A La Carte: The Forgotten 1970s Hard Rock Gem

A La Carte (should not be confused with an all-female disco band) was born in Orange County. They had a lot of potential to become stars in the late 1970s Los Angeles music scene, but fell short of achieving the same level of success as other L.A. Glam Metal bands in the ’80s

According to the documentary “Inside Metal: Pioneers of L.A. Hard Rock and Metal” (2015), the band’s music is described as a superb fusion of Aerosmith, AC/DC, and ZZ Top. and become a popular underground hard rock band in Los Angeles.

A La Carte

A La Carte’s story began in October 1976 in Orange County. Guitarist K.K. Martin, bassist Craig Miller, and drummer Brian O’Brian formed the band Together.

Besides playing covers, they also write their own songs. Their original songs is a unique blend of blues rock and raw punk inspiration.

During one of their shows at the Seal Beach block party, A La Carte performed for a crowd of 2000 people. They were arrested for using the sound system without permission.

This incident led to the ban of unlicensed amplified live music. However, it was the performance that the concert organizers saw the potential in the band to draw in a crowd.

In December 1976, A La Carte was already rocking the stage at venues such as the 2,000 capacity Queen Mary, the 1,500 capacity Lafayette (Fender’s) Ballroom, and the 1,500 capacity Edgewater. They were on a roll, playing more shows and gaining more popularity in their hometown of Orange County as well as in Los Angeles.

With a great friendship with The Runaways, an up-and-coming all-girl rock band at the time, they often performed together to get more attention from rock fans. they were eventually invited to play with big names like Van Halen and Quiet Riot

A La Carte was soon given the opportunity to play at the Starwood and performed here until Starwood closed itself. Sometimes they performances at the Whisky a-Go-Go and the Troubadour or others. It was A La Carte’s glory days to make a name for themselves in Los Angeles music scene.

Debut Album

Their story is a tale of rising star band’s unrealised dreams. They never sign an album contract.  A La Carte – Est. 1976 released in 2016, almost four decades after their split.

This album is new recordings from songs written during their glory days between 1976 and 1979.

Listening to their album is a pleasant surprise. It’s easy to see why people often compare their musical style to ZZ Top’s. The songs are intense, blues-based rock with a distinct boogie accent.

However, it’s also clear why they didn’t quite fit in with the popular bands of the time like Mötley Crüe, Ratt, or W.A.S.P. who dominated the Los Angeles scene.

A La Carte’s sound reminds me of Grand Funk Railroad’s heyday. Songs like “No Tell Motel” And “Pink on the Inside” portraying the image of a narcissistic young man. Their music gives a full 1970s hard rock feel that’s truly captivating. 

It’s a shame that they never made it big despite their talent.

This is another intriguing but unsuccessful band from the pioneering era of rock in Los Angeles during the late 70s and early 80s.

Official Site: https://alacarte.rocks

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