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Dead Kennedys: Live At The Lawrence Opera House in Lawrence, KS 11-04-84

August 28th, 2010 4 comments

Even though it arrived a few years late in terms of my obsession meter (I kinda lost interest in anything after Plastic Surgery Disasters), this was a big deal for me. In my Grade School-to-Jr. High transition from what I thought of as “New Wave” (Devo! B-52′s!) and “Punk Rock” (Sex Pistols! Ramones!), the Dead Kennedys clearly represented the next step into my emerging sense of “Hardcore”.

Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Dead Kennedys 11-04-84

On a summer trip up to New Jersey in 1982 my cousin Bobby had made me a series of punk comp tapes filled with the heavy hitters of the day: Flipper, Fear, Black Flag, D.O.A., and so on. There wasn’t a loser in the bunch really, but the band I initially found myself returning to (mostly on the strength of Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables) was the DKs.

Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair

Everything about them fell into place for where I was at: their melodies were catchy, their lyrics were intelligent & witty, the art was cool (check halfway down on this page for Winston’s Smith’s very kind response to a gushing fan letter I wrote him when I was 13), their politics jived with my already established views — the whole package just worked for me.

Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair

In June of 1983 I had been living in Oklahoma when they had played the Kansas City VFW, but since everyone I had ever talked to raved about that show my already-bound-to-be-high expectations were now jacked all the way up. Part of a memorable week, the Saturday night show was sandwiched between my first viewing of Eraserhead (Friday at SUA with my pal Doug Redding) and the grim likelihood of Ronald Reagan’s second administration (Tuesday nation-wide and mostly a foregone conclusion). The gig was obviously also pretty high on to-do lists all around the Midwest, and the Lawrence Opera House was super packed with curious first timers as well as the faithful.

Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair

After opening performances from the Micronotz and the Crucifucks (N.O.T.A. didn’t make it), the Kennedys’ set found them working through a number of tunes that would eventually turn up on their Frankenchrist LP. Sadly (as you’ll hear), though the energy was pretty high all night there were rampant microphone and mix issues throughout much of the show. With a set clocking in at about an hour and twenty minutes the band certainly delivered the goods however, and as you can tell from these killer pics snapped by Greg Blair the crowd ate it up.

Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair

I have a lot of scattered memories here, so I’ll just run over a few of them and then get to the good stuff:

• Finally getting all of the “Jello acts like a mime” references I’d read in live reviews of the band.

• Getting so excited during “A Child and His Lawnmower” that I would be able to lay claim to “first stage dive of the night” (shoe-loss averted thanks to this also being the “first night I ever wore Converse high tops”)

• Seeing more people hanging out on the sides & back of the stage than ever before (just like those photos of big LA shows from Flipside!)

• Leaving my tape recorder in the hands of my friend Gil Bavel (I was up front for the whole set) and being aghast that he decided to sully the purity of my recording by asking various people “what they thought of the show” (in retrospect: kinda funny. You’ll hear it.)

• The mic totally dropping out and Jello trying to get the crowd to sing along to Holiday in Cambodia (the results were better in the room than what you might be able to glean here.)

• Interviewing the very patient Mr. Biafra & Mr. Flouride after the gig with my chum Pete Haney (who asked the better questions by far). Unlike every other interview I’d done so far this was in a room full of people I had never seen before hanging on his every word. I guess I’d never really seen that kind of “holding court” before.

Okay! On with the show!

Room 101 #7 - Jello InterviewRoom 101 #7 - Jello InterviewRoom 101 #7 - Jello Interview

Room 101 #7 - Jello InterviewRoom 101 #7 - Jello Interview Room 101 #7 - Jello Interview


Photos ©2010 Greg Blair


Dead Kennedys: Live At The Lawrence Opera House in Lawrence, KS 11-04-84 (192 kbps)

