Dr. Know has been a band since 1981. The original members were Kyle Toucher, Ismael Hernandez, Robin Cartwright, and Joey Pina. They soon went through four singers, finally deciding on Brandon Cruz, who was asked to join after his band The Eddy’s was breaking up.
Rehearsing in Oxnard, they soon were playing parties with fellow Nardcore bands Agression, Ill Repute, Stalag 13, and Cirith Ungol.They got noticed pretty quickly and began opening in Santa Barbara and Ventura at early Goldenvoice shows for bands like D.O.A., Flipper, Dead Kennedys, Circle One, and several others.
A recording was done for an old T.V. show that soon found its way onto the Party or Go Home compilation on Mystic Records. The song was Saviour. Another recording at Mystic lead to the record known as The Original Group. It was recorded in 1982 with new drummer Rik Heller.
Brandon left the band in 1983, and, after having yet another singer, Mark Fisher, Kyle began singing. Dr. Know recorded the Burn E.P. soon after Brandon quit, and then, adding Fred Mattaquin on second guitar, recorded Plug in Jesus in 1984. They continued recording songs for several compilations and even got a song, the infamous Fist Fuck, on a movie soundtrack. This lead to a few well attended tours as Dr. Know went into a more metal approach, as did friends D.R.I. and Corrosion of Conformity.
The album This Island Earth in 1986 saw the band delve deeper into their vision of a world on the verge of collapse, catholicism run rampant, and death. This was good, because they were signed to Death Records, a Metal Blade label.
Their next record, 1988’s Wreckage in Flesh, saw a line up change, with Rik Hellar and founding member Ismael Hernandez, the man who coined the term “Nardcore”, leaving the band. Larry White, Tim Harkins, Mike Purdy, and Tony Black joined forces for the most metal of all Dr. Know recordings. After several national tours and a ton of local gigs, Dr. Know played it’s last gig with the metal line up in 1991.
As the years went by talk of a reunion came and went, but Brandon and Kyle never saw things eye to eye. In 1998, Brandon once again tried for another go at it. Founding member Ismael Hernandez and old Circle One pals Jody Hill and Mike Vallejo teamed up along with Liberty Allen to restart the bands punk roots.
The new version played a lot of the old classics that the audiences yelled for, as well as a batch of new songs, continuing where they had left off back in the punk years of 1981 to 1984. The first gigs of a west coast tour were a great indication that the new Dr. Know was a welcome addition to the punk scene in several towns. A near riot in San Diego, a sold out San Francisco gig that smashed furniture and windows, and a Seattle gig that should have had a second night added were all great welcome backs for a bunch of guys who never really had left in the first place. A new compilation record in 2000 with Fang was well received, and another tour with Gang Green and the Vibrators was a great success.
As the tours got longer, some band members had other commitments, so El Monte wonder kids Eric Vasquez and Craig Cano joined Brandon and Ismael for what has been called the most powerful punk line up in the bands history. A new album, recorded in late 2000 and called Father, Son, and Holy Shit, was supposed to be released by their new record label, but the label went bankrupt. The new Dr. Know had recorded a bunch of old songs earlier in the year for the Cleopatra label called Habily, but the new songs were what they wanted to play, so off they went to Canada and back with Dayglo Abortions, causing havoc and raising hell in every club and skatepark they could find.
In 2001, Brandon was offered a spot singing for Dead Kennedys. Right or wrong, he took it and toured the world twice before quitting in April of 2003 with a broken shoulder and 100,000 miles of road under his belt. During the Dead Kennedys time, Dr. Know was able to get away for yet another tour on an off month with Ill Repute and Brandon’s brother’s band, Stalag 13.
In 2004, Dr. Know did a lot of local gigs in So Cal, like the Nardcore Compilation 20th anniversary gig in Oxnard with 20 bands, went to Canada to play with The Dayglo Abortions, and San Francisco for some gigs with Dinah Cancer, Fang, Oppressed Logic and Retching Red. Gigs in 2005 included an east coast tour thast started with 2 nights at CBGB’s with Dayglo Abortions, The Accused, and Munincipal Waste, a run up through Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, and Arizona, a few one off gigs with The Exploited, some fun as hell backyard shows with Circle One, and The Wasted Festival in October with 75 bands. 2006 saw the band back out on the road touring all over Southern California, and working out new material with new members Destroyer Rick and Stevil. A gig in Hollywood with friends Pig Destroyer and The Accused gave Dr. Know a whole new audience, and a grind sound started to come out of their speakers. 2007 saw Dr. Know work in a new sound to some older songs, while remaining true to their original hardcore punk rock Nardcore roots. 16 new songs were written and recorded at Synergy Sound in Santa Cruz, California, along with three covers of Motorhead, Dayglo Abortions, and Flipper.
Currently, Dr. Know is getting ready to go out on a tour of the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Texas with label mates Poser Disposer and friends So Unloved.
Our new record, “Killing For God” is coming out very soon on our new label, Unrest Records. Check out their website at http://www.unrestrecords.com
Dr. Know wants to thank Kyle Toucher, Rik Heller, all the old bandmates, and all the fans who have supported them for all these years.