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The Spazmatics play 80s music live on stage each Sunday night at Zanzibar in Santa Monica on the corner of 5th and Arizona.
Photo by Brenton Garen
The Spazmatics play 80s music live on stage each Sunday night at Zanzibar in Santa Monica on the corner of 5th and Arizona.

Seven Days, Music, Santa Monica

Relive The 80s With The Spazmatics At Zanzibar In Santa Monica Every Sunday

Posted Oct. 5, 2012, 2:51 am

Brenton Garen / Editor-in-Chief

Remember all the awesome sounds, styles, and cool dance steps from the 1980’s that some people would love to forget?

Well they live on each Sunday night at Zanzibar in Santa Monica on the corner of 5th and Arizona.

Complete with skinny ties, Brill Creamed hair, and horn-rimmed glasses, The Spazmatics cover band recaptures all the best of the worst.

Outstanding musicianship combined with creative flair and style makes for an evening of pure energy and entertainment.

The band comprises “The Kevin” (lead vocals), Syd Sonic (drums), Donald Wilkinson (bass), and Ruben (guitars).

Before their set on Sunday night, the band spoke with The Mirror backstage.

“We formed when everybody else was trying to be cool, and we thought, take the cool out of it,” The Kevin said. “You can’t be made fun of if you are making fun of yourself.”

The band knows dozens, maybe hundreds, of songs from the 80s and they switch up their set each Sunday night when they go on stage at 11 p.m.

Opening with Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With your Best Shot,” the crowd gravitated from the bar and side lounges to the dance floor on Sunday night. Among the classics played were Billy Idol’s “White Wedding,” Norwegian synthpop band A-ha’s “Take on Me,” Men at Work’s “Who Can It Be Now” and “Down Under,” and one-hit wonder Tony Basil’s “Hey Mickey.”

The Spazmatics were born in the spring of 1983 when physics professor Kevin Stigwood of Alta Dena High in Thousand Oaks, lost a debate over String Theory to an upstart pupil in front of the entire student body and faculty.

As agreed to by both parties, the loser would have to do anything that the winner demanded, and the victorious prodigy demanded that Stigwood perform “She Blinded Me With Science” by Thomas Dolby during half-time at an upcoming state basketball championship game.

Having no musical background and desperate to not go down in total humiliation, Stigwood formed The Spazmatics by tapping the genius of electronics teacher Sydney Balderman (aka “Syd Sonic”), who had achieved international acclaim in 1981 for his invention of “robot drums.”

To make The Spazmatics complete, Stigwood brought in his special needs brother Curtis on bass, and teacher’s assistant Rusty A. Woosmeir on guitar.

When The Spazmatics took center court that evening, members of the hip elite began heckling them with jibes of “geek” and “nerd,” while everyone else howled with laughter.

But once they broke into the opening salvo of “Science,” the nonbelievers were stunned by the group’s authenticity of production, world class musicianship, and tight choreography.

When it was all over, the crowd rose in a standing ovation, and The Spazmatics were born.

The Kevin said the band had evolved over the past few decades.

“I think we’re more better looking,” he joked. “We’re a lot more interactive with the people than we were in the very beginning. The people are actually more of the show than anything. This sort of thing lets people let loose a lot more and they are not trying to be so cool and they do whatever because the band isn’t trying to be cool. When you look like this and you pull somebody up on stage, they are going to look better than you.”

The band agreed they were all thrilled to call Zanzibar home every Sunday night.

“We love it,” they said. “We love the people here and they are really into it.”

Cover is $5 before 10 p.m. on Sunday and $10 after.

Zanzibar is located at 1301 5th Street in Santa Monica. For more information, call 310. 451.2221 or visit

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