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The Heartaches

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Although "skatepunk" has been a popular term for a certain breed of three-chord thrash shot through with inchoate teenage rebellion since at least the early-'80s days of JFA and Suicidal Tendencies, there haven't been that many punk bands with professional skaters in them. (After all, the top-line pro skaters have such dedication to their craft that they can barely manage to have girlfriends, much less find rehearsal and recording time.) And ironically, the highest-profile band with a professional skater in the lineup, the Heartaches, doesn't fit the generally accepted definition of skatepunk anyway. The Heartaches are heavily influenced not only by post-1977 punk and power pop, but also by the classic '60s garage rockers: Love, the Standells, the Chocolate Watchband, and pretty much everyone who was ever on a Pebbles compilation. Formed in San Diego in 2000 by professional skater Kristian Svitak, the Heartaches also included singer and guitarist Billy Dee Williams (obviously not Mr. Lando Calrissian himself), lead guitarist Billy Heartache, and bassist El Mano del Diablo. In 2003, the band expanded to a quintet when Williams moved strictly to singing, El Mano del Diablo picked up the rhythm guitar, and Dr. Dean, PhD filled in on bass. Thus situated, the Heartaches played the skate festival circuit and appeared on a number of skate-themed CD and DVD compilations before signing with noted garage punk label Swami Records and releasing their debut album, Too Cool for School, in October 2006. These San Diego garage punks called the Heartaches are an entirely different band from the Belgian street punk act of the same name who debuted with the 2003 album Lunacy and Devastation on the European label People Like You, followed by 2004's Move On and 2007's Suicide, both on the I Scream label. The Belgian and Californian bands both claim that they had the name first, according to a November 2006 interview with (Belgian) Heartaches singer Tommy X with the online punk zine Mutiny. ~ Stewart Mason

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2000 in San Diego, CA

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