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SGV 001: The Song of the San Gabriel Valley is Untitled

Chris Greenspon October 8, 2020 228 5

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SGV Weekly
SGV 001: The Song of the San Gabriel Valley is Untitled

This inaugural episode tells the history of a gone but not forgotten punk band from La Puente. T.U. aka The Uglies, circa 2005-2011. The band’s bassist and lead singer, Noe Silva, is a friend of the program, and an understated fixture in the Southern California scene. His adventurous (and at times pretentious) musical tendencies resulted in a song which in part inspired this program’s creation.

t.u. live untitled 4

t.u. live in la puente untitled 4

There are two main punk sounds associated with the San Gabriel Valley. Backyard street punk, and more and more, the Gun Club. Fifteen years ago though, it was mainly just street punk. Everyone had a Misfits shirt. And Noe Silva was no exception.

But Silva was influenced by an older generation who came up on 1980’s SoCal punk like Bad Religion, Nardcore, X, The Adolescents, and 45 Grave. This was the music in the background while he skated around South San Jose Hills and threw eggs down from the trailer park on Azusa and Temple.

His brother Johnny always had instruments in the house, but it had never occurred to Silva to do anything other than bang on them until a classmate told him he needed a bassist to jam with. Silva was bowled over when his friend played Bro Hymn on guitar and claimed it as his own song. He needed to do that too.

Entering Nogales High, Silva began to build up his confidence on the bass – more so than the rest of his jamming partners. Backyard gigs were booked and abandoned. Opportunities were missed. Frustrated, he took to the refuge of marijuana between classes. His schoolmasters, duly disappointed, remanded him to Valley Alternative School. 

The young man found himself under house arrest his sophomore year. While moping around the backyard one afternoon, he noticed a familiar face next door. He thought he saw his old school friend, Eric Miller, but it was actually his younger brother, Dylan Miller. Silva seized on this lifeline to the outside world and forced a stack of cd’s on Dylan to take home. 

After his punishment was lifted, Silva and the Millers formed The Uglies. Gigs were played. Gun Club and Minutemen cd’s were burned. Young ladies may have been said “what up” to. The band went through numerous member changes and explored the blues, post punk, classic rock, and hardcore. Their style was somewhat at home with the rest of the local scene, but more often than not their sets were twice as long as anyone else’s.

Silva had some dreams of stardom as T.U. continued to advance their sound. The band wouldn’t last forever; he wanted to mix more with artier heads in the LA and OC scenes (Boss Beats’ guitarist and future Meru bandmate Zubin Peer once said Silva had been “constipated” in T.U, trying to write perfect songs). But in the band’s final line-up, they made something unlike anything they had allowed themselves to do before, yet still undeniably rooted in their identity. Untitled IV – The Song of the San Gabriel Valley.

All photos by JP Story.

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Chris Greenspon

Radio journalist from La Puente, CA ... SGV Reporter for Streetsblog ... Past lives in LA news radio

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