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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)


The Dicks: Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO May 3, 1984

December 17th, 2008 4 comments

Here is where I present aural and visual evidence that when I was 14 years old my parents let me ride an hour and a half up to Kansas City (on a school night!) so that I could see a punk rock band called “The Dicks”.

Making their permission even less likely, I had chosen to bolster my sales pitch for the event by showing them issue #6 of Maximum RocknRoll, which depicted Dicks singer Gary Floyd in drag on the cover with the words “The Dicks: A Commie Faggot Band!??!” scrawled across the top.

 MRR 06

In the end I don’t know if my folks complied because of my persuasive skills or because it was obvious that I was absurdly determined to become entwined with all of this punk rock crap, and they simply decided to embrace that end result sooner rather than later. I strongly suspect the latter, and stronger still I think the secret deal-closer was that they were vaguely impressed with the dedication I had recently shown by slopping out two terrible issues of my very own fanzine “Room 101”, which I was busily sending out all over the globe in apparent obliviousness as to just how much it blew (and for the record, the degree to which it blew was “totally”.)

Luckily the guy who was going to help me make that ‘zine better was also the guy who had invited me to the Dicks show in the first place; his name was Jack Boyd and we’d only recently started hanging out. He was two years my senior and in addition to being a great musician and artist he also had the best Punk Rock record collection I’d ever encountered which he wasn’t at all hesitant about loaning out. Jack would eventually do cool drawings for Room 101, help with interviews as well as record and show reviews, greatly advance the design and layout (Zip-A-Tone! Rub off lettering!) and take all of the cool pictures you see below (exciting contextual note: the peel off letters used here (for “Henry Rollins Interview”, etc) were glow-in-the-dark and came from a box of Cap’n Crunch.)

Room 101 Cover
Click to enlarge

Sebastian, Gary, Tim
Click to enlarge

Lynn
Click to enlarge

It was also in the service of this ‘zine that my Dad offered me the icing on the cake; he would loan out his portable cassette recorder for the night, allowing me to both interview AND record the band. I couldn’t believe it — in one fell swoop this presented the technological means to nail the two biggest desires punk rock had stirred up for me; contribution and documentation. (Running neck in neck of course was urge number three: “collect”, but for that I blame comic books.)

So this was my first “big city” show, my first interview with a band, and the first time I’d ever been entrusted with something as expensive as that tape recorder — looking back I can see that so many things could have gone wrong here, but amazingly nothing did. Kismet! We pulled up and I immediately felt at home in the Foolkiller (a “Folk Cabaret” with a historically liberal performance policy), I met the show promoters Keith Patterson and Eric Schindling (“Group Productions”) and they were both amazingly cool guys who said it was no problem for me to tape the show (I asked if I could leave the recorder by the sound board; my fears of thievery loosing out to the desire to be up in front of the band) and to top it all off I couldn’t have asked for an better first interview than the Dicks.

I dunno, maybe the band felt sorry for me or something (hell, I hadn’t even gone all the way through puberty yet), but despite some really dorky questions (“Is the theme of the new album the same as the single? Peace and no war and stuff like that?”) not one of them ever treated me like the rube I clearly was. In fact you can check it out; I’ve bundled a JPG of the printed interview in with the zip file of the show. Oh and did I mention that their set sounded fucking great too? Hit after hit sounding both tight and raw. Don’t miss snippets of my pre-voice change vocals on “No Fuckin’ War” either (easily confusable with the shriek that Rachel from “Issue” fanzine emits by the end). Uh, sorry about that guys.

Like I said: so many things could have gone wrong here, but instead this evening probably put the next big chunk of my life squarely into motion. My enthusiasm stoked, I started recording and interviewing lots of other bands for my ‘zine, tapping myself into a network of great people both worldwide and right in my own home town. Clearly this good fortune is still paying off today; over a quarter century later I get to share that night with YOU.

Flyer
Click to enlarge


• So here’s the show (comes bundled with a jpg of the interview, as well as large versions of the flyer and the 3 pictures that Jack took)

The Dicks: Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO May 3, 1984 (192 kbps)
01 No Nazi’s Friend (4:08)
02 Nobody Asked Me (1:47)
03 The Police (Force) (2:42)
04 Legacy Of Man (3:26)
05 Fake Bands (3:08)
06 Rich Daddy (2:42)
07 Executive Dive (4:11)
08 I Hope You Get Drafted (2:11)
09 Sidewalk Begging (5:09)
10 You’d Better Think Twice (2:13)
11 Anti-Klan (Part 1) (2:11)
12 Decent And Clean (2:48)
13 The Dicks Hate The Police (2:25)
14 No Fuckin’ War (6:24)
15 Little Rock ‘n’ Roller (Incomplete) (1:52)


• And here’s a link to the interview in JPG form all by itself.

Room 101 #4 - Dicks InterviewRoom 101 #4 - Dicks InterviewRoom 101 #4 - Dicks InterviewRoom 101 #4 - Dicks Interview

Room 101 #4 - Dicks InterviewRoom 101 #4 - Dicks InterviewRoom 101 #4 - Dicks InterviewRoom 101 #4 - Dicks Interview

(And hey! I’d still really love to get a copy of that Wrecks demo “Teenage Jive”!)


…and just for the hell of it here’s a clip (shot only one month earlier) of the Dicks performing “Fake Bands” at the Olympic Ballroom in LA