Samhain "Live At The VFW#18 in KC, MO Aug 21, 1984"
In keeping with the season and my desire to get some more of my old live recordings out there, here’s a complete Samhain show I taped way back in 1984. I’ve only copied this off one or two times over the years, but (as I’ve seen it pop up on a few tape trader lists since then) I guess that was enough for it to start making the rounds. However the good news is that this is the first time it’ll be taken from my original source cassette so even the biggest Samhain fans out there will at least be getting a sonic upgrade.
So let’s see, how to frame this? Well I guess it’d be easy for me to open up by casually bragging about how I snagged a copy of the Misfits “3 Hits From Hell” single (ahem, 1st pressing with Fiend Club insert, if you must know) for 10 cents at Kief’s Records in 1981. Sounds pretty good, right? Well it’s accurate and everything, but to be honest I had no fucking idea who they were at the time. None. In fact I only bought it because it WAS 10 cents, the Misfits logo on the insert was swiped from Famous Monsters magazine, and I noticed that the skull on the back was nicked from the 1972 Amicus “Tales From the Crypt” flick (which had blown my mind during its 1978 re-release). So no, I wasn’t the hippest 12 year old in the world or anything, it was just total blind luck. Kinda de-cools it, I know.
Of course that single was GREAT and I played the hell out of it, but somehow I still managed to keep the Misfits pretty low on my radar over the next few years. In fact I was out of the loop enough that by Sept of 1984 I didn’t even know the band had been broken up for almost a year — not till I saw the flyer for this show which announced that “from the ashes of the Misfits” something called Samhain (which my friend Andre kept telling me was properly pronounced “Sow-ween”) had risen. So while I was curious enough to wanna check ’em out, my investment level wasn’t terribly huge. Really, I was more pumped up about catching 7 Seconds (who were on the same bill) for the first time. Kinda de-cools it, I know.
Flash forward to the show: 7 Seconds went on first and they WERE great; easily the best time I would ever see them over the course of the 80’s. They played a very tight set to a packed floor and when they were done I enthusiastically picked up a copy of the “Nuke Your Dink” single (from Kevin) and a semi-slick fanzine called “Hard Times” (from some other guy) outside the hall. Samhain seemed to be taking forever to set up and when I finally wandered back in I noticed that the crowd had kinda… changed. Instead of the “hyper youth” that had been all over the place 30 minutes earlier, these older looking folks were up front and a bunch of local KC punkettes were confusing me by busily screaming the word “Mommy!” over and over (I hadn’t heard “Walk Among Us” yet). All of a sudden Samhain started playing and to be honest, I didn’t know what to make of them at first either; a lot of their music was slower (with melodies hidden more deeply inside the dirges) than most of what I’d been listening to, and what the hell was this “harmonizer” that they kept demanding be turned on? Where were all of the catchy pop choruses? Did I like this or not?
Well by the end of their set I’d figured out that I liked it a lot (perhaps you can make out some of the, uh, insightful conversation my friends and I are having during the encore clapping), and I played the hell out this tape that fall and for several falls to come, sparking a real obsession. Coming across more of this kinda stuff was somewhat hard in those days (I remember driving for well over 2 hours to the house of a guy I didn’t even know so that I could try and convince him to dub me a crappy 10th generation tape of a few Plan 9 singles), but 23 years later the magic of the internet allows me to easily share my little time-travel memory trip with YOU. All Murder, All Guts, All Fun!