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March 23, 2007 8:07 AM   Subscribe

Punk Love “If you weren’t up for being a quarterback or going to a Fleetwood Mac concert, then this was your alternative." A collection of images from the D.C. punk scene of the early '80s, captured by Susie J. Horgans, with commentary from Fugazi's Ian MacKaye and (former Häagen-Dazs manager) Henry Rollins.
posted by grabbingsand (27 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Good stuff. Thanks, grabbignsand.

In one caption Henry said, "Just the fact that you walked in through the door, you must have known enough to come in the door." So true, and neatly sums up the difference between now and then.

Also: Ian and Henry were so damn cute back then. Actually, come to think of it, we all were, because we were all like 18 years old.

*wallows in comforting nostalgia*
posted by scratch at 8:27 AM on March 23, 2007


See also
posted by MtDewd at 8:31 AM on March 23, 2007


These are adorable, and painfully, profoundly, wonderfully accurate. So much better than the pics in Banned in D.C..

Ahhh, mem'ries. Thanks.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:39 AM on March 23, 2007


Very nice, young, fresh-faced shots. That Rollins quote does capture what made the scene different then, although I was a bit young for the DC Rollins days. I'm always wary of golden ages, but there was a convergence of presence (all these great people with great energy) and absence (harDCore wasn't just "alternative", there wasn't an internet) that made the various scenes very different than they are today.
posted by OmieWise at 8:43 AM on March 23, 2007


Those shots are fucking terrific, I love it.

One thing that seems to be lost today among that kids that sport fauxhawks and go to Urban Outfitters and pick up a punk rock uniform, is that in those days, you could get your ass kicked for dressing and looking like that.

I'm sure that not having to endure the very real threat of violence is actually an improvement over how things used to be, but remembering the urgency of it all still makes me feel a bit nostalgic.

Great post.
posted by psmealey at 8:48 AM on March 23, 2007


Never forget the Psychotics! You got that!
posted by doctorschlock at 8:52 AM on March 23, 2007


One thing that seems to be lost today among that kids that sport fauxhawks and go to Urban Outfitters and pick up a punk rock uniform, is that in those days, you could get your ass kicked for dressing and looking like that.

Yes! Twenty years ago, someone who looked like that would beat up someone who looked like that.
posted by scratch at 8:57 AM on March 23, 2007


My nostalgia stops at a different station than some of yours, but it's the same train nonetheless.

My high school religion teacher used to have Glenn E. Friedman's Fuck You Heros in his desk and if you asked him about it, he'd pull it out and show you him, in the pit right next to Ian. Shocked a lot of us ten years ago. He also gave me the Misfit's volume pot (with the Crimson Ghost on it) he got at one of their last shows. This post is great, if not for making me remember those days in his homeroom.
posted by Brainy at 9:01 AM on March 23, 2007


Awesome. Thanks.
posted by inigo2 at 9:15 AM on March 23, 2007


These days, "Punk" is just another music genre. Back then, it really did seem like something new. That's the difference.
posted by davebush at 9:32 AM on March 23, 2007


These days, "Punk" is just another music genre. Back then, it really did seem like something new. That's the difference.

I think in the mid to late seventies the establishment finally thought they had this Rock thing figured out. It wasn't a threat it was just another bunch of kids looking to party. Instead of Glenn Miller it was Deep Purple. Ok, they thought. It's no the end of the world. This, they thought, we can make money off of. THIS we can co-opt.

But when punk came along it was DIY in the way early rock was in the fifties. But it was all energy and Id. Punk was also nihilist and immune to current hip trends. Punk was theme music for the end of the world. And it felt like there was no talent behind it... just raw energy. Damn. Every kid can lay down the score for the end of the world in their garage.

And the man couldn't figure out how to make money off it.

Eventually he did.
posted by tkchrist at 9:41 AM on March 23, 2007


Yes! Twenty years ago, someone who looked like that would beat up someone who looked like that.

When I went to punk shows I never wore a uniform. It was a t-shirt and jeans. Personally I think the fashion side of the music is what killed it. When punk became a "look" it was over.

Which is ok. No artistic movement should last forever. That's the whole point. The problem now is all these movements get recycled into trends and fashions. How many times are we gonna see the Seventies, or god forbid, the Sixties. Personally I am still waiting to see the Oughts.
posted by tkchrist at 9:46 AM on March 23, 2007


I am just here to say that I love the DC music scene, though my experience was not with Punk, but with raves-- Tracks, the Edge and Nation, all in a two block radius of each other in one of the worst neighborhoods in DC.

From the mid 90s till about 2002, it had as much forward-thinking music every weekend as you could get any where in the world. And more importantly, DC is such a small town, that it wasn't hard to get to know everybody that mattered in the scene, assuming you hung around long enough.

Unfortunately, all those clubs have been shut down by the incoming stadium, and there seems to not be anything taking it's place.

The only music venue in DC now that seems to be worth a damn is the Rock and Roll Hotel and even that isn't that great?

