Although Greg Ginn's record label SST was, early on, associated with the angry, overamped guitar rant of SoCal hardcore (some of which came courtesy of Ginn's own band Black Flag), SST was also recording bands that pushed the limits of hardcore. Bands like the Minutemen, Universal Congress Of, and especially Saccharine Trust gleefully tossed in chunks of '70s progressive rock, avant-garde jazz, and funky kicks and pops into a stew already percolating with heavy(ish) metal riffing, shouted vocals, and extreme volume. Not all of the boundary-pushing that Saccharine Trust did was good (in fact, some of it is downright awful), but when they kept their tendency toward grandiose self-indulgence in check, they were a pretty formidable proposition, especially live, and recorded at least one indispensable record, 1986's We Became Snakes.
Formed in the early '80s by Joaquin (aka Jack) Brewer and guitarist Joe Baiza, Saccharine Trust metamorphosed from a dissonant, noisy, anti-rock quartet into a more sophisticated, but still jagged and noisy rock-jazz band. Frequently, the band's "songs" were semi- or wholly improvised using a basic riff or simple drum pattern for guidance, rapidy expanding into uncharted territory. Not the most important band to emerge from Los Angeles in the early '80s, Saccharine Trust is interesting for incorporating varied textural elements into a genre that was defined by volume and simplicity. This band took risks that many of their SoCal brethren would never have dreamed of taking. This, however, does not make Saccharine Trust better than their peers, simply different, and a little more intriguing. By the early '90s, Brewer started his own band called, big surprise, the Jack Brewer Band. Joe Baiza formed the fine, funky, and exciting Universal Congress Of. ~ John Dougan