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Don Redondo Autobiography

I grew up in Huntington Beach, CA. I started playing guitar and skating around 4th grade. My dad got me my first board (a Super Surfer with clay wheels that later got run over by a car in front of my house). My grandma got me my first guitar (an inexpensive Vox electric) and I actually tried a few lessons. The teacher was teaching me these pussy acoustic folk chords and how to read music, so I taught myself bar chords and quit. The other thing was music/guitar seemed too complicated (my friend could play ALL of the Zeppelin tunes by 6th grade, including the solos) so I lost interest in playing for a long time.

Skating on the other hand took off when my parents bought me and my brother Jack's skateboards with Chicago trucks and open bearing urethane wheels. I have been skating ever since! We rode a lot of the old spots (Vermont Drop, Edwards Hill, Fruit Bowl etc.) and went to the old parks (Concrete Wave, Skatopia, Upland Pipeline).

In '77, when the Pistols/Buzzcocks/Clash/Damned came out, I thought to myself. "I can play this," so I picked up the guitar again. I was also working at what was called the "punk rock" car wash in HB with guys from the Crowd, the Skrewz, the Joneses, the Flyboys etc. so it reinforced for me that anybody could start a band and you did not have to be some kind of prodigy. I emptied my savings account and bought a white Les Paul and started my first band. We played once (did not even have a name) in my parent's living room with the Flyboys.

Moved to Phoenix to go to school, skated a lot (can you say empty pools and desert pipes) and was in a couple of bands. One was called the Roll Ons which was all girls (except for me) and one was called the Deez with a bunch of artist burnout types from the Hate House. Phoenix was a prety tight/small scene back then...played with bands like Killer Pussy, the Meat Puppets, the Nervous etc.

Formed JFA in 81. Knew Mike C already from shows(he was in a band called the Jr. Chemists). Found Bam at a show and Mike found Brian at a Hate House/Deez show. The only criteria for the band was you had to want to play loud/fast and had to skate.

We started doing out-of-town shows right away (Cuckoo's Nest, LA, Tucson etc.) and started touring the US in 83. I wrote tour logs for Thrasher and eventually became a freelance writer/photog for Thrasher from 84 to 94 (when it went from searching for pools/pipes to the curb down the street, I lost interest in writing).

To steal a qoute from Billy Zoom (LA band X guitarist) on reading a review of the Ramones where the guy said they were terrible, the guy couldn't sing, they played too loud, too fast, their songs were too short and had no guitar solos...Zoom said, "These all sounded like real positive things to me."