There was a considerable span of time in my life when I could be counted on to get the party started. I was that guy who would be the only person out on the dance floor. Back in the 80’s and 90’s, when I was at UCLA and during my early days at LBUSD, I used to go to the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). I would be the person who coax a young lady out onto an empty dance floor when School Violence (the semi-official AERA dance band) would begin playing to a cavernous hotel ballroom. When my housemate Gene Hurwin’s band, The Vicious Suaves, got a gig at Club Lingerie in Hollywood, 35 people came out to see them. Thirty of them were people I had invited, coaxed, bribed into coming. Bands loved me!! When I was in Sacramento overnight my friend Tito Larriva’s band Tito and Tarantula were playing in town and they invited me up on stage with them.
The last ten years of my working life, when I was sitting way too long at my desk and my car in poisonous environments both at work and at home, took a toll on my confidence level. I have been working on breaking out of the shell I had retreated into, and had a breakout day on Saturday, 2017-02-25.
I started by doing my usual morning workout, followed by a walk to Steelhead Coffee for breakfast and chats, then a walk to Elevation Studios for my Saturday Ballet class. Then it was a long walk over, around, up, down, up again, and around Signal Hill before I walked over to the Fox Coffee House for my afternoon refreshment. By the time that 7:30 pm rolled around I had already walked almost 12 miles, and I had to decide if I wanted to take a trip up to Santa Monica to see my friend Matt Hergert’s band, Ocean Park Sound System (OPSS), play at TRIP. I had some concerns about my endurance level–luckily those fears proved to be unfounded, and OPSS proved to be the perfect antidote for a mojo deficiency!
Ocean Park Sound System is the love child of a very talented aggregation of mostly middle-aged professionals reliving the musical dreams they were pursuing before they were side-tracked by the necessity of working for a living. Not only have they retained the enthusiasm and skills of their youth, but like fine wines they have improved with time!
According to their bio, OPSS plays “Retro-Funk, Reggae and Dance Rock for your head and your body”, and “…was formed out of the surf lineup and dragging in friends and neighbors to create an analog, organic groove band.” That is a characterization that I can wholly agree with and captures the essence of the band quite well. I did capture a bit of video, but I unfortunately did not do an adequate job of capturing lead guitarist John Lusitano’s famous solo faces. I will do a better job next time, I promise!