Agent Orange

Thirty years ago, singer-guitarist Mike Palm and the rest of his Southern California trio, Agent Orange, got the good idea to mix first-wave punk rock and hardcore with '60s and '70s surf music, holding onto the loud/fast/snotty approach while delivering melody and clarity too. And with that, they all but invented skate-punk and pop-punk and directly influenced countless bands in their wake, many of whom (Green Day, Blink-182, the Offspring) achieved multiplatinum success. As with most musical founding fathers, that kind of fame and fortune eluded Agent Orange, and the bandmates would probably trade a bit of their scene credibility and respect for some cold, hard cash. But they're still plugging away and drawing crowds, even though Palm is the only original member left. Doesn't matter much — he wrote nearly all the songs, and when they play "Bloodstains" these days, it rips and spits as fiercely as ever.

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Michael Alan Goldberg