Local Chaos
March 23, 2005 8:38 AM   Subscribe

Local Chaos. In the early 1980's, Ann Arbor, Michigan had a small, but thriving hardcore/skate scene. At the time, the scene was documented in a 'zine called Local Chaos by a guy named Wes and his friends. But the 80's faded, as did the scene and the 'zine, and only the memories were left.
Then, a couple of years ago, Wes created a site dedicated to Local Chaos, and the scene of yore. In the wake of the site going live, several of the bands have gotten back together and even played some live shows. If you've ever wondered what the bald youth of 80's hardcore would look like playing at 40, then check out the music page for current photos, and video clips, of legendary locals like Ground Zero, The State, and arguably Ann Arbor's longest-running punk act, The Cult Heroes. The sCrapbook features a trove of old interviews, photos, and odds and ends. This is a great look back at the Ann Arbor hardcore/skate scene in the 80's.
Punk's not dead!
posted by cows of industry (21 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My favorite "punk's back" quote:

"Punk's not dead, it's just been having a little lie-down"
posted by dylanjames at 9:27 AM on March 23, 2005

i never understood the connection between music and skateboards. but then, i'm old.
posted by quonsar at 9:34 AM on March 23, 2005

If you watch someone who's really good, you'll notice how musical skateboarding really is—really blunt & scrappy one moment, really smooth & flowing the next.
posted by dhoyt at 9:46 AM on March 23, 2005

i never understood the connection between music and skateboards.

Viz. connection between music and ice skating, music and gymnastics, music and marching, music and movies, music and etc...

Also, what do alot of bored suburban teenagers do when not playing/listening to punk rock? They Skateboard.
posted by ChasFile at 10:14 AM on March 23, 2005

i am very glad that i was a part of my town's punk rock scene in the 80's. Ahh.... late nights at kinko's gluing together some crappy zine, spending every dime at the record store, and utilizing of every minute of sunlight to skate at the local ramp. every town had it's own scene, and they semed so far apart and disconnected (even with your monthly scene reports from MaximumRockNRoll).

Good link!
posted by bluno at 10:18 AM on March 23, 2005

punk rock died when the first kid said,
"punk's not dead! punk's not dead!"

posted by mcsweetie at 10:31 AM on March 23, 2005

I guess I was one of those non-skating punks ... I don't remember any of the bands they mention except SLK.
posted by kanewai at 10:34 AM on March 23, 2005

A couple of my friends played in SLK. I thought they were a lot of fun; great high-energy ska when no one around here was playing it.
posted by cows of industry at 10:39 AM on March 23, 2005

Punk died the day the Clash signed to CBS. But communications were poor back then, so it took a long time for the news to reach the central US.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:47 AM on March 23, 2005

V. Nice! Thanks, Cows of Industry.
posted by shoepal at 10:53 AM on March 23, 2005

Punk didn't die, it became a commodity.
Then again, what hasn't been commodified?

Skate! or Die!
posted by schyler523 at 11:02 AM on March 23, 2005

On the zine aspect...i like the idea of scanning in, cataloging, and indexing of zines. I've been thinking of creating a database along those lines. Somehow creating a lasting history of the underground/counter-culture(or whatever the kids are calling it these days).
posted by schyler523 at 11:06 AM on March 23, 2005

Punk's not dead!

No, it was born commoditized appropriate to its age cohort, as in...

The Death of Western Civilization--coming to a PBS fund drive near you soon.

Hippie's not dead ! Hip's not dead ! Cool's not dead ! Hep's not dead ! Swing's not dead ! Hot's not dead !
da capo ad infinitum...

posted by y2karl at 11:57 AM on March 23, 2005

"Scenes" are, generally speaking, for people who can't handle standing on their own individuality and instead need group validation. It's the Pep Squad with dyed hair and slam-dancing.
posted by jonmc at 12:10 PM on March 23, 2005

sorry jonmc... that should have read "my town's community comprised of a diverse group operating outside the norms of popular culture"

when you lived in a small midwestern town in 1983 and look/act as an individual, you would THIRST for contact with kids you could relate to - dyed hair or not.

but i am really glad to know you are so well adjusted.
posted by bluno at 1:53 PM on March 23, 2005

I sold my huge box of skate zines (including Local Chaos issues) from the early to mid eighties to a guy in Florida who runs a site called The Skateboard Museum. But it appears he hasn't done anything with them. Bummer.

On a side note, I saw a teenager wearing a home-made Articles of Faith shirt recently. I was in a hurry but I wish I would have stopped to say something, since I saw that band play in Columbus, OH, in 1983, well before this dude was born.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 2:43 PM on March 23, 2005

when you lived in a small midwestern town in 1983 and look/act as an individual, you would THIRST for contact with kids you could relate to - dyed hair or not.

Sure, meeting people with similar interests an veiws is great, but people's herd instincts alwyas take over in my experience and they almost inevitably become as exclusionary and clubbish as the people they denounce. YMMV. And look at that sentence. It talks about being an "individual," yet is centered around wanting to be accepted as a member of a group. It's a weird paradox.

And there's something to be said for fraternizing with people who's veiws and experiences are nothing like one's own. That's how you learn about the world.

but i am really glad to know you are so well adjusted.

who, me? I'm probably one of the most poorly socialized people you'll meet.
posted by jonmc at 3:55 PM on March 23, 2005

jonmc - i agree with you about the herd instincts, it's true.

I guess my point is that when i was a wee little punk rocker in middle america during the 80's, my experience with our little community taught me a lot about people who were different from me. When there was a total of about 100 "outsiders", we gravitated to each other whether they were skateboarders, or queer, or punk, or new-wave, or whatever.

And I suspect a lot of people in Ann Arbor during the same time had a similar experience, so I wouldn't be so quick to write it off as entirely herd-like (maybe just kinda herd-like).

I am not one to get misty-eyed about the 'good old days', but i do think there was something special to this point in time where each undergound community had its own little thing going on... oblivious to what was "cool" in the rest of the country.

who, me? I'm probably one of the most poorly socialized people you'll meet.

Thanks for clarifying that!
posted by bluno at 5:00 PM on March 23, 2005

I moved to downtown Ann Arbor in 1980. It still had the remnants of hippie culture and the streets were alive with smashing cultures; the skate scene, the newly empowered gay scene, great dance venues, the last days of innocence
fizzled gloriously for a few years. Thanks for this post.
posted by JohnR at 5:13 PM on March 23, 2005

Well, my theory is that somewhere along the line "subcultures," went from being about empowering difference to being about defending their cultural turf and seeing those outside it as "sheep" and "the enemy."

This is based on my observations traveling within various subcultures while being a member of none. My ultimate conclusion: the sooner you throw away the idea of "fitting in," anywhere, the better off you'll be.
posted by jonmc at 5:22 PM on March 23, 2005

I always thought something special was going on in A2 then, but maybe it was just that we were young - maybe the kids still feel the same thing about today. I arrived in '84 to hear everyone moaning about the loss of Joe's Star Lounge, the Second Chance, and other places whose names I've forgotten. But we had our own thing, yeah?

I am not one to get misty-eyed about the 'good old days',

I usually hate nostalgia too, but I would love to see clips of the Iodine Raincoats at the Blind Pig, Reggae Night at West Quad, SLK in the Mud Bowl, any night at the Del, the break dancers outside Mickie Rats, the insane and violent punk shows at the Bat House, garage bands coming out of Commie High, Mondays and Boys Night Out at the Nectarine ...

There were just so many subcultures rubbing shoulders then. Nice to know that some of it was documented!
posted by kanewai at 1:14 AM on March 24, 2005

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