I'm pretty sure I was born at THE perfect time. Any later and I would have missed out on all the British Invasion/Garage Punk music that filled up my little empty pitcher as it poured out of my radio, TV, and record player. Any earlier and I might have been a little overfilled and turned out like Go Ask Alice or Edie Sedgwick or just a smelly hippie. It all worked out.

Today I am going to do a short but heartfelt appreciation of one of the coolest of the '60s garage bands, and one of the best known: The Standells. They were an L.A. band that formed around the time I was born (cough) but didn't hit their stride until 1966, when "Dirty Water" became a HUUUUUGE smash hit. Part of what fueled the hit other than their distinctive buzzy nasty sound and punk-ass-kid vocals was the subject matter -- mentioning "frustrated women" and the Boston Strangler, along with "lovers, muggers, and thieves," all "cool people." The record found itself banned from some radio stations, which of course did nothing but propel it up the charts. Hey, I even bought it! It's sitting in my fuzzy pink 45-record case upstairs right now. It was one of those songs that grabbed you, every time. Still does. Here's the band on the rather staid "Hollywood Palace" in tuxedos miming to "Dirty Water" and "Why Pick On Me," another great snotty song. Drummer/singer Dick Dodd, a former Mousketeer, was so damn cute, huh?

My favorite Standells song is the cooooooooooooooool "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White." Oh my god, I can listen to this song like 50 times in a row. It has just about my favorite drum sound ever -- the perfect trash can beat. Add in the the organ, the chuggy 3-chord guitar, I'm in heaven. And attitude? I AM SO THERE, STANDELLS.

Other people like this song. Remember the Dilly Sisters, the two little girls who used to play songs on the Banana Splits' kids' TV show? I love them. I wanted to be them. They ruled.

Pop music and pop TV were mixed to hilarious degrees in the '60s. It didn't matter if it made any sense at all, a band just turning up and playing. Of course, a show like "The Munsters" didn't exactly register on the Sense-O-Meter in the first place. Here's the Standells playing a pretty dodgy Beatles cover for Herman & Co. The dialogue is Spanish-dubbed, for your extra pleasure.

By 1968, garage band music was fading in popularity, to be replaced by hippie jams, heavy metal, and the sensitive singer-songwriter models of the late '60s and early '70s. The Standells broke up, and have only played together a few times since then. But as we know, garage rock never really died out. As long as there are garages, punks with cheap guitars, and teen angst, there will be garage rock. Wonderful, simple, rude, and perfect. The Standells will always be remembered as the punky pioneers they were, cool people.

It seemed that all garage bands had to cover "Hey Joe," including the Standells. I will leave you with their live version on the Mike Douglas Show. I love the ending for, in some way it sums up the fun of the times. You just can't help but dance.