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Listen to Fugazi’s 11 original demo tracks, four days ahead of time
11.14.2014
01:08 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Fugazi
Dischord


This is the handbill for Fugazi’s first-ever show, at the Wilson Center, on 15th Street and Irving. “5 Dollars to Benefit Positive Force Compilation Records”—do you think they knew then how sick they’d get of hearing the phrase “five dollar show”?
 
The demos that the legendary DC punks Fugazi cut at Inner Ear Studio in January 1988 have led a fan-friendly, DIY existence as a tape distributed for free at shows, but with the exception of a single song, “In Defense of Humans,” which appeared on the State of the Union comp in 1989, they’ve never seen an official release. Inner Ear Studios got a bit of extra exposure last month when the D.C. episode of Sonic Highways came on HBO. Dave Grohl visited Don Zientara, owner of Inner Ear Studio, as well as Ian Mackaye of Fugazi and Dr. Know and Darryl Jenifer of Bad Brains.
 

 
That all changes on November 18, when Discord releases First Demo, but you can listen to them right this minute on Dischord’s Grooveshark account. (Actually, “Turn Off Your Guns” wasn’t included on the original cassette, but the rest of them all were.)
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Jesus died for somebody’s sins’: Patti Smith invited to perform at Vatican Christmas concert!
11.14.2014
10:13 am

Topics:
Belief
Current Events
Music
Punk

Tags:
Patti Smith
Pope Francis


...in excelsis deo

You have to commend Pope Francis for his good taste in music—it’s been announced that Patti Smith is slated to perform at the Vatican Christmas Concert in Rome—but you have to wonder if he’s ever heard The Patti Smith Group’s cover of “Gloria”?

You read that right, the poet/singer who shocked an entire nation nearly forty years ago singing “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine” on Saturday Night Live back in 1976 was asked to take part in the festivities at the Auditorium Conciliazione on December 13th after Pope Francis personally invited her, according to The International Business Times.

Obviously Smith, who shook hands with the Pontiff at St. Peter’s Square last April, is an odd choice of performer for the Catholic Church to make and already certain groups are up in arms about it.

The Holy See’s announcement of Smith’s participation comes as one Catholic group is trying to ban “blasphemous” Smith from playing a gig at the Basilica of San Giovanni Maggiore in Naples set for four days prior to the Vatican concert.

The entire event is set to be broadcast live on TV.

Below, Smith on SNL in 1976. I saw this as it went down on live TV when I was ten years old. It might not seem as shocking now, but back then it was absolutely inconceivable that someone would do or say something like this on television. The date was April 17, 1976 and since Smith didn’t go on until after midnight, this meant that she technically sang this on Easter Sunday!
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Knockin’ ‘Em Down in the City’: Iggy Pop rocks the Cleveland local news, 1979


 
Not sure how or why this happened, glad it did: Cleveland-by-god-Ohio’s blandly caucasoid time-filler news magazine show Afternoon Exchange visited Iggy Pop during his rehearsal/soundcheck at the Agora Ballroom one day in November of 1979. Iggy’s touring band that year featured founding Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock and guitarist Brian James in-between his stints in the Damned and Lords of the New Church. Further name-drop action: the video was posted by Zero Defex bassist turned Zen Master (I’m not kidding) Brad Warner.

This all-star band performed “Knockin’ ‘Em Down in the City” from the then-forthcoming LP Soldier. Iggy being Iggy, he put on a full show for the local news cameras to benefit an afternoon audience of homemakers, unemployed, and shut-ins, all of whom surely changed their plans for that evening to come out for the concert. Iggy also gracefully endured the goofily clue-deprived questions from milquetoasty interviewer Bob “The Real Bob James” Pondillo, whose enthusiasm is appreciated, but seriously, safety pins in the cheeks? It’s amazing that so many suburban normals seemed to think that kind of thing was standard practice. And how weird is it that he couldn’t name-check the Dead Boys or Pere Ubu, but he knew who the Lepers were?
 

