DVD Reviews

Channel 3 – “One More for all My True Friends”

TKO Records

Hailing from the one time “thriving dairy community” of Cerritos in suburban Los Angeles, Channel 3 were among the multitude of bands that made up the Punk explosion which spread thru Southern California like wild fire at the dawn of the Eighties…

This documentary is based around interviews with CH3’s founding members Mike Magrann and Kimm Gardner that charts their friendship since school and spending the early Seventies riding dirt bikes and cutting their musical chops on Hard Rock. A eureka moment arrived when they discovered the tiny and vibrant Hollywood Punk scene… it was the kick up the rear they needed to pick up some instruments and form a band of their own. And after only a few gigs they got a big break when Robbie Fields, owner of Posh Boy Records (which put out the earliest singles by Agent Orange, Social Distortion and T.S.O.L) approached the band on the strength of a demo tape that’d been past on to him. The rest as they say is history… with CH3 sticking out a number of highly influential records, touring the USA, and gaining a big following in the UK thanks to their Posh Boy releases getting licensed to No Future Records, home at the time to Blitz, Partisans and Peter and the Test Tube Babies.

As the Eighties rumbled on band members came and went, and the band were drawn increasingly towards a harder rocking sound… the hair grew, the cowboy boots came out… and after chasing a half-shot at the big time the wheels came off the wagon, and CH3 were history. In the mid-Nineties they regrouped and still exist to this day. I saw them in London a few years back and they were bloody excellent.

Charting the CH3 story, the interviews are spliced with comments from former band members and other cohorts, as well as live footage, inc. a terrific set filmed by Target Video, tons of photos, flyers… and even a few words with Mike’s Mum… ahhh! It’s an informative format that doesn’t really throw up any major surprises, but what I really liked about this DVD was the total down to earth attitude of Kimm and Mike. Often in documentaries the subjects can come across as a bit phoney, look at the past thru rose tinted glasses, and present day Punk with a certain degree of distain. But these two come across as genuinely nice guys who are very open about their decent upbringings and being Grade ‘A’ students, and were music nuts who happened to get in to Punk Rock at such an important time. They are very self-depreciating about the achievements of CH3 but also realistic on the subject of their slide and eventual demise. And most important they are still friends, who now have good steady jobs, families, and when they can fit it in still find time to crank out their powerful melodic Punk songs and sink a few brews.

There’s also an ‘bonus’ CD containing a high quality gig recording of CH3 at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach in 2006, which forms a bulk of the present day live footage in the film. All adds up to a very entertaining package, well worth checking out.

Pete Craven