Black widow spiders flee the city! Off-Ramp for April 26, 2014

RIP Mike Atta: Hardcore punk founder, guitarist for OC band The Middle Class

The Middle Class

The Middle Class's first record. Mike Atta, the OC hardcore punk band's guitarist, died on Easter of cancer.

Off-Ramp host John Rabe speaks with LA Record's Chris Ziegler about Mike Atta, the guitarist for the pioneering hardcore punk band The Middle Class, who died on Easter Sunday of cancer.

(Mike Atta, c. 2013, from the "Help Mike Atta Battle Cancer" Facebook page.)

The Middle Class may have invented hardcore punk, an important genre of punk, but to say they invented it implies intent.

"It's not like The Middle Class guys, who were all teenagers at the time, like 15-17, who had barely discovered punk, and kinda taught themselves to play. What they had heard was that punk was loud and fast, and be kind of crazy. So with that in their heads, they just started playing loud and fast, there was nobody around to tell them, 'Hey, you're playing too loud and too fast!'" -- Chris Ziegler, editor and publisher of LA Record.

In any case, this group of teens from Santa Ana was doing something nobody else was doing, and they were successful and influential.

The band lasted only a few years, and then Atta opened a vintage store in Fullerton called Out of Vogue, where Ziegler says he sold cool vintage furniture and talked patiently with all the kids who came around asking about The Middle Class.

Watch The Middle Class at a c.2013 gig

Mike Atta had been fighting cancer for about four years; he was in his early 50s when he died.


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