 
Iggy’s performance after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Billy Idol says punk ‘didn’t make a dent in the political system’
11.12.2014
07:31 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Billy Idol


 
In an interview with The Big Issue, Billy Idol, punk rock’s biggest mainstream apostate, gave some blunt answers to questions about punk’s early days and its impact.

Was punk really the revolution it is supposed to have been or was it a natural evolution of what was going on at the time?
It did come in the form of a revolution but at the same time it was rock ‘n’ roll music forwarding itself into the new age. There was a lot of prog rock in the ’70s, which was cool and everything, but there became a glut and it was very difficult for anything else to break through. There were great guitar pieces but a dearth of songs.

Punk was not just about music though, was it also redefining politics and protest?
Punk rock opened the door to people like me – the marginalised. We got a chance to do something artistic with our lives. Everybody was exploring the artistic side partly because the Pistols said there is no future, there’s no future for you. That was a rallying call. That was the revolution.

The Pistols sang about there being no future, were they proved right?
I think they were to be honest. There was so much unrest. We believed in mixed communities and race mixing, not a country just for the white English. You got your head kicked in for it but that’s England sometimes! In some ways what’s going on now is reminiscent of those times.

So when you became famous and commercially successful, did you feel you had betrayed where you had come from?
Punk had done what it set out to do to a certain extent and it didn’t make a dent in the political system. Margaret Thatcher got in! That was scary. You went, “Fuck all that shouting, nothing happened!” It was demoralising. I didn’t see it as betraying anything at all. I saw it as moving on as an artist. I don’t think I did anything except follow my heart and that’s what punk was all about.

In his dismissal of punk’s political impact and his handwaving of sellout accusations, you kind of have to allow that the man has a point. Never mind what you think of his music, Thatcher DID get in. Thousands of “I Hate Reagan” bands made not even a tiny dent in Reagan’s horrifying 1984 landslide victory. And Fugazi, at last count, stopped ZERO wars, though Ian MacKaye’s brave anti t-shirt stance remains proudly unblemished. (No, it doesn’t.) It’s painful to allow this, but as populist music movements go, punk may think it has a lock on righteousness, but hippie was infinitely more effective in the realm of politics. Still, fuck hippies, though, don’t get me wrong…

There’s more to the interview. Not to spoil, but it turns out that “Dancing with Myself” actually was just about dancing. Far less surprisingly, Idol’s recently published memoir shares its title with that song.

Here’s a look at Idol when he sorta mattered some, as singer for Generation X. Marvel at the video editor’s complete disregard for synchronization!
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Murder By Guitar: San Francisco punk band Crime live at San Quentin prison, 1978
11.12.2014
07:21 am

Topics:
Crime
Punk

Tags:
Crime
San Quentin


A 2012 reproduction of Crime’s San Quentin flyer.
 
So if anyone has been looking for an index of how the world has changed since 1978, here’s one valuable piece of data. That Labor Day, the San Francisco punk band Crime played a show in San Quentin State Prison. The members of the band wore matching dark blue police uniforms, and as they played such originals as “Crime Wave,” “Piss on Your Dog” and “Rockabilly Drugstore,” inmates waved flyers that screamed “CRIME,” the band’s block-letter logo, above a drawing of a leather-clad dominatrix in a jail cell. I’m no expert, but I don’t think any festivities along these lines are planned for San Quentin this year. I bet they’re lucky if the warden lets them watch a rerun of The Voice.
 

 
How did this supremely unlikely event come to pass? Drummer Hank Rank told an interviewer from Amoeba Music a few years ago:

Contrary to popular perception, there were not many venues for early punk bands. Bill Graham publicly declared that he would never allow a punk band to play any of his venues, and many smaller clubs were scared by what they read about the goings-on at punk shows. That’s why we were open to the idea of Museums Without Walls that put art and music in unlikely places, so when we were contacted with the opportunity by Lynn Hershman (now Leeson), we jumped. We were the only punk band on the show that hot sunny day in the exercise yard at the Q, and neither the prisoners nor the guards knew what to make of us. The window of the cell where Sirhan Sirhan was in solitary was directly opposite where we played, and I’d like to think that our show was the worst punishment of his life.

