Hits Magazine

The International Swingers at Weber’s Place, Reseda:


The Valley can be a strange place. Drive north on Tampa from Ventura Blvd. to Vanowen in the heart of Reseda, not 10 minutes from the lily-white suburbs is a ghetto like the one the kid in Boyz in the Hood moved into to get away from the inner city only to encounter yet more violence. The location is a nondescript sports bar emptying out from an early kick-boxing match on TV for a performance by the International Swingers, a group featuring, as one wag enthused, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rhythm section in Blondie drummer Clem Burke and Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock. The rest of the band includes U.K. guitarist James Stevenson, whose resume includes stints in Chelsea, Gen X with Billy Idol, Gene Loves Jezebel, The Cult and the Alarm, while Aussie lead singer Gary Twinn, a teenage star with the bands Supernaut and Speedtwinn, scored a chart-topping single Down Under in 1976 with the coyly suggestive “I Like It Both Ways.”

It’s a busman’s holiday for the guys on hiatus from their regular gigs and playing because that’s what they love to do, working their way through a set list, Ringo Starr’s All-Stars style, composed of their greatest collective hits. It all results in a very fun show, segueing from Blondie’s “Hanging on the Telephone,” Matlock’s version of the Monkees’ “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone,” a staple of early Pistols sets, and “What I Like about You,” a Clem vocal from his Romantics days, to Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself,” “Call Me” and a finale of “Pretty Vacant.” Along the way, there are covers of the Easybeats’ “Friday on My Mind” (by way of Bowie’s Pin-Ups), an arm-hair-raising “All the Young Dudes,” a suitably raucous version of the Faces’ “Stay With Me” and even a rocking original, “Honey’s Room.”

All in all, it was a fun evening made even more so by being set in an unlikely venue. The International Swingers more than lived up to their name, for at least this one night, turning Reseda into a welcome punk-rock outpost in the middle of nowhere.

Roy Trakin; Hits Magazine