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Thursday, May 27, 2010

FROM THE ARCHIVES OF BURP! FANZINE... BURP! Fanzine was the concoction of John Brannon and Todd Swalla under the assumed names of Clive and Berl Johnson. Birthed sometime in late ’81 and sent to bed sometime in ’82, two issues came out with a third never completed. Although slim in size, this mag was packed with info and perfectly encapsulated the Midwest HC yuckster vibe of that era. Sir Swalla was kind enough to let us hold the original layouts for these gemstones. We have chosen to share with you some of the choicest live reviews from some of the issues here on the blog. Since we here at WBSTYN are lazy a-holes who never bothered to buy a scanner, you will just have to enjoy the accompanying photos to get a grasp of the greatness of this rag. When reading these reviews, one has to wonder…did they choose these aliases so they could review their own bands? Perhaps they were just scarred of catching a beating from the Ann Arbor mods and/or The Damned (Yeah, right…)

WBSTYN will be doing a limited re-print of both issues as well as the incomplete third issue to be sold at the book release parties listed on the right. All three will come in a poly bag with an accompanying print of a Davo Schiech photo. They will be hand-stamped and limited to 100 copies. So, in the words of the late great Townes Van Zandt, ‘See you this summer…BRING MONEY!’


From the moment I walked into this place I knew it was gay, but let’s not talk about that. S.T. were really good, a hell of alot better than on record, plus the guys in the band are cool as shit. Black Flag with Henry kills. He’s on top of the crowd fifty percent of the time and he looks mean as shit. He even bit some kid during ‘Damaged I’ which made me laugh. You can’t really hear Dez too much but you still know he’s there for sure. Greg just goes nuts now and Chuck goes even more crazy. Robo was stuck in England so they flew in Billy from the Descendents to play. He was more than adequate. Great band, nobody can touch them now except for The Misfits.


Reagan Youths’ singer is the American Stinky Turner, that’s all I can say. The Bad Brains were great, ‘cept for the Reggae bullshit, plus some asshole white rasta kept saying ‘Take your neo-nazism away from here’ to us – cuz we’re skins. FUCK HIM!

Black Flag joined on the bill at the last minute, great gesture. They did a short set of about ten songs, totally fuckin’ great. Henry didn’t stop moving from the minute they got on stage. They should be coming here very soon (Kazoo or Detroit) Necros were the best I’ve seen them. Todd almost died, Brian went nuts, Corey kept breaking stuff, and Barry kept crawling on the floor crying or screaming. I think they struck more fear into the hearts of the Jersey people than Black Flag or The Misfits cuz they were just kids to them. Weird people. Great set totally. The Misfits were next, Jesus Christ they were great. Doyle kept stepping on peoples fingers and jamming his spike thing on his boot into their face. Jerry broke two basses. Googy is a way of life. Glenn was his usual great self. The best band in the world. Along with my other two all time fave bands. The best gig of the decade.


God this place reeks of homosexual. Lots of fags running around, lots of biker types and disco drop outs and literally flocks and flocks of punked out chicks, 99% of them longing for my young punk rock penis. Shit, you should’ve seen the one I ended up scamming on, all I said was that I was here with the Necros and she started talking to me and looking at me really weird. She had on a leopard skin skirt and weird red boots and bleach blonde hair. Uh, back to the review. All the kids who could scam fake I.Ds’ did and so all the cool young kids ended up getting in. Negative Approach were great, all the assholes got thrashed and we immediately took over the dance floor. Great band. Couple of new songs, too. Necros totally avenged their supposed flop on the 6th. They ended up playing their best set I’ve ever seen them do, and I’ve seen them about 15 times. So many kids were totally into them so much, it’s great. Everybody knew all the words and we all went nuts and all the assholes got crushed by stage dives. Even Allison & Carole were diving, that’s cool when girls have the fuckin’ guts to stage dive, bet they don’t stage dive in NY or LA (DC I know they do) The Midwest should be proud to have these two great bands at the top of their scene. The Damned thought they were great and they sucked donkey penis. Captain Sensible was talking about no rules and then when you try to get on stage to dive off, two bruisers try to literally wipe you off the face of the earth. We did have a lot of fun imitating everyone pogoing. U.S.H.C. RULES!!! In other words, two relatively unknown Mid-American punk bands blew the pants off of Englands’ last of the original punk bands.