 

 
Hank Rank and singer/guitarist Frankie Fix described the show in a contemporary interview with New York Rocker:

On Labor Day of this year, Crime entered San Quentin and performed for over 500 prisoners. “It was something we had wanted to do for a long time,” said Rank. “We knew we’d be playing for a crowd that was really into crime.”

As the prison gig approached, Crime almost got cold feet. “As it got closer,” said Rank, “things we were hearing got scarier. They said we couldn’t wear blue jeans or a work shirt ‘cause in the event of a riot, they wouldn’t want us to get shot, mistaken for prisoners. Then they told us about the no-hostage rule which is that if you’re taken hostage by a prisoner, they will not bargain for your life. If he says he’s going to kill you if they won’t let him out, they’ll say ‘Fine, kill this person. We don’t care. We’re not letting you out.’”

According to the band, the San Quentin gig was not their best. “It was in the daylight,” explained Fix, who rarely rises before 5 p.m.

“It was blazing heat,” said Rank, “and they had a little speaker for a PA. And imagine, you’re looking out there at a mass of 500 people and all I could see were crimes written on their faces: rape, murder, mutilation. All the disgusting side of humanity was sitting there looking at us.”

 

 
Gimme Something Better, an oral history of Bay Area punk, gives a few more details:

Hank Rank: There was sort of a demilitarized zone between the stage and the prisoners. There was a rope, and then the prisoners were all behind that. And they really divided right down the middle, blacks on one side and non-blacks on the other. When a black group would play, all of the non-blacks would stand up and move to the far side of the yard. When a non-black group would play, the exact opposite would happen. So when we hit the stage, they all got up and moved away [...] It was a tough crowd. They didn’t exactly get the music, and the guards up on the tower with their guns, looking down, shaking their heads. Nobody there knew what to make of us.

Joe Rees [of Target Video, who filmed the show]: Up on the walkway was a black female guard with a high-powered rifle. She had an afro, and it was bleached blond. You’d think that she was part of the show. Policemen performing the music. Inmates with their eyes hanging out. It was so bizarre.

Johnny Strike [singer/guitarist]: Frankie was so nervous, he was popping Valiums. By the time he hit the stage, I looked over at him and I was like, “Oh man. He’s totally out to lunch, he’s singing the wrong song.” Somehow we pulled it off.

Murder By Guitar 1976-1980, released last year, collects all of Crime’s original studio recordings. Superior Viaduct put the album out on vinyl and MP3 this summer.

According to at least one Crime discography, Target Video released the whole show on VHS, but YouTube only has this great clip of “Piss on Your Dog.”
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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When Iggy Pop was on ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’


 
In 1998 Iggy Pop guest-starred on an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as a Vorta overseer named “Yelgrun” from the planet Kurill Prime. Admittedly I never watched the Deep Space Nine series, but had I known back then that James Osterberg was going have a small role on it, I would have definitely tuned in.

Producer Ira Steven Behr was a massive Iggy fan and had always wanted him to be on the show. According to Memory Alpha:

...Behr made a point of visiting the set during production of the episode, which was something of a rarity due to his busy schedule. “For Iggy I would not be denied!” Behr joked. “I was a happy boy.” Similarly, Hans Beimler recalled, “Ira was thrilled! For cryin’ out loud, Iggy Pop has been a hero of his for years. I’ve heard about Iggy Pop since I’ve known him. I’ve seen Iggy Pop posters in his home. What can I say? The man was in heaven.”

Though he was excited to have Pop onboard for the episode, Behr did have concerns that the character perhaps wasn’t the best match for the singer, known for his wild stage presence. “I knew that the role was going to be tough for Iggy, because he’s a very kinetic performer”, Behr commented. “His physicality is certainly part of who he is, and unfortunately we cast him as a Vorta, one of the most immobile of characters.”

