Barely out of their teens, guitarist K.K. Martin, bassist Craig Miller, and drummer Brian O'Brian had years of performance experience in previous bands prior to launching A La Carte on October 12th, 1976. An auspicious, boisterous kickoff, the band played to a drunken mob of 2000 at an annual Seal Beach block party which resulted in the ban (to this day) of unlicensed amplified live music. The commotion was observed by a few savvy rock promoters who saw the band's potential to fill up their hall parties. By December 1976 A La Carte was playing the 2000 capacity Queen Mary, the 1500 capacity Lafayette (Fender's) Ballroom and soon thereafter the 1500 capacity Edgewater, increasingly sporting more amps, bigger road crews and ever-gaudier custom-made stage attire. Between gigs, the band did what all 70's bands did: rehearse in the afternoon, write songs in the evening, and party all night long like they would never die.
Adding to the band's buzz was their friendship and mutual respect with The Runaways, the world's first internationally famous all-female rock group. The bands played gigs, traded licks and hung out together. The Runaways had become a major headliner and A La Carte could deliver a crowd that would help pack the shows.
After having gigged with all the more prominent local talent (Smile, Snow, Wolfgang, Stormer, Eulogy, Max Havoc and many others), A La Carte set their sights on playing with the longest-standing local band, Van Halen, and was offered a slot just nine months after their October '76 coming-out. The results were hilarious......more about that someday.
By this time, A La Carte had firmly established their own sound. Guitarist K.K. Martin described it as "ZZ Top meets The Who and talks about the J. Geils Band". With two distinct lead singers, spot-on harmonies, a dynamic, peerless bass player, an accomplished show-drummer with barely any clothes and too much makeup, and a searing, slashing blues-infused lead guitarist, A La Carte easily stood apart from the crowded field. Writing and performing songs that were alternately heavy thunder and ferocious boogie, the band enhanced their live appearances with outrageous humor and outlandish showmanship. The crowds seemed pleased.
The release of "A La Carte - Est. 1976" is the first-and-only album from the Southern California power trio that ceased performing in 1984. After four decades, hopefully, it was worth the wait.
Buy It Here: