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Ill Repute gets to polish its image

A Huntington Beach couple pay tribute to the punk band with a book and DVD.

March 12, 2014|By Michael Miller
  • Huntington Beach residents Jennifer and Stan Mueller have launched a new book and DVD series featuring biographies of punk bands called The Punk Rock Chronicles.
Huntington Beach residents Jennifer and Stan Mueller… (KEVIN CHANG, HB…)

Ill Repute's reputation has just gotten a boost.

The Oxnard-based punk band, which has played on and off for three decades, earned a devoted following with hard-driving tunes like "Clean Cut American Kid." But to find literature about the band, a listener might have to do some digging; Ill Repute's Wikipedia page contains just four paragraphs, while its AllMusic section features no biography or reviews (well, except for an unexplained three-star rating for one disc).

Perhaps the band has a ways to go before it rivals a group like the Beatles, who seem to inspire a new definitive biography every two years, on the Barnes & Noble shelves. But thanks to the efforts of a Huntington Beach couple, Ill Repute now has a book to tell its story — plus a DVD for good measure.

"It's just nice to pass it along to my kids or whatever," said bassist Jim Callahan. "You know, something there for posterity."

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The book and DVD, both titled "Clean Cut American Kids: The Story of Ill Repute," are the first Punk Rock Chronicles project by Stan and Jennifer Mueller, who recently launched a fundraising campaign on Good Clean Fund to pay for production costs. In the meantime, the package is for sale for $23.50 on the Muellers' official website, http://www.punkrockchronicles.com.

The Muellers, who also run the ghostwriting company Universal Writer, hope to make Punk Rock Chronicles an annual project, and they're busy scouting bands for future installments. For their debut, they chose one of Stan's favorite groups, whose vinyl releases helped fill his record collection back in the day.

"What I liked about punk — or still like about it — is it's almost, in a sense, like regular people," he said. "They're not, you know, rock stars. They're bands that I look up to. They hang out. There's no egos in that sense that I would really see.

"And it's like kids. You know, kids putting on their own shows and kids recording their own albums, doing it on their own the way they want it."

Ill Repute's story, sure enough, began when the members were kids. The original lineup — Callahan, singer John Phaneuf, guitarist Tony Cortez and drummer Carl Valdez — grew up in humble economic circumstances in Oxnard and bonded over a shared allegiance to the burgeoning punk scene. Eventually, that scene would have a title of its own: Nardcore, a melding of "hardcore" with the city's name.

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