Behr declared that Pop was wonderful to work with and thought he nailed “...that demented quality the Vorta have, like Weyoun has-think Caligula! He was just a delight.”


Ira Steven Behr and Iggy Pop

Below, a video montage of Iggy’s most memorable scenes as “Yelgrun” from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “The Magnificent Ferengi.”

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘I Have Come to Kill You:’ Henry Rollins parodies Queen
11.05.2014
08:59 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Punk

Tags:
Henry Rollins
Queen


 
In 1987, Henry Rollins, fresh from Black Flag’s breakup, released his first two solo records, Hot Animal Machine under his own name, and the six-song EP Drive By Shooting under the name “Henrietta Collins and the Wife Beating Child Haters.” I should probably specify that these were his first musical solo records—he’d already released two spoken word albums by then.
 

 
Both were recorded during the same month with the same backup band, but Drive By Shooting is by far the goofier record. It opens with the title song, a ridiculous travesty of surf-rock tropes. It’s not ALL silly—the album also boasts a great cover of Wire’s “Ex-Lion Tamer.” But then there’s “I Have Come to Kill You,” a send-up of Queen’s distinctive hit “We Will Rock You.” The EP, by the way, isn’t particularly rare, and the original vinyl can be found online at quite reasonable prices. It’s also included with the CD version of Hot Animal Machine
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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David Johansen and Johnny Thunders talk Sex Pistols and Tom Petty in front of CBGB’s, 1976

Johnny Thunders and David Johansen
 
The New York Dolls essentially came to an end while touring Florida in 1975. A few months prior, the band was on their last legs when future Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren stepped into the picture. McLaren had some insane ideas, such as re-imagining the androgynous Dolls as tongue-in-check Maoists. Drummer Jerry Nolan later recalled McLaren’s vision of “dressing us up in matching red leather suits and playing in front of a giant communist flag. It was so stupid!”
 

New York Dolls: Better red than dead? (photo by Bob Gruen)
 
Nolan and guitarist Johnny Thunders quit the band and headed back to New York, forming the Heartbreakers. Their earliest gigs, with original bassist Richard Hell, were at the club that would eventually be known as the ground zero of punk: CBGB’s. As for the Dolls, vocalist David Johansen and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain recruited various musicians over the next couple of years, soldiering on until 1977 when they finally called it a day.
 
CBGB's
 
In the footage featured here, Johansen is seen conducting a mock-interview of sorts with Thunders in front of CBGB’s. Likely recorded in the fall of 1976, the two cover a lot of ground in the brief clip. Johansen asks about the Heartbreakers upcoming overseas tour, which turns out to be the ill-fated “Anarchy in the U.K.” tour with the Sex Pistols.
 
Anarchy tour poster
 
At the time, Thunders has no idea of the ultimate fate of the outing, in which nineteen shows are scheduled, though all but three are cancelled due to a backlash after the Pistols infamous appearance on Bill Grundy’s television program. Malcolm McLaren organized the tour, and when his name comes up the two have a few sardonic yucks aimed at their former manager (Thunders says he’s “the neatest”). They also talk about how the Heartbreakers might have to change their name, as there’s a new band making the rounds with a similar moniker: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
 
The Heartbreakers
The Heartbreakers, with Richard Hell, at CBGB’s, 1975 (photo by Chris Stein)
 
The former band-mates are seen smoking and joking like the old friends they already were at that point. To be honest, I had no idea the pair were even on speaking terms during this period, so it’s nice to see them getting along so well (it’s worth noting that the reconstituted New York Dolls is one subject they don’t broach).

The encounter was shot with photographer Bob Gruen’s video camera and included on the New York Dolls DVD of Gruen footage, Lookin’ Fine On Television.
 
