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Selections from The Punk Vault [Lost Cause (CA)]

Lost Cause (CA) – 7″ (1981 High Velocity Records)

Before there ever was a Lost Cause from Chicago, there was one from California who formed in the early 1980s. They put out one 7″ and one LP before they disbanded. Quite awhile back, original guitarist Steve Young contacted me and ended up sending me a history of the band. I fell out of touch with him since though, and never got the rest of the story. Here is what he sent me.

Feb. 1981. Orange, California. The Big O skatepark.
Five young punks, two age 14 two age 16 one age 18, decide to form a punk band. Upon hearing this, local skate pro Duane Peters, now of U.S. Bombs fame, says “You should call yourselves Lost Cause”, obviously meaning it as a jab or put-down. They love the name and a band is born.

May 19 1981. Costa Mesa, California. The Cuckoos Nest.
Lost Cause play their first show, a mere three months after forming. The band is well-received by audience and club management. They are asked to return on the 29th of May to open for TSOL. The show is a tremendous success and Lost Cause is booked every other Saturday night at the Cuckoos Nest playing with such names as FEAR, The Circle Jerks, Agent Orange, etc.

July 1981. Anaheim, California. Chateau East Recording
Lost Cause record six songs on 8-track. Four of these songs, Born Dead, No Justice, American Hero, and Senior Citizen are released on a 7″ EP by High Velocity Records. The band goes the extra mile and pays twice the cost to have ALL pressings done in RED VINYL. The records sell quickly, prompting interest from numerous industry snakes.

New Year’s Eve 1981. Santa Ana, CA. Broadway Theater
Verbal Abuse, Lost Cause, China White, Social Distortion, TSOL. The fury of the event peaks during Social Distortion’s set and the riot police storm the building. Violence and Anarchy. The venue is destroyed.

March 1982. San Francisco, CA
Lost Cause singer Johnny Ernst is replaced by Ron McCamey (a story in itself). Lost Cause and Social Distortion combine forces and tour to San Francisco. They play the Broadway Theater with The Lewd. Upon returning home to Orange, Lost Cause immediately enters the studio and records the album Forgotten Corners.

Next time……
the Return of Johnny Ernst
More Violence and Mayhem
Drugs, Booze, Gray Bar Hotel

Unfortunately, the email address I have for him is no longer valid as I recently tried to contact him to get the rest of the story.

As always, if you have any information to add or you were in the band please get in touch.


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  • I just stumbled upon this site…I was the 14 year old and I’m glad someone remembers some of that stuff. My 13 year old son and I have a current band called CRAIC HAUS out gigging now and we do some old LOST CAUSE songs. Steve is popping up once in a while with his band LOS PISTOLEROS. GRAND THEFT AUDIO out of Glendale is trying to piece together a Lost Cause retrospective. To check out CRAIC HAUS look up . Hope any of this is of intrest!

  • I remember some of Lost cause and their followers. Danny Oberbeck,Willie Zarth,Mike Horton,Johnny ernst,Spike,Billy Hagen,the brothers Bill and Jim Anderson/or Nelson ? from portola jr high and orange high

  • Funny to run across you guys on the internet today. Sproing you’ve been kicking around that name (Los Pistoleros) forever. It is a good name.

  • to the guys that were in lost cause,
    have you ever thought of releasing all the lost stuff on a cd? what about a live dvd with old footage? i love all the songs that you guys released!

  • I’m in the process of doing a compilation CD right now. I don’t know if there is any video footage out there. I do know there is some good still photos for CD packaging. There is also a live radio broacast from San Francisco. It was done by one of the local stations there. I have talked to people that have heard it; but I have not. They say it sounds great. Thanks for the interest and the good words.

  • awesome! im from san clemente, ca and my older brother would tell how good you guys were live. i love the 7″ and the LP. i know alot of people would buy the lost cause collection.

  • Ahh yes. My old stomping ground. I lived there from 1980 to 1989. What is your brothers name? We used to love to play in S.C. Kerry Martinez from Shattered Faith/U.S. Bombs used to hang out down there a lot too, and some of the guys from Convicted. Ask your brother if he remembers Din (a great local S.C. band) They had a great studio there. They were on the same record label as Lost Cause. They played opening slot for Pil and New Order in Los Angeles and San Diego in 1984 or ’85 all on one bill.

  • Man, its good to see this stuff. I went to ElMo with the boyz. Use to surf with Willy Z, Cass R, and Bill and Jim. Is Willy still around? I seen the gig’s at the Nest and was at the New Years riot in Santa Ana. Fence hopping at Big O w/ Peters, CB and the crew. I’d love to get in contact with Willy and anyone from the ElMo punk/surf crew.

