Queer As Punk: The Life and Times of Robert Omlit, OC’s Original, Forgotten Music Madman – California News

Queer As Punk: The Life and Times of Robert Omlit, OC’s Original, Forgotten Music Madman – California News

Scenes from a 1980 party

Courtesy Rosann Simeroth

There’s OC underground punk, and then there’s My Name Is Harold: I Am an Outlaw!, a 1981 tape recorded by the Omlits. It starts with heavy guitars and a man introducing himself as “Punk Harold.” He begins yelling as the bass and hard-hitting drums fall in line to capture the insanity he’s about to describe. His friend Cathy, Harold screams, had her foot shot off, “her cunt sewed up,” her mom stuffed, then her own head chopped off. “And next in line is you,” he spits out with a sneer.

Punk Harold proceeds to introduce his sick, outcast world with a bullet belt of songs. Tony “slit her boyfriend with a razor,” then “bit off Daddy’s dick.” Harold himself boasts about taking a cumshot in the mouth on “Big Surprise.” He asks all the characters he just described on “The Chance” to kill him, to “make me scream for more while you have the chance.” And then he confesses a crush on 1970s teen TV heartthrob Lance Kerwin on “James at 15,” one minute of grinding, breathless punk: “James at 15 wants to fuck you/James at 16 wants to suck you.”

My Name Is Harold is the crowning achievement of Robert Omlit, a scrawny, 5-foot-9-inch, queer, white boy with huge granny glasses, professor-like attire, and a receding hairline and big head (think Timmy from South Park). His band, the Omlits, emerged alongside fellow Fullertonians the Adolescents, Middle Class and Social Distortion to help birth OC punk. Tony Reflex of the Adolescents named Omlit as a heavy influence on him as a vocalist, alongside Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Chris D. of the Flesh Eaters. “He would crumple on the floor and literally scream until the…

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