John Doukas - vocals; Robbie Dunbar - guitar, keyboards, vocals; Stan Miller - bass, vocals; Steve Nelson - drums, vocals; Gary Phillips - guitar, vocals
If you've ever found yourself delicately fingering through a pile of Dave Edmunds 45s at a record swap at 8am on a Sunday, this might be one for you. Founded during the mid-'60s and managing to persevere well into the next decade, Earth Quake was pounding out infectious power pop before such a genre even really existed.
Their's was not an uncommon story: Smalltime band gets major label attention only to be sucked ever downward into the A&R vortex before eventually being released from their contract. Shortly thereafter, however, the unauthorized use of one of their songs in a movie ended up earning a little money. With this windfall and a gift for self-promotion, Earth Quake's manager Matthew Kaufman launched Beserkly Records, and Bay Area Power Pop suddenly had a home. Soon the likes of Jonathan Richman and the Rubinoos would be pounding out vinyl for the beloved imprint, but Earth Quake is where it all began.
Though their own records can be difficult to come by, this tidy set from San Francisco's Winterland shows a band that undoubtedly had no trouble getting people on their feet. Swaggering originals like "Power Glide Slide" might have coaxed Aerosmith out of a drug-induced coma, while thoughtful covers like the Easybeats' "Friday On My Mind," the Small Faces' "Tin Soldier," and even "Head Held High" by the Velvet Underground indicate an intimate knowledge of the hippest of their predecessors, guaranteeing music geek approval.
It's a rare treat to discover a great new band, especially one that's 30 years old. Time may have given greater significance to the Quake's labelmates, but some excellent artifacts from their all-too-brief career still remain. If you dig digging for things that are rarely dug, excavate some Earth Quake!