To this day I’ve never met a scarier human being
October 4, 2017 6:00 PM   Subscribe

Videographer Loren Kantor was hired to videotape a Black Flag/Fear/Circle Jerks show in 1981. It did not go well.
posted by larrybob (56 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
Camera: Damaged.
posted by davebush at 6:24 PM on October 4 [3 favorites]


Sounds like he was about to have a nervous breakdown.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:27 PM on October 4 [3 favorites]


"No Black Flag? $400 is all you get for Lee Ving early."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:34 PM on October 4 [24 favorites]


was the video equipment Wasted, Again?
posted by alex_skazat at 6:45 PM on October 4 [3 favorites]


Don’t diss Lee, man. He’ll mess you up.” He referred to Lee Ving, the notorious lead singer of Fear. To this day I’ve never met a scarier human being.

Who was in Flashdance, of all things.
posted by 41swans at 6:45 PM on October 4 [9 favorites]


or was it all, In My Head?
posted by alex_skazat at 6:46 PM on October 4


reading the article, it seemed Everything Went Black... ...in the footage.
posted by alex_skazat at 6:46 PM on October 4 [1 favorite]


no TV Party
posted by alex_skazat at 6:47 PM on October 4 [5 favorites]


Mr. Boddy, in the Ballroom, with a mosh pit.
posted by bstreep at 6:49 PM on October 4 [5 favorites]


i Fear the circlejerks tag is going to haunt this site in the future.
posted by alex_skazat at 6:51 PM on October 4 [2 favorites]


A shame he couldn't rise above the experience.
posted by thivaia at 6:52 PM on October 4 [5 favorites]


Fear's all right if you like saxophones.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:03 PM on October 4 [13 favorites]


I only saw Fear once, and the mutual hostility between Lee and the audience was hilarious. The audience seemed pissed that Fear was playing, even though they’d paid to see them. After every song Lee pointed at someone in the crowd and demanded the bouncers get that asshole the fuck out of here (and the bouncers complied). The mosh pit seemed way more serious than any I’d been in before, so I stayed away. I was mainly there to see the opening band Butt Trumpet anyway.
posted by ejs at 7:05 PM on October 4 [21 favorites]


Don’t let me down, Mefites. Surely one of you attended the show.
posted by grimjeer at 7:08 PM on October 4 [3 favorites]


All that and no tape?
posted by Dip Flash at 7:20 PM on October 4 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: I was mainly there to see the opening band Butt Trumpet anyway.
posted by lukemeister at 7:21 PM on October 4 [27 favorites]


Someone grabbed me under the armpits and dragged me away. I’ve no idea who it was.

...and that man... was Henry Rollins.

(could be true)
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:25 PM on October 4 [9 favorites]


"And when you saw only one set of footprints, it was because I was dragging you out of the pit before you got your ass kicked."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:28 PM on October 4 [77 favorites]


Punk. Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. On purpose.
posted by Splunge at 7:35 PM on October 4 [3 favorites]


I Don't Care About You!

Or your camera
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 7:48 PM on October 4


El Duce was a menacing singer for the “rape rock” band The Mentors. He was a bald Latino with a ratty beard, sanpaku eyes and a hairy belly protruding beneath a tight t-shirt. He was rude, crass and prone to spitting on and cursing women. (One of his songs included the lyrics, “Bend up and smell my anal vapor, your face is my toilet paper.”)

arguably problematic imo
posted by Sebmojo at 8:12 PM on October 4 [16 favorites]


literally just posting to thank the lord this day for a butt trumpet reference on metafilter
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 8:17 PM on October 4 [22 favorites]


Who was in Flashdance, of all things.

Lee Ving was in a couple of other movies, my favorite being "Get Crazy"
posted by mikelieman at 8:22 PM on October 4


The Mentors still exist and a gig of theirs was the subject of a protest in my hometown last month (when the venue refused to cancel). I believe protests happened outside of their Portland gig as well.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:22 PM on October 4 [1 favorite]


“That’s a strange thing to write a song about.”
posted by PHINC at 8:50 PM on October 4 [2 favorites]


El Duce, OTOH, is no longer with us.

Anyway, Fear fucking up SNL's set after being introduced by Donald Pleasence is probably the best thing ever to happen on that show.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:08 PM on October 4 [12 favorites]


Yes, that's why the quote above says El Duce was...but my point was that you can lose your piece of shit frontman and still have a band full of dickheads.

But yes, Fear on SNL is a glorious thing. Thank you, John Belushi, for making it happen.

The band's appearance included a group of slamdancers, among them Belushi, Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat (and later Fugazi), Tesco Vee of the Meatmen, Harley Flanagan and John Joseph of the Cro-Mags, and John Brannon of Negative Approach. The show's director originally wanted to prevent the dancers from participating, so Belushi offered to be in the episode if the dancers were allowed to stay.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:12 PM on October 4 [5 favorites]


arguably problematic imo

It's funny how Tipper Gore this sounds. Problematic? Fucking problematic by design and you can fuck off while you're at it.