New York Dolls
 

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Discussion
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Salad Days: A talk with the former fanzine kids behind the new 80s DC punk documentary
11.04.2014
06:43 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Punks
Washington DC

Salad Days
 
During the ten-year timespan that encapsulated the Reagan presidency and the emergence of Washington, D.C. as the nation’s murder capital, the1980s DC punk underground became a hotbed of incendiary youth activism. The 1980s saw the birth of Dischord Records and DC bands like Minor Threat, Beefeater, Fire Party, Soulside, Rites of Spring, and Fugazi as the harDCore scene matured around community action groups like Positive Force that advocated for punk rock to take direct action against societal injustice.

The early scene was not without its critics, and was sometimes derided by music reviewers like Robert Christgau who, according to Positive Force founder, Mark Anderson, in his seminal history of DC punk, Dance of Days, once called the emerging aggressive breed of young punks “muscleheads.” As a counterpoint, according to Anderson, the comment lead to the title of Flex Your Head, a compilation of DC punk released on Dischord Records in 1982.

The DC underground’s fiercely D.I.Y and, often, cerebral take on traditional punk rock continues to resonate. 

A new documentary about the era called Salad Days: The DC Punk Revolution, is set to make its debut in a few weeks. Created by Director Scott Crawford, a then very youthful fanzine chronicler of the 1980’s DC punk scene and Jim Saah (Director of Photography and Editor), a now professional photographer who taught himself the art in large part by shooting DC punk performances, the Kickstarter-funded film will begin seeing the light of day in November after being in the works for nearly four years. Salad Days features interviews with DC punk and post-punk luminaries Ian MacKaye, J. Robbins, Brian Baker, Kenny Inouye, Dante Ferrando and many others. DC post-punk outfit Soulside, three members of which went on to form Girls Against Boys, will reunite for a handful of shows in conjunction with the NYC and DC premiers.
 
Soul Side St. Vitus
 
I sent both Crawford and Saah a few questions via email recently and asked them to discuss the upcoming release of the film, their backgrounds as young fanzine creators, and what the 1980s DC hardcore scene meant to them.

DM: Scott, tell me about your years of making underground publications and what drew you to the Salad Days project.

Crawford: My love of magazines started as a kid when I published a fanzine called Metrozine that was focused on the DC punk scene. I did that for almost three years until I started playing in a band. Years later, I started two other zines that focused on the indie rock world at the time and I worked with some amazing writers and photographers (including Jim Saah). In 2001, I started another consumer music magazine out of my basement called HARP that was eventually bought by another publishing company. I worked as the Editor and Creative Director for seven years—and the focus was independent music and culture. Unfortunately once the economy bottomed out, so did the magazine industry and we were a casualty.

I’d been wanting to document the DC punk scene in the 1980s somehow and just thought a documentary film was the best way to tell the story. Speaking with a lot of the people that I’d spoken to almost 30 years ago (as a fanzine kid) provides a type of perspective that I think offers a unique take on the story. Honestly, after the magazine went under, I was floundering a bit personally and professionally. While the film took almost four years to complete, it’s been therapeutic, humbling and incredibly satisfying.

DM: This music was literally life changing for so many young people, but there have always been haters out there about it from critics to other punks who thought the scene was overly earnest and self-righteous. As you pointed out in your Kickstarter campaign, so much is misunderstood about DC punk in the 80’s. What’s the biggest misunderstanding?

Crawford: The DC punk scene in the 1980s was polarizing. Whether it was straight edge, socio-political issues or “emo”, they all provoke a reaction of some sort—which speaks volumes for the impact that this city has had not just on independent music but the culture at large. My eight-year-old daughter has never heard an Embrace song, but she uses the word “emo” on a daily basis. But as the film explores, not everyone was straight edge, humorless and pious. It was a diverse community and while it had its share of disfunction, it was made up of incredibly creative, hard-working people that created a thriving music scene at a time when there was no real local radio support or music industry infrastructure to help support it. That’s no small feat.
 

In this clip from Salad Days, Ian MacKaye talks about still addressing the straight edge issue.
 
