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California

When I was a kid in Michigan, California seemed like such a magical place, the land of the Monkees, Sigmond & the Sea Monster, and the Banana Splits, pressing my palm to warm screen of our Motorola TV set and feeling the electricity, singing along to the theme songs, hey-hey-hey… tra-la-la...C’mon get happy...blasting through the sand on 6-wheeled dune buggies like a Rat Patrol soldier, where everyone was a cowboy or a movie star, and all the girls looked like Sheila from the summer schoolyard who came to Michigan to stay with her dad every July, hot-pink hot pants, sky-blue eyes and sun-bleached hair, where everyone was rich and nobody needed money anyway, sporting nothing but cutoffs all year long, snoozing in the warm sand and gulping down Lefty Lemon Lime, where it was summer even in the winter, that just blew my mind, you could go skateboard-riding all year long, didn’t need to wait for the city to bring the swimmobile around to your neighborhood on Tuesday in the summertime because in California everybody even a hillbilly had a cement swimming pool in their backyard.

Meanwhile, I was just getting into music but never cared about much of the popular music coming from California, didn’t give rat’s ass about the meandering stoned-hippie junk, always liked something that punk caught on to years later, the music that had everyone in the band all working on one thing, working together to drive the song forward, something postwar black R&B bands of L.A. knew all about, that some of the bands of California never forget, from the surfer stomp to the dancefloor funk of Oakland, from the sonic explosions of Vincebus to the Flamin Groovies. — winch