That's closer to the attitude of the punk scene I remember in LA, when I was an early teen. And it doesn't really even come close, since you won't see somebody's teeth on the floor or that guy that stuck a garden hose up his butt so he could spray ass water on the crowd. It's funny when I occasionally see a Metafilter comment all romanticizing something punk, because my recollection was that punk was a brutal, sadistic affair, and the crowd that stuck it out were a universe away from 2017 Metafilter sensibilities.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:36 PM on October 4 [17 favorites]


Well that was anticlimactic.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:51 PM on October 4 [1 favorite]


arguably problematic imo

It's funny how Tipper Gore this sounds. Problematic? Fucking problematic by design and you can fuck off while you're at it.


I think you might have missed a wee bit of facetiousness there, chief.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:05 PM on October 4 [17 favorites]


Another vote for butt trumpet here - I wonder if we all know one another irl
posted by queensissy at 10:08 PM on October 4 [3 favorites]


Tangential anecdote: Keith Clark, who joined the Circle Jerks as a drummer in 1985, was my tax accountant throughout the 2000s.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 10:28 PM on October 4 [26 favorites]


I ain't buyin it. Lobsters don't pay taxes.
posted by mannequito at 10:55 PM on October 4 [7 favorites]


It's funny how Tipper Gore this sounds. Problematic? Fucking problematic by design and you can fuck off while you're at it

Look, it wasn't that funny that you missed the joke, I guess, but that you doubled down and barrelled into a scolding rant about "Metafilter sensibilities" whilst still completely missing the joke was glorious, thank you for this gift
posted by ominous_paws at 11:40 PM on October 4 [22 favorites]


“That’s a strange thing to write a song about.”

This reminded me of various punk concerts that I can't really remember...now I'm going to go mad unless someone can remind me who had a song with the lyric "What's for supper -- PEANUT BUTTER!". Circle Jerks? I think it was probably a Canadian band though. D.O.A.? SNFU? I've been singing that lyric for almost three decades, and the only other thing I can remember about that concert is that it was somewhere pink in vancouver (the orpheum?).
posted by lastobelus at 12:17 AM on October 5


I remember Lee Ving from Streets of Fire. One of the bad guys, natch.
posted by zardoz at 12:30 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


t's funny when I occasionally see a Metafilter comment all romanticizing something punk, because my recollection was that punk was a brutal, sadistic affair, and the crowd that stuck it out were a universe away from 2017 Metafilter sensibilities.

i think that depends on where you were - from what i saw of it, the scene in w michigan wasn't anywhere near as extreme and being a longhair wouldn't have gotten someone beaten up, especially if they were bikers ...
posted by pyramid termite at 2:30 AM on October 5 [3 favorites]


being a longhair wouldn't have gotten someone beaten up, especially if they were bikers ...

Why is that, do you think, that people feared to be adept in fighting would be spared? Not as much of a sure thing as gang-stomping some poor old freak?
posted by thelonius at 3:15 AM on October 5


It's funny how Tipper Gore this sounds.

the "anal vapors" couplet was specifically highlighted by the PMRC is why
posted by thelonius at 3:17 AM on October 5


for one thing, the city wasn't big enough to exclude non-punk purists and still have a scene - it also didn't seem to be as important to people

gang stomping someone just wasn't done - it would probably be broken up by the more responsible people there - and there's social pressure too - in a town the size of battle creek people would find out who did it - if the person stomped had friends then there would be retaliation and more trouble - and that would be a dead certainty if it was a biker who got stomped

not to mention that the cops were just waiting for an excuse to shut it down
posted by pyramid termite at 3:30 AM on October 5


Well, in Atlanta, they didn't care about those niceties. Club owner Steve May was jumped and beaten with bricks and pipes, as retaliation for some punks getting bounced from 688. Commie Rick, the guy who used to sell The Daily Worker around the scene, was put in the hospital.

On the other hand, I had a positive encounter with Chris Wood, notorious frontman of The Restraints. In the mid-80s, a bar called Margaritaville (really), at Spring Street and 14th Street, became, for some reason, a big punk gathering spot. Really the parking lot did, not the bar itself. Margaritaville would book almost any band, which is, perhaps, why our band could get work there. They made bands work the door themselves, and one night I took a turn. A lot of people simply blew past 17 year old me, without paying. The Restraints were also on the bill, and Wood saw this, went around the room, and shook down non-payers for the door charge. "These kids ain't doing this for their health", he explained.
posted by thelonius at 3:39 AM on October 5 [3 favorites]


Who let all these fuckin longhairs in here?
posted by Annika Cicada at 6:02 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]


Maybe Wood was just in there for a drink; as I recall, it was on general principle, not self-interest, that he helped me out. But it's been 33 years, so, I dunno.
posted by thelonius at 6:05 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]


It's funny when I occasionally see a Metafilter comment all romanticizing something punk, because my recollection was that punk was a brutal, sadistic affair, and the crowd that stuck it out were a universe away from 2017 Metafilter sensibilities.