DM: Talk about the Soulside reunion shows that are coming up in conjunction with the film’s release.

Crawford: I’d been talking to the band for a while about doing a reunion show when the film was ready to come out. They haven’t played on a stage in over 25 years so I really wasn’t sure if it’d actually come together, but I think the timing just worked for them. Personally speaking, they were always a favorite of mine, so it’s particularly meaningful to have them onboard. It’s going to be a really special weekend.

DM: Is there still a movement mentality in the D.C. underground?

Crawford: I think that’s part of the DNA of folks living in DC and active in the underground music community. I think having organizations like Positive Force in the city helps keep the activism alive.

DM: Jim, How long have you known Scott Crawford and how have you guys worked together over the years?  How’d you get involved in the Salad Days film?

Saah: I’ve known Scott since he was twelve years old. He called me and asked if he could use my photos in his fanzine. Then later on I would shoot photos for the various music magazines he would do over the years, Noise Works, Bent and Harp. I did fanzines of my own that Scott wrote for as well. In the 80’s I did Zone V which was a photo/fanzine, then in the 90s I did about a dozen issues of Uno Mas, which was more of a culture fanzine. I’ve thought about doing a book from time to time about DC punk rock but not a film. Scott came to me with the idea to make a film. He actually had to talk me into it a bit because I thought it was a daunting task. And it was! But since we have a long friendship and have collaborated on many things over the years it was very easy falling into a good workflow for the film.

DM: You shot everybody from the DC underground in the early 80’s including Faith, Government Issue, Scream, Black Market Baby, Iron Cross, and Minor Threat (including their last show at Landsburgh Center in 1983) to name just a few. How old were you in 1983? Did you feel like these bands were making history?

Saah: I turned eighteen in March of 1983. I didn’t have a sense of history being made at the time, but there was a sense that we found something special, something that spoke to us and wasn’t what everyone else at school was into. It was special. I was incredibly excited by the whole thing. I discovered older punk rock first; NY and British stuff from the late 70’s. But then I quickly found out that people were making incredible punk rock right now in my backyard! So we went to every show and drank it all in. I didn’t start a band but I did start a fanzine and took photos at all the shows and loved the community and camaraderie. It was a beautiful thing to be accepted by like-minded people.

(I asked both Crawford and Saah the following) What’s the underlying message of Salad Days and what do hope for young musicians and artists to take away from it?

Saah: For me the underlying message is that this music scene and community taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to, that I didn’t need anyone’s permission to be a photographer. I just needed to do it. It set me on a path that I’m still on. I took pictures of bands for my fanzine, then for the City Paper then for the Washington Post. The punk ethos taught me to believe in myself, and also taught me how to not settle for what’s put in front of me in regards to art and culture. It taught me that it may take a little work to find a band or book or movie that’s not easily found on the radio or in the library or at the Cineplex at the mall, but people are making incredible, moving and inspiring art that’s off the mainstream radar and it’s extremely rewarding to go find it. I’m still on the hunt to this day. And now my kids turn me on to cool shit that I didn’t know existed.

Crawford: Salad Days isn’t about nostalgia for me. It’s about looking at that period in my life and applying the things I learned then to my life now. In other words, my best days aren’t behind me—they’re ahead of me. Hell, they’re right now.

DM: How can people get their hands (or at least eyes) on the film once it’s released?

Crawford: We’re premiering the film over the November 14, 2014 weekend at DOC NYC Film Festival in NYC, and in the Midwest (the same night) at the Sound Unseen Film Festival in Minneapolis, MN and on Sunday, November 16 at the Olympia Film Festival in Olympia, WA. Then our Washington, DC premier begins on December 19 at the AFI Theater and runs through December 22. After that, we’ll be doing a few more film festivals followed by a theatrical run and DVD/VOD.

