27 Miami Bands We Really Wish Would Get Back Together

Radioboxer made the list. See who else did below.
Radioboxer made the list. See who else did below.
Photo by Alex Broadwell

Bands get together. Bands break up. From national arena acts to teens jammin' in a garage, no musician is immune. Even when things are going well, you never know when a cymbal might fly across the recording studio, striking a lead singer in the forehead and forever ending your favorite group's career.

Sometimes the things we love die, and we mourn and move on. Like when your hamster escaped his cage and fled out the front door. But sometimes we're just not ready to let go of the things we lose. Like when your burrito came apart in your hands, spilling its contents onto the floor and leaving you on your hands and knees, sobbing with fistfuls of carnitas.

We put together this list of beloved and disbanded Miami bands to remember and memorialize them but also in the hopes that maybe — somewhere out there — these acts are listening. Perhaps they'll pick up the phone, dial an old friend, and dust off their instruments for one last gig. These are 27 Miami bands we really wish would get back together. 

27. Jacob’s Ladder

If you’re in any way involved in the Miami music scene, you’ve probably met the members of Jacob’s Ladder. Maybe you remember their pop-punk magic filling up Churchill's. The truth remains that between Sammy Gonzales, Oren Maisner and Brian Hernandez (who went on to form awesome thrashers WRONG with fellow music scene vet Ryan Haft) the love for Jacob’s Ladder lives on through current projects. Gonzales opened up Bull Productions right by the Hit Factory and records some stellar locals like Eagle Chief (formerly Arboles Libres). With the days of DIY touring and albums produced by Cyrus Bolooki behind them, the Jacob’s Ladder dudes are still rocking out. — By Steve Vaynshtok

26. Lil Daggers

I had no idea how much talent was in my own backyard until I saw Lil Daggers performing at a gallery show during the first III Points festival in 2013. That night was my introduction to Miami's music scene, and because of that, it saddens me knowing they are no more. Seeing them wasn't just about discovering talent but also realizing there were bands from Miami that played music I actually liked. I don't know why, but it shocked me that a group of kids from Miami, my fellow 305-till-I-die natives, could sound as trippy and psychedelic as Lil Daggers did. It wasn't a sound I associated with Miami at all, and because of that, I fell in love. I don't really know much about the ending to the group's story, so I can't tell you why they disbanded. All is not lost, though, as a good chunk of the band went off to form Heavy Drag. — By Junette Reyes

25. Dubskatta

If you lived on South Beach around five or ten years ago, chances are you’ve seen Dubskatta. Billy, Jared, Neville, and Ray were simply four fun motherfuckers playing fun music all over the beach. You could hear their swift ska twist-ups weekly at Finnegan’s on the beach, and the group even did a reunion show at Lost Weekend a couple of years ago. Dubskatta were regulars and frequent headliners of the popular Manic Monday’s night at Senior Frog’s on the beach. Believe it or not, Miami, that place would be packed each Monday, and the city’s music scene screamed from adolescence. Dubskatta were the hormones. — By Eric Garcia

24. Panda Bite

Panda Bite was a two-piece that consisted of Juan Montoya (previously of Cavity and Ed Matus’s Struggle) and Nick Elvis (drummer for Sayonara Tokyo). Anyone who knows Montoya knows that — despite being a rock ’n’ roll giant — he’s actually a quiet guy in real life. But to see him in action fronting his own band was to see a man unhinged and ready to destroy. The bombastic combination of Montoya’s epic riffage and Elvis’ thundering beats was enough to shake the walls of any venue. The duo was doom before it was the moniker du jour of every band coming up now. Plus, they did an amazing cover of Aphex Twin’s "Come to Daddy," a feat not perfected by any other band to this day. — By Tim Moffatt 

23. Fashionista

Fashionista was the love child of Miami's indie dance revolution charging toward the new millennium. Affectionately tagged as Miami's answer to the Smiths, Fashionista thrived during the rise of the indie-rock dance scene in Miami. It was a time when Miami gave birth to parties like Poplife, Revolver, and Spider Pussy, and Fashionista played them all. They were the indie kings of the 305. It was a time when everyone covered their faces with their bangs and wore Members Only jackets. But the band lives on, with some members having been recast into iconic Miami indie bands like Astari Nite. Fashionista may be long gone, but it will live in our hearts forever. If you had a boyfriend who looked like your girlfriend, chances are he played in Fashionista. — By Notorious Nastie 

