Formed in Los Angeles in 1978, the Plimsouls merged roots, retro and guitar rock with a ramshackle punk aesthetic. At a time when rock music was shifting gears, the Plimsouls' brand of soul-punk -- a modern take on '60s soul, British Invasion and garage rock sounds -- fit right in with the '80s post-punk American guitar band movement. Known for their kinetic live performances, the Plimsouls had an exceptional frontman in singer/songwriter Peter Case whose decision to pursue a solo career effectively ended their '80s run, but whose songs have kept the group's slight catalog and legacy in the public eye.
Case came to the Plimsouls with experience, having previously collaborated with Jack Lee and Paul Collins in the Nerves, a precursor-to-punk D.I.Y. group with a 1976 single, "Hangin' on the Telephone" (later recorded by Blondie). Living in L.A., Case started to play with locals Louie Ramírez (drums) and Dave Pahoa (bass) in 1979, and within the year Eddie Muñoz (of Austin's the Skunks) joined them on guitar. After recording one EP, Zero Hour in 1980, and a self-titled album in 1981 that contained the now classic power pop anthems "Zero Hour" and "Hush, Hush," the group self-financed a single, "A Million Miles Away." The jangling guitar song was picked up by influential FM station KROQ and thanks to trend-setting DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, the song became a local smash, catapulting the Plimsouls toward wider recognition. The inclusion of "A Million Miles Away" on the soundtrack to the cult film Valley Girl cemented the band's reputation as power pop icons and remains a timeless classic.
An album for Geffen, Everywhere at Once, followed in 1983 but ultimately, the liaison with the label was not a lasting one and the Plimsouls broke up shortly after its release. A testament to the band's stage power is the live document, One Night in America, released in 1988. Following the group's dissolution, Case went on to record a solo album for Geffen; he remains a critically admired and influential artist with a large folk, blues and rock repertoire. In 1995-1996, the band, sans Ramírez, re-formed and played a few reunion dates with former Blondie drummer Clem Burke and released a new studio LP Kool Trash in 1998. In 2005, Oglio Records reissued One Night in America; the original lineup (with Bryan Head on drums) remains together and continues to perform wherever and whenever there's a demand for their unique soul-punk sound. ~ Denise Sullivan