  • Willi lives in Anaheim with his wife & 2 kids. He still surfs. We surf down in San Clememte all the time & a lot of Baja Norte trips. Steve Young is in jail. Scott Mitchell lives in Washington state with his wife. I’ll tell Willi to get in contact with you through this site. Haven’t seen Bill or Jim in ages. Last time I saw Jim he was a major drug addict. Bill was doing fine (had a hot girlfriend) last time I saw him.

  • Thats right. Bill and Jim Wright, I remember in 1981 I called Jim a “fat ass” because he said I was a poser. He would chase me with his red beach cruiser almost everyday after school.
    Then in 82 I moved to fountain valley and started hanging out with Kerry Martinez at his mom’s house lots of fun times Chuck Briggs with his van Discords,SF,turmoil and other bands haning out and playing at Kerry’s.

    I didn’t see Jim wright again until early 1985 at a party in HB he lost lots of weight (he was skinny)and was really nice and kept trying to get me to quit heroin even though it seemed he was coked out of his mind.That was the last time I saw him or any of the others except Kerry.

    Big-O is a storage building now 🙁

    Anyone remember Carl Malin aka Limey from Orange high?

  • Freddy kicked fucking ass in the big pool and the keyhole. I always respected him even though some dumb asses burned a cross on his lawn. People sucked then and now!

  • I am so glad I came across this site! I am friends with a member if Din and I am desperate to find some of their old recordings. My friend does not have them any more and has done some searching but to success. Can ANYONE help me find their albums? It would be a great gift for him! Thanks (PS I too grew up in So Cal OC area and had some incredible times with the punk era. Anyone remeber Tex and the Horse Heads or going to gigs at Fenders Ballroom??)

  • OMG! I used to hang out in Danny Oberbecks garage and watch these guys practice (when Johnny was sober enough to)And Big O and Cuckoos nest !!!That was a lifetime ago. On a whim I googled Danny Oberbeck and found this site.
    Can’t get the song to play though.

  • Hey cat If this is the same person this is Viper I am still Kickin I was a friend of Scott he taught me how to play and I still play now . If are the same cat then you know about FFF and Holly wood ratt patrol and my friend Darby that got his guts riped open…..

  • I miss all the drawings Danny would do, I still have a little folder with some in them! The good old days! Anyone know what happened to Joe Selway and his crowd?

  • Last time I saw Joe Selway was probably 1992 or ’93 at a Lost Cause reunion party at Danny Oberbeck’s house. He was married and living in Hollywood. He was still hanging out with Mike Horton. Mike lives up there also.

  • About 20 years ago I found a Lost Cause original poster for a party at a thrift store. Its the craziest party invitation with pasted pictures (original copy) for a party in San Clemente. It also says ” no hippy dirt merchants” kind of a crack up.

  • I am tripping out and not like in the eightys”. I was always curious what happened to Willie Zarth. I went to Portola, oOrange and Elmo. I had a law enforcement clsss with Steve and Willie I think haha. I went to my 25 year reunion at both high schools and it said that Willie past away. I was upset and asked but no knew anything. That would be geat if it was not true?? I picked up Lost causes album with Ron as singer at the old record trading center in orange. I miss that store. Its possible Viynl solution in Huntington may get a couple from time to time. I remember limy, wasn’t he into Mod. Iremember a party at Jack christies apartment by Elmo and there was a fight between punks and his crew I think. He is that Kurt Bentley? Hey Ron, Robbie out

  • Hey all,
    I went to OHS and yes Willi is still alive andkickin’. I have him on facebooks. I always had wondered what happened to his band, couldnt think of the name, til he messaged me back and told me, then it was like oh duh thats right. All the memories deja vu. I used to have a major crush on Mike Horton (dont think he ever knew, never would give me the time of day :o( ) But if you want to check out Willi go to his face book and find him there.

  • I went to OHS 82-84 I used to hang with billy fiskey, joe selway, farley gardner, sunny branch, Bruce Linderman etc. Remember ron shultz(spike), Vince,jason,and diane aeriola, Steve shears, tim christ, limey, terry schmits(R.I.P.), Robbie gross(R.I.P.), Steve Stone(R.I.P.), David Burns(buns), Loach, Mikey val(of dirthill gang), Hugh or hugo of ELMO, Chris and billy dye, hodgey, wright bros., anderson bros., new years TSOL/lost cause/ riot Broadway theater, canceled TSOL show at Villa park High, Danny oberbeck’s wooden shoes, Hagen’s dragon tats and brown duster, i guess thats it for now. thank you

  • Wow, I haven’t heard those names in decades. I remember David Burns(I think he went to Yorba jr. high) telling me that “punk is dead” and was about to fade away back in late 81 or early 82. Diana Aeriola talking me out of getting a mohawk around the same time. I also remember when Billy Hagen wore “Dogtown” shirts then cut his hair and how cool I thought he was when he dyed it black in 1980. I didn’t care for Loach or Nimrod so much can’t remember why. Police and gaurdian angels at the broadway and TSOL saying they were a folk band then all the punks show up and watching the equipment get stuffed back into the VW square back. Etc etc. Who remembers Phylis aka Syphilis,Jeff Rocks or Jason Trembley? or the Pshyco Bud crowd in Garden Grove?

