I just finished reading "Enter Naomi," a book sent to me by the author, Joe Carducci, and long ago comrade in the legends and confusion of the Black Flag against world collection of memories. I am forgetful by nature so immersing myself in the hauntingly familiar chain of events of the decade 80's LA punk world is both depressing and yet feels empowering to have survived with manageable amounts of mind splatter. I remember meeting the razor thin girl at my High School, Mira Costa (which believe it or not, actually was the Rock and Roll high school in the Ramones movie) with a blades on chains around around her neck sealed inside tight clothes with random zippers and spikes, later to be roommate and then to become Michelle Flipside. We are 16 and she tells me about the "The Church" in Hermosa Beach, just three blocks from where I live with my dad. Half full of hippies and the rest full of punks in a virtual war like stand off The Descendants, Red Cross (Redd Kross), Black Flag and The Last rehearsed there in virtual anarchy. When I could muster up some cash, I could usually persuade Ron to make a beer run with the " I buy, you fly" negotiation tactic. Over time my after school hangout welcomed me in and I became a bit of a punk rock repair technician and began recording the bands at shows and helping out in exchange for getting me in to the gig and something to do. Especially and most of all I remember that I don't remember except for a few impactful highlights, that was until I start to dive into a refresher course.
So I dig up a few pics and the girl on the left was my short lived girlfriend at the time, I think her name was Julie but everyone called her Phoenix after she corrected them that she was not Julie anymore. Next over, Bart, then me, Bart's friend, and Mike Livingston. Maybe 1979 or so.
Rolling over in my mind a way to describe my recollections, the best I can muster is I feel like I was part of an expedition. Not one where people set out all organized for a goal but rather a haphazard conglomeration of humans who find themselves all headed a similar direction for various reasons that leads them on precarious journey that ends up being littered with self inflicted and coincidental tragedies. The goal, if there was one, was a loosely knit propagation of musical lifestyle anarchy, to actually succeed was to also fail which can be debatably envisioned in the hypocritical concept of "successful punker."
The westward movement of early America comes to mind. Each wagon train being a punker band and it's entourage. The meek, content, fearful and lazily rich stayed home with the status quo and waited for Hot Topic to sell fashionable outfits of the excursion while a kludge of the outcast, impoverished and explorers types who are never content, seek a new domain beyond the boundaries of safe and acceptable. An exodus into lawlessness.
Many have died over the years to follow and even more have disappeared into the non-musical frameworks of society. Bright lights burn out quickly, any lampi can tell you that. The Donner Party ate itself and perhaps so did Black Flag as the stress of relentless touring upstream took it's toll. Not too dissimilar from that westward movement, Punk Rock did relatively little directly, other than make a big mess and piss a bunch of people off enough to send the police out with billy clubs to attack their own children. The original bands and people that carved that path or long gone or obscure from a global perspective except as a name on a shirt to look cool for those that wish they were there. What is not gone is the stage they set for the future waves to build upon. What were the names of those that died in wagon trains long forgotten? Perhaps heroes of great accomplishment or criminals for ruthless Indian killing. Regardless, once carved the results remain forever etched as those crazy punker bands that stood up against the odds, were beat down by police riots and spiraled out of control, they drug us out of disco and 80's hair metal and have changed music forever yet as usual the glory goes to those that follow, not for a second that it is undeserved and each fulfills their purpose in the chain.
Oh, and speaking of hair metal band's of the 80's, for all you back East'ers and the curious, check out Girls Girls Girls, an all girl Motley Cru cover band, fun! Though I was not a Motley Cru fan, ever, there is something twistedly cool about the recycled version presented by hotties that rock!
Ok, that is enough for today. Oh, by the way, I am on my way to Scotland, for surprise surprise! Yep, some Peppers' shows for a change.