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Thursday, April 29, 2010

THE RECORDING OF THE FIX 'VENGEANCE' SINGLE AND THE ARRIVAL OF BLACK FLAG IN THE MIDWEST AND OH SO MUCH MORE! -- THE HISTORY OF THE FIX PART FIVE... When we began the Fix, we would ply ourselves with as much beer and liquor as possible to make the party real. By the end of the year, we started to take things much more seriously, and the music's pace made it difficult to keep up with if we got too drunk.

An exception to that rule was the first single sessions at the Recording Workshop, in Chillicothe, Ohio in December 1980. Jeff had a pal who was taking a recording class there, as advertised in Rolling Stone. Real credibility, we scoffed, as if that hippie rag could endorse anything worth a fuck. But the place was a pro-looking joint and it even had a little dorm for the bands to stay in that was eerily similar to summer camp. Mike didn't play this session, refusing to go with us. He was angry from the previous night when we played in East Lansing at a house party and no one would give him a ride home when he wanted to go. So his childish revenge was to not go to the session. No big deal. Craig grabbed Mike's bass and off we went.

The three remaining Fixers jumped into Jeff's Chevette, loaded up on beer and headed out. By the time we stopped to refuel somewhere in Ohio, Jeff was so drunk he staggered into the path of car at the gas station as sleet fell. The car missed. Jeff drove us on.

The sessions went well, two days worth. One day, they laid down the basic tracks and I did a scratch vocal. To accomplish the sound we wanted, Craig and the engineers wired together a stack of guitar amps, I mean, a literal stack maybe eight feet high. It was something to see. We made some Van Halen jokes and moved on, hitting liberally on a bottle of Crown Royal. And more. And more. Enough so that at one point, during about the 3rd take, Craig fell over backwards into the amp stack, toppling the speakers on top of him as we all laughed helplessly. Craig included.

"Are these guys alright?" one of the engineers asked Jeff, who was keeping it together somewhat.

"Oh, sure, they'll be fine," Jeff said, hammering beer #10 and watching Craig and I stumble around on the floor, attempting without luck to pick up the amps and put Humpty-Marshall back together again. It was the end of night one of recording. We had most things down.

On night two, we started sober, which helped. The bass tracks went easy. From that point on, I only recall standing alone in a vocal booth that was almost pitch black, surrounded by a growing mountain of beer bottles, raging until things came out right. We packed up and left in the dawn's early light, drunk, pointed north to home.
A week later, Black Flag was playing in Chicago. Two sets, one night, with Dez still singing. Jeff and I jumped in the Chevette and drove to the Cabaret Metro. The reason we used Jeff's car all the time was simple: it was the only vehicle between us that could make it cheaply and money was very short among most of us. Mike was the only one with a job, as a union food handler at Michigan State. Craig and Jeff were poor college kids. And I was getting unemployment from my Census job. We could milk that kind of thing in Michigan, where years of ham-handed Democratic rule, coupled with four years of ineptitude from the Carter White House, had put unemployment in the state at around 10%.

Black Flag was doing a U.S. tour and we wanted to know how that could possibly happen. I mean, who listened to this music outside our own cadre of freaks and outcasts? It was exactly what I asked Chuck Dukowski when I saw him in the dressing room at the Metro. He was generous with his time and more than willing to share his numbers. He also promised to try to set up a date in Lansing when the band hit the road again that March. We left emboldened by Black Flag's relentless, fuck-you tirades that left me breathless. Dez Cadena was the real deal, a skinny guy with some fat cords. Ginn essentially exploded his guitar in a way that was very Craig-like, and I saw the jagged similarities between the Flag and the Fix.

In February 1981 the Fix scored a weekend of shows at Oz in Chicago, which was getting on the map with its own blue-collar punk rock, led by the band that would define the city. The Effigies had opened for Black Flag at Metro and I dug their Angelic Upstarts/Sham/rock base. Singer John Kezdy was a grim motherfucker, and the music had zero sense of humor. It was led by Earl Letiecq on guitar, a wild man with a serious metal bent and a yen for all substances.

