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The Lookouts


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    Mendocino Homeland
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    I Saw Her Standing There
Everybody in rock & roll has to start somewhere, and though the short-lived California punk band the Lookouts didn't make much of a dent in their day, they turned out to be the launching pad for two important figures in American punk.
In 1985, Larry Livermore (born Lawrence Hayes) was a guy in his late twenties who had developed a strong interest in punk rock and played guitar, but had a hard time putting together a band; he was living in a remote community in Northern California that didn't even have telephone service, and the few people in the area with an interest in music preferred psychedelic music or reggae. Eventually Livermore took the bull by the horns and recruited two kids from the neighborhood to join his band -- 14-year-old Kain Hanschke became Livermore's bassist, and 12-year-old Frank Edwin Wright III turned his youthful fondness for making noise into a virtue as their drummer.
Livermore's young charges turned out to be well suited for the gig, and they adopted punk-sounding stage names, as Hanschke became Kain Kong and Wright, whose nickname was Tre, rebranded himself Tre Cool. Several months after forming, the trio cut a demo tape called Look Out! It's the Lookouts, and in 1987 they released an album, One Planet, One People, with Livermore founding the Lookout Records label to release the record. Over the next three years, the Lookouts played shows in the northern part of the state, and released a second album (1989's Spy Rock Road) and a pair of EPs (1990's Mendocino Homeland and 1991's IV). For IV, Livermore brought along his friend Billie Joe Armstrong to play additional guitar on the sessions, and when Billie's new band was in need of a drummer, Tre agreed to sit in with them for a while. Billie's band was, of course, Green Day, and while the Lookouts didn't officially break up, Green Day soon became successful enough that Tre wasn't able to make it back for more practices or recording sessions with his first band.
After the Lookouts faded away, Livermore became a columnist for Maximum Rock 'n' Roll, Punk Planet, and other fanzines, and his Lookout Records label released seminal punk records by Green Day, Operation Ivy, Pansy Division, Rancid, the Donnas, the Queers, Screeching Weasel, and many more; he also played music with his group the Potatomen. Meanwhile, Tre Cool was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Green Day, and Kain Hanschke became a ranger with the National Park Service. In 2015, Don Giovanni Records released a Lookouts anthology, Spy Rock Road (And Other Stories...). ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


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