01 Intro (1:18)
02 Take This Job And Shove It (David Allan Coe) (1:25)
03 Hop With The Jet Set (2:09)
04 Dear Abby (1:21)
05 Terminal Preppy (1:30)
06 When Ya Get Drafted (2:08)
07 Soup Is Good Food (4:10)
08 This Could Be Anywhere, This Could Be Everywhere (5:49)
09 Chemical Warfare (3:34)
10 Mtv Get Off The Air (3:46)
11 A Child And His Lawnmower (1:00)
12 Jock-O-Rama (6:23)
13 Kill The Poor (3:17)
14 Macho Insecurity (2:06)
15 Police Truck (2:41)
16 We’ve Got A Bigger Problem Now (8:01)
17 Forward To Death (1:11)
18 Bleed For Me (8:10)
19 Nazi Punks Fuck Off (0:59)
20 Let’s Lynch The Landlord (4:22)
21 Pipeline (Chantays) (2:36)
22 Holiday In Cambodia (6:36)
23 I Fought The Law And I Won (Bobby Fuller Four) (2:25)
24 Moon Over Marin (4:45)


Decry: Live At The Outhouse in Lawrence, KS 10-17-85

May 10th, 2009 7 comments

Decry: Live At The Outhouse in Lawrence, KS 10-17-85. Photo © Jason Willis

Decry: Live At The Outhouse in Lawrence, KS 10-17-85. Photo © Jason WillisDecry: Live At The Outhouse in Lawrence, KS 10-17-85. Photo © Jason WillisDecry: Live At The Outhouse in Lawrence, KS 10-17-85. Photo © Jason Willis

One of the first wave of shows at the Outhouse in Lawrence (and one of the only shows I taped there), this cover-loaded set by Decry finds them in between the classic SoCal Punk Rock of their Falling LP & the more Glam trappings of the Japanese MLP followup.

Now while Falling was received with near open arms at the time of its release (MRR compared them to the Adolescents, Circle Jerks, M.I.A., Black Flag AND Toxic Reasons), when they merged that style with the comparatively heavy dose of Hanoi Rocks~cum~Aerosmith (etc) trappings on Japanese (hey, it could have worked), their popularity seemed to pretty much drop off the radar altogether. Still, if you can imagine this approach panning out you’ll be glad to hear that their more Rockist material gelled plenty better live than it did in the studio, and over the years I’ve played this recording much more than the actual later vinyl.

A few notes on the pics: I ran out of film right after these 4 shots, so sadly this is all I’ve got to share. Folks familiar the Outhouse itself will probably note both the minimum of graffiti as well as the total lack of a stage (eagle eyes might also spot a few mid-1980′s cans of Carling Black Label with the old white packaging, then perilously close to its last gasp.)

And hey all you locals: be sure to listen for a confused Farrell asking why he should go to Bucky’s (formerly Sandy’s) in Lawrence.

Decry: Live At The Outhouse in Lawrence, KS 10-17-85
Decry: Live At The Outhouse in Lawrence, KS 10-17-85


Decry: Live At The Outhouse in Lawrence, KS 10-17-85 (192 kbps)
01 Problems (Sex Pistols) (3:01)
02 Here To Stay (2:52)
03 Let ‘em Shake It (2:37)
04 Last Sin (1:23)
05 American Way (3:00)
06 Dead End Zone (2:31)
07 Raven (2:31)
08 Faces In The Night (4:26)
09 Two Miles From Nowhere (3:40)
10 My Island Paradise (4:42)
11 Mama Kin (Aerosmith) (3:29)
12 Calvary (3:28)
13 Falling (4:15)
14 Fortunate Son (CCR) (2:31)
15 Sorority Girls (4:07)
16 Something In Common (3:05)
17 Warlords (3:33)
18 Sonic Reducer (Dead Boys) (3:08)
19 Train Kept A Rollin’ (Yardbirds) (6:02)
20 Stranger (4:43)
21 Farrell’s Address (0:56)


Gardrails: The Worst Night(s) of Your Life 1983-1984

March 7th, 2009 7 comments

Gardrails picture

Easily my favorite house party band of all time; if you can imagine the early Germs mixed with King Uszniewicz and his Uszniewicztones you’ll have an approximation of Lawrence, Kansas’ amazing Gardrails. To set the stage here, let me just quote from their “official” bio:

What began in the winter of 1982-83 as a demented nightmare quickly festered into a cancerous reality by the next spring — feeding almost entirely on other group’s songs, distorting them well past the line of sanity and leaving the bloated and unwieldy remains to be devoured and kicked to the ground by the ever increasing gang of criminals and thugs who refer to themselves as Gardrail fans.