What a fuckin’ hot show!!! Clutch Cargos is so loose on I.D. even Danforth got in (very young looking skater) There were all these punked out chicks after my dick cuz I cruised up with Todd (Necros) They were all over him like stink on shit. Anti-Nowhere League were really no disappointment to me or any of the kids. They were really funny and didn’t care at all what anyone thought of them. They even did a great cover of ‘Rock Around The Clock’ replacing ‘Rock’ with ‘Fuck’, plus another cover, ‘Runaway’. They were pretty nice guys too, well rather drunk but they’re English, so it’s natural. U.K. Subs were one of the best bands I’ve ever seen in my life, so fuckin’ tight and really loud. Charlie is cool as shit too. All of those guys are great guys. Nicky Garrett was totally going nuts, jumping off the monitors every second. Todd from the Necros got to do drums for their last song (Waiting For The Man) cuz their drummer conked out. All the skaters totally ruled with tons of stage dives. This lame chick that Zuheir pushed on stage got her shirt almost ripped off her back. There’s all these D.C. clone chicks here too, they look cute but you know there just copying girls from elsewhere. Charlie is totally into the U.S.H.C. bands, which is really cool. Also both Anti-Nowhere League and The Subs said that this show was better than both DC and NYC Very easy to believe I say M.W. RULES!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Brian Hyland – I think there were more Midwest people there than D.C. guys. I still don’t understand how we got to do such great stuff for no reason at all when we were just kids. I think everything got blown out of proportion in regards to the damage. We did fuck up the green room pretty bad though and a camera got knocked over, but it wasn’t that bad. The funny thing is I work for NBC and that studio is [SNL producer] Lorne Michaels’ office now. Somebody asked me once if I was ever in Lorne's office and I said “Yeah, a long, long time ago!”

Todd Swalla – That whole night was a whirlwind. The password was "Ian MacKaye" to get into the NBC studio. There was lots of free Coca Cola I remember. This D.C. kid, Billy McKenzie grabbed a pumpkin and threw it on the stage and it went everywhere. The host for the show that night was Donald Pleasence; he was totally terrified. John Brannon grabbed the mic and screamed "Negative Approach is gonna fuck you up!" and it got on the air!

Tesco Vee – To be honest, I was pretty disgusted with that whole Saturday Night Live thing because there were people doing stage dives and acting stupid that would have never done that if there wasn’t a camera on them. Ian MacKaye would not have been caught dead stage diving, but there he was. I came up to the front of the stage for awhile and then walked off. All the cords were in the air, all the mics were getting knocked off. It was an embarrassment; a total cliché. “Here’s what we’re supposed to do.” Belushi and Lee Ving were getting stoned in this room and I remember I could smell it and if I had half a ball I would’ve walked in and smoked a joint with them, but I was a pussy. They probably had a goon around the corner that would have beat me to a pulp.

John Brannon – The first thing I remember seeing was some guy hanging out backstage who was dressed up like a vampire and I said to Tesco “Who the fuck is that Dracula looking asshole? Who the hell does he think he is?” It turned out to be Dave Vanian from the Damned! Everybody else was pretty straight edge at the time but I was like “We need some beers in here!” John Belushi heard me and was like “I used to work here, I know some spots.” So we started booking around the office and we found a twelve case of Bud, so me, Lee Ving and Belushi started pounding beers. I had this black, spiky hair and Belushi goes “I think you need a mohawk, dude!” Corey had some clippers on him, so him and Belushi gave me a mohawk. Fear did a dress rehearsal an hour before the broadcast and there were all these guys with headphones and clipboards looking nervous. During the dress rehearsal, me and Sab from [D.C. punk band] Iron Cross were acting like jerks and we knocked into a camera. These guys acted like it wasn’t too much of a big deal, but the front page of the New York Post the next day read “Punks invade NBC studios and cause ten thousand dollars damage.” When I got home the next day, my mom was pretty excited that John Belushi gave me a mohawk.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Corey had gone to Beverly Hills High School on an exchange program in January of ’81. He went to L.A. and hung out with Keith Morris and Black Flag a little bit. He went to school at Beverly Hills High with Dave Markey and Julie Silvers from Sin 34. Do you know her dad is Phil Silvers? He must have been eighty when he had her! It was the first time we saw something like that on such a massive scale. The Starwood was probably could hold six hundred people and it was fucking packed front to back with freaks beating the shit out of each other. We definitely got the idea of skanking and all that from that video. It was an education, man. Mugger and that guy X-Head from ‘The Decline’ were stage security. People would get on stage and they would just be met with a fist to the jaw. Thinking about it now as a grown ass man, it seems insane, but then we were all watching this video being like ‘Yes! Oh yeah!’

