Whirling their way into San Diego’s nascent punk rock scene of the late 1970s, the Dinettes blindsided the local rank and file with their what-did-I-just-see-and-hear raw musical presence. They found themselves leaving the sort of lasting impression reserved for only the most dedicated, unassuming, and appropriately low-fi audiophile daredevils of the time, eventually gracing storied venues from the North Park Lions Club to the Whisky-a-go-go in Hollywood to Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco’s North Beach. Impossible to pigeonhole (and they liked it like that) the Dinettes stylistically veered from raucous machine-gunned three chord punk songs and lime green hollow-body Gretsch infused rockabilly to raunchy, burlesque-y blues, and prescient droning dirges about the state of mass media. Forever eschewing the eternally blasphemous pretty-good-for-girls moniker, the Dinettes’ song portfolio included stories from the trenches of lived female experience, challenging the ideal of male-manufactured and controlled 60s and 70s girl groups.
Far from homogenous in their design, the Dinettes were representing paradoxes of 70s fringe female experience: a ‘69 Dodge Super Bee driving, leather-clad Miss Gay Teenage San Diego from east county on bass; an afro-wearing classical cellist from L.A.’s Fairfax district who was trained as a ballerina riffed a distinctive syncopated rhythm guitar and belted soulful back-up vocals; a mother of two who moonlighted as a psychic archeologist at SDSU was the queen of continuous psychedelic leads; a glam and androgynous keyboard player who came up through the ranks of San Diego’s funk scene was a classically trained pianist (and the daughter of a renowned San Diego architect). And the frontwoman, who insisted upon submitting her punk song lyrics for UC San Diego class credit, was also a classically trained flutist who happened to be the daughter of two classical music teachers. The band had plenty of cred and were most certainly pretty good…regardless of their gender. And even though they were known to kitsch it up by wearing the occasional apron, the Dinettes were about what it was taking to be a modern woman: tenacity, honesty, and vulnerability.
Persuaded in 2017 to play a reunion gig at the Museum of Making Music under the auspices of Bart Mendoza’s Sounds Like San Diego extravaganza, the reformed Dinettes were tapped to play the Adams Avenue Street Fair, the world-famous Casbah, and now the Art Around Adams art and music festival. Still led by original members Doriot Lair (singer/songwriter) and Sue Delguidice (keyboards), the band also features longtime San Diego guitarist Diana Death, and the goddess of thunder, Shannon Sabin, on bass. New in 2018, The Dinettes are delighted to introduce Phantom Dinette, Ed Masi, on drums.
Their music continues to include originals from their early portfolio, with references to major influences like the entirety of American blues (but especially Chicago blues), British blues artists and blue-eyed soul, the holy trinity of Bowie, Lou Reed, and Iggy Pop, 60s psychedelia, 70s glam punk, and a wee smattering of rockabilly. The band is incredibly proud of its achievements over the last year and looks forward to recording and releasing their music in 2018.