Chinas Comidas

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photo by Abbot Genser
photo by Abbot Genser

Chinas Comidas circa 1979

Brock Rock: drums, Rich Riggins: guitar, Cynthia Genser (aka Chinas): vocals,
Dag Midtskog: bass, Mark Wheaton: keyboards.

photo by Abbot Genser
photo by Abbot Genser

Chinas 1977

The Story (Mark Wheaton POV)

After I stopped doing sound for Uncle Cookie I began helping out my friends in the band Chinas Comidas. I first met Chinas when I was hanging out at a friend’s house in Seattle. Dave had a nice big basement and he let the younger brother of his buddy rehearse his band there. The band was The Mentors.
And the younger brother was Eldon Hoke (El Duce).

El Duce by Tomata du Plenty

Years later El Duce died in Riverside, California. He was hit by a train. By that time he had become a notorious figure on the LA Music Scene and was eulogized very prominently in the LA Weekly by many of his friends.

Eldon also played drums with this band called Chinas Comidas. Chinas consisted of a woman poet from New York, Cynthia Genser, and her boyfriend, Rich Riggins, who played guitar and put Cynthia’s poetry to music. They were rehearsing for a big punk show that was going to feature both The Mentors and Chinas Comidas, as well as dozens of other punk bands.

 

IOOF Show May 1977 Seattle with the Mentors, Roland Rock, The Lewd, The Feelings, Chinas Comidas, Jim Basnight, Violent World
IOOF Show May 1977 Seattle with the Mentors, Roland Rock, The Lewd, The Feelings, Chinas Comidas, Jim Basnight, Violent World

A day or two before the gig Eldon decided to quit Chinas Comidas and concentrate on The Mentors. I was upstairs when Cynthia and Rich emerged from the basement, freaked out about what to do. They needed a drummer. I naively volunteered that my brother Brock was a drummer and maybe he would be interested. That was the beginning of the involvement that would bring me and my brother to LA in 1980. I became the sound man for Chinas Comidas. Finally after a year, when a previous keyboardist left Chinas, I took the leap and became the keyboardist for Chinas Comidas. I didn’t know a thing about playing keyboards, but I got a loan, bought a Wurlitzer Electric Piano and a Steiner Parker Synth and began learning the parts from Rich. I really never learned how to play keyboards, I only knew the parts to the songs Rich had taught me. Together we recorded two singles on Exquisite Corpse Records.

Black Flag and Chinas Comidas at the Bahamas Club in Seattle 1979

flyer for show at the Bahamas with Black Flag 1979

Chinas performed in the burgeoning Seattle Punk scene, and traveled to San Francisco where we played the Mabuhay and got written about in Search And Destroy Magazine. Chinas Comidas then toured the east coast with The Dead Kennedy’s, got written about in New York Rocker Magazine

Chinas at Tier 3 in New York

Chinas at Tier 3 New York 1979

… and finally went to LA where we performed on bills with The Germs, Bags, The Crowd, Rik L Rik, Zippers, Plugz, Fear, Dred Scott and others.

The Hong Kong Cafe, LA  Halloween 1979 with The Germs, Fear and Catholic Discipline Flyer art by Gary Panter
The Hong Kong Cafe, LA Halloween 1979 with The Germs, Fear and Catholic Discipline Flyer art by Gary Panter

 

Chinas at the Whisky 1980
Chinas Comidas at the Whisky with The Crowd and Rick L Rik
Chinas in Slash Magazine
Chinas in Slash Magazine

The band was profiled in Slash Magazine and reviewed several times.

Chinas Comidas broke up in 1980.

My brother Brock and I stayed in LA and became involved with

LA Performance Artist Johanna Went…