In the Spring of ‘81, Black Flag played in Lansing and we opened up for them. I remember people being taken back at how violent we were. Black Flag got there late and did a five or six song sound check before anyone played, but people were inside the club. Everyone was anticipating them showing up, so that little sound check brought the energy up that much higher. This wasn’t the lame ass farfisa organ New Wave bands that normally played at Club Doo Bee. You would have to be an idiot to ignore it.

We scored the gig opening for the Circle Jerks at Irving Plaza in the summer of 1981. Tesco and I drove to D.C. and we met the other guys in New York for our gig with the Circle Jerks. We went to D.C. and saw Minor Threat open up for the Circle Jerks. I got to say, seeing those guys (Minor Threat) made me want to take what we were doing up a notch. It was clearly apparent that these were our peers. We were the same age and raised on skateboarding and Ted Nugent, so we could relate. They had this impact and total aggression but totally together on their instruments. They were great musicians at such a young age.

The day after, those D.C guys went up to New York with us when we opened up for the Circle Jerks and there was a lot of beef between New York and D.C. people.

You got to understand, at that time, New York did not have Hardcore. The Punk kids there were glue sniffing Sid Vicious types. It was pre-skinhead and all that shit. I remember we got there and the Stimulators were marveling at how we had a shittier drum set than their drummer, Harley Flannagen. Somebody also removed a few tubes from Brian’s amp. I don’t understand why anyone would bother trying to sabotage our shitty band. Going up to New York at that time, we all had an amped up attitude. Those D.C. guys were the people in the audience who liked us the most and were most vocal in their support.
Soon after that, all these bands seemed to spring up within a couple months of each other. Bored Youth came out of nowhere. Lariss(Strickland - L-Seven vocalist) told me about them and we went to see them as a three piece. I saw them at Nunzios’ towards the fall of ’81. All those bands started rolling around the time we did the record release party at Endless Summer. It was also the first time that people under 18 could go to something.

At that time in Detroit, it was just these bad bands with asymmetrical haircuts and jackets with shoulder pads. In a weird way, that was the crowd that L-7 came from. Their drummer was in that band Figures on a Beach and he quit. L-7 had this guy named Chuck who was from the drag queen crowd and strangely, that’s the same place that a lot of the Detroit Techno scene came out of. Detroit really embraced the New Romantic thing in a big way. I remember Larissa being sorta taken aback at how macho we were since all the guys they usually hung out with were these New Romantic club people. We broke the tradition of those New Wave bands being the only thing going on in Detroit. All those old guard punk bands had died by then. I remember seeing Nikki from Nikki and the Corvettes at that Black Flag gig at Bookies looking really dejected.
I had never been to the Cass Corridor before we started doing shows at the Freezer Theatre. It was the land that time forgot. Cement front stairwells of buildings had rotted away and people had to climb up a ladder to get into a building. Front porches were falling off of houses. By the time the Freezer started happening, right away everybody was going there. It was a tiny place, but you could get a couple hundred people in there and it was packed. Because of that, the more legitimate clubs in Detroit were thinking ‘Well, if these kids can draw these numbers on their own with just flyers and phone calls, we should be booking them’.

It was pretty gradual. It wasn’t like one day we stepped back and said ‘Woah! Look at this!’ It became more noticeable when we started playing shows at places like the City Club, these established venues. Going to the Freezer was like going on an adventure. It wasn’t like going to some established club where there’s a bartender and all that. When you were at the Freezer, you’d just go down to Rayis Brothers and grab a 40. It just became more noticeable when the venues got larger and you could see that were more people coming out that weren’t from the original inner circle. I wish I could tell you something like ‘The next thing you know, there were eight million people there holding a bed sheet with the Negative Approach logo on it! Girls were on their boyfriend’s back flashing titty!’ but I can’t paint a picture like that. It’s just that as the bands got more of a following and appeared more legitimate to club owners, more people came around.

By the Fall of ‘82, we were on tour with the Misfits. By that point, there was clearly this thing where people were embracing it for real. The show we played with the Misfits in L.A was at a place called Bobs Place in Watts. The next night they played with Discharge at Florentine Gardens, a real rock club. Discharge wouldn’t play ‘State Violence State Control’ because the single had just been released, some sort of regular Rock attitude. They had a pro rock band vibe that rubbed me the wrong way. By the time most of these bands had albums out, it was over for me. By the time we recorded those tunes on the ‘Conquest for Death’ LP, our minds were already elsewhere. We were listening to Motorhead or Black Sabbath more than any thrash at that point. Once there were Hardcore records influenced by Hardcore, it was done. It’s almost like Hardcore has been in a constant state of nostalgia. I think the last hardcore record I bought was that first Poison Idea single. I remember walking into Schoolkids’ and there was that D.R.I seven inch that had twenty two songs on it and I was like ‘This is so done’.