Gardrails review

Members Tomy Splash/ Tommy Nepsted (verbal abuse and convulsions), Hutch Trash/ Kurt Mangold (guitar noise and howls), Frank Off/ Frank Morris (bass and angry shouting), and Bobby Fizz/ Rob Fitzgerald (drum, tin cans and old wine bottles) unleashed a drunken barrage of noise and fun that was the perfect soundtrack to a night shared among Rock & Roll loving friends. Mixing what one flyer described as “Warped 50′s Noisecore” with a dusting of Punk/Hardcore around the edges, the end result was a guaranteed good time-slash-headache.

Not since the Lindbergh kidnapping has there been such public shock and outrage. Gardrails defile everything that good, decent Americans hold near & dear. They are a menace that must be dealt with, or life as we know it will soon fall to decay, eaten away by this insipid and insolent NOISE.

Underground Music FestGardrails flyerGardrails flyer

Gardrails flyerGardrails flyerGardrails flyer

They didn’t last long really (how could they?), and aide from the occasional reunion everyone eventually drifted into other projects (Brompton’s Cocktail, National Public Radio), thus allowing the Gardrails to remain fixed as a perfect moment in time. As Yoko Ono said in describing the ongoing appeal of the Beatles: “The story of the Golden Temple: A guy fell in love with it and burned it down. He couldn’t stand the idea of it falling apart as it got older, and now the Golden Temple exists in perfect form forever. It became a myth.”

Stop them now, before they invade YOUR home, drink YOUR liquor, and turn YOUR children against YOU and the rest of society. And then they will start to play.

Gardrails flyerGardrails flyerGardrails flyer

Gardrails flyerGardrails flyerGardrails flyer

I truly wish I had 20 more recordings to share here (their repertoire expanded well beyond these boundaries — certainly no finer version of “Blister in the Sun” was ever performed by anyone), but the links below should at least provide a glimpse into a better world than you might’ve ever imagined possible.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Gardrails.


1983: Live At The Loft in Lawrence, KS 11-19-83 (192 kbps)

01 Not Fade Away (Buddy Holly) (1:54)
02 Should I Stay Or Should I Go? (The Clash) (2:31)
03 Wescoe Beach (0:52)
04 Pipeline/Wipeout (The Chantays/The Surfaris) (4:17)
05 Tommy Splash On Guitar Blues (2:43)
06 Gardrails KJHK Station ID (1:05)
07 Stray Cat Strut (Stray Cats) (2:35)
08 Louie Louie (Richard Berry) (1:50)
09 Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Rolling Stones) (2:41)
10 President Reagan (1:25)
11 Voodoo Hippie (2:39)
12 Red Hightops (2:38)
13 Who Do You Love? (Bo Diddley) (2:10)


1984: Live At The Lawrence Opera House in Lawrence, KS 04-21-84 (Underground Music Festival) (192 kbps)

01 For Your Love (Yardbirds) (2:56)
02 Wescoe Beach (1:53)
03 C’mon Everybody (Eddie Cochran) (1:30)
04 Red Hightops (1:25)
05 Route 66 (Chuck Berry) (3:01)
06 Wild Thing (Troggs) (1:49)
07 Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Rolling Stones) (1:15)
08 Voodoo Hippie (3:59)
09 Stray Cat Strut (Stray Cats) (1:42)


1984: Unknown House Party in Lawrence, KS 00-00-84 (192 kbps)

01 C’mon Everybody (Eddie Cochran) (2:03)
02 Not Fade Away (Buddy Holly) (1:56)
03 Voodoo Hippie (3:50)
04 Good Lovin’ (The Rascals) (1:34)
05 Wild Thing (Troggs) (2:19)
06 Untitled (0:22)
07 Pipeline/Wipeout (The Chantays/The Surfaris) (3:07)
08 Should I Stay Or Should I Go? (The Clash) (2:17)
09 Wescoe Beach (1:38)
10 Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Rolling Stones) (1:49)
11 Fever (Otis Blackwell) (3:45)
12 Red Hightops (Incomplete) (0:09)



Battalion of Saints: Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO 06-18-85

January 27th, 2009 14 comments

I first picked up the Battalion of Saints Fighting Boys EP back in 1983 at the great Starship Records in Tulsa, Oklahoma after being turned on to them by some Bartlesville friends of mine. Being overly enthusiastic 14 year olds, when together we would sometimes call the phone number the band had listed (for booking purposes) on their lyric sheet just so that we could, you know, chat and tell them how swell we all thought they were. Amazingly they didn’t tell us to fuck off, and later on I’d run information gleaned from these phone calls as “Updates on Battalion of Saints” in my fanzine Room 101 (the one here dates from issue #2, early 1984). Battalion were one of the few “metallic tinged” Punk bands that got the mix exactly right for my tastes and over the years I would continue to slavishly pick up any and all releases of theirs I could find, spinning them for hours on end.

