Tales of Terror (band)

Tales of Terror was a Sacramento hardcore punk band which was active from 1982 until 1986. Some, including Kurt Cobain and Mark Arm, cite Tales of Terror as a key inspiration for the then-burgeoning grunge scene.[1]

Tales of Terror
The members of 1980s rock band Tales of Terror.jpg
Tales of Terror in 1985, from left to right:
Lyon Wong, Geoff Magner, Pat Stratford, Steve Hunt, and Mike Hunter.
Background information
OriginSacramento, California, U.S.
GenresHardcore punk
Years active1982–1986
LabelsCD Presents
Associated actsSquare Cools, Pirates of Venus, Cactus Liquors, Whorelords, Ding Dang, Hot Rod Shopping Cart, The Poontones
Past membersPat Stratford
Lyon Wong
Steve Hunt
Geoff Magner
Mike Hunter


Tales of Terror was formed in 1982 by singer Pat Stratford and bassist Geoff Magner, formerly of the punk band Square Cools. They were later joined by guitarist Lyon Wong and drummer Mike Hunter.[1]

By 1984 they were playing all over town and supporting big name punk acts like The Vandals, Dead Kennedys, and Fang.[1]

Their one album, the self-titled effort Tales of Terror, was released in 1984 on the San Francisco indie label, CD Presents. Distribution was limited; it is estimated that less than 5000 copies were pressed[2]

However, the band's career came to an end on the night of January 5, 1986. Wong, the son of Chinese-American actor Victor Wong, died on a Midtown sidewalk of head trauma he suffered after being knocked to the curb during a late-night altercation. He was pronounced dead at 2:14 am, January 6, at Sutter General Hospital. Wong was 22 years old. The assailant received a 6-month sentence for manslaughter.[3] The band opted not to continue without Lyon Wong. The various members drifted into other groups, most notably the Pirates of Venus, the Cactus Liquors and the Whorelords. The last time Pat Ratsass, Steve Trip Mender, and Geoff Dusty Coffins ever played on stage together was at the Trocadero in SF as an encore to a Hot Rod Shopping Cart show opening for Agent Orange with J Meraz on drums.


Described by Midtown Monthly as "One of the most influential bands Sacramento ever produced" and often cited as the foundation of the grunge movement, their blend of hardcore, psychedelia, and rock had a lasting impact on music fans around the country, including Green River and Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.[1] In Exclaim! magazine Mudhoney’s Mark Arm (whose earlier band Green River covered Tales' "Ozzy" on their 1987 Dry As a Bone EP) listed some of their gigs as the most inspirational he had seen.[4] Dave Chavez of Verbal Abuse said, "With the right management and maybe a little bit of rehab here and there, Tales of Terror probably would have been the Nirvana and broke. If it wasn’t for the murder of Lyon Wong."[5]


  • Pat Stratford - vocals (1982 - 1986)
  • Lyon Wong - guitar (1982 - 1986; died 1986)
  • Steve Hunt - guitar (1982 - 1986)
  • Geoff Magner - bass (1982 - 1986)
  • Mike Hunter - drums (1982 - 1986)


Studio albumsEdit

Year Album details
1984 Tales of Terror

Compilation appearancesEdit

Year Song Title Label

"Gods from Outer Space" (instrumental)

Thrasher Skate Rock Vol. 2 - Blazing Wheels and Barking Trucks High Speed Productions

"Skate or Bate"

Rat Music For Rat People Vol. 2 CD Presents

"Texas Against the World"
"LSD for Africa"

Them Boners Be Poppin' Boner Records

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Gustafson, Guphy (2010-01-01). "Tales of Terror: Bad Dream or Acid Trip?". Midtown Monthly. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
  2. ^ Griffith, Jackson (2006-07-06). "Secret history of Sacramento music". Newsreview.com. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
  3. ^ "Man, 22, Dies of Head Injury From Clash". Sacramento Bee. January 6, 1986. p. B12. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
  4. ^ Khanna, Vish (July 2008). "Mudhoney's Mark Arm". Exclaim!. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
  5. ^ Boulware, Jack; Tudor, Silke (29 Sep 2009). Gimme Something Better: The Profound, Progressive, and Occasionally Pointless History of Bay Area Punk from Dead Kennedys to Green Day. 1. Penguin. ISBN 0143113801. Retrieved 2012-04-18.