Permanent Green Light
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About Permanent Green Light
The short-lived Los Angeles trio Permament Green Light featured the songwriting and vocal talents of guitarist Matt Devine and bassist Michael Quercio. The latter had been in the psychedelic pop group the Three O'Clock and this project melded their baroque melodies with the strutting crunch of a grunge Big Star. They only released a handul of singles, one EP and an album, 1993's Against Nature, before spiltting up, but it was enough to make them a memorable, if completely unsung, addition to the era's underground music scene.
After the Three O'Clock folded in 1988, Quercio joined his buddy Scott Miller's band Game Theory, just as that band was winding down. The two thought about starting another band together, but neither wanted to leave their respective cities -- Los Angeles for Quercio, the Bay Area for Miller -- so Quercio instead stayed home and formed the trio Permanent Green Light, which was named after a song on the Godz' 1967 release Godz Two. He had been playing in a pickup band called the Fairy Turnout with guitarist Matt Devine and the two decided to start something real. They found drummer Chris Bruckner and quickly developed a sound that nodded to the grunge fashions (loud guitars, thrashing drums) of the day, but sounded more like a charged up cross between the paisley-tinged melodies of the Three O'Clock and the classic power pop of Big Star. Quercio and Devine split the songwriting and singing duties, while Bruckner was in charge of song titles and concepts. The group's theatrical and divisive live show -- one night they flung chocolate-covered fish at the crowd -- got them noticed quickly. The music was impressive too, and Bill Bartell signed the trio to his Gasatanka Records label (home of White Flag and Redd Kross, not to mention the Tater Totz, a local scenester supergroup Quercio was a part of) then released their debut single, "We Could Just Die," in 1991. The band followed with a self-titled EP the next year on Rockville Records that concluded with a lengthy acid rock experiment called "Chris Drops In (originally titled Against Nature)." That subtitle, nicked from the cult novel by J.K. Huysmans, eventually turned up as the title of the trio's first album.
Produced by Earle Mankey, who had worked on the Three O'Clock's early records, Against Nature was released by Rockville in late 1993. After devoting more time to his home recording set-up and less time to the band, Devine left in mid-1995, eventually joining Medicine and later working with Possum Dixon. He was replaced by guitarist Bernard Yin of Medicine's touring band and Quercio took over all songwriting and vocal chores for the group's next single, 1995's "You Are the Queen of Market Street." Apparently, a full album was recorded with Yin, but it remained unreleased. Two tracks eventually showed up as the final Permanent Green Light single, "Hitler With Mascara," in 1996, as Yin was leaving the group.
Querico stayed busy with a new band with Bruckner, the Jupiter Effect, and then in the 2010's played with a reformed Three O'Clock, but Permanent Green Light remained out of the spotlight until 2018 when Omnivore released Hallucinations, a collection of singles, album tracks and demos. ~ Stewart Mason
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