'90s punk, LE SHOK seemed to make their mark with a slew of outrageously wild live shows and a new wave inspired garage punk sound that was snotty yet highly infectious. Being somewhat of an evolving concept from a close group of Long Beach area friends, the "official" conception of LE SHOK was during March of 1997, after guitarist (and TREADWELL bassist) ASSHOLE ANDREW had lent drummer (and THE LOCUST keyboardist) JOEY JUVENILE a $50 piece of shit drum set under the pretense of Joey having no choice but to be in a band with Andrew after he learned how to play. So Joey called Andrew up one day to get together to play, and vocalist HOT ROD TODD just happened to be the third wheel that Andrew brought along for the ride. But before Todd became the band's singer, he was actually the first bassist, playing an integral part on writing the songs that became the bands foundation. Needless to say, a whole lot of ruckus was made right off the bat, and slowly all of the other members sort of just came about.
As a three-piece, Joey, Andrew, and Todd (then only known as THE SHOCK) convinced Justin Pearson (CRIMSON CURSE vocalist and THE LOCUST bassist) to try out as a possible singer for the band. Only one practice with Justin ever happened, but songs like "Kissing Hippies With My Fist" were made up on the spot, furthering the chaotic and sporadic garage punk genius of the band. Living in San Diego and being involved in two other bands led Justin to believe that he shouldn't join the band. A little bit of a bummer at the time, but this just proves the fact that given a little patience, everything will fall into place. Good things definitely come to those who wait. After hearing a crude sounding practice tape while hanging out at Zed Records, keyboardist (and ACTION LEAGUE bassist) DARRYL LICHT insisted on joining the band as the singer, but Andrew and Todd just didn't think it would work. Being a talented musician in a wide variety of instruments and styles, Darryl was enlisted as the keyboardist. Once Todd decided (and was elected) to sing, the band then opted to ask Zed Records co-worker and good friend OVER THE COUNTER RUSTY (also, a member of TREADWELL) to play bass. It seemed easy for Rusty to join the ranks, as he had already engineered the bands first in the studio (live) recording session, and was somewhat already familiar with the LE SHOK songs.
Being fed up with most of the current bands of the '90s, the members of LE SHOK seemed to have a common appreciation for bands like the MONORCHID, THE HEADCOATS, and TEENGENERATE; but the punk rock'n'roll bands of the '70s definitely played the biggest influence. Bands like THE FALL, GERMS, and THE DICKIES were some of the biggest influences on their debut "So What" 7" single released by Tigersuit Records in 1998.
As the ball started rolling, it almost started to seem as more of an avalanche. The band was playing everywhere in Southern California: bars, all ages venues, house parties just about anything and everything. Shows were a drunken messwith fights, broken bottles, and club bouncers threatening to kill the band. The bands who were along for the ride were almost always amazed (or at least scared and disturbed), these bands were the MURDER CITY DEVILS, THE STITCHES, THE VIBRATORS, BLOOD BROTHERS, THE HUMPERS, CRIMSON CURSE, amongst countless others. With a west coast tour, a few singles, and split 7" releases with ELECTRIC FRANKENSTEIN, INK & DAGGER, and THE STITCHES; Gold Standard Laboratories released the "We Are Electrocution" LP. The suggestive cover art and even more suggestively sexual lyrics had moms disapproving everywhere. As a result, LE SHOK was nothing but sincerely flattered with all the negative reaction that the band was getting.
Everything seemed to really be falling in place, but after the first U.S. tour Darryl decided to quit the band. As SHITTY SHAAN had already been filling in for Darryl while he was touring Europe as INK & DAGGER's soundman, Shaan decided to take on the position full time. Then Darryl decided to join the band for a few more shows and Shaan moved over to play second guitar. A few shows and sessions featured the band as a six piece: the LE SHOK / THE STITCHES split 7", the vinyl part of the "S&M" 7", and the A-side of the "L.A. To N.Y" 7" recorded at KXLU in Los Angeles. But after the "S&M" 7" was recorded, Andrew also decided to quit; so Shaan took over all of the guitar duties and LE SHOK scrambled to find a keyboardist to take on their second U.S. tour. The band enlisted I'M GONNA STAB YOU guitarist Orlando Sanchez and then Jimi Hey (an ex-member of STRICTLY BALLROOM) but nothing seemed to work out until JOHN FONES (of FAST FORWARD) stepped up to save the day. After completing the tour, John also quit, but his keyboard playing was documented on the live radio set recorded at WNYU (released as the B-side to the "L.A. To N.Y." 6" on Kapow Records). Hearing about John quitting, led Shaan to also quit, and the band just seemed to just fall apart. But with more releases and upcoming shows still in the works, it's hard to believe the rumors of LE SHOK being broken up as true