22. Machete

Before Hollywood made the movie, Machete was a Miami band. Started in 1994 by Sunset Senior High School kids who played Pixies covers, the group eventually graduated to writing original indie tunes. Made up of singer/guitarist Justin Gracer, bassist Ben Carrillo, guitarist Seth Berkey, and drummer Kris King, Machete was a regular when Poplife was held at Picadilly Garden. In this video of their final show at Churchill’s in July of 2002, Machete sounded so tight, maybe it just had to break apart. — By David Rolland

21. north&south

Never has a band from Miami created such an intricate and textured sound as the post rock/instrumental wizards north&south. The band's live shows ranged from amazing to absolutely breathtaking, and its songs (often lasting over eight minutes) evoke every emotion. The band had a demo on Bandcamp and an EP officially out on Miami’s own Limited Fanfare records, but its run seemed too short, ending after only a handful of shows, including a magnum opus at Grand Central back when it was putting on some of the most brilliantly produced and crowded local nights around. North&south’s epic Grand Central performance can only be described as an expertly curated audio/visual experience. The band was synced to a bunch of grainy old war footage that it cut together itself, and each climax and crescendo seemed perfectly fit to the visuals. When all was said and done, the band was one of the mightiest forces in the scene, with an album on Temporary Residence Ltd. inevitably in its future if the group would have just kept on keeping on. — By Steve Vaynshtok

20. Harry Pussy

From 1992 to 1997, Harry Pussy was fucking nuts. The band — started by Bill Orcutt, who made atonal guitar sounds, and Adris Hoyos, who offered unbridled screams and wild drumming — holds the honor of having the most interesting band name to Google. It’s also one of the few noise bands successful enough to warrant a Wikipedia page. Other members included Dan Hosker (of Holy Terrors), Mark Feehan, and Ian Steinberg. The band remains a touchstone for young, adventurous, and passionate noisemakers. It put out seven albums, closing out in ’98 with Let's Build a Pussy, and also released numerous singles, EPs, and compilations. This included Live Fuck Love Songs on VHS (that square thing you put in a VCR to show moving images, remember?). Maybe you don’t like this kind of thing, but if that's the case, then you’re just wrong, and you make us sad. Miami’s music scene has stayed vibrant and interesting thanks to the experimental nature of Harry Pussy. Noise kids now should be writing Hoyos and Orcutt love letters. Or at least visiting Orcutt's shows — he’s played Miami a few times in recent years, including at Sweat Records and the band’s old stomping grounds, Churchill’s Pub. His solo work isn’t as raw as his ‘90s band’s sound, but he still manages to capture a level of intensity and emotion simply by working them strings. It’s not every day you get charmed by such originality as Harry Pussy presented. And so we remember it fondly. — By Liz Tracy 

19. King Bee

Who doesn't miss the great King Bee? Everyone thought these guys had a real shot. King Bee had both the respect of the other local bands in the Miami music scene and a large and thirsty following for about a decade — from the early 2000s until just a few years ago. Sort of a swampy Black Crows meets the Beatles, King Bee had a vibe and an aura to match deep melodies and thoughtful songwriting. It had just been signed to a great up-and-coming talent agency when its singer decided to pursue the straight life. A more-than-respectable replacement was brought in, but sometimes if you change one ingredient, the gumbo just ain't right no more. — By Eric Garcia

18. Capsule

You can’t talk about Miami without talking about Capsule. Ryan Haft’s previous project, before his current WRONG outing with Brian from Jacob’s Ladder, was as beloved and well-known as Haft himself. The band, rounded out by Colin Smith, Derek Flanagin, and Eric Hernandez, put on some of the rowdiest shows Churchill's has ever seen, filmed a stellar music video for track “Gown of Frost," and gathered national press via some respected publications. Its music was hard and fast, with no room for filler, delivering crushing breakdowns with solid songwriting and lyrical content. It could be a bigger shame that it broken up had there been no spiritual successor, but given the existence of WRONG, as long as music is being made by former members of Capsule, its brand of epic crunchy guitar riffs lives on. — By Steve Vaynshtok