  • I was there. The wholetime. I led the band. I wrote the songs. I hired and fired people. These young kids thought they were hot shit and could achieve massive success without me. Ain’t done shit than I can tell. I’ve gone solo and have one International recording, containing a song at #4 on the punk charts lasting longer than any Lost Cause singer besides Rat, combinded!
    I Am Lost Cause and for anyone to disagree is completely unfathomable. Lost failed misurably without me. We could still be making new music, but only The Oberbecks and The Rat like me. “chump-change band implodes over greed”Not Me
    Next up, the rise and demise of Los Pistoleros and birth of my current group “Juan Corona”


    Ron might have been in the band 6months and he cried the whole time.

  • HELLO MR. LOST CAUSE. Lost Cause was doomed from the first two chords…even a third chord couldn’t save us! Hope all is well in Florida. Talk to you soon.
    your OLD (and I do mean OLD) friend ( And songwriting partner, you greedy fuck)
    Danny (WOODEN SHOES) Oberbeck
    The family sends their love!

  • The Golden Greedy Fuck and his band Los Pistoleros are fixin to leave the garage and take over The Redneck Riviera. We will own the Gulf Coast and the southern circuit before year’s end. CD available $5 plus shipping at Cash or Paypal

  • Crazy…
    Havent heard those names in quite some time!
    Still have the Lost Cause 45 on the red vinyl too!

    I went to Santiago then Elmo for a year before I moved away.
    Knew Johnny Ernst from school and the Cuckoos Nest as well as Steve Stone.
    Knew Big Hugh too.
    Some of my crew were ( big orange Jeep ) Al
    Kelly and Shaun Hyde
    Tim Harper
    Sean Herrington
    Steve Preston of A.I.A.
    Mark Haggard and his sister Manon (sp)? who was dating one of the old Germs crew I believe

    Freddy Desoto, Janice, Scott, DP, Carabeth Burnside and the Hirsch Bros. from the Big O.
    I skated Big O nearly everyday while it was open and went to every show I could get myself a ride to.
    Not sure if any of those guys would remember me, but I sure remember them!
    Those guys were like my heros at the park, still are.

    Still skate pools all the time, race motorcycles and tattoo for a living.
    Cool to see that some of you guys made it out, lots of us did not….

    Rad times back then, and still are.

  • I have to agree with Steve Young, he may have had more talent and song writing skills, but Jhonny was a caged panther back then, Willie and Scott sold the look. Steve you looked like a geek. I was the little Punker with the band who lived over the Hill from Danny, Had a studio in my garage, went to the shows, skated the parks hung with everyone.. blah blah blah..10 million years ago.

    • Hey whats up Bruce, why were we( you, me, your brother, buns, etc.) staring at non existent planes in yorba 9th grade class photo, oh yeah to piss off Mr. ferris and if i remember he was quite pissed for we did it in all four shots they took, great sucess!

  • I have the red vinyl plus two other tracks recorded from that session and the demo for the album with Kenny Timmering singing. All very good quality on one CD.

  • Rick Davies…? Name is familiar…give me a clue or a pic?
    Is my name familiar? LOL
    Best wishes~

  • Hey, Bruce! I don’t think so.
    If you think you were cooler than any of the guys in Lost Cause, you are way off the mark my friend. That’s a silly comparison! haha!
    Each of them had, “it”…they worked it, they were each & all awesome in their own ways. They were a great OC band.
    I hung out with them a lot… I know, and still know….
    Steve was no Geek! He was Hot ;P …they all were!

  • Rrick Davis…spelling is correct. He promoted the Future Shock concert at Santa Ana Stadium. He helped foot the bill for ALL expenses the Cause required…..kept ME in Smirnoff blue-label!!!! He worked closely with Kenny Kaine, our manager. Rrick was the investor,….and he could dig it!!!

  • Ha, Lost Cause was nothing without me making flyers and hanging at all the shows and old haunts, hahaha…..Good to see some familiar names here. Skating again and life is great….thanx Steve…

  • Hey Steve will make sure to go to your show if you ever get out here…Wow, Kenny Kane and Future Shock that was a fun day.

    Rhea, we don’t want to bring up some old things,that should be left in our head…wink,wink.

