L.A.P.D: Before They Were Famous (2010)

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 8:18 PM By: VIRUS

Roadrunner Records


As funk-metallers L.A.P.D, Fieldy, Munky and David Silveria hit Los Angeles in 1989 on a mission to drink heavily and wreak havoc, they succeeded, but managed to annoy a lot of people in the process.

Leaving their native Bakersfield for LA in 1989, James "Munky" Shaffer, Reggie "Fieldy" Arvizu and David Silveria headed for the beach front neighborhoods of Orange County. Completed by singer Richard Morral, and calling themselves L.A.P.D (Love And Peace Dude), the four-piece set themselves up in the punk haven of Huntingdon Beach with the aim of getting their musical vision a green- backed label endorsement. While Brian "Head" Welch had elected to remain in Bakersfield, the longtime collaborator would journey down to LA to double as roadie/second guitarist for the band's live shows, as well as chief consumer of alcoholic beverages. Particularly the ones he didn't have to pay for. Remembers Morral: "Brian was a great roadie. He didn't do anything except drink all the beer."

Working minimum wage jobs by day, by night they undertook the rigorous 3, club circuit grind of paying to play/playing for nothing to generate both fan base and label interest. Within the year, word of L.A.P.D's funk metal mutterings reached Dean Naleway, co-owner of Triple X Records, that counted releases by influential alternative titans Jane's Addiction and future KoRn signings Videodrone (then Cradle Of Thorns) among its triumphs.

Impressed mainly by the solidarity of a rhythm section that was barely out of J: its teens, Naleway offered them a deal and in 1990, a three-track, self-titled EP was released. Among those featured was the track Jesus' covered by Videodrone on their own eponymous effort a decade later. The EP generated enough interest for Triple X to commission a full-length effort. Released in 1991, "Who's Laughing Now" was largely characterised by the lithe alter- native/funk metal inflections of Faith No More and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. With the exception of a crushing guitar break that was later lifted verbatim for a melt-down on the "KoRn" debut ("Need To"), L.A.P.D's customary upbeat stylings offered scant evidence of the oppressive, grating groove that was to dominate their later work.

L.A.P.D's career as a signed act, how- ever, was to be short lived. Although "Who's Laughing Now" sold well enough in the us and Europe, to war-rant a tour in support of it, the band themselves were becoming notorious for the kind of behavior that saw them barred from a host of LA venues.

As Naleway remembers, "They were pissing a lot of people off, they were into a lot of different mischiefs like breaking shit backstage, peeing in the dip, throwing food, just real immature kind of mischievous mischief."

Despite the pulling power the band had from a fan base accrued after two years of relentless gigging, the increasing incidence of tales from aggrieved f promoters at L.A.P.D's wanton desire to party hard made Triple X less and less willing to put their expenditure on the line. Concerned about the problems an unruly band on tour could. cause, the label delivered an ultimatum that was to bring the relationship between themselves and the band to an end. Though the impasses that arise between bands and their benefactors are usually characterised by disagreements over money, this was far more personal.

Naleway informed the party-centric four-piece that unless they grew up, touring overseas would be out of the question. The band in turn felt they were being unfairly punished for the kind of behavior that was rife among their peers, particularly ones that had only just hit legal drinking age. Neither side would budge and by 1992, both band and label had agreed to disagree and go their separate ways.

With the ignominy of being sent back to square one, tensions increased between the band and Richard Morral until the singer abruptly left the group. It was a decision that would have by far the, greatest hand in shaping the future course his band mates would take.

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