The Nine Most “L.A.” Los Angeles Bands

Van Halen

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were both born and raised in Queens. That makes Simon & Garfunkel a more "pureblood" New York outfit than, say, Blondie or the Velvet Underground. This made me think about the countless Los Angeles bands that, like the city itself, consist of transplants: most of the members of the Eagles, Guns N' Roses, and Maroon 5, for example, came here as adults. Even quintessentially LA groups like Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Go-Go's have some non-Californians in the lineup. So which are the most "born and bred" Los Angeles bands? Read on.

  1. THE BEACH BOYS: 5 out of 5 members. It helps when it's a family affair: Wilson brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl grew up in Hawthorne, a Los Angeles suburb just southeast of LAX. Their cousin, singer Mike Love, grew up in LA. The other core Beach Boy, Al Jardine, is the black sheep of the group, having moved to Hawthorne as a teen and not being a blood relation of the Wilsons. Sometime members David Marks and Bruce Johnston are also locals. (I won't get into all the session musicians who played with various iterations of the band over the decades.)
  2. VAN HALEN: 4 out of 4 members. These guys are technically a Pasadena band, but since that city is just a few miles from downtown Los Angeles, it's essentially LA. Eddie and Alex Van Halen moved there as adolescents, David Lee Roth and Michael Anthony as teens, and they all met at Pasadena City College. Roth's late '80s replacement Sammy Hagar grew up in Fontana, a suburb of San Bernadino, some 45 miles east of Pasadena. Anthony's no longer with the band, but he's been replaced by Eddie's son Wolfgang, who is, naturally, an LA native. (Let's pretend that VH's late '90s vocalist Gary Cherone never happened.)
  3. N.W.A: 5 out of 5 members. Most of this legendary rap group really is straight outta Compton: Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Yella, and MC Ren were all born there. Ice Cube was born in South Central Los Angeles (Compton is its own city), but was educated in the safe, white San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Woodland Hills. How safe and white? Actresses Lisa Kudrow and Robin Wright also graduated from his high school.
  4. THE BLACK EYED PEAS: 4 out of 4 members. and Taboo both grew up in Boyle Heights, a tough East LA neighborhood now on the cusp of gentrification. was born in the Philippines, but he moved to Los Angeles at the age of 14 to be adopted. Finally, Fergie hails from humble Hacienda Heights, an unincorporated neighborhood in Los Angeles County.
  5. MÖTLEY CRÜE: 4 out of 4 members. The rockers that personify the '80s Sunset Strip are all native Californians, more or less: bassist Nikki Sixx, born in San Jose, was shuffled around from home to home while growing up, but he settled in LA when he was 17. Drummer Tommy Lee, though born in Greece, moved to Covina (in east Los Angeles County) when he was just a year old. Indiana-born guitarist Mick Mars was eight when his family relocated to Garden Grove (in Orange County). Singer Vince Neil is the most local member of them all, born in Hollywood and raised in Glendora, just a spit from Covina.
  6. THE BANGLES: 5 out of 5 members. Out of this popular '80s girl band, only three members still tour as the Bangles: Susannah Hoffs, born in Los Angeles, and Vicki and Deborah Peterson, raised in Northridge (in the San Fernando Valley). But the two departed Bangles are also locals: Annette Zilinskas is from Van Nuys (also in the Valley) and Michael "Micki" Steele was born in Pasadena.
  7. SYSTEM OF A DOWN: 4 out of 4 members. This Armenian-American hard rock group is all Angeleno. Frontman Serj Tankian grew up in LA from the age of five onwards, and all the other members were raised locally (including former drummer Andy Khachaturian).
  8. BAD RELIGION: 5 out of 6 members. This political punk band was formed by four high school friends in Woodland Hills. (No, not Ice Cube's high school.) Literally all of Bad Religion's 15 current and past members hail from LA except for current guitarist Brian Baker, a Washington DC native.
  9. LINKIN PARK: 5 out of 6 members. Four teens from Agoura Hills, an LA suburb bordering Ventura County, founded Linkin Park in 1996. DJ Joe Hahn is from Glendale, which is even closer to Greater Los Angeles. Only their singer is a transplant: he grew up in Phoenix. (The bassist is from Orange County, but I'll cut him some slack.) Speaking of the OC, I should mention No Doubt, The Offspring, and Avenged Sevenfold, all of whose members are OC natives. But an OC band isn't quite the same thing as an LA band.