L.A.M.F. 40th Anniversary

Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, 8 p.m.

Where: Belly Up Tavern, 143 S. Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach | get directions

Cost: $28 - $40

Age limit: 21+

It’s a punch in the gut to realize that the one and only studio album by Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers, L.A.M.F., came out 40 years ago. A touchstone for punk and DIY hard rock, the LP came about after the New York City band found themselves stranded in England, having been invited on a Sex Pistols tour that was cancelled almost as soon as they arrived. Signed to a UK label impressed by their live act, the Heartbreakers recorded L.A.M.F. at two studios, creating a set of tapes that has been rereleased, remixed, restored, remastered, remade, reconstituted, revisited, and reviewed more than just about any punk album in history. There are so many variations out there that one can even find isolated backing tracks that have sourced countless fan-made remixes as well, almost all of them superior to the original vinyl release, which had such a thudding, muddy mix that it frequently sounded like listening to music from inside an aquarium tank.

Crappy sound notwithstanding, the songs of L.A.M.F. remain landmarks of rock, and they’ll be performed in sequence for the 40th-anniversary tribute show at the Belly Up on December 3 featuring original Heartbreaker Walter Lure. The A-list tribute band includes Social Distortion main man Mike Ness as well as Sex Pistol Glen Matlock and Clem Burke of Blondie, with advance press also promising “special guests.” On occasions last year when Lure and Burke performed the album, guest players included Wayne Kramer (MC5) and Tommy Stinson (the Replacements). The bill includes the Jesse Malin Band.


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