Flash forward to summer 1985: by this time the Bats had released their first full LP Second Coming (containing several slightly slicker re-recordings of tunes from the demo tapes, singles & comp tracks already out there) and were booked for a show at the Foolkiller in KC on my 16th birthday. For some reason this and a few other gigs around mid ’85 got held in the basement of the building and though the sound was a bit dodger (George’s vocals suffered the most) I personally liked the “cave vibe” as well as the fact that it didn’t take as many people to fill up.

After sets by the Slabs and the Orange Doe-Nuts, Battalion of Saints finally got up and were ready to crank out what I’d been waiting forever to hear live. There was some more flash around the edges (check out those “Van Halen style” licks on Fighting Boys) and the set was cut a bit short thanks to several strings breaking, but I had no complaints — they were just a great fucking band and as cool in person as they’d been over the phone.

You’ll find a couple of unreleased tunes here; “Number One” (vocals sadly buried but helpfully introduced with “This is a new one, uh it’s called ‘Number One‘, thank you!”), whatever Track 13 is actually entitled (could be a cover for all I know, but a hot song either way), and the last thing which is a quick message that (now deceased) guitarist Chris Smith recorded for me to give to Oklahoma chum Brendan and his sister “Astri or Austry or whatever the fuck her name is.” A great night, a great band and a great birthday present.

Note: Swell guy and fellow KC punk (not to mention letterpress whizz) Bryan Hutcheson thinks he still has pictures from this show — stay tuned in case they materialize.

Battalion of Saints: Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO 06-18-85
Click To Enlarge

Battalion of Saints: Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO 06-18-85 (note wrong date)
Click To Enlarge (Note incorrect date on flyer)


Battalion of Saints: Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO 06-18-85 (192 kbps)
01 Club Noise/Warming Up (0:12)
02 Second Coming (2:33)
03 Right Or Wrong (1:33)
04 Fighting Boys (1:47)
05 No More Lies (2:26)
06 No Time (2:13)
07 My Mind’s Diseased (2:42)
08 Beefmasters (1:58)
09 Cops Are Out (2:14)
10 Number One (1:58)
11 Animal In Man (1:32)
12 Holy Vision (2:28)
13 Track 13 (2:26)
14 Fair Warning (1:30)
15 (I’m Gonna) Make You Scream (2:14)
16 Message To Brendan (0:33)


N.O.T.A.: Live At The Lawrence Opera House in Lawrence, KS 12-01-84

January 23rd, 2009 5 comments

Jeff from N.O.T.A.: Hey I’ll see you after the show, dick.

I spent a dismal summer living in Bartlesville, OK back in 1983 when I was 13. Though most of my time there was spent in solitude listening to the 7 or 8 tapes I had brought to help me make it through the temporary exile, I was lucky enough to discover and befriend some punk kids who were around my age (that’d be Erik Adams and Brendan Anderson; hi guys!) in the final two weeks of my stay. We quickly became good friends and over the next year or so the three of us would ride the Greyhound bus between Oklahoma to Kansas for visits built around record shopping or punk gigs, and the two of them even contributed Oklahoma scene/show reviews to the first few issues of my ‘zine.

One of the bands they always raved about (along with Diet of Worms, No Direction, Brown 25 and the Flaming Lips), was N.O.T.A.; local Okie kingpins who published the rad zine OK Decay and had a pair of singles and a cool live tape to their credit. They’d come through and played KC a few times before, but this was my first chance at catching them after a canceled slot opening for the Dead Kennedys bill a month earlier had left me disappointed.