Oz was located on Broadway in one more shady part of town, its third location under the same name. We were booked for two nights, Feb. 12 and 13, a Thursday and a Friday. Oz consisted of two adjoining rooms with unisex bathrooms, a couple bins of chilled Old Style and the bands set up at the end of one of the rooms. When we got there, about a half-dozen punks were milling around, drinking cheap beer. These were what we ended up calling "leather-jacketed meanies." They copped their flow from the English punks, with their jackets adorned with slogans and the names of their favorite UK acts flying between studs and buttons. They were caricatures in a way, and I had to frown because it was surely not a look endemic to the U.S. But they were a pretty cool lot who eyed us with suspicion, clad as we were in simple overcoats and mufflers, with longish hair covered by knit caps and wearing high tops to a man. We were not one of them, and felt it. We drank our beer alone before our first set, which was to begin at 3. The place was freezing, outdoors, the temperature hit zero, but folks kept filtering in as the morning progressed from midnight, to 1 to 2. By the time we shed our coats and walked onto the floor, there was a decent crowd, mostly guys, looking at us with doubt, murmuring to themselves.

When we lit into the set, though, it was like hitting a home run. Eyebrows raised, beers went down faster among the crowd, and we nailed it, dead on. We ran through five songs in a row to start, typical. And when we ended that fifth tune, the boys erupted in a belligerent, hearty cheer. It worked. We passed the litmus test with a crowd that damn well got it.

Not that we really gave a fuck. After a second set at 5 a.m., we left to our appointed crash pad for the night - the Evanston basement apartment shared by Kezdy and a short, chatty fellow named Jon Babbin. We were well into the booze by the time we got out there, and Craig and I heralded our arrival to the burbs by breaking a number of empty beer bottles against a brick wall. We did it with gusto and a good degree of anger.

The next night we repeated our performance and headed home. Babbin asked us if we were looking for a manager. We said we would consider it. He dug our din and was obsessed with the business end of punk rock and the idea of touring. We hated business, but were game to take our noise to more strangers like Black Flag was doing.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

DANFORTH!!! DANFORTH!!! DANFORTH!!!DANFORTH!!! In this weeks' blog installment, Detroit skate lord and WBSTYN cover star Bill Danforth talks some shit and drinks some brews...

I got introduced to Punk Rock when I saw it on ‘Good Morning America‘. The Sex Pistols were causing all kinds of havoc across England and it was just this short little thing I saw on there in sixth or seventh grade. I saw it before going to school one morning and it was the first time in my life I ever thought music could be cool. Music at that point was just something that played in the background.

The one major thing that drew us all together was the Endless Summer Skate Park out in Rosedale. That skate park was our grade school, our middle school, and our high school. Skateboarding was the thing that drew us all together, and that’s what drew the entire Punk Rock community to the point where we were so tight, we didn’t need to find any other friends, we had friends amongst ourselves. We were the ones that didn’t fit into - what at that time - was the normal high school attitude. We weren’t listening to Led Zeppelin; we didn’t give a shit when John Bonham died. The guys who listened to Led Zep in our school were the burn outs and the stoners and the losers. The Punk thing showed the creative minded people that we could create our own thing, and that’s what skateboarding was at that time. We always got this shit like, ‘Hey! You’ve got a skateboard and not a football helmet! Well, you’re not going to make anything of yourself that way!”
The whole early Black Flag scene got put in skate magazines first, so that’s how most of us found out at first. Then you’d see the guys from the Necros coming to the skate park, and they’d ride, we’d all hang out, and it was like, “Oh yeah, our bands playing tonight.” So it was a brotherhood but it was all skateboard related; one hundred percent it was skateboard related. The big thing is we were turning up the radio at the skate park and we were putting in all these demo tapes, which were really harshly recorded stuff. People were bumming on it because it wasn’t J.Giles; this was original music. You could always pop a Devo tape in at the time, and everybody was into it, but this stuff really divided people. The Necros would show up to the skate park and there were backyard parties where bands were starting to form, and sometimes it was really horrible but it was back yard Punk Pock; it wasn’t what you heard on the radio and that‘s all that mattered. It’s not like bands did covers, they were writing original songs. Before Youth Patrol and before Negative Approach, Chris Moore (second Negative Approach drummer) was in a band called the Dead Reagans. They played in backyards close to the skate park, after contests or before contests. One of their hit songs was ‘E.S Boys’, which stood for “Endless Summer Boys.” There was a rival skate park out there called Skateboard USA, and the song went “E.S…ES Boys/Kills all those U.S.A Gay Boys.” But that was the beginning of it, before those Nunzio shows.
We went to a lot of the shows but could never get in, until I was fifteen and I got a fake id. But August 21st, 1981, there was a Necros show at Nunzios and I actually got in. There was no such thing as an all ages show in Detroit, that didn’t come until way later. My whole Detroit Hardcore scene was from ‘80 to ‘84, I moved to California in ’84 when I went to college. But ‘80 to ‘84 was the best period ever here in Detroit because it was just so fucking raw, real and dirty. This was the days of the Freezer Theatre, and after the Freezer it went to places like the Clubhouse and Cobb’s Corner. The Greystone was going but that was always for bigger shows. There are big name bands that sleep in the Raddison these days that slept on the floor of the Clubhouse. Social Distortion was one of them. The Misfits were horrible when they played The Freezer; they were just a wall of absolute crap. They slept on that dirty floor that never got mopped. I’m really glad some of these bands slept in my spit and piss. When you can’t afford to have running water in the place, how the fuck are you going to mop the floor?

