The Appliances was an experimental punk-funk band from San Francisco, co-founded by Robin Banks (Balliger) and Rocket (Robert Horton) from 1979-1982. They played The Western Front festival, many SF clubs including the legendary Mabuhay Gardens, in Los Angeles at Al’s Bar, and the band opened for many international acts, including U2 on their first tour. The Appliances also played a rally on San Francisco City Hall steps in support of Peter Plate, who was arrested during the White Night Riot (a major rebellion against the lenient verdict for Dan White, who assassinated Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California). The Appliances released an EP in 1981 and the song “Paranoia Rap” became a hit on John Peel’s radio show in the UK. The recording featured rapper/vocalist Dominique DiPrima Baraka, noise musician Rocket playing instruments that he made, Opter Flame on trumpet, Robin Banks (Balliger) on bass, Jed Spear on guitar, and Raymond Froehlich on drums (he arrived at the recording studio in a tux after his “gig” as a percussionist with the San Francisco Symphony). Books on the history of “punk” typically omit the fact that there was tremendous crossover between new wave and hip hop in the early 1980s.
Dominique had previously lived in New York and performed spoken word/rap at the Nuyorican Café, while all the Sugar Hill artists, Soul Sonic Force, etc. played “new wave” clubs in SF like the I-Beam (which was also a gay/trans dance club). The band went through many different phases and musicians, including Federico Gil Solá (who later joined Los Divididos and became one the most famous rock drummers in Argentina), actor/singer Pons Maar, Click Dark on drums, guitarists Charlie Hagen, Owen Maercks, Mike Shannon, Kendall, and others.