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Famous Musicians & Bands in Orange County, California

Bette Midler 
Lived in Laguna Canyon for a while.  
Chuck Rio (Danny Flores) Tequila! 
According to The Orange County Register, the Late Danny Flores of Westminster, known by his stage name "Chuck Rio", was the composer of the Champs hit "Tequila!" He passed away in September 2006 at the age of 77. He was known as the "Godfather of Latin Rock". The Champs Seals and Crofts. Their page notes Danny to have been "a talented saxophonist, keyboardist and singer." The Champs had originally been signed by Gene Autry, and at one time included Glen Campbell in their lineup. I did not find an official home page, but the one linked here gives a pretty good bio.  Westminster
Donavon Frankenreiter 
cover "'The surfing keeps me alive, and the music keeps me grounded.' Born on December 10, 1972 in Downey, California, Donavon Frankenreiter currently resides in Laguna Beach, CA, among the things he loves - his wife, his son, his guitar, and the ocean. Growing up his days revolved around the water, surfing every chance he had. At age 13, Billabong became Donavon's first sponsor and afforded him a role most surfers dream of, that of a free surfer - paid to ride the waves, but not required to surf in competition. Although he still surfs every chance he gets, Donavon's focus has shifted towards his music. When Donavon was 15, he got his first guitar, but it wasn't until he was 18 that he started playing seriously and formed his high school band Peanut Butter and Jam. He has always loved to play music, but only in the last three years, has he discovered his own voice, style and confidence to go at it on his own. Donavon likes to keep it simple, allowing his music to be inspired by anything that moves him, especially his surfing. In 2003, Donavon signed to Brushfire Records, Jack Johnson's signature label. Donavon's self-titled Brushfire debut, (the self-titled Donavon Frankenreiter ) was recorded at the Mango Tree, Hawaii and produced by Jack Johnson and mario Caldato, Jr."  
Jackson Browne 
According to Wikipedia, Jackson Browne attended Fullerton Sunny Hills High School.  
Leo Fender 
Father of the world famous Fender Broadcaster, Telecaster and Stratocaster. A really cool tribute to Leo Fender can be seen here and here. According to this City of Fullerton page: "Leo Fender (1909-1991) was a lifelong resident of Fullerton. In the late 1940s, he invented the first commercially successful solid body electric guitars. Loud and easy to play, Fender guitars had a new sound and fresh look that soon captivated listeners around the world. These improved electric guitars changed what musicians played, what they recorded, and what we heard. The tone and dynamics transformed all styles of popular musicóblues, jazz, rock'n'roll, and country. As America's popular music and culture went global, Leo's work became a prized symbol of ingenuity, personal freedom, and free enterprise. The symbol's power had far-reaching effects. More than a mere creator of sound, Leo Fender helped shape 20th Century history. Today the electric guitar is the most popular musical instrument in the world. Fender started a revolution in music and in the world's popular culture that continues today. It all happened here, in Downtown Fullerton - the 'guitar capital of the world'." See also: Rickenbacker Guitar and Fender Center for the Performing Arts.  
Huntington Beach: "The Orange County, California-based lineup of A.Jay on vocals, Jeremy on guitars, Kevin Baldes on bass, and Allen Shellenberger on drums, together nearly 15 years, have in their own manner, begun anew with Lit. Now on Nitrus/DRT/Dirty Martini Recordings after a productive stint with RCA, the band produced Lit themselves, and did it, to paraphrase Sinatra, 'their way,' as Jeremy explains: 'We went back to our warehouse in Anaheim, feeling free, jamming, for the reasons we started playing in the first place. No deadlines, no expectations, and no one polluting the process; just getting together to have fun and write songs.'"  
Mike Mills of R.E.M. 
According to the Wikipedia: "Michael Edward Mills is the bass guitar player of the band R.E.M. He was born on 17 December, 1958 in Orange County, California. Mike Mills is also a member of the band 'The Hindu Love Gods' alongside the other members of R.E.M. (minus Michael Stipe), with Warren Zevon on lead vocals. Only one self titled album by the group was ever released in 1990."  
