The first album I ever bought with my own money was Dig That Groove Baby by the Toy Dolls. I went to this independent record store and I loved punk rock; I’m from Orange County, California, so punk rock was really big back then. I think I saw some sort of video footage of Olga [Michael Algar], the singer, and he was just this really lanky, skinny guy – he was almost like a cartoon character, and I just thought he was so interesting and cool.
So I bought the record. I loved the record. I could tell you the exact track listing of that record, I’ve listened to it that much! Spiders in the Dressing Room, Dig That Groove Baby, Nellie the Elephant… they have a lot of great songs. They also did a live version of Wipeout as a single, and that was great.
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I was a little skateboarder, surfer kid, so I skated down to the record store, bought the record, took the record home and went straight to my bedroom, put it on and sat down with the lyrics. I was always really into lyrics, so I’d sit and listen to the entire record, just reading along with the songs and that was a really big deal for me.
What I really loved about The Toy Dolls and all those independent records was that they were super honest. They didn’t have major labels telling them what they could say and regulating what they put out. They put out what they wanted to put out, because they were indie.
Obviously, the record doesn’t resonate with me in the same way it did when I was a kid, because I’ve matured and grown and got into all other genres of music. But I can put Dig That Groove Baby on and it’ll take me back there and it reminds me of why I got into it in the first place, along with the rest of my punk rock collection like The Replacements, Minor Threat, Circle Jerks, GBH and bands like that.