17. Spinlight City

Remember when everyone liked pop-punk? Yeah, no, me neither. I mean, it was a thing, but do we talk about it? Whether you choose to admit that you once were a Warped Tour faithful and frequented shows by bands who made Alternative Press-ready music and wore skinny jeans and had long, straightened bangs, one thing remains certain: Spinlight City was a real thing. Having toured on the Vans Warped Tour and played a medley of fantastic shows throughout the years, Spinlight City was one of those bands that everyone knew or knew about. With a range that extended past Churchill's to national stages and special events (FMF, Warped, and even the Grammy Showcase), the band’s cleanest offering was 2008’s “Agree to Disagree,” on which it worked with producer James Paul Wisner, whose credits include the Academy Is, Paramore, and Dashboard Confessional. Spinlight City may be no more, but we definitely remember. -- By Steve Vaynshtok

16. The Goods

The Goods were protégés of the late, legendary Tom Dowd, a producer widely recognized as one of the most influential individuals in modern music history. Still, it was the band's five albums of the ‘90s that established its remarkable reputation. The Goods' iconic rock opera 5 Steps to Getting Signed garnered Album of the Year honors at the Florida Jammy Awards, while the single “I’m Not Average” from the masterpiece Mint reached number one on the influential Radio & Records programmers guide and eventually led to a major-label signing with PolyGram Records. The group even landed a VH1 documentary — no small feat for a band new on the national scene. Jim Camacho, the band's co-leader along with his brother, went on to a brilliant solo career, but the Goods still loom large as South Florida legends. — By Lee Zimmerman

15. Chickenhead

Take one part Black Flag, one part Germs, shake it up and light the fuse and you get Chickenhead: Miami’s answer to West Coast hardcore. And Chickenhead did everything to prove its rep as the craziest dudes alive back in the day. But craziness aside, they were really good! The amazing EP Everything Must Go! Is quite literally everything a punk kid wants to hear screamed into their face. Chuck Loose was an untamed beast performing feats of frontman insanity that are the stuff of legend. Erick “Iggy Scam” Lyle slashed at his guitar like a katana-wielding samurai, while Scott Crackrock on drums and Brian “Buddha” Bush on bass held down the low end with violent ease. It was insane, intense, and unhinged, and no one has come close to behaving so badly since. It's a toss-up when it comes to my favorite Chickenhead line: “Gave that cop a karate chop!” followed by, “Do you like my car? It was free because I stole it!” — By Tim Moffatt 

14. The Kind

The Kind was a Miami funk band in the early- to mid-'90s with an awesome vibe and following. Shows at clubs on the beach like the Stephen Talkhouse, Washington Square, and Rose's would be packed and the Kind would be doing its own spin on what the early Red Hot Chili Peppers had stamped on the decade. And just like Flea from the Chili Peppers, the Kind had a phenomenal bass player named Leo Nobre. He still plays professionally, but the others have all since started families. But we'll never forget the dynamic frontman, Angus Smith, and the meticulous guitarist and musical director, Richard Lebos. They were the heart of a band that had to be seen. — By Eric Garcia 

13. Ramatam

A supergroup of sorts, Ramatam could claim roots in our environs, even though their individual members boasted international reputations. Guitarist Mike Pinera was then — and still remains — a South Florida homeboy, although he had long since achieved national notoriety with Blues Image and Iron Butterfly. The late, legendary Tom Dowd, who also called Miami home, produced the first of their two albums in 1972. The band acquired further prestige with the presence of former Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell and guitarist April Lawton, a dynamic performer so private, little was known about her. However, it was her insistence on renaming the group the April Lawton Band that led to the group's break-up in 1974. Still, despite its brief lifespan, we can take pride in having nurtured a band of such possibility and promise. — By Lee Zimmerman