By the time the ‘Conquest for Death’ LP came out, Corey left the band and then wanted to be back in the band. Larissa told me that Lisa (Rusks’ girlfriend at the time) told Corey that if he went on the road she would have to seek other sexual partners. I think that was one of the things that prompted him to quit. At that time, we really hated Corey. We went swimming to go celebrate and then were like ’Let’s call Ron’. We liked Ron and he had long hair, so he was in. And then Corey was like ‘I want back in the band’ and we were like ‘We have already been practicing with Ron and he’s quit his job, so you better think about this’. We did a tour on our own in 83 and that was great. It was successful and we made money. I just remember going out on tour and every band was like a Minor Threat cover band and then the next year it was a Slayer cover band. And then there were these people who were starting to hold fast to what they considered a hardcore tradition. Those people were fucking idiots! This was a music of no tradition. The whole point was ’Fuck the past! Fuck what all these people have done! We’re doing it our way!’ I really feel America never had punk rock until it had hardcore. America’s punk IS hardcore. Patti Smith was a boho hippie, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but when it comes to this clean slate thing where theres some sort of progress and something that hasn’t been done before, it’s hardcore.

It went from the most open minded people to the most close minded people. The whole reason it got so boring to me was I heard ‘Ascention’ by John Coltrane and Albert Ayler records and I was like ‘Shit man, this is gnarly!’Hearing that shit changed the whole thing but there was no way we could approach something like that. Once I heard that I was like ‘Who cares about Uniform Choice?’

Thursday, May 6, 2010

MIDWEST MEMORIES WITH MACKAYE... Below are some choice moments/quotes from the interview WBSTYN did with Ian MacKaye about his interaction with the Touch & Go people in the early 80's. As expected, some inspiring words...
The way I became aware of any sort of Midwest thing going on was finding a copy of Touch & Go Fanzine at the Virginia Record and Tape Exchange sometime in 1980. It had a picture of Penelope Houston on the cover and I was blown away because I didn’t think anyone besides us in D.C. knew who the Avengers were. At that time, people were on little islands. So anytime there was any sign of life from anywhere, we jumped at it. When The Teen Idles 7” came out, we sent a copy to them, but it got broken in the mail. They thought the cover looked so cool that they taped the pieces of vinyl together but obviously the needle couldn’t track the sound, so they wrote for another copy. We became friends and pen pals and Tesco introduced me to Corey and the Necros guys. The first time I met them all face to face was June or July of ’81 when they came down to D.C. to see Minor Threat and the Circle Jerks; the infamous show where I blew my voice out. They stayed for a few days at various houses of ours. Tesco was great to us because he was a bit older than us, but super encouraging of everything we did. We were used to the older people in D.C who were constantly poo-poohing us and calling us wanna-bes. It was a rarity to stumble upon an older person who didn’t make fun of us.

I think the other thing that drew the Midwest and D.C. people together was we were both really obsessed in what was going on in L.A at the time. We were all reading Flipside and were very aware of what was going on out there. Corey went out there at one point and videotaped some shows and the Teen Idles were out there the summer of ‘80, so we had this parallel thing of both experiencing it. We were also all skateboarders too, so that was another connection.

The amazing thing about music – to me- is that it can be an incredible education if you want it to be. I would go into Yesterday and Today and I’d hold up some record and be like, ‘What does this sound like?’ and the owner would be like, ‘It’s kinda Velvet Underground-ish,’ and I honestly didn’t know what the Velvet Underground was. I really thought that when punk came along that it was the beginning of underground radical music. I had no idea that there had been radical music before punk. I didn’t know about Iggy Pop or the Stooges until Black Flag started talking about them. I thought they meant like…The Three Stooges!

