Dr. Know (band)

Last updated
Dr. Know
Origin Oxnard, CA
Genres Nardcore, crossover thrash, punk
Years active1981–1991, 1998–2010, 2012-present
Labels Mystic (1981-1986)
Death (1986-1988)
Unrest (2008-present)
Associated actsStigmata, Dead Kennedys, The Exploited, Reagan Youth, KNOW
MembersKyle Toucher
Destroyer Rick
Willy Jak
Past membersIsmael Hernandez
Robin Cartwright
Brandon Cruz
Kyle Toucher
Steve Contreras
Rick Contreras
Rik Heller
Ron Baird
Dave Cassilas
Tony Black
Mike Vallejo
Jody Hill
Nick Townsend
Liberty Allen
Eric Vasquez
Craig Cano
Larz White
David Smash
Gizz Lazlo
Mike Purdy
Mike Vega
Kyle Toucher
Tim Harkins
Steve Morrison

Dr. Know is a punk band which began as a Nardcore band from Oxnard, California. They are regarded as founding fathers of the so-called "Nardcore" punk movement.

Punk rock is a rock music genre that developed in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels and other informal channels.

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.



The band was started by Kyle Toucher, Ismael Hernandez, and Robin Cartwright in early 1981, and after auditioning a few singers, local Silverstrand Beach surfer/skater and punker Brandon Cruz was chosen. Silverstrand Beach in Oxnard, California was the birthplace of Nardcore. The band recorded studio versions of several early songs with Cruz, which led to television appearances and gigs on the Los Angeles circuit.

Silverstrand Beach

The Silverstrand Beach is small narrow beach located in Clear Water Bay Peninsula, Sai Kung, Hong Kong.

Brandon Cruz American actor, musician, drug and alcohol recovery specialist

Brandon Edwin Cruz is an American actor best known for his role as Eddie Corbett, son of widower Tom Corbett on the television comedy-drama series The Courtship of Eddie's Father. Cruz is also a punk rock musician, having sung for such bands as Dr. Know, Dead Kennedys, and Flipper.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.

However the early momentum was somewhat derailed by escalating inner turmoil which culminated in Cruz leaving the group in 1983, leaving Toucher to take over vocals just as the band was starting recording of Plug In Jesus for Mystic Records. Several more albums followed, including the Burn EP, This Island Earth, and Wreckage in Flesh, which were subsequently released on Death Records/Metal Blade, signaling a shift to a crossover direction in their sound. For This Island Earth, the lineup was founding member Kyle Toucher on vocals and guitars, drummer Rik Heller and bassist Ismael Hernandez.

Mystic Records is an American record label and music production company specializing in hardcore punk, crossover thrash, underground music, vintage and cult records. It is owned and operated by Doug Moody. The label was first established in Hollywood, California and subsequently moved its operations to Oceanside, California. Mystic Records is an independent label and not a member of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Crossover thrash is a fusion genre of thrash metal and hardcore punk. The genre lies on a continuum between heavy metal and hardcore punk. Other genres on the same continuum, such as metalcore and grindcore, may overlap with crossover thrash.

Before an American tour for This Island Earth with Scottish street punks The Exploited, Ismael Hernandez quit the band and was replaced by ex-Stäläg 13 members, bassist Tony Black and second guitarist Tim Harkins.

Street punk is an urban working class-based fusion genre of punk rock and the new wave of British heavy metal which took shape in the early 1980s, partly as a rebellion against the perceived artistic pretensions of the first wave of British punk. Street punk emerged from the style of early punk bands such as Sham 69 and Cockney Rejects, and the Oi! style bands that followed them such as Blitz, The Business and Angelic Upstarts. A key band in defining the aesthetic was The Exploited, a punk band that don't fit the Oi! category, but share several characteristic with those bands. However, street punk continued beyond the confines of the original Oi! form with bands such as GBH, Chaos UK, Discharge, The Anti-Nowhere League and Oxymoron. Street punks generally have a much more ostentatious and flamboyant appearance than the working class or skinhead image cultivated by many Oi! groups. Street punks commonly sported multi-coloured hair, mohawks, tattoos, heavily studded vests and leather jackets, and clothing, especially plaids, adorned with political slogans, patches, and/or the names of punk bands.

The Exploited Scottish punk rock band

The Exploited are a Scottish punk rock band from Edinburgh, Scotland, formed in 1979 by Stevie Ross and Terry Buchan and later joined by his brother Wattie Buchan. They signed to Secret Records in March 1981, and their debut EP Army Life and debut album Punks Not Dead were both released that year. The band maintained a large cult following in the 1980s among a hardcore working class punk and skinhead audience. Although The Exploited continue to perform live to this day, they have not released any studio material since their last album Fuck the System in 2002. Their songs have been covered by Slayer and Ice-T, and despite many lineup changes, Wattie has remained as the Exploited's singer and leader.

After another short U.S. tour and attempt at writing a new album, Rick Heller quit the band before moving to Scotland, where he joined The Exploited and drummer Larry White was brought in to finish writing and begin recording of what would become Wreckage in Flesh. During this period Tony Black was replaced by Mike Purdy and the album was finished April 1988. Two subsequent tours followed in support of the album with bands such as The Circle Jerks, D.R.I., Murphy's Law, 7 Seconds as well as shows with up and coming thrash metal bands Forbidden, Vio-lence, Holy Terror, and Metal Church.