We were good kids but we were just fucking skate punks. We weren’t out there trying to start riots but we’d fight to save our life. We were out there passing out flyers on the street for the shows, trying to encourage people to come in. We got a lot of suburban kids into the scene and a lot of bands started from that, which was fantastic. The only reason we had those ghetto clubs is because it was so cheap for us to keep those places. There was also the hint of danger going to the ghetto. What’s more punk rock than that? Are your windows going to get broken out?” There was also the ghetto Burger King down there that had a special called ‘The Burger Thang’ where you get three hamburgers for a buck and a quarter. 3 burgers for a dollar and a quarter…how the fuck can you not eat that?
We never tried to one up any other scene, we tried to be original and we tried to be our own. Corey and Tesco already had the Touch & Go label going, and the D.C scene set the precedent, but I think we grew a little faster than they did and touched a few more people. To me, it didn’t seem like the D.C scene touched the skateboarders the way we did. I think we contacted a lot more skateboarders, and I think we had more connections because we had more sponsored skateboarders in our scene. I was sponsored by ‘81, and so I had been contacting the west coast all the time. I was already exchanging flyers with the skaters out west. They’d be like, “Man, we want some Necros stuff,” so I’d get a couple of records from them and then I’d send them to the west coast before they could probably even get distribution over there. You’d write a letter on the back of a flyer that would be for a show with the Necros and The Damned and someone in California would be like, “These guys played with The Damned?” and that really fucking bolstered it and grabbed some skaters attention.

What was Detroit’s perception of California bands? We didn’t like them! Those bands just sounded like power pop to us. Social Distortion and Youth Brigade weren’t well received in Detroit. For TSOL, we printed out a lot of fliers that said ‘LOST‘…T.S.O.L spelled backwards. We were just very protective of our scene. When some band would drive up in a 1982 brand new van and ask “Do you know where to find a cheap motel to stay in?” we didn’t like it. The cool bands would sleep on the floor of the fucking Clubhouse! You’re in your brand new van asking, “Where’s a good restaurant around here?” Well, the fucking Burger Thang is down the street you son of a bitch! We were dicks to bands that came in from out of town. I mean, we took care of them, they came in and out through the clubs, but we weren’t going to go overboard for any of them. Basically, if you approached us with an attitude, we were going to tell you what neighborhood to go to and have fun in to make sure you never came back to Detroit. Trust me, they would have done the same thing to us out in California and I know it for a fact. When I moved out there in ’84, I thought I had the hook-up out there but the Punk Rock brotherhood didn’t transfer fucking west of the Mississippi. “Oh yeah, the best burrito in the world can be eaten in Watts! Why don’t you go down there and eat it you white, bald boy”.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

THE SKINNY ON THE BOOK RELEASE PARTIES THUS FAR...'s what we got so far as 'official' book release parties so far. Remember, these are all dual parties between the WBSTYN book and the 'Touch & Go -- The Fanzine' book being published by Bazillion Points. There will be books to be signed (and purchased)...shirts to be worn (and purchased)...'zine repros to be read (and purchased) Bring cash and a good-time-havin' attitude please!!! Here are the dates --

7/16/10 -- Now That's Class/11213 Detroit Ave/Cleveland, Ohio -- TESCO VEES HATE POLICE/WHITE FLAG/HELLMOUTH...more TBA

7/17/10 -- The Abbey Pub/3420 West Grace St/Chicago, Ill -- TESCO VEES HATE POLICE/WHITE FLAG...more TBA


8/27/10 -- Northstar Bar/2639 Poplar St/Philadelphia, Pa -- TESCO VEES HATE POLICE/AMERICAN SPEEDWAY/HELLMOUTH

8/28/10 -- Santos Party House/96 Lafayette St/New York, NY -- NEGATIVE APPROACH/TESCO VEES HATE POLICE/HELLMOUTH...more TBA

Ticket info will come both here and the Facebook page. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

STEVE SHELLEY SPEAKS OF NO ZONES, NEW WAVE AND NICEITIES...Sonic Youth skinman Steve Shelley raps about the early Michigan punk scene, joining the Crucifucks and oh so many exciting things in this weeks’ blog installment...

The first band I was in was The No Zones. It was mostly covers; just a teenage basement thing.But then my friend (and future Crucifucks bass player) Scott Begerston and I started playing with a New Wave band from Lansing called Faith and Morals and that’s when I met Doc Dart (vocalist for Crucifucks) We were playing at Club Doo Bee and we started talking to him; it certainly wasn’t at a Black Flag show like that article in Vice states. I never saw Black Flag ever in my life. I don’t remember an exact date when I joined Faith and Morals, but I know there was a point where Scott and I played in both that band and the Crucifucks. Playing in Faith and Morals was fun. At the time, Scott and I really didn’t know too much about the bands that the singer Ron was into like Joy Division or New Order, but we were sorta learning as we went along. It was a very keyboard driven group.

At the time, there was The Fix and all these New Wave bands in Lansing. There was this band called Trainable, which actually featured a guy, John Erskin, who became a sound man for Sonic Youth for awhile. There was also a band called Let’s Talk About Girls. I was aware of everything. We’d go to Lansing because there was a record store there called Flat, Black and Circular, and we’d buy import records and try to go to shows if we were old enough. Most weekends were either spent in Detroit, sleeping on floors and going to shows, or going to Kalamazoo, or Lansing. I saw the Fix at a place called Dooley’s in Lansing which was a college kid’s bar that was starting to get other things going on. I met Steve Miller (vocalist for The Fix) early on, and he later ended up playing in a band I was in, Strange Fruit; the band was also called The Spastic Rhythm Tarts at one point.

Scott Begerstons’ parents were divorced, and his dad lived in the Hermosa Beach area of Southern California. So Scott would go visit him over Christmas break and come back with a lot of records. Scott liked anything that was just new, it didn’t matter how good it was. So Scott would bring home records from Black Flag and the Circle Jerks, but he’d also bring home records from the Plasmatics. Anyting that was outrageous and new, he was really into it. Also, we were at a time where punk had already happened, and the post punk thing was going on; so our lives were just as informed by English stuff, post punk and even new wave, as it was by the California scene. So we were a bit different from the kids in Maumee where the Cali punk thing changed their lives. We were interested in The Clash or The Jam, but we were still interested in The Who or Neil Young. We never threw away our Led Zeppelin records, which a lot of people did, and then ended up buying again in the late 80's. I wasn’t interested in people who had a poster of Sid Vicious up in their house. That wasn’t exciting to me. There was this whole other world of possibilities. One week you heard about P.I.L and the next Gang of Four. There was this whole progression going on and it was insanely fun.

Going to Lansing and finding those issues of Touch & Go really helped as well. There were just like little pieces of the puzzle and every time you’d visit Lansing you’d learn about something else. It came in fragments, it wasn’t all of a sudden you knew all about punk rock. Today, there’s an instant gratification of things, and it’s such a big deal with youngsters today. Back then, everything was so mysterious, you had to figure it out. My favorite thing was mix tapes. The best thing about them -to me - was if your friend didn’t do a particularly good job of writing down which band did which song, you’d get confused, which was actually a good thing. You might buy the wrong record by mistake and discover something even cooler! You’d learn about drips and drabs from friends. It was a lot of fun.

Doc seemed so much older to us. By that time, he had to be in his late twenties or early thirties. When we first started to practice, there was this guy Terry who was the guitar player, and he had a similar history to Docs’. He may have been in Vietnam, so he didn’t stick around very long. He was even more mentally fragile than Doc was as far as dealing with people went. He may have made it through one practice, maybe two. He’s mentioned in one song where Doc screams, “I hate the government, and so does Terry.” He was replaced with Docs’ cousin Joe Dart. He was a high school kid who wasn’t really into new music that much, he was more about being a rock star. So he became the guitar player for a little bit, and then he was replaced by Gus Varner. Gus was a much better fit musically. His two favorite things were Black Flag and Jimi Hendrix.

I know that everything happened really quickly with The Crucifucks. We started opening up for bands really quickly and we kinda went all over, because there was no town that was big enough to keep you active or interested. I think we did really well obviously because of Docs’ antagonistic character; it made us stick out right away. I don’t think we ever considered ourselves a hardcore band, but we played on a lot of hardcore bills. Doc specifically had an antagonism towards hardcore, making fun of the kids, especially when things got a little more meat headed and macho.

I don’t know when I first came across L-Seven, but to me they were the greatest thing in Michigan at the time. It’s sort of hard to describe that band to someone who wasn’t there, but the one description I could come up with is an American version of Siouxsie and the Banshees. Larissa had the John Lydon vibe and she was just great. I tried out for them once and I didn’t make it, which was probably the best disappointment in my life because then I moved to New York. It was all the more a drag when Kory Clarke ended up leading this Warrior Soul band on Geffen Records. It was such a disappointment, he was my favorite drummer. All the hardcore kids were so mean to Kory because he was totally cute and got a lot of girls and he was a real musician.

I guess I was around before the hardcore thing really happened in Detroit. When we’d go see L-Seven, a lot of times it would be at gay clubs because that was the only place where you could have weird music. I saw a couple of my favorite shows at Bookies, like Killing Joke. But more so than Bookies was this club called Nunzios, and Scott Bergerston started working there for awhile, as well as two guys that were really important to the Detroit scene, Bryan Mullen and Brett Mullen. We were really niave, we were really fresh, so everything was okay with us. We would walk in that area of Cass Corrider and felt nothing was going to happen to us. We didn’t have any money anyway, but we were very niave because it was the red dot of the murder capital of the world at the time, but we were just like, ‘We haven’t got anything, no one’s gonna bother us, we’re not the bad white people!’. But shortly after, something happened. The Detroit or the Maumee kids went to DC, and they all came back and shaved their heads, and it kinda ruined something. All of a sudden there was this anti-gay thing, and I wasn’t into it. We learned about so much cool music in the discos and the gay clubs, like Kraftwerk. But that’s when something happened where this hardcore thing and this New Wave thing really had to have a divider, and not all of us felt that way inside, but the shows became different events though. So the Freezer theater developed its own thing, and it was just four walls of concrete and madness.. L-Seven was the only band that could straddle all sides of it, like they’d play Nunzios and they’d play the Freezer Theater.

I know at one point, we recorded an EP with Corey Rusk that was supposed to be released on his subsidiary label, Special Forces. Special Forces was somewhat assigned to that whole thing of, ‘Well this isn’t hardcore but we kinda like it’ vibe. The recordings just sort languished and never happened, but I think Doc might have alienated someone and Corey might of been like, ’We just won’t put that out.” Maybe Doc and Tesco stopped getting along at a certain point. They got along for awhile because they were the two older guys, but I think Doc might have gotten jealous of Tesco’s power by the Touch & Go fanzine.

In the meantime, Jello Biafra got interested in the band. Through either Timmy Yohannon (editor of Northern Californian fanzine Maximum Rock ‘N’ Roll) or the M.D.C. guys, Jello heard that tape we did in Corey’s basement. He invited us to play with them at the City Club that summer. I think Jello saw something of himself in Doc and wanted to take us under his wing. He invited us to do a northwest tour with them and asked if we wanted to do a record on (Jello's label) Alternative Tentacles. To all those Detroit punkers, the Dead Kennedys were already something that was totally passé. Being involved with them was not cool at all, but they provided us with opportunities that didn’t exist for us in Michigan.

After that, we went on the Yippie sponsered ‘Rock Aginst Reagan’ tour in ‘83 or ‘84. We rode in a school bus that the Yippies had, which was really uncomfortable. We met up with The Dicks, and I think D.R.I came for part of it and then M.D.C showed up, so Doc found some real kindred spirits there. I wasn’t the biggest M.D.C fan but I became really close friends with The Dicks. Those shows were pretty huge and we learned a lot. We played clubs but then we’d also play state capitols and stuff. W played in Madison Wisconsin near the capitol and I remember joints being rained down on the audience, because the Yuppies were all pro-pot, so it was this “Reagan sucks, smoke pot!” moment.

We recorded the first Crucifucks album out in California with Spot. It was kinda weird being out there because we stayed at SST and we kinda were met with this paranoid caution because we were recording for Alternative Tentacles. The SST people were like ’Why aren’t they recording for us?’ We just liked the records Spot had made and we were big fans of the Minutemen. I remember Spot telling us he was really proud that he just finished this new project which was ‘Meat Puppets II’ and Doc and I were giant Neil Young fans, so he played it for us and we loved it. The line up that recorded that first album was the last real line-up of The Cruicfucks. Both Marc Hauser and I moved to New York in the Spring of ‘85 and subletted Kim and Thurston’s apartment and I joined Sonic Youth shortly after.

Credits - 1st image -- Brian Turner/2nd image -- Courtesy of James Sinks/3rd image -- Originally on the lyric sheet of the Cruicfucks 1st it is plastered all over the interweb/4th image -- Courtesy Bill Danforth (originally from Inside View #1)/5th image -- Courtesy Ian MacKaye/6th image - Courtesy Bill Wend.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

ROB McCULLOUCH TELLS HIS TALE OF NEGATIVE APPROACH...GATHER 'ROUND... Original Negative Approach guitarist Rob McCullouch gives us the skinny on the rise and fall of the OG NA..

Prior to joining Negative Approach, I was in bands with Graham(McCulloch, Robs’ younger brother and future NA bass player) Chris (Moore, future NA drummer) and Bud Bucar, who was the drummer for the Allied. We’d change our name every time we played out. We’d play in peoples’ backyards and our high school Battle of the Bands. The jocks would show up and try to beat us up for being Punk Rockers. At the battle of the bands, we played under the name Dead Reagans. We played half covers and half originals.

I didn’t know any of the other guys who were starting Negative Approach. I was just hanging out at Endless Summer skate park in Rosedale, Michigan and a friend of theirs told them about me. They came up to the skate park. They just wanted to see if I wanted to jam at Johns’ house in the basement. That was towards the end of the summer of ‘81. They already had three or four songs when I went down to Johns’ basement and I had the music for the song ‘Negative Approach’. I think we had four or five songs by the end of the night.

Earlier that summer, we went over to Coronation Tavern in Windsor Ontario to see Minor Threat. The one thing that sticks out about it was the D.C crew beat up our original drummer Zuheir that night. He was acting like a drunk fool and the DC crew didn’t tolerate drunk fools! He was stage diving like he was diving into a swimming pool and they just didn’t like his goofiness.
Seeing Minor Threat that night was a total revelation. The fact that those guys were all so young really meant something to us. Black Flag always seemed like grown-ups and older than us and compared to anything we knew, they were like a ‘big’ band to us. But here were a bunch of guys the same age as us that were selling their records out of the trunk of their car. We all left there saying ‘We could do this’. That show totally started the whole thing for us.

You know, it’s really cool that NA get’s all this attention on the internet and all that, but I’ve always felt like the Necros don’t get the recognition they deserve. If there were no Necros, there would be no Negative Approach and then there’s no Detroit scene at all. They couldn’t have been more supportive to us when we didn’t know anything. The essential thing for us from day one was to have a band good enough to open for the Necros. That was our goal.

The first show we did was in the fall of 1981. We played in Todd Swallas’ basement. We were really intimidated by the Necros and we wanted to impress them and we sucked so bad! Johns’ voice sounded like this high pitched wail. It sounded nothing like what it sounded like in practice. I guess he was really amped up to play maybe. I remember being real embarrassed afterwards. I went skating with Todd after our set and he was super encouraging. He made me want to try again.

A month after that we opened for the Necros at a club called Nunzios. That was the first time I ever did a sound check or stood on a proper stage and played. Those Detroit people were still into the 70’s drugs and drinking scene and they didn’t get into us at all. In fact, I’d say they hated it! The Necros asked us to play with them in Chicago in the winter of 1981, but Zuheir and Pete quit the day of the show. That’s when I asked Chris and Graham, who were in Youth Patrol at the time, to join us.

Our original bass player Pete Zelewski was getting more into the Oi! sound; just the music, not the racist element that came along with that stuff. Zuheir wasn’t that into the band. We’d always have to chase him down to practice.

As far as any other bands go…we saw the Fix a few times up in Lansing. They were really cool guys, but they were just older guys and there was a definite cultural difference there. A different vibe all around.

Bored Youth were fantastic. We first saw them at this real nasty pick up joint in the suburbs of Detroit. We hung out with them after their set and said ‘You should come play at this place we started having shows at, The Freezer Theatre’.

