Tulsa had its own synth-punk band in the early early eighties–Los Reactors. Actually, it’s not fair to call them a “synth” punk band, because during the height of their powers, their singer, Joe Christ, played a Farfisa, just like the dude in the picture in the header of this here website!
I first picked up a copy of their single “Be a Zombie” at a Tulsa yard sale back in the late nineties. I was pretty amazed that I’d discovered a punk band from back in the day in my hometown, especially one that wasn’t a hardcore band. They reminded me a bit of garage-oriented punk bands such as Teenage Head, but they also had a bit of Catholic Discipline, the Stranglers, and, you know, a tinge of the ever-unpopular “new wave.” But it was definitely America-hating, Jesus-revoking, consumerism-critiquing, snarling punk!
I immediately put it on a mix tape and bored my friends to death talking about this weird mysterious band that no one in my generation of punkers seemed to know about (and this was before everything that ever happened ever in the history of ever could be found by googling). Then yeaaaaaaaaars later, I found out that their singles plus a bunch of live stuff had been reissued on Rave Up Records out of Italy, which I got and loved even more than the singles. For a sample, take a gander at a live performance they did in ’82 on some local Tulsa TV show:
Now that I’m in L.A., I’ve learned that Los Reactors had a following that extended outside the Oklahoma borders. There’s even a rumor that the band either became white supremacists, or had a Nazi skinhead following. Not sure if that’s true, though I know lots of well-meaning punk rockers in Oklahoma have fallen into a shaven-headed rut at some point or another in their lives, especially back in the nineties. However some version of Los Reactors has been playing shows again in recent years, and even making movies. Somehow I feel the guy who stars in this trailer could never pledge allegiance to Adolph Hitler, but stranger things have happened: