Shattered Faith: Decades in the Underground Punk Rock Scene

If you’re a fan of the Southern California variant of late 1970s punk rock, then you’re probably a fan of Black Flag and Social Distortion. You may also like Circle Jerk and T.S.O.L along with The Adolescents and Agent Orange. But you may or may not have heard of Shattered Faith. That’s understandable because they’re one of the most overlooked bands from that era.

The History

Shattered Faith was formed by Kerry Martinez who’s now playing guitar for the band U.S. Bombs and Spencer Bartsch who’s doing lead vocals for the band Firecracker 500. They began like most punk rock groups of the late 1970s, which meant they started playing in their homes.

In fact, they first made their initial demo tapes in Bartsch’s home during that time. Bartsch lived in Fountain Valley, and the band just about made it their home base. That’s because the Bartsch parents actually lived in Singapore. Spencer’s dad was a salesman who sold spare airplane parts throughout Asia and a Honolulu carpet cleaning business owner.

The freedom they had led to the formation of the band, and they managed to release two albums entitled Volume 1 and Volume 2. They don’t quite get the fame they deserved as other bands got all the hype and the glory, but they persevered anyway.

They broke up by the 1990s, but then they got together again for a new album (Volume 3) and a tour in 2016. This 3rd album was actually made 35 years after the 2nd one! 

The Sound

The sound still possesses that same raw energy in the 3rd album. Of course, it helps that they’ve had a lot of time to perfect their craft and so they now play better. But if you listen to the albums one at a time, you’ll still notice the same sense of raw ferocity and defiance that marked their earlier work.

So what songs should you look over online if you want to get a taste of Shattered Faith? Yu may want to try the classics first, such as “I Love America”, “Reagan Country”, “Trilogy”, and “Right is Right”. But if you can get all 3 albums, get them. It’s a great example of what SoCal punk rock was all about.

What Happened to Shattered Faith

It may surprise you to learn that Shattered Faith was actually once signed to the legendary punk label Posh Boy Records. Yet despite the band’s efforts, they never really got big.

The problem in hindsight is that even punk rock suffers from the mob mentality syndrome even though punk rock itself touts individuality and free thinking. In the punk scene, fans and music writers alike may end up ignoring acts and music that may not completely fit the prevalent punk rock dogma.

Shattered Faith was a rebel even to the punk rock dogma, and so they didn’t get the press attention and the fame they should have received. Fortunately, we still have the Internet so you can probably find ways of finding their music. The defiant guitar, the insistent bass, and the relentless drums can still be found online, and their songs are a treasure that any punk rock fan will appreciate.

Posted by Firecracker 500