Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Southern California Spotlight: The Lyrics - So What!!/They Can't Hurt Me

Day 2 of the Battle of the Garage Bands for the SoCal region takes us to San Diego, California.

From November of 1965, we present to you The Lyrics. What we have here is the greatest record to ever -- EVER -- come out of that fine, sunny city of San Diego. Both sides of this Era Records single are filled with teen angst, anger and bravado.

The composer of both numbers is Chris Gaylord, the singer and harmonica player. Chris apparently dated a girl who lived in swanky-ass Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego's north county. As you can hear from the lyrics to The Lyrics' songs, she had tons of nice things (yep, an electric typewriter!) for which she was particularly proud. Then the girl turned on poor Chris. (Abstractly speaking, this is always a key thing for any good 1960s garage band song. If the singer hasn't been dumped by a no-good, scheming girl, then we just don't get great songs.) Lucky for us, Chris took his anger out on the girl in a constructive, creative and generally healthy fashion - he wrote two songs about her and published them for the whole world to hear. 

Our A-Side, So What!!, tells the tale of Chris being toured around this little Jezebel's house.
Well, now everything you got is in excess
And it goes without saying, it's got to be the best
From your swimming pool, to your daddy's racing car
To that senseless, useless bomb shelter in your back yard
Well, I guess there ain't too much you haven't got
But all I can say to you about that is So What!!
This is actually the second release of So What! as the number was released months before as the flip-side to Why'd He Go?, written by band leader Craig Carll, on the local, Feather Records label.

The Flip-Side of this Era Records release is the fabulous They Can't Hurt Me. For some bizarre reason, the girl that Chris had been going with started to think that maybe this was not the guy for her. Maybe it was his condescending, judgmental words that he regularly spewed out at her. Apparently she starts talking trash on our poor broken down, stomped upon protagonist. What's an angry young guy to do? Well, he writes a song saying that her venomous words can't hurt him. 

Chris got booted from the band shortly after this record came out and he moved on to other great things.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!


  1. Damn! That is one fine disc! I'm partial to They Can't Hurt Me. Was that on a Back From the Grave comp or something? Fabulous!

    1. It appeared on Back From The Grave, Vol. 2 released in 1984

  2. I'm partial to So What! Love the harmonica beginning and ending!

    1. I tend to agree, but either side, we get a killer song.

  3. The Real Punk Attitude. So What!!! Dig!

  4. My dad, Chris Gaylord, would have really enjoyed your post. He passed in’13 after a battle with cancer. Thank you for keeping his memory alive.

  5. Used time see them on the local dance show in San Diego. Great band

  6. Mishka, I used to photograph book covers in your garage with Chris and go surfing with him in the 1980's. I think I saw you once. He never mentioned about being in the Lyrics. I'm amazed to know all this now. The Lyrics were my favorite group at all the coast dances at the Solana Beach Roller Rink, the Cellar (at the old power station on 15th Street in Del Mar).