  • I decided to write a brief summation to illustrate a profound point regarding the PR scene and those who were instrumental in creating anarchy,violence and chaos in O.C. First and foremost, Robbie Gross and Quentin Gallian were my most influential best friends. Robbie and I had grown up together. He had always been avante garde in the sense of substance as was Quentin. When the scene emerged in the early eighties we were 12 years of age. Skated the Big O every day. Robbie’s Gram would drop us off a block away from the Nest for gigs. Although we always indulged in girls and the bottle, I despised the system simply because Crass was my perception of punk. Yes, we despised the faggot long hair hippy woodstock swine who wore flairs. Speaking for Robbie, Quentin , and myself, we apologize for nothing we have ever done regarding our running amuck and angst. After the unfortunate demise of Robbie, and Quentin ten years later, I realized how much I hated everyone who had adversely influenced them over the years. In essence, the PR scene had it’s time and place but nonsensical in the fact that there were far to many friends and aquantances who took a dive far to soon in life. As a conservative and capitalist now, I find Life to be of profound substance. And I am still in O.C. Fortunately, many of you are still here who began in the scene. Other’s are not. The Cramps were and always will be the coolest band. Lux Interior was always right musically and lyrically when he stated “People Ain’t No Good”. Rest in Peace Lux, and give my love and angst to Robbie and Quentin.

    • DAVID BURNS (aka BUNS) was an embarrassment along with most everyone else who were nothing more then poseurs jokes. He never knew anything. I will name all oll of the names them all the swine on my next post.Burns knew nothing.
      If you want to know who was cool then I will disclose those who were cool: First and formost: Kenny an Cindy Cornelison, Vince, Jason, Diane Ariola, Chris and Billy Dye, Chris Cambell, Billy Hagan, Robbie Gross, Mikek Ness Duane Peters, Quintin Gallian, Danny Oberbeck, Eric Moskie, Steve Olsen, Tony Hawk, Charles North ((aka Chaz), Gooch & Mette, Hue Foster, Rick Verbail, The League, Dennis Dannell, Rick,Frank,and Alfie Agnew, Mike Palm, Brent Liles, Zack foxhoven, Mike Dissarro, Jack Grisham,The Big -O Skatepark, Erik Christensen, and Lux Interior. Most importantly, If you can’t did Loach, you cant dig nothing!!! I will disclose all of the hot naked girls of substansce next time!!!

  • is any one in contact with my big lug “HUGO” Steve Elpers or Bill Wright? Rick song 4 Lost Cause I remember Mike something and Danny-Damn I miss you guyz-hit me up on myspace, Im planning a reunion party during Spring Break.

  • You all were GEEKZ hehe JK u all sound like a bunch of whinnin little Boitches-GROW UP, Im having the reunion during spring break n then u can have a little battle of the bands-I think Kerrys n Chris’s bands r going to wipe all ur butts out of the water. where is my Bill Wright,Steve Elpers and Hugo? I have alot of peeps on my FB if you werent around, DO NOT bother my site NO POSER or WANNA B’s HERE!!! look me up karen lanovich except Elpers-he nevr knew what he was hehe.

  • Karen. Hugo and Elps are on FB. Bill’s brother Jim Easton is there, too. You’re thinking of Mike Horton and Danny Oberbeck. Have you talked to Keith Franklin? I’d like to get in touch with him. Here’s my address for everybody myspace/lospistoleros and FB Steve Young.
    Todd. You are responsible for our first air-play on Rodney. You made terrific flyers and simply one of my best friends from them ‘ol days.

  • Hey Steve-havnt seen kieth in decades,last time I saw him was around 85, he had long hair but still combat bootz on. is steve n hugo on ur FB-ill send you and invite to mine karen lanovich. is bill still alive -i hope and is hugo still living in the foothills stuck on robo lol I miss those boyz alot. so far i plan on having lost cause,kerry brown n chris dyes band play-I’m not making this a blow out party for anyone only our crowd. have you heard any thing about the sisters from strawberry hill?

  • Hi Karen. Keith and I did time together in ’85 and I only saw him once after we got released. “Sisters from Strawberry Hill”!!!!!Hilarious! You know, listed on the “thanks” on this Lost Cause record is Boones Farm CC. Sorry you were a victim/member. Thanks for the invite.

  • Hey Danny-it is Karen anovich-i hung with Tracy Lewis anyways i’m sure you already know about the reunion party-we are planning on doing it the 1st week of spring break-already have kerry brown playing and chris dye is going to try to be here also plus a few other bands and their members-call me at 714-955-3848 seems ur chickadee has deleted me from ur site? Fritz n kurt are going to fly down plus have already alot of peeps coming-it is a closed party and will start more as a BBQ. Miss you hun XOmuahXO call me Karen
    P.S. Hugo etc.. r going to build a stage in my back yard. also reach me on FB-i rarly ever come on this site.


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