From The Desk Of GospelbeacH: Generation X

Brent Rademaker would like to think that GospelbeacH’s Pacific Surf Line is a celebration of our country’s two left coasts—though maybe he would’ve preferred a bit more Old Florida charm to counter the L.A. swagger. “I really wanted to make this album sound like the kinds of music I listened to growing up in the ’70s,” says Rademaker, a native of the Gulf Coast. By and large, though, Pacific Surf Line celebrates Rademaker’s return to Southern California. For a collective effort, the LP is surprisingly lean, with more refined nods to the Flying Burrito Brothers twang that informed Rademaker’s former group, Beachwood Sparks. GospelbeacH—Rademaker, Neal Casal, Jason Soda, Kip Boardman and Tom Sanford—isn’t afraid to broach the breezy accessibility of yacht-rock mainstays like the Eagles and Loggins & Messina, either. The band will be guest editing all week. Read our new feature on them.


Rademaker: The day you “turn punk,” you have to give up a whole lot when it comes to rock ‘n’ roll: teenage lust, guitar solos, long hair, drugs and idol worship to name a few, and so what. By 1978, any kid on the cusp of the end of the Baby Boomers was bound to get a heavy dose of those played-out rock cliches. But being born in the ’60s and growing up slowly in the ’70s, a new generation was on the way. Generation X, and just when your  punk ethics began to take hold along comes a punk rock band of the same name; Generation X, ripe with teenage lust, guitar solos, long hair, loads of drugs and an Idol with a sneer more akin to Elvis than Donny Osmond! I’m not gonna give you a blow-by-blow history of the group; you can go to Wikipedia for that jazz.

We all know where Billy Idol ended up, and even Tony James had his day in the sun with the miles-ahead-of-their-time Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Frenzied drummer Mark Laff and electric guitar wiz Bob “Derwood” Andrews never got the credit they deserved in my opinion, and they made a totally overlooked and understated and under-appreciated record under the name Empire, but with an ad campaign that featured the slogan, “From the fall of Generation X comes the rise of Empire,” you kinda knew they were in the wrong hands. But I digress … Generation X (1978) and Valley Of The Dolls (1979), the two authentic releases, were on heavy rotation at the skatepark and in the cars of the older guys with tape decks and on our home stereo from the moment I got out of school until the time my folks came home from work. Sure, when we all got our eyeballs on punk rock in Skateboarder magazine and put tape over the tabs of our Kiss, Aerosmith and Rush cassettes and recorded over them with the Clash, Wire and Devo, it was Generation X that kept that rock ‘n’ roll spirit alive during the lean punk years. They are still my favorite group, and I never get sick of listening to those two records. It keeps me feeling young. Maybe Ponce de Leon was looking for the Fountain of Youth, Youth, Youth!