Look for updates on the film’s Facebook page and check out the trailer for Salad Days below:
 

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
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Young, loud, snotty: Famous punks just hanging out

Jello Biafra at Mabuhay Gardens, SF 1978 by Jim Jocoy
Jello Biafra at Mabuhay Gardens, SF 1978
 
Jim Jocoy and his family left their home in South Korea and arrived in the town of Sunnyvale, California, when Jocoy was only 17. He enrolled at UC Santa Cruz, but later dropped out once he discovered the burgeoning punk scene that was exploding all around him. Jocoy got a gig at a Xerox store, hung out at punk clubs by night and started up a punk zine with his friends called Widows and Orphans. That’s when Jocoy decided to pick up a camera and started shooting photos of his friends and bands whenever he happened to find himself someplace interesting. Jocoy found himself in lots of interesting places.
 

Olga de Volga of the San Francisco band VS. Geary Street Theatre, SF 1980 Jim Jocoy
Olga de Volga of the San Francisco band VS., Geary Street Theatre, SF 1980
 
Jocoy’s remarkable photos ended up in a book in 2002 called We’re Desperate. I reached out to Jocoy in an email, and the photographer graciously agreed to answer a few of my questions about his days growing up as a young punk in California.
 
Sid Vicious. San Francisco, January 14th, 1978 by Jim Jocoy
Sid Vicious, San Francisco, January 14th, 1978
 
Tell me about your now infamous photo of Sid Vicious.

Jim Jocoy: The photo of Sid was taken after the last Sex Pistols show in SF. They performed at Winterland on Jan. 14, 1978. He took a cab to my friend Lamar St John’s apartment in the Haight-Ashbury district. I was outside as the cab pulled up. He was alone and got out and pissed in the middle of the street before going into the apartment. I ran into him in the hallway and asked if I could take a Polaroid photo. He nodded yes and that was it. He spent most of the evening in the bathroom with a couple of “fans”.
 
William Burrough's at his 70th birthday party in SF, 1984 Jim Jocoy
William Burroughs at his 70th birthday party in San Francisco, 1984

I understand that you presented a slide show of your photos to William Burroughs in honor of his 70th birthday. How did that go?

Jim Jocoy: The party was held at a warehouse in the Mission district belonging to the artist Mark McCloud. He was known for his (real) LSD postage stamp art. Burroughs allowed me to take a photo of him that evening. He wore an nice blue suit and had his briefcase in hand.

What’s your favorite memory of a show you saw back in the day that really blew your mind?

Jim Jocoy: I would have to say it was the first Ramones’ show in SF at the Savoy Tivoli on August 19th, 1976. It lasted about 30 minutes without a break, only “one, two, three, four!” between songs by Dee Dee. It was such a sonic boom of pure rock energy as I had never heard before. It was in the tiny back room of the bar/restaurant. It was like ground zero for launching the punk rock scene in San Francisco. A few weeks later, many of the seminal SF punk bands started performing regularly at the Mabuhay Gardens, the first main punk rock venue in the city.
 
Punk girl in leather SF 1978 Jim Jocoy
Punk girl in leather skirt, SF 1978
 
Jocoy’s photos were only shown in public twice (one of those times was at Burroughs’ birthday party), and then were stored away for almost two-decades before seeing the light of day once again between the covers of We’re Desperate. So here’s a glimpse of what punk rock looked like back in the late 70s and early 80s, through the lens of a simple 35mm camera with an oversized flash taken by a guy who happened to be in the right place at the right time. Many thanks to Jim Jocoy for the use of his photos and captions (written by Jim) in this post.
 
John Waters at the Deaf Club in SF, 1980 by Jim Jocoy
John Waters at the Deaf Club in SF, 1980
 
Regi Mentle Geary Street Theatre SF, 1980 Jim Jocoy
Regi Mentle, Geary Street Theatre in SF, 1980
 
Poison Ivy of the Cramps in the dressing room of the Mabuhay Gardens, SF 1979 Jim Jocoy
Poison Ivy of the Cramps in the dressing room of Mabuhay Gardens, SF 1979
 
More young punks after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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