Well as it turns out that DKs gig probably would have been a better bill for N.O.T.A. really. Lots of folks here seemed much more in tune with where headliners (and former speed kings) Hüsker Dü were promising to lead them, and the pure hardcore of N.O.T.A. seemed to harsh the crowd’s collective mellow quite soundly (at the end of this set you can hear a woman cry out “Oh thank God!”). Still the band was tight and solid, with only a weird slapback echo making the precision jackhammering of the drums sound deceitfully loose from time to time. The set is about what you’d expect from this era as well, with plenty of tunes from Live at the Crystal Pistol & the Moscow / Toy Soldiers singles showing up, along with several songs that would wind up on their self titled Rabid Cat LP from ’85.

So while it turns out that this wouldn’t actually be the best N.O.T.A. show I’d ever catch (that would actually be when they opened up for Fishbone at the Outhouse two years later, every element of which seems unlikely to me in retrospect), it was still a good gig from a band that gets a bit lost in the shuffle these days. Worth my time in 1984, and worth your time in 2009.

N.O.T.A. ticket stub (with Hüsker Dü, Micronotz, Orange Doe-Nuts), 12-01-84
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N.O.T.A. flyer (with Hüsker Dü, Micronotz, Orange Doe-Nuts), 12-01-84
Click To Enlarge

N.O.T.A. flyer (with Hüsker Dü, Micronotz, Orange Doe-Nuts), 12-01-84
Click To Enlarge


N.O.T.A.: Live At The Lawrence Opera House in Lawrence, KS 12-01-84 (192 kbps)
01 Police Front (1:45)
02 Sick Society (2:28)
03 Fucked Up (2:13)
04 I Should Kill You (2:28)
05 Too Far (1:59)
06 Toy Soldiers (2:01)
07 Keeping You Out (1:48)
08 Propaganda Control (1:48)
09 This Country Once Was Free (2:27)
10 Moscow (2:14)
11 Fairies Wear Boots (Black Sabbath)/Drugs And Sex (3:40)
12 Nightstick Justice (2:41)
13 Cattle Call (2:11)
14 Summer Of 82 (2:49)
15 Identity Crisis (3:43)
16 War On Wankers (2:47)
17 Redneck Mentality (1:11)
18 Frustration (3:32)
19 Suicidal Cowboys (Brown 25) (2:17)


…and since N.O.T.A. closed their set with a Brown 25 cover, and since No Direction kind of evolved into Brown 25 after ND broke up, here are a pair of interviews Jim Blanchard published in his (always excellent) Blatch fanzine back in 1983.

As a side note on Jim (or “Jymm”); in addition to briefly fronting the band Gift, after Blatch he continued with some really cool art that you can check out here, and buy originals of here (you also might have caught some of the inking he did on the last 15 issues of Peter Bagge‘s comic book Hate back in the 1990′s). To top it all off, after the Knockout Pills played a Seattle show in 2006 he came over to tell me that he thought we were really good, so Jim’s okay in my book.

N.O.T.A. and No Direction interviews from Blatch #7, 1983
N.O.T.A. and No Direction interviews from Blatch #7, 1983. Click To Enlarge

7 Seconds: Live At The VFW#18 in KC, MO 09-21-84

January 16th, 2009 8 comments

I thought LA was rough but you guys make them look like a bunch of wimps!

You could accurately describe the 1984 me as something of a raving little straight edge kid, and as such 7 Seconds spoke pretty directly to my brain. Their speed, their melodic “woah-oh” vocals, their lefty-style personal politics, their “regular guy” look, their fairly “nuance-free” lyrics — all of it worked its magic on me in a big way. I was so smitten by their first two 7″ records (the era that is still my favorite — what a drag that the “United We Stand”/”Old School” sessions got held back for so long) that I even wrote Kevin Seconds a fan letter in 1983, promptly hanging his gracious response up on my wall:

Kevin Seconds terribly polite 1983 letter to Jason
Click To Enlarge

Given the above it’s fair to say that this night (the Samhain half of which I already wrote about and shared audio from here) found me pretty amped up, and happily 7 Seconds didn’t disappoint. They were fast, tight, passionate and engaging, and even with the spookiness of Samhain waiting in the wings it seemed as though the crowd did their best to respond in turn (for example it was the most neighborly large-scale slamming I’d seen at the VFW to date; plenty of girls and every felled dancer quickly helped up). To top it all off the guys themselves were all friendly to a fault, and Kevin sold me a copy of the recently released Positive Force comp single “Nuke Your Dink” himself, helpfully (and correctly) mentioning how great he thought the No Deal track was. While 7 Seconds’ later musical ventures turned out not to really be my thing (though logical in context of the myriad twists and turns 80′s Punk Rock was to take), this was still a really fun night and the best I would ever see them play — I’m pleased to be able to share it with the world.