That wasn't my experience of it at all (with the notable exception of the skinheads sometimes). I found it welcoming* and with lots of smart people; it does not surprise me when the occasional punk-related post here brings out all kinds of comments from people involved back in the day.

The other day I was downtown and had to smile when I saw a kid in his teens with a jacket covered in the same band logos from more than 20 years ago. I guess you'd call those classics by now, but it's great that people are still finding it and enjoying it.

* There have been some really great articles (and I think documentaries as well) more recently about how the scene was and is much less welcoming to women, something that I don't recall being much discussed when I was involved. That's something I hope continues to change and improve.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:54 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]


with the notable exception of the skinheads sometimes

uh, yeah... notable.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 7:18 AM on October 5 [3 favorites]


I loved Fear back in the day—what thrilling music!—but I would never have gone to one of their shows. I am a bourgeois coward.
posted by languagehat at 7:35 AM on October 5 [3 favorites]


Meh. Every generation has a designated most-terrifying-people-in-the-world act, an avatar of uncontained chaos. Theirs are the shows that at least nominally put us in fear of our lives, if not our souls – the gigs at which we half-expect actual insurrection to break out. The early Stooges come to mind, or Throbbing Gristle.

But only GG Allin has ever come close to walking the walk, the only act that's gone so far beyond a little healthy épater le bourgeoisie as to constitute an actual hazard to your health. By contrast, Fear were a band you coukd actually book on SNL and expect, correctly, that the "shocking" "violence" would still be suitable for broadcast, and this guy's taking Piggy/Mr. Boddy at face value tells me everything I need to know. #johnnyturdandthecommodes
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:56 AM on October 5 [3 favorites]




The part of the punk scene I was involved in was very political, arty, and welcoming to me as an angry teenage vegan queer kid. There were parts I stayed away from, notably anywhere that skinheads were hanging out - nazis were obviously bad news, but the anti-racist skins also really liked fighting and had short tempers. I was more about making zines and biking than going to shows, though, both for the reasons above and because I had friends who had been sexually assaulted at local venues. I guess what I'm saying is that some stuff about punk is definitely fucked up, but also that the scene is big enough for it not to be a monolith.

Also Butttrumpet is pretty great.
posted by bile and syntax at 9:23 AM on October 5 [9 favorites]


It's funny when I occasionally see a Metafilter comment all romanticizing something punk, because my recollection was that punk was a brutal, sadistic affair, and the crowd that stuck it out were a universe away from 2017 Metafilter sensibilities.

Yeah... can't say this is true of the Bay Area punk scene in the 80's. It was pretty inclusive, with most violence that I saw from people outside the scene, directed at us.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:10 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]


1) I still find it weird that the Meatmen were real and not something that I dreamed up while drunk in College.

2) as far as punk is concerned, I know they're not really Punk, but seeing the Ramones at CBGB's when I snuck in (as much as anyone gave a shit about such things) when I was 14 (not just sneaking into the club but also NYC, in a set of lies that somehow no one figured out) was mind- and life-altering, and I never really felt unsafe. Someone offered me a drink from a flask, another person offered me a joint; I just refused politely and they both shrugged and went to the next person.
posted by mephron at 10:48 AM on October 5 [5 favorites]


Not really Punk? The Ramones??? Not so into the gatekeeping and discourse-policing and ghetto maintenance (per a commentor here, in a felicitous phrase I'm straight-up yoiking), but really, you do not and cannot get much more canonically punk than the Ramones at CBs.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:12 PM on October 5 [3 favorites]


PS See the work of Jim Jocoy, most especially the wonderful We're Desperate, for a vivid look at just how wildly fructifying and expressive the first wave of American punk was, before my generation came along and turned it into a received and uniform choice.
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:15 PM on October 5


I went into a Fear pit at the Whiskey. I was maybe sixteen, weighed maybe a hundred pounds, and it was fucking thrilling, and it was a very stupid thing for me to do. But Lee Ving, who was certainly a catalyst, wasn't really scary. I'm sorry this videographer didn't examine the scene further.
posted by goofyfoot at 12:21 AM on October 6


That's closer to the attitude of the punk scene I remember in LA...my recollection was that punk was a brutal, sadistic affair...

i think that depends on where you were - from what i saw of it, the scene in w michigan wasn't anywhere near as extreme and being a longhair wouldn't have gotten someone beaten up, especially if they were bikers ...

It seemed to be very location specific, every city's Punk scene was different.

Where I grew up it wasn't totally the hippy punk vibe, but it was very much a "we're in this together" scene. I purposely went to punk shows with metal tshirts and long hair. It was the kind where the mosh pits were intense, and you were going to hit the ground, but someone was going to grab you and pick you up before you got stomped. Probably the same guy laughing as he knocked you down. Kind of a Fight Club thing.

L.A. bands would sometimes talk about how brutal the L.A. shows could be, and how much it sucked.
posted by bongo_x at 10:30 PM on October 6


adamgreenfield: I had people tell me the Ramones were Not Really Punk. Really.

I felt kind of sorry for them.
posted by mephron at 5:16 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


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