[UPDATED: Young the Giant Responds!] Does OC Have BO? Why Do Orange County Bands Distance Themselves?

Young the Giant tweeted at us yesterday after the blog went live. They said, “We live in the quiet hills of East LA and the label doesn't pay rent. We do. We live together and can write at will this way. We appreciate your concern but we are OC all the way. Straight Irvine OG represent.”  Right on, boys. Right on.

The Gromble also tweeted at us, surmising on the reason OC bands are fleeing OC: “I think they're afraid the Slidebar will steal their gear and hang it on the walls.”

Original post: Jan. 26, 2012, 12:34 p.m.: Maybe it's been happening since the dawn of the 5 Freeway, but it seems there a surge in the exodus of OC grown bands who've forsaken the idyllic land of their birth and claim to be native sons of Los Angeles.

Take for instance, indie folk quartet Local Natives. Though they grew from the remains of OC band Cavil at Rest, they're now based in Silverlake. 


Though the Growlers originally hail from Costa Mesa, and competed last year at the OC Music Awards, pages chronicling the surf rock band's history play up their Long Beach formation as if to say: “we spent our formative years in Orange County. But we shouldn't be held responsible for that.”
A press release sent out by indie band, the New Limb (who we deigned the best live band last year lists the quarter) also say that they hail Silverlake, not Costa Mesa.
Then there's Young the Giant. The Irvine band was recently written up by an Orange County Register reporter who visited their temporary Los Angeles home. Apparently their label has put them up in swanky hillside digs where they're ostensibly recuperating from touring and doing some writing. Really? You're going to have the label pay thousands of dollars so you can work and relax in chronically-gridlocked Los Angles, 20 miles from where your actual houses are? You better be writing a string of radio-ready money makers, because the label will present you with a bill.
So what gives? Does OC suffer from BO? It seems there was a time when bands actually wanted to be associated with this region. Take No Doubt, who emerged from the epicenter of ska's third wave right here. They unabashedly sang about their hometown of Anaheim and used citrus-based imagery in their videos. Despite becoming a blinged out holla back girl, Gwen Stefani continues to publicly claim her home turf. 
Other bands who have yet to become OC deniers include the Aquabats, the Vandals, Reel Big Fish and Offspring.
But hey, we get it. In the grand scheme of things, OC is just a filling station between San Diego and LA. Our art isn't as nouveau, and our celebrities aren't as camera ready. Here, we're world famous for blubber-mouthed spawn monkeys like Nadya Suleman. LA has Schwarzenegger, we have Nixon. And when we gentrify a downtown cultural center, we end up with monstrosities like the Yost as opposed to hipster hole in the walls like the Echoplex or the Smell. 
But is it really all that great up there where the pressure to be cool is so overwhelming, it threatens to make the hair from a man's handlebar mustache fall from his face?  Maybe OC should count itself lucky that it's yet to be abducted by the cult of cool. Then again, if fixie bike ownership is a barometer of coolness, OC's star might just be on the rise.

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