Dirty Rotten Imbeciles American crossover thrash band

Dirty Rotten Imbeciles is an American crossover thrash band that formed in Houston, Texas in 1982. The band is currently composed of two of its founding members, vocalist Kurt Brecht and guitarist Spike Cassidy, as well as drummer Rob Rampy and bass player Greg Orr.

Murphys Law (band) American hardcore band

Murphy's Law is an American hardcore punk band from New York City, New York, United States, formed in 1982. While vocalist Jimmy Gestapo remains the only founding member of the band, in the past the line-up has consisted of former members of bands such as Skinnerbox, Danzig, The Bouncing Souls, Mucky Pup, Dog Eat Dog, Hanoi Rocks, Agnostic Front, Warzone, Cro-Mags, and D Generation.

7 Seconds (band) band

7 Seconds was an American hardcore punk band from Reno, Nevada. Formed on January 17, 1980, by two sets of brothers; the Marvelli brothers, who used the punk rock names "Kevin Seconds" and "Steve Youth," and the Borghino brothers, who took the names "Tom Munist" and "Dim Menace." The band has gone through numerous lineup changes over the subsequent years, with only Kevin Seconds and Steve Youth remaining constant members.

Dr. Know disbanded to pursue other projects in 1991. Since that time Slayer covered the Toucher penned "Mr. Freeze" on their Undisputed Attitude album.

Slayer American thrash metal band

Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California. The band was formed in 1981 by vocalist and bassist Tom Araya and guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. Slayer's fast and aggressive musical style made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax. Slayer's current lineup comprises King, Araya, drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Gary Holt. Hanneman and drummers Dave Lombardo and Jon Dette are former members of the band.

<i>Undisputed Attitude</i> 1996 studio album of cover songs by Slayer

Undisputed Attitude is the seventh studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer, released on May 28, 1996 by American Recordings. The album consists almost entirely of covers of punk rock and hardcore punk songs, and also includes two tracks written by guitarist Jeff Hanneman in 1984 and 1985 for a side project called Pap Smear; its closing track "Gemini" is the only original track. The cover songs on the album were originally recorded by the bands Minor Threat, T.S.O.L., D.R.I., D.I., Dr. Know, the Stooges, and Verbal Abuse, whose work was prominently featured with the inclusion of cover versions of five of their songs.

The Dr. Know song "Piece of Meat," written by Toucher and Cruz, is used on the 1998 (season two) South Park episode entitled "Clubhouse."

In 1998, Cruz called Hernandez and together they approached Toucher to get the band back together. Toucher declined, but Hernandez and Cruz recruited others and embarked on a North American tour with big-name punk acts of the time.

In September 2001, Cruz was asked to sing with old friends, the reunited Dead Kennedys, leading to a gig that lasted until April 2003. Dr. Know still managed another record, entitled Father, Son, and Holy Shit! and toured the West Coast with Stäläg 13 and Ill Repute.

Dr. Know released their last record in 2009, on Unrest Records, entitled "Killing For God." Cruz, Hernandez, and the Contreras cousins, Rick and Steve, all wrote the record, recorded in Santa Cruz, California.

May 2010, Dr. Know with Hernandez and Cruz played a final gig. This version of the band played 2 more special gigs in Santa Cruz, Ca., and in Oakland, November 25 and 26, 2011, as well.

Founding member, and the 6th and 8th vocalist and songwriter Kyle Toucher, now works as a visual effects and digital artist in Los Angeles, CA. He has done work on TV series such as Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek Voyager as well as in movies such as Serenity and Van Helsing. Toucher has won two Emmys for his work.

On August 18, 2010 Brandon Cruz posted the official end of he and Hernandez' version of Dr Know.

The same day that Brandon Cruz announced the breakup of the punk Dr. Know, Kyle Toucher announced the reformation of the Wreckage in Flesh era line up. Called The Real Dr. Know featuring Kyle Toucher, the lineup is Toucher, Mike Purdy, Tim Harkins, and Steve "El Steevo" Morrison. As of late 2011, the Toucher-led Dr. Know has reformed and have played a few successful West Coast gigs. [1]

Brandon Cruz is still playing punk rock and is also a very successful photographer, business owner, consultant, and healer.

A metal version of the band with Toucher, featuring Toucher, died sometime in 2015.

Dr. Know gave birth to KNOW, in November 2016. Known as KNOW, ex members of the band playing the punk music of Dr. Know, began rehearsing with Cruz, Hernandez, Larz White, ex drummer from the metal era, and Fred Mattaquin, the 2nd guitarist on the Burn ep. KNOW are going to Europe with Stalag 13 to begin the Nardcore Summer Tour on July 22nd, 2017, starting off with a festival in Copenhagen with Discharge.

Since no one else is doing it, Brandon, Destroyer Rick, Stevil, and friend Willy Jak of Dayglo Abortions are headed to Europe in May, 2018, playing as Dr. Know, just like KNOW did, doing all punk songs.


  1. https://archives.sfweekly.com/exhibitionist/2012/10/12/love-and-rockets-celebrates-30-years-of-queer-punk-comic-genius


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