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Jeff Moehlis: Got Attitude? Show it Off at Punk Rock Karaoke

Steve Soto, Greg Hetson, Stan Lee and Darrin Pfeiffer will back guest vocalists at Punk Rock Karaoke’s Ventura show.
Steve Soto, Greg Hetson, Stan Lee and Darrin Pfeiffer will back guest vocalists at Punk Rock Karaoke’s Ventura show. (Courtesy photo)

So you wanna be a rock ’n’ roll star? Can’t help you. But if you wanna be a punk rocker, here’s your chance.

Punk Rock Karaoke will be at The Garage in Ventura Saturday, April 16, 2016. Tickets are available at www.badsampresents.com.

The band will be Greg Hetson from Circle Jerks and Bad Religion, Stan Lee from The Dickies, Steve Soto from Adolescents and Darrin Pfeiffer from Goldfinger.

The singer? Well, show us whatchu got!

The list of songs to choose from includes punk rock classics like “California Uber Alles,” “Anarchy in the U.K.” and “Search and Destroy” and, of course, classics from the band members’ catalogs like Adolescents’ “Amoeba,” Bad Religion’s “21st Century Digital Boy,” Circle Jerks’ “Wild in the Streets” and The Dickies’ “Gigantor.”

If your taste in karaoke runs more “Should I Stay or Should I Go” than “Let It Go,” the place to be is The Garage on Saturday night.

Still not convinced? Here’s what Greg Hetson had to say about Punk Rock Karaoke and his career as a punk rocker.

                                                                 •        •        •

Jeff Moehlis: Can you tell us a bit about Punk Rock Karaoke, including how and why you started it?

Greg Hetson: A friend of mine had the concept to do it at a restaurant he owned for his first anniversary party. He called me and asked if I could form a band and I called Eric Melvin and Punk Rock Karaoke was born. That was in 1996.

JM: How did you first meet the other guys that will be part of the Punk Rock Karaoke band when you visit Ventura?

GH: I met Steve and Darrin from playing shows together over the years — Stan too — but I was a huge Dickies fan even before I was in a band. They were the first punk gig I ever went to.

JM: What are some of the most popular songs that people request to sing?

GH: We like to say the show is like a box of chocolates...

JM: What makes a good punk rock singer? How about a bad punk rock singer?

GH: Attitude and lack thereof, respectively!

JM: Looking back, what are your reflections on the first Circle Jerks album?

GH: It was a whirlwind procedure recording it. We would get snuck into studios at midnight or 1 a.m. We would get a call maybe an hour before, then rush over to set up.

Back then studios were so expensive, so we had people pull favors on sessions that were lock outs. When the client left, we snuck in and used their time. Thank you Beau Bridges! He was the main artist we got time from.

JM: How did you guys end up getting included in The Decline in Western Civilization, and do you think it accurately captured the punk/hardcore scene?

GH: Me and Keith Morris went up to Penelope Spheeris’s office and pleaded our case to be in it. We were definitely an afterthought.

JM: What are some forgotten bands from that era that are ripe for rediscovery?

GH: Hmm. So many people have rediscovered a lot of gems lately. The Cheifs (yes that is the correct spelling) and Urinals come to mind.

JM: What are a couple of your favorite memories from your tenure in Bad Religion?

GH: Too many to list! Twenty-nine years is a good run.

JM: What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?

GH: Remember you do it for the love of it, and be humble, and never get discouraged no matter what your parents say!

JM: What are your plans, musical or otherwise, for the near future?

GH: I have an album done that has myself and Loomis Fall, from Wax and the Jackass TV show, that was recently completed. Stay tuned!

— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

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