I never thought it was too scary to hang out in the Cass Corridor because there was always twenty of us walking in a pack. We definitely looked intimidating. The Necros looked like they’d kill you with the big heavy chains they wore around their waist. If there was ever any trouble, Todd and Corey were the first people jumping out of a car to beat the hell out of someone.
In the summer of ’82, we went on the ‘Process of Elimination’ tour with the Necros and the Meatmen. We all piled in Corey’s parents motor home, except Tesco who drove his little red Toyota. We whipped a lot of crap onto his car from the motor home. We had these guys as our roadies that we called the Sleestacks after the guys from ‘Land of the Lost’. Everyone always thought they were the band since they looked more like the band sounded than us. They were these huge skinhead guys. They had a telephone repair van that had grills inside. That was the equipment van. I think the toilet was stopped up on the motor home so everyone would pee out the window while trying to hit Tescos’ car. Playing in New York was amazing. We stayed with Doyle from the Misfits. We stayed there for a few days before we headed over to Boston and then to D.C. I don’t really recall any problems with the New York. It was so early that there was no rivalry. You were just happy there was someone else from a different place into the same thing you were and it made the numbers a little bit larger at the clubs.

What do I remember about recording the EP? We went down to Maumee and Corey had just set up a recording studio in his parents’ basement. He was still trying to figure out how to record things. He had a quarter pipe in the driveway, so we just skated and waited around to do the back-up vocals and all that.
At one point, John and Larissa (Strickland, vocalist for L-Seven and guitarist for Laughing Hyenas) moved into this apartment behind the Fox theatre and us and L-Seven were using the Clubhouse (DIY show space) for practicing and we were paying some money for rent. We would also practice in the vacant apartment above the Clubhouse. That’s where we recorded that one demo with Dave Rice.

One day at practice, Chris sprang it on us that he was quitting. If Chris was out, I figured I was out. I was leaning more towards the songs he was writing. I remember saying ‘Let’s talk to Corey and see if he wants to put out an album before we break up’.

There was a lot more tension in the band at the time. When John was living at his Moms house he was a completely different person to what he became when he moved down to the Cass and moved in with Larissa. It’s not like any of us were doing anything remotely constructive with our lives, but we weren’t just sitting around in an apartment all day drinking and watching TV. We were all leading very separate lives at this point. Also, I thought we were playing out too much. I remember talking to John saying, ‘We shouldn’t be playing so many shows. People are going to get mad at us taking all the shows and people are going to get bored of us’.

When we went in to record the ‘Tied Down’ record, I was pretty oblivious to everything because I was still a teenager and only concerned with this six inch area in front of my face. I didn’t really think about it until I got there. Graham was still in the band techincally, so John and Larissa were pro-Graham and very short with Chris and I. What was really awkward was we couldn’t get a good guitar sound the first day, so I had to come back the next day and record my guitar tracks. Neither Chris or Graham showed up, so it was just me, John, Larissa and Corey and the engineer there; real awkward.Larissa and John were an item at this point and she knew the band was pretty much all John focused on. I think she was just mad at us for taking that away from them.

At this point, it really felt like the scene was fragmenting. The Necros were getting more rock oriented. You had the skinhead factions showing up and that was becoming more prevelant. It didn’t have that tight feeling it once had. You miss a few shows where before, you wouldn’t miss them for your life. Then you miss one, you miss two and after that you just lose track of what’s going on. Chris and I moved on and formed Crossed Wire and I really don’t know what happened to the scene after that.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

FIRST BOOK RELEASE PARTY ANNOUNCED...CLEVO IN MID-JULY...WILL DWID SHOW UP? WBSTYN is back from his meditation workshops and green chile enemas in the mountains of Northern New Mexico and proud to announce the first of many dual book release parties between the WBSTYN bk and 'Touch & Go Fanzine - The Book'. On July 16th, Now That's Class in Cleveland, Ohio will be hosting the first party for both books and we couldn't be so thrilled. Since Clevo is the home to Confront, Easter Monkeys, Homostupids, Death of Samantha and many of our faves, we're making mud in our pants at the idea of having our first release party in this town! Hi-Oh!!! More info on the event can be found here --

More info here as it comes...Until's a sunny day here in Guidoville, we're gonna blast the first Adolescents LP and drink more Old Speckled Hens...why not do the same???