Is there any underground, locals-driven music scene AT ALL in DC these days?
posted by empath at 9:48 AM on March 23, 2007


it's amazing the amount of archiving going on with the punk rock that I grew up on. When I was 15 years old and going to see these bands play, little did I know that years later I would be reading about them and seeing documentaries on it.
posted by punkrockrat at 9:52 AM on March 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


That sure does bring back a whole lot of memories for me. Thanks, grabbingsand!
posted by trip and a half at 9:59 AM on March 23, 2007


Is there any underground, locals-driven music scene AT ALL in DC these days?

611 Florida.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:00 AM on March 23, 2007


thanks, that was awesome. let me give a shout out to all my metafilter homies in their late 30s!

man, now i'm going to hit youtube and watch all those great punk videos on there for the 10,000th time.
posted by joeblough at 10:01 AM on March 23, 2007


let me give a shout out to all my metafilter homies in their late 30s!

Who the fuck are we in our early 40s, chopped liver?
posted by psmealey at 10:16 AM on March 23, 2007


I remember visiting the Denver area in the early 80's. The Northern California punk scene was pretty advanced by then. The Denver scene was pretty quaint in comparison, and I remember thinking "gee, even the punk rockers are conservative out here".
posted by Eekacat at 10:39 AM on March 23, 2007


The musicians persuaded club owners and bouncers to draw Xs on the hands of underage patrons. Above, Ian MacKaye sings at a show in 1981.

And thus the ultra-annoying sXe "movement" was born.
posted by MikeMc at 10:43 AM on March 23, 2007


nice post, yeah, i second ryanshepard's link. Scott Verastro at 611 Florida has, for probably the past 5 years (?) carried the weight of the interesting music scene in DC either at his house shows or at places he's booked at.

The stuff he's brought to dc is insane. just there is hardly much a music scene now because it is barely a city (still no excuse for no rep in congress). It is a temporary holding pen for the upwardly powerful and the pushed out black residents.

dave chappelle in 2001, i think, in his first major televised standup, from lincoln theater on U starts it out by going (paraphrase), "great to be back in dc...damn, lotta white folks around...when i was living here in the 80s they were still over in Northern Virginia, looking through binoculars going, 'not yet honey, not yet'."

anyhow, the blame isn't just white people, obviously, or even the wealthy, but the disintegration of dc as an affordable city has eroded it of a working class (although, that is not actually true, there is a strong black working class, and it has its own culture, and music, really, with go go) and with it, a healthy music scene.

obviously it is more complicated than that, but in the past 10 years (?) dc has become less and less "citylike" and more and more like a wealthy suburb.
posted by 8 Bit at 11:04 AM on March 23, 2007


The only music venue in DC now that seems to be worth a damn is the Rock and Roll Hotel and even that isn't that great?
FYI, the Wallkmen are playing there tonight and I'd be going, if not for RJD2 at the 930.
posted by now i'm piste at 1:06 PM on March 23, 2007


Wow, how young and skinny Henry looks. I met him about four or five years later (when Black Flag played at the New Varsity Theatre in Palo Alto), and he was a burly fireplug by that point.

in those days, you could get your ass kicked for dressing and looking like that.

I remember seeing Siouxsie with the Gun Club (!) on the Fourth of July sometime in the early '80's. The local yokels amused themselves by throwing lit fireworks at us from across the street; one went off right next to me before I could get away and I was deaf in one ear for half the show. This was in San Francisco, of all places. I never told my parents because they had almost kept me from going, up until that afternoon, in fact- they were afraid I might get hurt at the show.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:21 PM on March 23, 2007


Gun Club. Awesome. It has been a long time since I have thought of them. What a great band.
posted by Hypnic jerk at 2:29 PM on March 23, 2007


Great post.

I grew up in DC. The thing to remember is that it's a one-company town, that company being the Federal government. Some of the gentrification was necessary in order to bring business downtown. It's still a wasteland, for the most part, after six pm. But yeah, they probably went too far. I had such an awesome apartment there back in 97, one year out of college, when I was temping. Capitol Hill, hardwood floors, fireplace, etc. I doubt I could afford that place now.

Anyways, I'm trying to make a point here. Not sure what it is. The genius of DC punk was that they had to make do with a small city with hardly any venues to play. So the logical answer? Church basements!

That's pretty brilliant if you think about it.
posted by bardic at 4:25 PM on March 23, 2007


Sometime in the very early '80s I actually had dinner with Xene Cervenka at some trendy restaurant in Dupont Circle. There were about a dozen other people at a big long table, none of whom I knew. I was only there because I was dating a guy who was a waiter at the restaurant who knew I was a fan, and fixed me up. I don't think I spoke more than two words to anyone (and certainly not to Xene), but I remember thinking how very, very cool I must be to be there.

Of course now I realize how very, very wrong that self-assessment was, but it's still a fond memory.
posted by trip and a half at 8:03 PM on March 23, 2007


great shots indeed. i love the pic of henry in his haagen daz uniform. and was terribly sad to learn that toni young (of red c.) passed away years ago. they were definitely one of the better bands on "Flex Your Head".
posted by cazoo at 8:34 PM on March 24, 2007


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