7 Seconds sticker, 1984
The sticker that Kevin gave me with the “Nuke Your Dink” single (Click to enlarge)

One kinda funny thing I always think about in relation to this show happened on the ride home with my good friend (and regular show-going punk rockerist) Pete Haney. He asked me what Kevin meant when he ended his introduction of the song “Aggro” with “…’cause you guys are aggro”. I told him that I thought it was some kind of compliment based on all the energy the crowd was putting out, and that I’d heard him use that term in interviews to indicate “positive aggression” or whatever. “Oh,” Pete said, “I thought that maybe because this was the Midwest and there’s so much agriculture out here he was just calling us a bunch of farmers.”

7 Seconds: Live At The VFW#18 in KC, MO 09-21-8
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7 Seconds: Live At The VFW#18 in KC, MO 09-21-84 (192 kbps)
01 Strength (1:59)
02 Definite Choice (1:20)
03 Redneck Society (1:11)
04 Five Years Of Lies (1:39)
05 Drug Control (0:44)
06 Bottomless Pit (2:22)
07 In Your Face (1:44)
08 Bully (2:23)
09 Wasted Life (2:26)
10 Regress No Way (1:59)
11 I Have A Dream (1:33)
12 Straight On (0:44)
13 This Is The Angry (Part 2) (3:43)
14 Colorblind (3:04)
15 Aggro (1:57)
16 How Do You Think You’d Feel (2:56)
17 Not Just Boys Fun (1:36)
18 Anti-Klan (1:50)
19 Comitted For Life (1:52)
20 The Crew (2:17)
21 Racism Sucks (3:54)
22 No Authority (1:16)
23 99 Red Balloons (Nena) (Incomplete) (3:17)

No Heroes: Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO 06-23-84

January 13th, 2009 12 comments

No Heroes stickerNo Heroes flyerNo Heroes flyer

No Heroes flyerNo Heroes flyerNo Heroes flyer

I first saw No Heroes at a 6/2/84 Foolkiller gig opening up for Winnipeg, Canada’s Personality Crisis. While I was ready for Personality Crisis to tear it up (and they did — what a fucking amazing and underrated band. Check out the book “Warm Beer and Wild Times” to read their whole story), I was pretty shocked when No Heroes just came roaring out of nowhere to play a killer set. Despite hailing from Omaha, their sound was unlike what I was used to from most other Midwest punk bands of the day — though some Toxic Reasons comparisons came to mind they also had at least a few SoCal sounding numbers that wouldn’t have been out of place on an early 80′s Posh Boy release. After their set was done I gushed about how good I thought they’d been (both in person and later in my ‘zine), and struck up a brief/intermittent flyer trading relationship with their drummer Mark Blackman, the results of which you can see represented above.

The show I’m sharing here is actually from a few weeks later though, when they opened for the Freeze (who were great of course; there’s audio from that show and a rather personally embarrassing story forthcoming). To be honest, compared to the earlier gig No Heroes weren’t as on fire here; they battled some gear problems (which I remember them being pretty pissed about later) and had longer gaps between numbers as a result. Still while it maybe isn’t as tight of a performance as the first time I caught them, the upside is that this set was a longer one and more of their songs made it to tape — that’s good news because while the band stuck it out at least another year after this gig (i.e. there might be a demo or something floating around), for all I really know this could be your only chance to hear the pride of Omaha circa 1984. Certainly in retrospect I wish I’d had the prescience to record every local and small band opening the shows I taped — so many of those songs are probably lost forever.

To refresh my memory for this post I did some internet poking and found that a thread running through much of the early Omaha punk scene seems to have been artist and drummer Mark Blackman. Prior to No Heroes he was in a band called Self Gratifukation and later did time in several other groups (Apathy, Nuns with Guns, etc) before settling into his current gig Bad Luck Charm. These days guitarist Phil Thompson is playing with Snakey Billy (with Seth Kirschman, ex-vocalist for Apathy), and if my memory serves me right Omaha producer Jim Homan (yeah, he was ALSO in Apathy) was the second guitarist here. So who was on bass? For the life of me I can’t recall (Jim’s brother Michael, also ex-Apathy? Confirmed! Yes.)– there’s gotta be a ton of folks out there who can fill in more details here, so please feel free to set me straight.

