By Angelo Ruggiero
"I honestly wanted to fuck everything up, the clubs, the bands. I was very angry in the Spent Idols. I wish I woulda been more a fan than trying to destroy your fun for my amusement."
If you want a true, genuine punk rock band, then you have to immerse yourself in the music of the Spent Idols, the finest punk band formed in San Diego, California.
The Spent Idols are underground, raw, rough and ready; they don’t sell out; they don’t care about popularity. The Spent Idols are ready for making some of the best original punk rock. Listening to them will bring your mind back in time, like if you were really living in 1977.
Mike Spent was exhausted of the local punk scene, as a result, he split the band.
In 1992, Mike decided to reform the band. He wanted to modify the band’s name, because they had new members, and new songs which sounded more like 1977 style punk rock and less 1980s punk. Therefore, the band’s name was changed from Spent Idol to the Spent Idols.
Mike recruited Jon Pankopf (a.k.a. Lurch) as guitar player, and the Spent Idols started performing in clubs around San Diego. Jon played live the band’s first gig in late 1992.
In late 1993-1994, the Spent Idols recorded and self-produced three demo tapes. The debut cassette Punk Rock!, included six tracks. “Bored” was recorded on December 30, 1993. “Last Years Heroes,” "Emotional Wreck II,” “Creeps,” and ”Throw It Away,” were recorded on March 5, 1994. The last song on the cassette was “Emotional Wreck I,” which is an earlier version cut on February 17, 1994.
The second cassette For Your Ears Only Live, was a live Spent Idols’ recording which comprises “Second To None,” “Do The Pogo,” “Treat Me Like A Dog,” “Can’t Help It,” “Swedish Magazines,” and “Gacy’s Gone.”
The third Cassette For Your Ears Only, studio version, contains “Gacy’s Gone,” “No Broken Promises,” “Do The Pogo,” “Treat Me Like A Dog,” “Girl Can’t Help It,” “(I’m So) Bored,” and “Swedish Magazines.”
1994’s debut single Throw It Away 7’’, was released by Pogo Stick Records comprising the title track on A side, and “Creeps” on the back side.
The second single Emotional Wreck b/w Last Years Heroes was issued in 1994 on the German punk rock label Incognito Records.
All tracks on both singles, Throw It Away 7’’ and Emotional Wreck 7’’, were recorded by Van Orbitson on March 5, 1994, featuring the line-up of Henry Spent on bass, Jesse Spent on drums, Lurch on guitar, and Mike Spent on vocals. Photos on the covers are by Laura Kish.
The I Don’t Give A Fuck b/w The Living Dead 7” single, was released on the Incognito label in 1996. This year, the Spent City Rockers album was issued on Japan’s 1+2 Records, and the 20-track Hugs Und Kisses/Tonight! CD came out on Spent City Records.
In 1997, the Spent Idols released That Was Then, This Is Now / Skin The Kitty, a split 12’’ LP with Floridas’ Dead End Kids. Most of the Idols tracks were cover versions of songs recorded previously in 1995.
The Spent Idols played chosen shows all the way until 1997, when they disbanded. The band ended in Hollywood at the Flipside gig in April 1997.
In 2003, the group continued with new members. Mike reformed the band again, recruiting Diana (D. Nile) on bass, Blane Bizzaro on lead guitar, Jake “the Worm” on rhythm guitar, and Melanie on drums.
In July 2012, Mike started another band, Last Years Heros, which is based on the Spent Idols, but with new songs and new members Joshy Capes on guitar, Ryan on bass, and Rene on drums.
Mike Spent is absolutely one of my idols. Here’s an interview I had with the real punk rock man from Dago.
ANGELO: Did the original Spent Idol line-up record anything back in 1979-1982?
Nope, we only played parties etc. We were way underground. We didn't do any club shows, either only one! We played secret parties CID the cops were after us. We destroyed houses etc.We did not record anything but there are live recordings out there. I have never heard them though!
