the night time air… and it was good. I had to know who was emitting such dulcet tones. I went as fast as my platforms could carry me and as I stumbled into the club, and what I saw did not disappoint.

Judy Molish held down a thunderous, no-nonsense beat, Blaire N. Bitch’s guitar blistered through, Sharon Needles held down the fort with steady rhythms and signature backing vocals, and snarling over the whole beautiful mess was charismatic rock goddess Bianca Butthole. In the coming years, I would have the pleasure of seeing Betty Blowtorch perform a number of times before it all came to a screeching halt. On December 15, 2001, Bianca was killed in an automobile accident leaving fans, friends, and family devastated.

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Spotlight On Local: Against The Ordinary
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Marissa Bergen   |  
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Against The Ordinary Band Photo

Remember the ’80s heavy metal scene? The drunken debauchery? The sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll? When men dressed up like women, and women dressed up like the girl your mother warned you about? Well now, so many years later, the long hair has turned gray or perhaps fallen out completely, the girl your mother warned you about is, well, your mom, and even Gene Simmons proclaims that rock is dead while many reluctant rockers concede to agree.

But maybe it’s just sleeping. Maybe it’s waiting for a really good band to come along and kick it in the ass…

Against The Ordinary hail from Corona, CA. Though the members are just on the verge of saying goodbye to their teenage years, they manage to righteously pay homage to 45 years of rock ‘n’ roll. Continue below for more on the band and to see a video of them playing live.

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