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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)


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)



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
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. 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

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)
Click to enlarge

Flyer (sans Crucifucks)
Click to enlarge

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)
Click to enlarge


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)

Micronotz: Live At Voodoo Manor in Lawrence, KS 10-27-84 / “Underground Music Festival” Booklet

January 4th, 2009 11 comments

Probably the lowest-fi audio I’ll be posting, this is also the earliest recording I have of the Micronotz second incarnation and a document that sounds exactly like what it is; a noisy Midwestern house party. Held at “Voodoo Manor” (the Micronotz practice space and partial residence) over the 1984 Halloween weekend, this was a really fun night. I sure wish I could tell you the names of every other band that played but, while I kind of think Ritual Romance started the show, the only group I remember for sure were the amazing Gardrails and sadly my recording of their preformance has slipped away over the years, perhaps lost forever. (Hey! Anybody have any Gardrails video? C’mon!)

Coming 6 months after Dean’s last performance (at the Underground Music Festival, see below for more) and subsequent Art School exit, this was only the second time I’d seen the revived group with Jay on vocals. While almost every one of these songs was very new to me at the time, it’s safe to say that they quickly became seared into my brain thanks to a combo of the band’s regular gigging presence (click here for a dazzling list of Micronotz performances) and my homemade recordings of as many of their shows that I had blank tapes for. Honestly I only wish I’d started taping them a year earlier too.

So yeah, the sound quality here is pretty rough (at turns muffled, distorted and full of audience chatter) but a house party has always been my favorite way to experience live music. In fact one of the highlights of this recording is probably during “Invisible” (the chorus of which my girlfriend Stacy always sang as “My baby thinks that I’m an imbecile”); just listen to the build of those audience generated “woah-oh-oh-oh” backups. Hey! That’s pure house party!

To set the stage, here are a few representative snaps of the guys playing and hanging around the house that the show was recorded at, all courtesy of (or “swiped from”, if you prefer) the photo pages on Mike Blur’s awesome Micronotz website.
Micronotz at Voodoo ManorMicronotz at Voodoo Manor

Micronotz at Voodoo ManorMicronotz at Voodoo Manor


Micronotz: Live At Voodoo Manor in Lawrence, KS 10-27-84 (192 kbps)
01 Oh Baby (3:27)
02 Born To Kick Ass (1:25)
03 The American Ruse (MC5) (2:26)
04 Invisible (2:39)
05 Whatcha Trying To Do (4:19)
06 Your Mind Is Empty (4:26)
07 Brain Arrangement (2:58)
08 Polyester Slave (3:58)
09 Run My Life (2:29)
10 Gimme Some Skin (Iggy Pop) (2:26)
11 Way Too Long (Incomplete) (0:10)


And hey, for a little “value added bonus”, I’m also posting scans (just click the thumbs to enlarge) of the complete “Underground Music Festival” guide booklet, which gives a nice snapshot (circa April 1984) of the following bands:

Lions and Dogs (Michael Connie Welsh, Jade Gurrs, Todd Newman)
Orange Doe-Nuts (Larry Kenski, Mark Biemuller, Kurt Witt, Donny Byrom, Mike Sims)
Sinclairs (Jean-Paul, Bill Burns, David Olds, Pat Hopewell, Brian)
Mental Crisis (Coby Ellison, Matt Bramlette, Chris Hartman, Brian Green)
The Yardapes (Chris Fowler, Frank Womack, Lisa Vader, Ron Achelpohl, Bruce Eddy)
The Blinkies (Brian English, Doug Snodgrass, Mike Janas, Larry Snodgrass — Say! Does anyone have a copy of the Blinkies demo tape?)
Non Plus (Laird McKay, Vance Hiner, “Boom Boom”, Mark Roseberry)
Gardrails (Tomy Splash/ Tommy Nepsted, Hutch Trash/ Kurt Mangold, Frank Off/ Frank Morris, Bobby Fizz/ Rob Fitzgerald)
Pillbox (Chuck Mead, Vince Ramirez, John Nevin)
Slabs (Joey Dog, Lantz, Jeff, Dave Scar)
Pedaljets (Darrell Laham, Mike Allmayer, Max Worth — Say! Does anybody have a copy of the Other Geese demo tape? Got it! Thanks FJ!)
Micronotz (Dean Lubensky, David Dale, John Harper, Steve Eddy)