Update from Michael Homan via the comments: The lineup was Mark Blackman on drums, Dave Loomis on guitar 1, Jim Homan on guitar 2, Michael Homan on bass and vocals.

Also: this may only be tangentially related, but it would appear that there was recently a large Omaha punk reunion show which amazingly enough my old pal Meghan (from Empty Records, the Rat City Rollergirls, and other general coolness) looks to have been heavily involved in! You can read about and see video and photos from the event here, here, & here among other places. Oh, and be sure to look here for a bunch of old flyers and pics; it’s a pretty amazing archive!

No Heroes: Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO 06-23-84
Click to enlarge

No Heroes: Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO 06-23-84
Click to enlarge


No Heroes: Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO 06-23-84 (192 kbps)
01 TV Preacher (3:06)
02 Read Between The Lines (2:42)
03 Ban The Klan (2:40)
04 Media Burn (2:21)
05 Brainwashed (2:53)
06 Screw Religion (2:13)
07 ASOPB (4:04)
08 Fuck You Jim (0:20)
09 Nothing’s Left (2:26)
10 Thing’s Gotta Change (1:55)
11 Butcher And Murder (1:29)
12 What’s The Cost (3:24)
13 Fun Outta Life (2:15)
14 Once Upon A Time There Was Hiroshima (2:16)
15 Social Reject (3:56)
16 Judgement Day (1:22)
17 Proud American (2:54)
18 Seven Steps (2:14)

The Crucifucks: Live At The Lawrence Opera House in Lawrence, KS 11-04-84

January 11th, 2009 3 comments

Doc Dart: I’d like to thank all you creeps for not showing up at the Kansas City show. A lot more fun without ya.

As befitting the popularity of headliners the Dead Kennedys, there were just a ton of people at this show. As you might well imagine, this meant that in addition to the regulars and enthusiasts of the day there were also an awful lot of casual curiosity seekers in attendance. Casual curiosity seekers whose casual curiosity was no doubt somewhat extinguished by the shrill, whiny and nasally off-key vocals of one Mr. Doc Corbin Dart, the frontman for unadvertised openers The Crucifucks. I saw plenty of hands-over-ears.

On the other hand if you’re like me and you enjoy Doc Dart’s vocals, well then you’ll just find a heap to champion here as they were mixed puh-lenty loud (though maybe not as loud as that Batman loop they started their set with). The lyrics were probably all-too-easy to discern as well, and they were famously some of the most negative and sensationalistic you could encounter at the time (and ultimately a component of some band division, check out Mark Prindle’s Crucifucks review page to read the original guitarist’s take.)

Despite the somewhat mixed reaction (and the fact that my tape ran out after only about 15 minutes) I can attest that the Crucifucks did indeed put on a fine live show this night. In fact I’d say that one of my most vivid memories for the entire evening was when Mr. Dart and his neon animal print shirt stumbled off to the side of the stage and vomited (something I gather he did with a bit of frequency at the time). Showmanship!

Note: As previously mentioned and as represented on the flyer & ticket stub posted below, the Crucifucks were a late addition to the bill and were effectively taking the place of N.O.T.A. (who cancelled and were instead added to a Hüsker Dü show booked for the Lawrence Opera House a month later.)

Ticket Stub (sans Crucifucks)
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Flyer (sans Crucifucks)
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Here’s the flyer from that Kansas City show a month earlier that the creeps didn’t show up for:

Oct 6th Crucifucks show at the VFW#18 in KC, MO (sans creeps)
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The Crucifucks: Live At The Lawrence Opera House in Lawrence, KS 11-04-84 (192 kbps)
01 Similar Items (4:09)
02 I Was/Go Bankrupt And Die (3:08)
03 The Mountain Song (1:32)
04 Hinkley Had A Vision (1:41)
05 Legal Genocide (1:41)
06 Washington (1:55)
07 Oh Where, Oh Where? (1:36)
08 Resurrection (Incomplete) (0:17)

Marginal Man: Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO 07-03-85

January 11th, 2009 4 comments

You know, Marginal Man always kinda reminded me of the original Alice Cooper group. Something about the nighttime vibe a lot of their music had going on, and even some of Steve Polcari’s vocals — there was just a certain variety of cool happening in their sound that you didn’t hear much of at the time, and straight away I liked it.

