Lookout! Records, the label that launched Green Day and Operation Ivy into the world in the early ’90s before fading away, gets its turn in the virtual concert spotlight in a monthly virtual concert series.
Coined Lookout! Zoomout, the series includes live performances and Q&As, and will also act as a reunion of sorts with numerous artists like Dr. Frank of The Mr. T Experience, Lisa Marr of Cub, and The Queers. Others included in the lineup are Jon Ginoli from Pansy Division and Raf Classic from the Crumbs. That’s just the lineup for the first show.
“This is unabashedly nostalgic. There is a lot of feel-good power in that and right now, said Grant Lawrence, the lead vocalist of the Smugglers, one of many bands that called Lookout! Records home. “That’s what we all need to feel.”
The series is hosted online by Side Door. The cost of the ticket includes face time with the artists.
Lawrence initiated organizing the reunion and will also host the event. Former Lookout! Records owner Christopher Appelgren helped design art for the show and will also make an appearance. Lawrence said there would be some surprise guests making appearances.
This is the first reunion the historic label has held, even if it’s a virtual one, since a 2017 concert at 924 Gilman. Founder Larry Hayes, better known as Larry Livermore, formed the label in 1989 and moved it to Oakland. It helped to define the east Bay punk scene in the 1990s by releasing Green Day’s first two albums, 39/Smooth and Kerplunk, as well as Berkeley’s Operation Ivy’s sole LP, Energy, considered to be one of the first ska-punk albums.
After Livermore departed and success waned. The label’s catalog was pulled from print and streaming services after several artists rescinded rights to the masters.
But its cult status remained. A Lookout! Records Facebook fan page hosts thousands of followers who share a similar love for the label’s musical output. Lawrence said he decided that if fans were still sharing photos of their old records, they would be enthusiastic in another reunion, this time performed virtually. He reached out to other Lookout! artists, and some agreed to participate in a series of streamed shows.
“I don’t think we give Lookout! enough credit as they deserve for having so many really, really terrific songwriters,” said Dr. Frank, of The Mr. T Experience. “That’s the main thing that interests me as both a participant and as a listener.”
Despite avoiding performing virtually, he is now set to perform on both Sunday and at next month’s show. Dr. Frank had one of the longest histories with Lookout! Records, and in recent years has been working on remastering his music catalog, revisiting his vast amount of material produced with the label.
“It’s an exciting thing to do. There haven’t even been any shows for a year, and I haven’t even seen all these people altogether at once, in many, many years,” he said.
The shows will be held the last Sunday of each month and will feature differing lineups of singers, songwriters and bands from Lookout!