The first time we tried to go out to the Midwest to play was sort of a bust. It was the summer of ’81, and Minor Threat and Youth Brigade tried to tour all the way out to California. We tried to play in Chicago and that didn’t work out. The Effigies guy booked a show that wasn’t all ages and we were furious about it but the guy was saying that we had to play the show. As soon as we started the first song, I ran over and pushed open the emergency door of the club and we had all the D.C kids run in…so the entire show was just management throwing the kids out. I think also in Chicago, this guy tried to rob my brother on the street and I remember twelve of us running down the street after this guy. That was the kinda crap going on, you know? Hijinks! Life was good! (laughs) Suddenly, it came as a shock to us all when Tommy from Youth Brigade was like, ‘Hey, I gotta take the van back’. We were like ‘What?’ I guess he took this vehicle without his parents’ permission and he had to take it back. Now we were down to a Volvo wagon. It was ragtag to say the least. We made it as far as Madison, Wisconsin and that’s where we met all the Tar Babies. I know that in Madison there was a tremendous fight, it was at this place called Merlins’. We played with The Bloody Mattresses, which was a precursor to the Tar Babies, and there was this brawl that literally went down the stairs. We made it to Windsor, Canada to play with The Meatmen and Necros. We had to borrow equipment to play Windsor and we were at this bar where there was this crazy French woman who was trading Canadian for American dollars one to one, which was not to her advantage. There was this big fight that happened with Zuheir, the drummer for Negative Approach. He hit my brother and I do remember him getting kinda bloodied by us. That night we met all these kids from the Midwest who were friends with Tesco and Necros guys and it was great. We’d meet all these kids and be like, ‘Let’s roll! Let’s fucking do this!’ Don’t accept the idea you can’t do this because your kids; we should do this because we’re kids.
The guys in the Necros liked the sound of the Minor Threat EPs’ and asked if I’d come out there to help them record their second EP (“IQ32”) We recorded at this house with this older hippie dude. Basically, the control room was in the dining room and the band played in the living room and Tesco and Dave Stimsons’ brother Rich were all there and they did the background vocals. We recorded it there and I mixed it at Dons’. That was a good session. That single was lean and mean, I really appreciate that record.

The second time we made it out to the Midwest, we played in Lansing and Detroit at the Freezer Theatre. There was a major riot at that Freezer show. I remember going outside to see something that resembled a battle from the middle ages. Police cars started flying out of nowhere and in the midst of all this, I see the promoter of the Freezer Theatre look around and start running down the street. I started running after him because he’s got the fucking dough. I chased that motherfucker to an apartment about three or four blocks away. I finally catch up to him and he’s like “Oh, hey! There you are! I’ve been looking for you!” So he takes me into this apartment where there’s this guy in his fifties and a transvestite teenaged boy. While I’m in this strange apartment arguing with this guy about money, the rest of the band are back at the Freezer wondering where they fuck I am while police are going ballistic, beating on all these kids. Detroit was always a fucked up scene. Black Flag played at Clutch Cargos while we were in Detroit and we were at that gig. That was a really fucking intense gig. It was Henrys’ first show in Detroit, and he cut the crap out of himself with a broken beer bottle; just hacked his chest opened. Chuck had pneumonia, and I remember he came off stage and he was completely drenched in sweat, his body was just letting out everything, and he collapsed and I actually undressed him and wrapped him in towels; it seemed like he was going to die. It was incredible, just this really intense show.
When Tesco and his wife moved out here to D.C. in ’82…that was great. Cynthia and I used to go over to his house every Tuesday night for dinner and Tesco would put on this record called ‘Soul Gumbo’ when I’d come into the house. It was supposed to be my theme music. Gumbo is one of my nicknames ever since; it’s used on the ‘Dutch Hercules’ record. I remember reading this interview with Tesco where he was sure that record (‘Dutch Hercules’) was the biggest regret of my life and how ashamed I must’ve been, and it was really not true. I actually enjoyed that session a lot and yeah…it was juvenile but I think that was sort of the whole idea of the record.

A lot of people – especially men – have this idea that history is a real important thing; that they have to be a part of it. When I was growing up, you always heard older people saying ‘I was there when Martin Luther King gave the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech’ or ‘I was there for Pearl Harbor’. So now, for men who are in the second part of their life, the closest they can come to saying they had a brush with history was to say they were at a punk show or rode a skateboard in a swimming pool in the early eighties, you know? I wasn’t in the Battle of the Bulge or the Selma marches, but I was at a Necros show! I’ve come to terms with that idea because in the long run, it’s just important to talk about these things and share your knowledge. I do not believe in the philosophy of ‘That will never happen again’ or ‘You Had to Be There’. By believing that, you negate the existence of it in the first place. I can assure you in 1979 or 1980, there were people telling me ‘You kids are a joke! You missed the boat!’ All I had to say back to that was ‘Fuck You!’ But that resentment fueled what I did and I hope kids today come across statements like that in films like ‘American Hardcore’ and say the same thing; FUCK YOU! How can anyone even begin to do anything when all they’re being told is it’s over? What if you were born in 1985? ‘Just forget it, you weren’t there to see The Fix, so give up now…’ You know what I mean? My whole thing is I want these kids to come across this history and say ‘That’s cool, but check out what we’re doing now’ and hopefully it blows that shit away.
Images courtesy of Ian MacKaye and James Sinks