No Doubt 
An Anaheim band that made it! According to their Rolling Stone Bio: "Genre: 3rd Wave Ska, Alternative/Punk, Ska Punk, Post-Grunge Hometown: Anaheim, CA Surfing high on the Ska Punk wave which raged in the 1990s, No Doubt found their ticket to ride in a watered-down, polished combination of 3rd Wave Ska and Punk-Pop. With success on the horizon, they quickly moved into more radio-friendly pop territory, launching a career that moved beyond alternative music festivals. As image-perfect as Disneyland, which sits in their backyard, No Doubt embrace a sound and look that counters the aggressive and raw aspects of Grunge and Punk. What little Ska sound they had has been buried under tightly crafted New Wave currents. As many teenage boys and girls will be quick to tell you, the appeal of No Doubt is the attention-grabbing centerpiece and vocalist, Gwen Stefani." According to the band's website, "The Very Beginning - [The City of Anaheim], California. Little Gwen, whose tastes run along the lines of The Sound of Music, agrees to sing lead vocals on older brother Eric Stefani's first song, 'Stick It In The Hole,' about a pencil sharpener. Born and raised in England, relocated to Southern California at age 11, saxophonist Tony Kanal joins his high-school jazz band in 10th grade as the bass player. Ninth grader Adrian Young attempts to drum to 'Bend Over' by O.C. band Doggy Style at a school talent contest; his parents bought him a kit when he was 18. A wee lad with a prized KISS record living in [The City of Irvine] (California), Tom Dumont dreamed of being a rock star. As a teen, hopeful Tom started practicing guitar. Setting the Foundation - December 1986 - Back-flipping singer John Spence forms Orange County-based 2 Tone ska group No Doubt-named after his favorite expression-with keyboardist Eric, who forces Gwen to sing backing vocals. Gwen cites Madness, Kermit the Frog, Julie Andrews and Fishbone's Angelo Moore as her heroes." According to Wikipedia, Tom Dumont studied at Orange Coast College, lives in Long Beach, and is a member of The Surfrider Foundation.  
The Offspring 
"Long before there was The OC, The Warped Tour or even X Games, there was The Offspring, formed by a pair of Orange County high school buddies back in '84 following a show in Irvine by local legends Social Distortion."  
Rage Against the Machine 
"1991: First public performance, somebody's living room, Orange County, California. 1992: Self-produced 12-song cassette released. Includes 'Bullet In The Head' - this original version is later included on Epic debut album. Through fan club and at live shows, this tape sells over 5,000 copies." The rest is music history.  
Rex Smith 
"REX SMITH made his Broadway debut as Danny Zuko in the original production of 'Grease!' He received the Theater World Award for his portrayal of Frederick in 'The Pirates of Penzance' on Broadway, and also starred in the film adaptation. Other starring roles on Broadway include 'The Human Comedy,' 'Grand Hotel,' 'The Scarlet Pimpernel' and most recently 'Annie Get Your Gun.' Rex has also starred in Lincoln Center's 'Anything Goes,' The Kennedy Center's 'West Side Story,' and the Canadian production of 'Sunset Boulevard.' National tours include 'Grease!,' 'Joseph...' 'Jesus Christ Superstar,' 'Godspell' and 'They're Playing Our Song.' On TV, Rex hosted 'Solid Gold,' starred in ABC's 'Street Hawk' and Daytime's 'As The World Turns.' TV movies include 'Sooner or Later' (also the title of his platinum album featuring the hit song, 'You Take My Breath Away'), 'Daredevil' and Danielle Steele's 'Once in a Lifetime.' Rex has guest starred on the primetime series 'Norm,' 'JAG,' 'Caroline in the City,' 'The Sentinel,' 'Baywatch' and 'Pacific Blue.' Most recently, Rex recorded his sixth album, SIMPLY...REX for MCA-Universal Records. Rex most recently starred in the national tour of 'Kiss Me Kate.'"  
Richie Sambora 
According to his Bio in the Wikipedia: "Richie Sambora (born Richard Stephen Sambora on July 11, 1959) is best known as the lead guitarist for Bon Jovi, handles harmony and background vocals, and joins frontman Jon Bon Jovi in writing most of the band's songs over the course of their twenty year run." Lives with wife Heather Locklear - According to Instyle's article they have a "a contemporary 2,800 square-foot getaway high on a bluff in Laguna Beach, Calif., with heart-stopping, 180-degree views of an all-but-horizonless Pacific Ocean."  