12. Holy Terrors

To start at the end, Miami-via-Boston rock ’n’ roll-playing punks Holy Terrors performed their final show in 2010 at what we can assume was a filthy, loud, and rowdy Churchill’s Pub. From 1990 to 2012, Rob Elba and Dan Hosker kept one of the longest-running, quality Miami acts together and sounding hella tight. Their lineups included William Trev, Frank Labrador, and Mike Bocsusis, and the band’s original drummer, Sam Fogarino, even ended up playing for turn-of-the-millennium alt darlings Interpol. The Holy Terrors, like every other homegrown act since the ‘90s, was first produced by Rat Bastard, but its first LP, Lolitaville, was released in 1994 on Pound Records. According to the band’s website, four years later, while recording the next full-length album, Hosker left to tour with noise act Harry Pussy. The album was eventually resurrected as This Is What It Sounds Like When You're Dead. So back to that end where we started. Though the Holy Terrors’ music is immortal, it is made up of humans. Hosker was hit by a car and tragically passed away from his injuries in August 2012. The community grieved and kept his legacy alive by naming the Dan Hosker Studio at the Little Haiti dive Holy Terrors last played. Elba continues to scream intensely while wailing on his guitar as part of the Shark Valley Sisters, alongside Load’s drummer, Fausto Figueredo. He also cowrote Hearing Damage: The Rat Opera with Brian Franklin, a musical dedicated to scene stalwart Rat Bastard. When it comes to Holy Terrors, there’s a lot to miss and too much to say. — By Liz Tracy

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11. Z-Cars

Heavily influenced by the postpunk and new-wave scene that was all the rage in the U.K., New York, L.A., and San Francisco, Z-Cars replicated the sound with such authenticity, it was easy to imagine these rowdy rock ’n’ roll poseurs were actually English expatriates. Lead singer and charismatic frontman Peter Patrick even sang with a British accent, though no one was quite sure if it was affected or not. After the band's heyday in the late ’70s and early ’80s, it quickly faded from view, and with Patrick’s passing a few years back, the group was further doomed to anonymity. Fortunately, there are YouTube videos of the band’s reunion at the Button South in July 2012, an event that found the surviving members paying tribute to their late leader. — By Lee Zimmerman

10. Pygmy

Pygmy, oh Pygmy! These guys would come onstage and blow minds with every set they did. They were an experimental, indie rock, noise pop band that was equal parts the Band and Flaming Lips (circa Zaireeka) with just a whiff of the Minutemen. The members of Pygmy would go on to form the Down Home Southernaires, Can’t Stop, and Animal Tropical, but, for us, there was nothing like the original. Jorge Rubiera on drums, Kris Pabon and Howard Maxwell Johnson sharing guitar duties, Humberto Jose Castello as a part-time bassist and pianist, Jarret Hahn on bass, and Edward Adames on vocals produced a genre all its own that resulted in people staring in complete amazement. It was a sight to see and an even bigger audio treat. — By Tim Moffatt 

9. Against All Authority

Here’s the thing: Ska-core used to be really, really fun! It was like going to a hardcore show, but nice folks could dance too. Against All Authority was one of the all-time greats of the genre, period. It was energetic and angry and had hardcore, horn-filled breakdowns. Danny Lore would spit fire into the audience on bass and vocals. Joe Koontz would throttle his guitar while a maelstrom of a circle pit ensued. The band's seminal album Destroy What Destroys You still holds up pretty well nearly 20 years after its release. Sadly, the boys ended things in 2007 after 15 years together. — By Tim Moffatt

8. Manchild

Somewhere around 15 years back, there was a force of a band with a larger-than-life frontman named Demetrius Brown. This guy played quarterback for Michigan in 1987 and was a handsome, charismatic dude playing rock ’n’ roll like nobody else. He was either way ahead or way behind his time. With vocals that were soulful and unique, Brown sang songs he penned himself. Moreover, the man could rip some serious guitar on his Fender Strat. He was — is — the whole package. He’s still around town, and if you’re lucky, you can catch him sitting in with someone or playing solo with his sweet songs of yesterday. — By Eric Garcia

7. Jack Off Jill

The upcoming reappearance of Marilyn Manson reminded us of his sister band in indecency, Jack Off Jill. The shock-rocker quartet got its start in 1992 and was mentored by Manson, opening for him as he shot to megastardom. Jack Off Jill had its own bad reputation it lived up to onstage. Singer Jessicka Addams' trademark wails earned the band a deal with a major label. Jack Off Jill eventually left behind South Florida for L.A. and called it quits in 2000, but it will always live on in Miami’s collective memory if for no other reason than its T-shirts, which read, “What we can't eat we'll fuck.” — By David Rolland 

