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Selections from The Punk Vault [The Plugz]

The Plugz – Achin’/La Bamba 7″ (1980 Fatima Records)

Aside from being from the first wave of Los Angeles punk, The Plugz also might have the distinction of being the first Latino punk band. They formed in 1978 by Tito Larriva. They put out their first single on Slash Records, which is now considered a classic, and rightfully so.

After that single, instead of finding another label to put out their records, they decided to do it themselves and found a record pressing plant to make some records and started their own label, Fatima Records. The first release on the label would be this two song single. The picture above I believe to be the second pressing. The one that I believe to be the first pressing has a white sleeve and they omit the band name from one side of the record. I imagine they corrected this error when they printed up more records/sleeves and went with the yellow paper for the cover instead. Both of these songs would later be re-recorded and one appeared on each album.

After this, they self-released two full albums. Their sound would change and evolve over time, and by the time the second album came out, they were much more of a Latino sounding rock band than they were a punk band, but they were still very unique and enjoyable. The band called it quits after that.

The two albums were reissued for a time by Restless Records and even had a limited life on CD. Restless then was part of Enigma, which folded and it is unknown to me who currently holds the rights to them. I do know that this band is LONG overdue for a reissue and there in new generations of punk and music fans in general missing out on some great tunes.

After The Plugz broke up, Tito had a fairly successful run in the 80s doing music for various movies. I do not know what the other members of the band did or what any of them are doing now. I do know Tito was in a band called Tito and the Tarantulas in the not too distant past.

Click here to hear “La Bamba” from the record (right click and “save target as…”)

I also included a picture of the first press sleeve…

Note the band name is not listed on this side of the sleeve.


  • Tito Larriva was also in a group called the Cruzados in the 80s that got some airplay on MTV in its early days.

  • Wow, I didn’t know who was playing drums for Social D when I just saw them in October. Had I known, I would have tried to track him down post-show for an interview.

  • They provided the song “Electrify Me” for the Dark Brothers porno epic “New Wave Hookers” in ’83 or ’84. That was one of the movies that had Traci Lords in when she was 16, so it may be an unmovie now. I think it is available in a Traciless edit.

  • For a time after the Plugz’ split, Tito was working with a west coast “groundlings”-style comedy troupe along with Paul “PeeWee Herman” Rubens. In fact, he played the role of “Hammy,” on PeeWee’s first televised HBO special back in the early 80s. He was actually a pretty funny guy, it seems…

  • They’re not in the porno, but “Electrify Me” is in both New Wave Hookers 1 & 2 (and some of the soundtrack on #2 was provided by the Chemical People I believe, as were a few other Dark Brothers flicks)

    Charlie from the Plugz drummed w/ Dylan for a bit (around ’84 or so, you can see him on the Letterman appearance of Dylan doing “Jokerman” which gets traded around a fair amount on Soulseek — for what it’s worth the Letterman version is a lot better to my ears than the one on the studio LP) & he went on to do a lot of other session type stuff as well.

    here’s some more info:

  • I just stumbled into the site. Excellent . Tito larriva is/was? fronted PSYCHOTIC AZTECS also in the band Johnny”Vatos”Hernandez ex(OINGO BOINGO). Album released in 1998 “Santa Sangre”. Awesome hard rock album sung in spanish. Label info: Grita!

  • Too right about their music being overdue a reissue! It’s so hard to get the vinyl and the cd’s go for stupid money. I actually think the second album is better than the first, it’s more varied and has more character IMO. Tito is still with Tito and Tarantula, they toured Europe a couple of months back. I have some of his soundtrack work – it’s really varied, a good listen. Cruzados’ first LP is great, polished but with some excellent songs.

  • my band ku klux klergy covers ‘better luck’ our bassist carlos garcia of atwater borrowed it from kk of the screamers and never gave it back

  • There’s a good fan page for Tito and Tarantula at myspace, as well as a rather lame official page.

    And there’s also a Plugz page on myspace that streams the whole Better Luck album, except a few screwed up tracks. Which I would object to if the thing were in print…

    And great stuff on youtube…

    I saw them a few times, but never got around to buying their records. But I have fallen for them harder than ever because of the Internet. Thank you.


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