Underground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide Booklet
Underground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide Booklet

Front Cover | Lions and Dogs | Orange Doe-Nuts | Sinclairs | Mental Crisis | The Yardapes |
The Blinkies | Non Plus | Gardrails | Pillbox | Slabs | Pedaljets | Micronotz | Back Cover

A little more background: The Underground Music Festival was a two night event held at the Lawrence Opera House, and was ostensibly broken up into vaguely “Pop” and “Punk” evenings. It mostly pulled from Lawrence and Kansas City for talent, and as I recall a couple of the bands didn’t actually get to play (Mental Crisis for sure). I also seem to remember that both nights were to be recorded, but since they weren’t recorded by me, I’m afraid that the booklet is the best I can offer. Enjoy!

Black Flag, Saccharine Trust, Tom Troccoli’s Dog: Live At The Lawrence Opera House in Lawrence, KS 09-29-84

January 1st, 2009 6 comments

This was a big one for me. Black Flag were easily one of my favorite bands at the time and their live shows always carried a heavy rep. Since my older brother had caught a 1982 gig from the Henry/Greg/Dez/Chuck/Emil lineup at Off the Wall Hall in Lawrence (and seemed both impressed and unnerved by the experience), and since I’d missed their KC gig on the “My War” tour only 5 months earlier (a show which was cut short by the cops and the cause of some minor local rancor, click below to see the previous attention I’d given this, you know, burning issue in my fanzine), there was no way I was going to blow it here.

Room 101 #5 'Our War'
Click To Enlarge

Erik Adams, one of my earliest “Punk Rock Friends” and the guy who had inspired me to start doing a fanzine in the first place, had taken a Greyhound bus all the way up from Bartelsville, OK specifically for the show, so this was clearly a genuine event. “Slip It In” had only been released a few weeks earlier and once Erik arrived we spent the whole day bouncing around my room playing the record over and over, psyching ourselves up and acting like the hyperactive 15 year olds we were. Come evening we arrived absurdly early and got to talk to a sleepy Kira who was wandering around the hall and promised to “kick ass” for us. In an effort to hold on to everything even longer I had stocked up on blank tapes so as to document every second of audio, and Erik had borrowed a hotshit camera from his Dad that we figured would help spice up the layout of the interview I was gonna try to get (sadly if you check out the interview PDF you’ll note that those grand layout plans didn’t quite pan out. On the recording you can hear Erik shouting about some of the great pictures he was taking but by the end of the show his camera had been stolen. Later when it came time to transcribe the thing I discovered that my typewriter was busted so I crudely hand-wrote everything out instead; that interview layout looked pretty terrible).

By the time Tom Troccoli’s Dog walked on to the stage the Lawrence Opera House was pretty packed and the atmosphere felt very charged to me. A confusing choice as an opener to many I’m sure, they eased everyone into the night with a highly casual and jammy set that came complete with bongos and Grateful Dead covers. Still the Lawrence crowd was positive and receptive to all of this and after an 11 minute version of “Patience” Mr. Troccoli remarked that “If nothing else your endurance is certainly worth noting and thank you very much again for not booing me off of the stage.”

Saccharine Trust quickly set up and then launched into a killer performance composed mostly of tracks off of “Surviving You Always” (which I hadn’t heard) and subtle re-workings of a few “Pagan Icons” numbers (which I knew and loved). At turns Jazzy, noisy and Beat-style-poetic, even at the time I could tell that this stuff was expanding my tiny head. I honestly felt a little dizzy trying to follow what the guitar was doing (I still kinda do), and as a result I returned to this tape often.

