Greg Antista Talks Punk Rock Days, Opening for Katey Sagal at The Mint

Greg Antista and The Lonely Streets at The Mint - Photo by Harmony Gerber
Greg Antista and The Lonely Streets at The Mint - Photo by Harmony Gerber

Greg Antista and The Lonely Streets bring their punk Americana music to The Mint on May 1 to  open for Katey Sagal and the Reluctant Apostles. The Orange County rocker sat down with John Daly for a revealing Q and A.

CR: Are you a fan of Katey Sagal and The Reluctant Apostles?  

GREG: Yes! We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to open for Katey and we’re equally excited that the venue is going to be The Mint. I’ve long been a fan of Katey’s voice and all the texture and originality it brought to the music she did for Sons of Anarchy. I’ve been checking out the Reluctant Apostles online and I predict they’re going to turn it out. I look forward to seeing Katey bring those songs to life at The Mint.

CR: I understand that the Lonely Streets have only been active on the scene for a year. What has the past year been like?

GREG: We did our first gig together in Huntington Beach in February 2018, and by August of last year we were in the studio with Paul Miner recording our debut album, Shake, Stomp and Stumble. Along the way we got to do some great live dates with some of our local and touring favorites like the Black Diamond Riders, Bob Wayne, the Rocketz, Deadbolt, and Sold and Bones. Jessica and I even got to open up a Reverend Horton Heat gig as an acoustic duo.

CR: How would you describe your music?

GREG: People often refer to the Lonely Streets as punk rock country and I don’t mind that at all. I grew up in the Orange County punk scene but I’ve long been moved by the American roots music of John Doe, Steve Soto and the Twisted Hearts, the Old 97’s, and Steve Earle. A blending of all these sounds is what I hear in my head when I write. 

CR: I love the cover art for Shake, Stomp and Stumble, which is released on May 17. It features two colorful swing dancing skeletons. Where did you find that illustration or was it commissioned specifically for your album art?

GREG: Louis Perez III of Tip Top Tattoo in Fullerton CA was commissioned to do the original artwork for the album cover and our band logo. Louis, whose father is Louis Perez Jr. of Los Lobos, has deep SoCal Roots in both its tattoo and music scenes. He is one busy dude, hustling two tattoo gigs and three bands. We were lucky to get him and couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

CR: You and the other members of the band have deep roots in the Southern California music scene, with various members having played in the Cadillac Tramps, Manic Hispanic, Joyride, Foxy, Mink Daggers, Mr. Mirainga, Busstop Hurricanes, etc. How did you decide to get together and form the Lonely Streets?

GREG: I started off performing the songs on this record at acoustic shows by myself. I hadn’t played live for a while and didn’t have a band at the time, so acoustic seemed like the quickest way to get back on stage. Playing acoustic is great but I soon got that urge to do the full band thing. I was lucky that my favorite musicians from around Orange County all said yes. I go way back with Warren Refrow to our days as labelmates on Dr. Dream Records when I was in Joyride and he was in Cadillac Tramps. I’ve known Jessica Kaczmarek and Jorge E. Disguster since my bartending days at Linda’s Doll Hut in Anaheim. Not only are these three some of my favorite musicians but they are close friends as well.

Greg Antista and The Lonely Streets – Photo by Harmony Gerber

CR: What was your introduction to punk rock?

GREG: Like many SoCal kids, I got turned on to the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks in 1978, with the Clash, Damned and Ramones following quickly after that. Punk rock was all I listened to at that point, but it wasn’t until 1980, when I met Steve Soto at Troy High School in Fullerton, that I realized there was a local punk scene. Members of the Adolescents, Social Distortion and Agent Orange were all at Troy that year. They were all playing backyard parties and their first club gigs. Music took over my life. I jumped in the van and never looked back.  

CR: I also hear a strong thread of country running through your album. 

GREG: As much as listening to the American Roots music I mentioned above, I have also been truly inspired by seeing this type of music performed live at Linda’s Doll Hut during my years spent there as a bartender. The Doll Hut was my first exposure to roots rock greats like Big Sandy, the Derailers, Russell Scott, and James Intveld. It’s just one of those nice accidents in life. Linda’s Doll Hut was definitely a Plan B for me after the demise of Joyride — the band I had with Steve Soto — but Shake, Stomp and Stumble would not be the same album had Linda not allowed me to step behind the bar one night when I had exhausted all my other options.

Greg Antista – Photo by Harmony Gerber

CR: “Beat Down and Broken” seems to be written from the viewpoint of someone who is down and out, and living out of their car. Is that a situation that you or anybody you know has ever been in?

GREG: Most of the songwriting on this record is a mix of fact and fiction but with “Beat Down and Broken” I felt the story had to be told just as it happened. The Thunderbird, street names and city call outs are real parts of that personal low I experienced. A lot of people become homeless through no fault of their own. All my troubles were self-inflicted through my own bad choices and substance abuse. Fortunately, I never had to live in my car because, as mentioned above, Linda gave me a chance to work behind the bar at the best roadhouse Orange County has ever seen. 

CR: Your new video for “Goodnight Ramona” is a real celebration, featuring a young couple dancing and the band playing up a storm. Was that fun to do?

GREG: We all couldn’t be more happy with how the video came out. The look, the story, the setting — they all compliment the song and our old soul aesthetic perfectly. Making the video was way more work than I anticipated, but that was okay because it turned into a real family affair. Jessica’s best friend Marcela Mariz wrote and directed it, while our lifelong friends Byron and Nancy Danell let us invade their antique filled home for the day.

CR: I know that you’ll be playing Punk Rock Bowling with Killing Joke in Las Vegas next month. Do you plan on doing any additional touring?

GREG: Not only will I be playing Punk Rock Bowling this year on Friday, May 24th, but I will also be continuing my tradition of bowling in incredibly mediocre fashion on Saturday, May 25th. I will again be taking to the lanes as my alter ego “Adam Antista” with team Flock of Goo Goo. For those who don’t recall, The Flock has torn up many a PRB pool party with our punk versions of 1980s favorites. As for touring, that’s a big YES. First up for us will be the west coast in July and then we’ll travel to anywhere else our van and this album can take us.  

‘Goodnight Ramona’ – Greg Antista and The Lonely Streets