The Neckties’ Miles Gretsky (left) and friends return to their childhood playground. Photo by Mario Thorton
by Maggie Lochtenberg
If you were in South Hermosa Beach earlier this month, you might have seen over 20 locals bombing the Eighth Street hill on skateboards and bikes while cars honked and neighbors yelled. Blame The Neckties, who organized the mass movement to promote their upcoming EP “King of the Hill”.
Safety patrol. Photo by Alex Khatchadourian
“We’ve bomb that hill every day since we were kids,” said The Neckties’ drummer Miles Gretsky, whose band got together in 2005, when they were students at Hermosa Valley School. They cite local punk band STDs, and the legendary Black Flag as their primary influences. When asked to describe their sound, Gretsky and vocalist Marty Gabriel let out a little laugh, then agreed that it could be termed skate rock or hardcore. They explained that now-a-days everything’s “been done before,” and therefore bands are continuously experimenting with blending genres in an attempt to create a sound that audiences have yet to hear.
“Kings of the Hill.” Photo by Alex Khatchadourian
Despite their 10 years, The Neckties have seldom made formal recordings. The band has released just one 7″ LP, entitled “Skating with a Boner” as well as a full album called “Welcome to the Neighborhood.” The reason for the scarcity of recordings is simple; lack of funding. The records were self-produced and are in route to becoming collector’s items.
Marty. Photo by Mario Thorton
Their new EP ‘King of the Hill’ is a buried gem, having been recorded back in 2010. It is being excavated and re-faceted for release. When the recordings were made, the members were still teenagers. Having followed the footsteps of some STDs’ members into the construction field, they’ve been able to scrape up enough money to polish off the EP and expect to have it out within the next couple of months. In addition to the EP, they have a new single (really, it’s new) called “Think Big.” When asked about its release date Gabriel let out another laugh. “As soon as I have the money for it,” he said.
Tyler. Photo by Mario Thorton
Fortunately, a lack of funds does not spell a lack of fun. The Neckties seem to play shows continuusly. Earlier this year they toured the West Coast with fellow punk band Chum Ruckus, and just last weekend opened for Too Rude at the Hermosa Saloon. However, when confronted about the transition from beloved house shows and all ages venues to more and more 21+ gigs, blame lies and the Dylan quote “The times, they are a changin’.” Many venues once hosts to The Neckties and other local bands are now gone, replaced by fitness gyms and electronic dance clubs. “Around here if we have a show in someone’s backyard, the cops arrive within 20 minutes,” Marty said. However, further inland the police rarely make appearances at underground shows, and venues like the Colony Warehouse in West Compton have been generous in providing local bands as well as fans of all ages a place to play and enjoy the music.
“Kings of the Hill.” Photo by Mario Thorton
The Neckties express little interest in the fame or fortune that many musicians seem to crave. Their success is embedded in the lifestyles they naturally lead.
“If it wasn’t for the beach, we’d have a different attitude about everything,” Gabriel said. ER