Finally Black Flag were ready, and out of what eventually became a half dozen times I would see them, this was probably my favorite set. Spinning out a good mix of hits both old and new (along with a few then-unreleased instrumental numbers — man I really wish there had been more instrumental Flag albums), this was their last truly great lineup in my opinion. Kira and Bill were totally rock solid, Greg was aggressive, atonal and all over the fretboard, and Henry seemed simultaneously wrapped up in layers/totally exposed (with steam clearly rising up off of him the entire show). They all also seemed to be having a genuinely great time, and while the whole “Black Flag Work Ethic” was very much on display, the vibe felt far less serious to me than it would in the years to come. Corroborating my sense of this is Henry’s diary entry from Omaha, NE the next day (later published in Get In The Van):

I was reading Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer today while sitting on the ground in Lawrence, Kansas. Miller talked about how good everything looks when the sun’s out. Even the look in people’s eyes. When I was sitting there in Lawrence, the sun was out and everything looked good. All of a sudden it was the most beautiful place I had ever seen. I couldn’t remember what any other place in the world looked like. I felt like I had been there for a long time. I felt a need to articulate. I couldn’t do it with a photograph. It would have to be with words.

Now hours later, I can only remember the feeling. I can’t even remember what Lawrence looks like.

After the show was all over it was time to try for the interview. Maybe it was my youth (and in retrospect I realize that I looked even younger than I was) or maybe it was that whole “good vibe” thing I mentioned earlier, but contrary to other ’84 tour experiences I’ve seen & heard about, Mr. Rollins was clearly in a gregarious and open state of mind. I found him to be funny, friendly as hell and very accommodating to my dorky opener around the whole “so-the-Kansas-City-show-was-kinda-short” thing. He talked about the the ’82 Lawrence gig my brother had seen as well as the Bad Brains, SOA, Teen Idles, his plans to start publishing, a proposed SST side label called “Nixon Records” (intended to serve a similar role for SST that Zapple Records was supposed to serve for Apple), and to top it all off he very graciously tried to set me straight when I mentioned something I’d heard about Nick Cave’s June performance in Kansas City being “self indulgent”. Hats off to Henry!

A side note on the recordings: this being an all-ages Lawrence show there were a higher percentage of people I knew from school in attendance. This was cool because in contrast to a KC gig where I’d stick the tape recorder by the soundboard and cross my fingers that it wouldn’t get stolen, I could now go up front to be near the band and leave my stuff at one of the many Opera House tables under the watchful eyes of my less excitable friends. They would safeguard everything as they drank and tried to pick each other up or whatever, and the next day I would often discover bits of unexpected teenaged chitchat between the songs. I mention all of this because Black Flag’s set has one of my favorite accidental audience snippets, which you can hear at the end of “Swinging Man”:

KL: I’m fucking drunk!
RM: Yeah?
KL: LaLaLaArragh… I never meant to be this drunk… Okay… I didn’t wanna drink this much…
RM: What?
KL: (shouting) I DRANK TOO MUCH!

Cue: Black Flag “Forever Time”

…ahhh, maybe you had to be there.

Black Flag, Saccharine Trust, Tom Troccoli's Dog Ticket Stub
Click To Enlarge

Black Flag, Saccharine Trust, Tom Troccoli's Dog Flyer
Click To Enlarge


Tom Troccoli’s Dog: Live At The Lawrence Opera House in Lawrence, KS 09-29-84 (192 kbps)
01 Introduction (0:19)
02 Eyes of The World (Grateful Dead) (2:48)
03 Loser (Grateful Dead) (5:09)
04 Play With Your Poodle (3:44)
05 Camarillo (5:17)
06 Suicide (5:59)
07 Patience (11:05)


