School of Rock


By Paul Feinberg '85, Illustrations by P.J. Loughran

Published Jan 1, 2009 8:15 AM

And the Beat Goes On ...

The duo Jan and Dean had several hits in the 1960's.

The original "California sound" was surf music, and riding the wave along with the Beach Boys and other bands were Jan and Dean — Jan Berry '66 and Dean Torrence. Their hits included "Surf City" and "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena."

Satirist/songwriter Randy Newman '65 wrote and performed "I Love L.A." for a Nike commercial. The song became the city's unofficial anthem (and Los Angeles Lakers theme song).

Funk-rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers, whose lead singer Anthony Kiedis attended UCLA, produced one of rock's most unforgettable recent tunes, "Under the Bridge," which recalls their reality from the underside of the city.

Barret Hansen M.A. '67 has a master's degree in folklore and ethnomusicology from UCLA. But rock history buffs know him better as Dr. Demento, the off-the-wall disc jockey who's been bringing listeners "mad music and crazy comedy" for almost 40 years, including launching the career, for better or worse, of "Weird" Al Yankovic.

Randy Newman penned the theme song for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Another Bruin — DJ, singer, songwriter and teacher Barry Smolin '87 — hosts the syndicated radio show "The Music Never Stops," which focuses on the Grateful Dead and other jam bands. Like any good Bruin, Smolin also has an academic side — he is a highly-regarded educator and English teacher at Hamilton High School in L.A.

Maroon 5 members Mickey Madden (bass) and Ryan Dusick '01 (drums) could both be seen on Bruin Walk during their college years.

Other punk rockers who spent time in Westwood include lead singer and songwriter Gregg Ginn '75 and bass player Kira Roessler '85 of Black Flag.



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