This weekend, Alex's Bar celebrates 14 years of coolness with anniversary shows. Friday's lineup includes the recently reunited bands Final Conflict of Orange County/Long Beach, and hardcore band BL'AST! from Santa Cruz. You can also see the Stitches and Smogtown, and Saturday's show features Swingin' Utters, Old Man Markley, the Black Tibetans, Devil Dogs and Transistor LB.
Yeah, those are all great bands to interview, but I knew I had to speak to Final Conflict singer Ron Martinez. Not only was the 48-year-old a staple of Orange County punk (he booked shows everywhere -- including Chain Reaction -- and worked at Greene Records), he's been a friend for a decade and we hadn't spoken in far too long because he moved to Austin, Texas, four years ago, which might have something to do with the healing of my liver.
Friendship aside, Final Conflict was always a powerful live act. And the group's 1987 record Ashes to Ashes slays and if you don't own it, you should because it's like that dream you had when Black Flag and Black Sabbath became the same band.