|Balboa is the Big Kahuna of local indie rock, the
founding fathers who blazed the trail for all Knoxville rock bands
of any importance to follow. The group is universally revered by all
longtime Knoxville scenesters, and rightly so. The
brainchild of local mad scientist guitar guru Terry Hill,
Balboa also featured the guitar artistry of Hector Qirko,
bassist Richard Battaglia and drummer Steve Housewright.
The combination of Qirko's blues and country swing techniques with
Hill's more avant garde guitar mangling created a unique mix, and
the rhythm section hammered it all down into a precise and even
logical sound. It made perfect sense, and still does.
Back in the day, Balboa was considered to fall somewhere under
the nebulous umbrella of punk rock, a genre that wasn't nearly as
stilted and regimented in the late '70s as it is now. The band's
independence, idealism and freeform artistry definitely fit into the
punk aesthetic, which was—at the time—about creative and political
The first wave of punk was inextricably linked with the art world
(see the Velvet Underground, Patti Smith, Television, et.
al.) and Balboa was an art-rock band that purposely steered clear of
pretension. What makes the tunes on Live Like This (plus)
sound so classic is that they are not bound within a time-specific
context. To this day, the songs sound urgent and modern.
I could go on and on about how great this is and all the
accompanying memories it conjures—about how the band sounds like
King Crimson meets Richard Hell & the Voidoids, about how
cool it was to sneak into the legendary Cumberland Avenue cesspool
Bundulee's Lounge and hang out with all the other underage
skinny tie new-wavers, about the legion of Knoxville rockers who
took their inspiration from the band...
Hearing these great old songs brings back the innocence of a time
when it seemed like things really were gonna change. That sense of
optimism and "we can do whatever we want" is what transforms garage
rock into high art. Balboa had all the right ingredients at the
right time and it was sheer magic. John Sewell, Metropulse.