6. Radioboxer

Radioboxer was one of those bands that put on a theatrical live show filled with fake blood, fan interaction, and wild flailing. The band’s brand of psychedelic pop brought them to places like Churchill's, the Stage, and Grand Central. Helmed by husband/wife duo David and Vanessa Dazza, the band had a long and beloved run in the Miami music scene, bringing with them crowds of adoring fans basically anywhere they played. After Radioboxer's breakup, the Miami scene always seemed to be lacking that theatricality that this band once brought with it to stages across the Magic City. — By Steve Vaynshtok

5. The Brand

Like a breath of fresh air, the indie-rock sounds of the Brand was chock-full of harmonies reminiscent of the Beach Boys, the Smiths, and early Weezer. However, it was never derivative, and it always brought a fresh sense of style and charisma to the stage. The Brand consisted of Omar Garcia on guitar and vocals, Bianca Pupo handling keyboards and vocal duties, Juan Ona on drums, and Leo Valencia on bass. The group could hold its own in a scene filled with punks, metalheads, and hardcore kids, and that’s a really rare thing in a scene that can be, at times, very segregated. Also, the Brand threw the Plaid Friday band showcase once a month, which makes it really tough — even for naysayers — to hate on a band that was all about making friends and giving everyone a chance to be heard. — By Tim Moffatt

4. Al's Not Well

Born in the dingy studio run by freestyle legends Erotic Exotic, Al's Not Well was one of the most original and refreshing bands to ever come out of Hialeah. These cool Latin cats often toured with rock ’n’ roll heavyweights Duran Duran, Fishbone, and Incubus. Al's Not Well gained national attention when it covered "One Way or Another" by Blondie with Debbie Harry singing vocals. The song caused quite a buzz and was used as the theme song for ESPN's X Games. Toward the end of its tenure, the band went through lineup and name changes, re-branding themselves as All Is Well, 10 Sheen, and finally, Music Is a Weapon. Decades before Lady Gaga made it hip to be weird, there where the hometown heroes forever known as Al's Not Well. — By Notorious Nastie 

3. L'Trimm 

Hailing from Kendall, Lady Tigra and Bunny D are Miami bass legends. Even though these two high school friends recorded three albums with Atlantic Records, we were still left wanting more. At a time when women's role in the Miami music scene was to shut up and shake it, these two came through to prove that they had a voice and demanded to be heard. After Groovy, L'Trimm's third album, was released in 1991, Lady Tigra and Bunny D went their separate ways. Bunny went on to become a nurse, mother, and author of children's books while Tigra continued a career in the music scene, releasing a solo project, Please Mr. Boombox, in 2008, and even making an appearance on the hit children's show Yo Gabba Gabba. But the two insist they remain close friends to this day. Do we smell a possible reunion? — By Ryan Pfeffer

2. Cavity

Cavity was a who’s who of Miami punk, doom, sludge, metal, and basically any genre that incorporated the dark and bad-ass underbelly of music. The band had a revolving door of musicians with a pedigree that included Torche, Floor, Holly Hunt, Black Cobra, Ed Matus’s Struggle, and, oddly, the Crumbs. A Cavity show was an experience in brute force and heavy riffs. No bones about it, they were amazing. In April of this year, they re-formed for a supposed one-off show in support of Priya from Kreamy ‘Lectric Santa. And there are rumors that this is not the last we’ve seen of Cavity. It this is true, God help us all. — By Tim Moffatt

1. Avenue D

Ask anyone between the ages of 35 and 25 who they miss from the Miami scene and you’re going to get a resounding, sloppy, whiskey-scented “Avenue D!” That’s because the two probably-drunk ladies who recorded such hits as “Do I Look Like a Slut,” “Thanks, Bitch,” and “Donkey Punch“ touched a generation (but we’d need a doll to show you where). Electroclash is arguably one of the greatest genres of all time (so says I), and Avenue D was Miami’s dance-punk pinnacle. This is not for children, unless they’re Miami kids, in which case they definitely already know these words. — By Kat Bein


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