What can be said about The Absentees that Ryan Richardson/Break My Face haven’t said in his excellent article: The Absentess? Not much actually. Which is a relief since typing text for blog posts is for pussys. Just listen to the goddamn thing and find out for yourself. If you think it sucks say so in the comment section if not then you’re most welcome to say that too. Raw, imbecile and classic. 106 copies. Punk Rock!
Mike Zed reports that: “Even the ones that were sold at Zed Records (including the ones that went to Jello and Tim Yo) he gave to the store for free just so we would carry it. He said he brought them and felt weird about it the first time, but the second time he came in we listened to it and liked it, and he has liked us ever since.”
Tryin To Mess With Me.mp3
Just thought I would add some history. We use to practice at PCH and Pine in Long Beach. That was Steve Goldsmith’s (bass player) mom’s house. It has since been torn down, but it’s right behind the gas station, two houses in from PCH. The alley is still there! Also, I’m pretty sure that the drum track on FUM on the KBD cd is not me. My drums on the 45 should be different. I wasn’t much of a half time guy back then. Strange also that Roco loved the Damned and that I really didn’t listen to them before laying the track down on Tryin to Mess With Me. Rat Scabies is awesome(Damned drummer) and I must have channeled Roco’s liking and description of that style into this special 45.
Roco was very easy to work with when he wrote new material. He would first just talk about what he was trying to say in the song and how that matched his guitar. Then he would give a brief description of what he heard in regards to the drums beat/timing/feeling. Every time I would play drums he 90% of the time would be smiling and liking it. He was very nice about suggesting a small change or part. When I joined, Roco was already good friends with Steve Goldsmith, who by the way I became good friends with. Just thought I would add a thread for those Absentee fans.
I started playing drums after high school; a little late, but I could tell it was easy for me to keep a steady groove or meter. I would ride my bike home after lectures from Long Beach City College; down Conant street. As soon as I got off the bike, I would change into a bathing suit, then it was into a hot cluttered garage, close the door, and I would pick a beat, add some fill (drum rolls) and solo until I was drenched in sweat; about an hour plus. My mom was very sick and I had no dad. My neighbors knew I was really into it and felt bad because of my home situation. I did this religously for 6 months plus. That’s when a friend of mine who was renting a room from my mom, said he knew a good guitarist named Roco. He thought my style would be a good match with Roco. I was exited to be in a real band; not just everybody getting together and jamming some time. I liked Roco from the start and he liked my aggressive style with a driving meter. It clicked. So did Steve Goldsmith’s bass; but that’s another story.
Randy Scott, I would like to contact you about a book I am writing on the history of punk rock in Long Beach. (i realize this message is a long shot, but maybe internet magic will do its job). I became fascinated with the Absentees story and was stunned to learn you played drums for Absentees. I thought of you only as the Modern Warfare drummer. In fact, I was good friends with the sister of your then-girlfriend Mary C. You once gave me a couple M.W. 45’s at her house on Harco. I still have them in my garage! That was quite a prize for a 15-year-old punk rocker ! Email me at joel [@] bynm.com
ROCCO TRIAL UPDATE
I became fascinated with the Rocco story since I stumbled on to it while doing some research. You see, I was one of those teen punks that bought the Absentees 45 at Zeds. I still have it in the garage. Being a (DIY) writer, I had to know the whole story. So I purchased the court transcripts (freedom of information is not free, folks). If you read the online articles about Rocco’s standoff with SWAT, you know that he represented himself at the trial. That’s pretty anarchy in itself. (how many of us would do that?) But what you probably don’t know is that after prosecution rested, he called NO witnesses in his defense! Just went straight to closing arguments. After watching a lot of Law and Order, that did not seem like a very good strategy.
Initially, I was upset he got 55 to life because Rocco didn’t even kill anyone! Didn’t even draw blood with any shots! A SWAT officer took a bullet to his bullet-proof vest, and one through his pant legs. That’s it! The sentence seemed extreme when you consider some criminals do less than 7 years for actually KILLING someone. But Rocco’s defense strategy seemed to be that he could not be convicted because there was no evidence tying him to attempted murder. In fact, he refused to let the jury consider lesser charges (manslaughter) because if there was no evidence, why let them drop-down to a lesser charge? Judge ignored Rocco anyway and jury convicted him of manslaughter. I wonder if any wet-nose public defender could have plea-bargained that down to assault with a firearm (according to my Law and Order TV degree).
Rocco got a 1 year and 4 months for shooting car windows (the reason police were called), 1 year because the building behind the cars was occupied, 35 years to life for Attempted Murder of the SWAT officer he hit (not wounded), and 17 years combined for manslaughter because there were two other SWAT officers in the vicinity, one was ducking and covering, the other pumped Rocco full of led. Of course the courts want to discourage shooting at cops by assessing stiff sentences, but c’mon. Was this one too severe? You be the judge.
Hi , My name is Rick Bryan , I played with Rocco for many many gigs ! he was a good friend , I played drums for Rocco In countless bands for years , I don’t have any Idea of being on any of the tracks on his recordings I have a very cool CD we recorded from back in the day ! I would release it if it would help Rocco in anyway ?