ANGELO: What’s the origin of the band’s name?
MIKE SPENT: The band name came to me seeing a political photo of Ronald Reagan who was talking about becoming president. I thought too myself what a spent idol!
ANGELO: : Spent Idol suddenly split in 1982. What did you do in the 10-year period from that initial break up to the band’s first reformation in 1992?
I had worked in the nuclear field after breaking up Spent Idol during the 80s. Actually I still worked in the field when I reformed Spent Idols. Spent fuel is the byproduct of fusion, so the name symbolically took a new meaning referring to spent fuel. It's no longer usable to produce energy for peaceful purposes, but is what is used in atomic war heads. I decided to update the name to Idols from Idol to tie it to the past band, but give it a more 77 feel versus the Black Flag type feel of Spent Idol; although I still used hook and slightly pop melodies in some songs. We were kinda like flipper in the fact of a droning sound in Spent Idol
Lurch was Jon Pankopf. I called him Lurch cos he was so tall and fit he could do damage if he wanted to, but he was a pussycat to a killer. I also called John, Johnny Fire. He's on the original recordings as well as Jesse; we had just picked up Jesse as our drummer, only practiced a couple times with him, when the opportunity to record came our way. He nailed it, Jesse did, and I love the guitar work on the original songs by Lurch.
ANGELO: When you reformed the band in 1992, you wanted to mix together the sounds of your favorite bands. Please, tell us about those punk acts you liked.
I'd put on a fave song and get inspired, write some lyrics or tell a story bout myself like bored the song bored when they executed John Wayne Gacy I wrote a nursery rhyme bout him, Gary's gone. He was the punk rock killer in the 70s. We had lots of psycho killers to sing about, so when they killed the pogo, the clown guy to me, it marked the end of the era. The last 70s murderer was killed, hence Gary's gone, killer of the year 1977.
ANGELO: The two singles released as N.Y. Whores are pretty great. What can you remember from that era of you singing for the Dead End Kids?
Generic and I use to correspond. We were fans of the same music and had the same DIY attitude, anti corporate music biz. Neither he or I wanted to be signed. We did it ourselves outside the mainstream and for us, not you. We were living our dream not anyone else's. We always talked about collaboration. He had money, and so did I. We didn't need help or to use your money. We'll after the scents broke up, he wanted me to front his Dead End Kids. I refused. I now wish I did that I'd had done it. His band was great and he was very talented, but my ego kept me from doing that. But he flew me out and we recorded a bunch of songs, and did some shows. He'd write the songs. I'd tweak them, and lay the vocals down. I let him mix them. They have a Dead End Kids feel with my vocals. I love N.Y. W theme song. A classic! N.Y. W was in 1999 and 2000. There's one unreleased song, Millennium Meltdown, that’s totally Dead Boys (I hope to finish it before I die) that he wrote for me. RIP Generic, you are missed bro.
LYH was named after the song I wrote. A fan Rene, we stayed in touch over the years. Well, he's all grown up now. I met him when he was 16 or so. Now he's a dad etc. He always wanted to jam together, so we thru a band together. I was nervous enough to think the old bands would be stoked, and want to gig etc., but in this flavor of the year, music scene, the camaraderie we once had is sadly gone. Everyone's still trying to be rock stars or keep relevant the apathy blew.
MIKE SPENT: Jamming with Kevin is like jamming with Generic. We always talked bout it, but so far nada. Kevin is a talented dude. I'd love to work with him. I loved Mainliner more the the Prositutes, but both bands rank in my book. I work with Kevin in his Fear And Loathing In Long Beach mag. I interview ppl and bands that interest me. I'd love to do a seven inch with him too. That would be awesome!
Uh huh ok bro, thanks for the q&a. I hope I didn't blather on too much. Punk it I do.
ANGELO: Thanks a lot Mike!
April 29, 2014.