Rickenbacker Guitar 
"Founded in 1931 by Adolph Rickenbacker and George D. Beauchamp, this pioneering firm produced 'Rickenbacker Electro Instruments', the first modern electric guitars. RIC's history now spans 74 years in business on the leading edge of music trends that have changed popular culture forever. Played by Hawaiian musicians of the 1930s to jazz bassists of the 1990s, by the Beatles and Byrds to the most-current rock groups on MTV, the ringing sound of Rickenbacker instruments has helped define music as we know it. Never resting on its laurels, RIC continues to ignite and propel the electric guitar's transformation of music by providing today's musicians with the finest instruments available.... In addition to newly designed guitars and basses, the company offers faithful reissues of the classics played by the Beatles and other famous artists. RIC has offered highly successful, limited-edition signature models endorsed by such diverse players as Roger McGuinn, Pete Townshend, Tom Petty, Carl Wilson, and John Kay. Improvements in construction and quality control have carried Rickenbackers into the modern era, one that respects the company's early history and at the same time sets out to write new chapters. Groups like Oasis, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, U2, and other of today's top acts include Rickenbacker guitars in their musical arsenal." See also, Leo Fender.  Santa Ana
The Righteous Brothers 
Newport Beach residents Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley were the famous duo "The Righteous Brothers", who brought blue-eyed soul to mainstream America. Both were born in 1940. Bobby Hatfield, who passed away on November 5, 2003, moved to Anaheim from Wisconsin with his family at age 4. According to the Righteous Brothers website, he started organizing singing and instrumental groups in high school. He attended Fullerton Jr. College and Cal State Long Beach. Bill Medley was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Santa Ana. He sang in the church choir and high school glee club. They teamed up in 1962 to play a prom, where they divided the $40 proceeds 5 ways. The Righteous Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.  
Social Distortion 
Fullerton's Mike Ness is a 20-year veteran as lead singer & songwriter for Social Distortion. Per's Bio: "The frontman for punk survivors Social Distortion, singer/guitarist Mike Ness was born April 3, 1962 in Stoneham, Massachusetts. Raised primarily in Orange County, California, he was kicked out of his parents' house at age 15 and spent the years which followed in and out of jail and experimenting with drugs; after forming Social D in 1979..."  
Sugar Ray 
Per their website: " The men of Sugar Ray all grew up in sunny Orange County, California, with the exception of the Pasadena-raised DJ Homicide. " According to their Rolling Stone bio: "Genre: Post-Grunge, Rock/Pop, Alternative/Punk, Funk Metal Hometown: Orange County, CA Sugar Ray owe a great debt to the powers that make their fusion of styles so darn catchy. Somehow, the union of hardcore Speed Metal with growling vocals, the sunny, feel-good songs with shimmering acoustic guitar, grungy guitar-driven rock and DJ Homicide's groovy beats make a unified sound all their own. Fueled by the popularity of their ubiquitous first single 'Fly' and singer Mark McGrath's pin-up looks -- the five-piece SoCal band seem likely to beat Warhol's 'fifteen minutes of fame' prediction. "  
Whitney Houston 
According to divorce papers, Whitney Houston has lived in Laguna Hills since April 2006. Bio available at IMDB. Article about divorce at Orange County Register.  
Wild Child - Jim Morrision & Doors Tribute Band 
A Huntington Beach Band. "Wild Child is a 18 year running, Los Angeles based, Doors tribute band that faithfully re-creates a live doors concert. The music of the doors and voice of Morrison are faithfully re-created with all the depth, energy and emotion of doors concerts live as they were back in 1967-1971. Wild Child has performed on tours nationally, as well as internationally, playing to packed venues. Wild Child utilizes the same musical equipment as the doors, including Gibson SG and 335 guitars, Vox Continental organ, Fender Rhodes Key bass, Gibson G101 keyboard, Ludwig 'swirl' drum set, and more. No aspect of faithfully re-creating the most accurate and involving doors tribute act is overlooked."  
© Keith Weber
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