All that had been released when they played this show was the Dischord 12″ “Identity” (well, and the Artificial Peace song “Someone Cares” which they do here), but as you’ll hear from the between song banter their follow up LP “Double Image” was ready to go, and surprisingly enough there are even a couple of tunes that would later turn up on their self titled Giant Records release from 1988. Still for me the big shocker was their closing cover (enigmatically introduced as “another band’s song”) of “Black Magic” off of the 1984 Joe Wood-era TSOL LP “Change Today?”! At the time I scarcely knew anyone else besides me who liked that album (this being the start of the “without Jack it’s crap” backlash), so it was a complete surprise when they pulled it out of their hat.

Aside from the vocals getting lost here and there (you could say that the guitar dominates), the sound is pretty good on this recording, so if you’re a fan you should enjoy this one.

For added context, here’s a rather enthusiastic review my pal Doug wrote about the show (for my fanzine “Room 101″):

Marginal Man show review from Room 101 #8
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…and hey, check it out. I even bought a shirt:

Jason (in Marginal Man shirt) and his Grandma (not in Marginal Man shirt). July, 1985
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Marginal Man Live at the Foolkiller in KC, MO 07-03-85
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Marginal Man: Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO 07-03-85 (192 kbps)
01 Turn The Tables (3:53)
02 Identity (1:53)
03 Mental Picture (2:03)
04 Tell Me (2:57)
05 I Had a Feeling (5:21)
06 Emotional Scars (1:14)
07 Linger In The Past (3:34)
07 Under a Shadow (2:32)
08 Strange Feeling (2:24)
10 Someone Cares (1:38)
11 Friend (1:40)
12 Marginal Man (2:34)
13 Missing Rungs (2:12)
14 Torn Apart (2:50)
15 Mainstream (5:42)
16 Double Image (4:46)
17 Chocolate Pudding (4:30)
18 Shades of Reason (3:21)
19 Pandora’s Box (2:08)
20 Fallen Pieces (2:48)
21 Black Magic (TSOL) (3:04)

Blind Idiot God: Live At The VFW#18 in KC, MO 10-23-84

January 10th, 2009 5 comments

Gabe Katz (Blind Idiot God): This one’s for all the pussies down in the bar that won’t come up and hear us. (shouting) You know we drove 250 miles to do this!

Unimpressed gentleman in the audience: That ain’t shit.

Recorded the same night as the ill-fated Dr. Know set which I posted earlier, this was the first time I was able to hear Blind Idot God. At the time all I knew about them was that their demo tape had been mentioned in MRR#14/given a “top twenty” listing by Pushead, and that there was some strong local chatter concerning them in KC. Still I guess I had no real idea what to expect.

MRR #14 St. Louis Scene Report
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MRR #14 Pushead's Top 20
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People who know what they became 3 or 4 years later and have heard their SST and Zorn related output might be a bit surprised at the more single minded hardcore/metal/punk/noise type blasts that dominate this recording, but if you listen closely to the many “Title Unknown” tracks here you’ll be able to find snippets of riffs and ideas that would later get stitched into much longer pieces. This being 1984 there’s nary a hint of Dub to be found, but the “Avant” underpinnings are still very much in evidence — it’s really too bad their set got cut short. Then again I guess the “pussies down in the bar” (and there were more than a few) probably felt differently about that, eh?

Blind Idiot God Live at the VFW#18 in KC, MO 10-23-84
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Blind Idiot God: Live At The VFW#18 in KC, MO 10-23-84 (192 kbps)
01 Track 01 – Title Unknown (2:43)
02 Track 02 – Title Unknown (1:16)
03 Track 03 – Title Unknown (2:14)
04 Blasting Off (1:38)
05 Track 05 – Title Unknown (1:19)
06 Track 06 – Title Unknown (3:01)
07 Sawtooth (2:25)
08 Track 08 – Title Unknown (1:29)
09 Shifting Sand (3:49)
10 Track 10 – Title Unknown (2:03)
11 Track 11 – Title Unknown (2:19)
12 Track 12 – Title Unknown (2:51)
13 Easing Back (2:11)
14 Track 14 – Title Unknown (0:24)
15 The Police Are Outside/Club Noise (1:23)