Mystery Breakup

Not since my early post on this site about the last show of Los Abandoned, have I had to report music news with such a heavy heart. The experimental, psychedelic, indie-punk outfit Mystery Hangup from Anaheim has called it quits – at least for the time being. The news came in the form of a blog posting on their myspace page which, after telling fans of new directions each member was taking in ’09, didn’t explicitly announce a break up, but made it known anyhow that they won’t be playing shows for a good long while, especially with the following statement:

From the deepest part of our souls we’d like to Thank all of you who have supported us throughout our Mystery Hangup years and to all those who supported us even before Mystery Hangup became Mystery Hangup. Those backyard punk days we will never forget.

I had been worried after the band had pretty much stayed silent after returning home from their West Coast tour last year. As late as December, I asked the lead singer if Mystery Hangup was finished to which she reassured me that they were just taking a break. With my fears now firmly confirmed that such a break will be years – not months,  Orange County and Southern California has, indeed, lost one of its most promising, innovative acts. Despite feeling feverish and weak, I nevertheless made it out to KPFK last night to deliver the news to Travel Tips to Aztlan listeners as I played cuts off their album “Three Moons and the Crashing Sun” as well as a live recording of when they jammed on the show back in April.

Reflecting back, my journey to Mystery Hangup started in 2007 when I heard of this all Latina rock group creating a buzz around Orange County. I had planned to see them during dia de los muertos weekend in Santa Ana at the now defunct SolArt Gallery & Cafe. That show was canceled and it wasn’t until a year ago in February that I finally got to see the band live at the rescheduled performance. Admittedly, I probably had a little too much to drink that night, but was still good enough to take in the experience. After being every bit impressed as I expected to be, I told anyone and everyone about these sisters from Katella High School that rocked hard and sent all my friends youtube links to the band’s music video for “Vista de un Landron,” which had made me an instant fan.

In between that show and the next time I saw them at Hogue Barmichaels in April, I wrote a feature article on Mystery Hangup for the OC Weekly where I compared their sound to the eclectic mixtures of Oaxaca’s mole sauce. Before the piece was published, I also invited the ladies to perform live on Travel Tips for Aztlan. With the West Coast tour kick off show at Hogue’s, I had no inclination whatsoever the short set I checked out that night would be my final time seeing the band rock out live. They had employed the services of bassist Maribel of Telegraph Rd. for the first time and kept her for the remainder of their two week tour which I had hoped resolved the issue of the opening in their lineup following the departure of former member Redd. The ladies would next take to television screens across the U.S. as one of the selected bands to compete in the SiTV series “Jammin.” Having impressed guitarist Dave Navarro, Mystery Hangup unfortunately lost to El Paso’s Low Luster League in the first round. (Which no one I know can make sense of)

It’s in times like these that I realize that I am still spiritually immature. I still have not learned the lesson of William Blake’s poem “Eternity,” which reads: He who binds to himself a joy / Does the winged life destroy / But he who kisses the joy as it flies /Lives in eternity’s sun rise. I still want good things like Mystery Hangup to last forever in defiance of the constant flux that is life. In the end, if I am to begin to assimilate Blake’s wisdom, I’ll start with expressing the gratitude that I do indeed feel for the one year I did enjoy covering Mystery Hangup as a music journalist, radio host, fan and friend:


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