Saccharine Trust: Live At The Lawrence Opera House in Lawrence, KS 09-29-84 (192 kbps)
01 Intro/Warming Up (1:22)
02 I Have (1:51)
03 The Giver Takes (2:32)
04 Craving The Center (1:14)
05 Lot’s Seed (2:08)
06 Speak (4:23)
07 Our Discovery (5:59)
08 The Cat. Cracker (5:04)
09 Success And Failure (1:17)
10 A Good Night’s Bleeding (1:53)
11 Peace Frog (Doors) (3:48)
12 YHWH On Acid (5:37)
13 A Human Certainty (7:40)


Black Flag: Live At The Lawrence Opera House in Lawrence, KS 09-29-84 (192 kbps).
(Comes bundled with a PDF of the interview I did.)
01 The Process Of Weeding Out (7:16)
02 Revenge (0:59)
03 Room 13 (2:42)
04 Swinging Man (2:59)
05 Forever Time (2:20)
06 Wound Up (4:10)
07 Slip It In (5:19)
08 My Ghetto (1:34)
09 Black Coffee (4:58)
10 Beat My Head Against The Wall (2:48)
11 Your Last Affront (3:30)
12 The Bars (4:54)
13 Rats Eyes (4:50)
14 Police Story (1:36)
15 Rise Above (2:44)
16 My War (6:37)
17 Nervous Breakdown (2:02)
18 Fix Me (0:54)
19 Jealous Again (2:25)
20 I Love You (3:19)
21 Nothing Left Inside (8:03)
22 Can’t Decide (4:49)
23 Louie Louie (6:46)
24 Club Noise (0:41)


• Here’s the interview in PDF form all by itself.

Hüsker Dü: Live At The Lawrence Opera House in Lawrence, KS 05-12-84

December 20th, 2008 6 comments

Before we get started, I’d like to thank KJHK for making this all possible. Now the band that you’ve been waiting for! Please give a warm, Opera House welcome for, SST recording artists, Hüsker Dü!

May 12th, 1984 was the first time that I ever saw Hüsker Dü. Since I’d dutifully purchased and absorbed all of their albums (being particularly blown away by Metal Circus, easily my most played record the Fall and Winter of 1983) I thought I knew what I was in for. I knew dick.

Not only had I never experienced a band that had so mastered the art of inserting those unrelenting song blocks into their set, but an amazing 13 of the 19 songs they play here (and there were more that my tape recorder missed) were unreleased by them at the time. As a result I spent the next two months playing and replaying this tape in an unwitting prep session not just for their MegaHugeAwesomeDouble LP Zen Arcade (from which they played 7 songs), but also for their HowManyFuckingGreatTunesCanTheyWrite? followup New Day Rising (5 songs here) which was released only 6 months later.

The Lawrence Opera House (now known as Liberty Hall with a great adjacent video store — ask for Doug!) was a big boomy venue with a cool balcony and decrepit charm to spare. As a result the sound here is kind of echoey, but the mix is solid and the Hüskers are tight as hell. If you’re put off at all by the audio don’t fret; I trucked up to Kansas City for their gig the next night as well and, while the set was largely the same, I managed to capture about 6 more songs with a fuller overall sound. That recording will be coming along soon enough so, you know, watch this space for links.

No flyer, but here’s a review of the show from issue #5 of Lisa “Zero” Kelley’s local ‘zine National Priorities:

Hüsker Dü Show Review from National Priorities #5
Click to enlarge


Hüsker Dü: Live At The Lawrence Opera House in Lawrence, KS 05-12-84 (192 kbps)
01 Something I Learned Today (2:06)
02 It’s Not Funny Anymore (1:47)
03 From The Gut (1:21)
04 Wheels (1:46)
05 Everything Falls Apart (1:47)
06 The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill (3:16)
07 I Apologize (3:29)
08 Books About UFOs (2:40)
09 Folklore (1:31)
10 If I Told You (2:07)
11 What’s Going On (3:19)
12 Somewhere (2:28)
13 Pink Turns To Blue (2:20)
14 Newest Industry (2:48)
15 Broken Home, Broken Heart (1:56)
16 Diane (3:53)
17 Masochism World (2:32)
18 Eight Miles High (Byrds) (5:03)
19 Statues (Incomplete) (1:59)