Capitol of Punk
September 19, 2006 7:24 PM   Subscribe

Capitol of Punk, a walking tour and online documentary about the Washington DC hardcore punk scene.
posted by skullbee (46 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
small world podacast has a interview with the creators of the site here.
posted by skullbee at 7:27 PM on September 19, 2006

Those were the salad days! Minor Threat, Nation of Ulysses, Teen Idles, Beefeater, Bad Brains and Happy Go Licky... Ironic (or obvious) that the scene thrived under Reagan and Bush (and Marion Barry) basically died under Clinton. I guess Ronnie and GHW were just bigger targets and more obvious hypocrites, begging for local reactionaries.

Too bad that many of the people in the old scene are now... old, and in their early 40's and urban gentrification has priced just about every creative person out of the city,
posted by vhsiv at 8:00 PM on September 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

Thanks so much for posting this! It's like a chapter of my memoirs I don't have to write now.

I could go on and on, but simply: thanks again!

I split permanently from DC immediately after this era, but I was at many of those shows/venues at the time. What an excellent resource. Quite well done.

I thank you once again!

[This is good.]
posted by trip and a half at 8:00 PM on September 19, 2006

Oh yay!! Every once in a while, I find things that make me kinda love this city.
posted by echo0720 at 8:05 PM on September 19, 2006

Great stuff. I love these maps with stories attached things.
posted by tellurian at 8:09 PM on September 19, 2006

This is a great city. Not the marble buildings, but the underlying cultural current that is always ignored. I think I prefer that it be ignored.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:12 PM on September 19, 2006

Very cool and on a topic that I've been learning more about recently. Thanks!
posted by youcancallmeal at 8:21 PM on September 19, 2006

Okay, maybe a derail (I hope not), but there still is a venue called "9:30", right? Is it no longer on F Street?
posted by trip and a half at 8:28 PM on September 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

trip and a half -- The 9:30 Club at 9th & V NW.
posted by kdar at 8:32 PM on September 19, 2006

Fantastic link. Thanks!
posted by dobbs at 8:36 PM on September 19, 2006

Oh, fuck the new 9:30 (well, it's actually pretty good).

How bout the old 9:30? National acts playing in a venue the size of your bedroom. If you bedroom had four supporting columns blocking your view.

Great post.
posted by bardic at 8:37 PM on September 19, 2006

Thanks, kdar. My bad.
posted by trip and a half at 8:37 PM on September 19, 2006

(And don't get me started on dcspace.)
posted by bardic at 8:38 PM on September 19, 2006

Oh awesome. Didn't know about 9:30's old location.

This is a really fantastic post. Friends live at 16th & Irving -- had no idea that Mt. Pleasant had such a history (well, beyond the whole riot grrl thing).
posted by kdar at 8:42 PM on September 19, 2006

I love it.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:47 PM on September 19, 2006

National acts playing in a venue the size of your bedroom. If you bedroom had four supporting columns blocking your view.

bardic, I saw Elvis Costello play at the old 9:30.
posted by trip and a half at 8:55 PM on September 19, 2006

DCSpace is now <sigh> a Starbuck's.

And the John Akridge Co. gutted the innards of the old 9:30 Club and it's façade stood as a lonely monument on the site eor about 4 years because the first developer ran out of money.

I guess the consolation prize is the world-class art-cinema megaplex that's now across from the FBI since all of the small artsy theaters have been run out of Georgetown, but downtown DC – the old downtown – is still hardly a place you want to be after dark. Not for safety reasons, but because of the new corporate antipathy.
posted by vhsiv at 8:56 PM on September 19, 2006

Lot of memories. Fueled by the wealthy white suburban edge cities of Maryland and NoVA, the core of decrepitude 14th&U was a draw for the angry disaffected youth of the 80s.
posted by stbalbach at 9:03 PM on September 19, 2006

All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again.

Nothing against telling it how it was, but as much as I can wallow in the memories: I want punk now! I want to listen to a new generation be angry at how fucked things still are. I want the anger of todays youth, not yesterdays. Having said that: great post.
posted by tighttrousers at 9:10 PM on September 19, 2006

I went to frickin' grade school with Dante Ferrando.

He sure looks old...
posted by vhsiv at 9:10 PM on September 19, 2006

I've seen some amazing shows at the new 9:30, but I do miss the old venue de temps en temps. Even the weird smell. I just walked down the 900 block of F street yesterday and found myself absent-mindedly reminiscing. Thanks for the post, skullbee.
posted by shoepal at 10:05 PM on September 19, 2006

I, too, left DC for good just as Clinton was moving in to 1600, and just as harDCore was on its way out (and just as go-go was starting to be noticed for the umpteenth time, but still failed to catch on).

I saw lots and lots of shows at the old 9:30 (though I've never been in the new one), and if I think about it really hard, I can still conjure up the particular pungent aroma of the place (a 20 year floor coating of one part vomit, one part sweat, two parts spilled beer, with a little bit of mold and semen thrown in for good measure). Unless they imported the columns and the stink, the new 9:30 can only be a vague representation of it's former self.

For me, I knew the end was coming when the folks at MADD started making it very very painful for nightclubs who let teenagers in. Once the fines increased to the point where the venues really started keeping the under 18s out (instead of just pretending to keep them out, by only carding those who wanted the 21+ stamp that allowed them to drink) the scene was destined to vanish.

See also: Fort Reno, Tracks, and the Bayou.

Good times, those.
posted by toxic at 10:08 PM on September 19, 2006

Youtube of The Evens (Ian McKaye of Fugazi w/ Amy Farina of The Warmers) playing "Mt. Pleasant Isn't."

In Madrid.

How fucking awesome is that?

Let's see -- saw so many bands at 930 F NW, off the top of my head -- (and yes, please feel free to rag on me for my ska phase) The Toasters, The Pietasters, Will and The Bushmen, East is East, many others. All ages shows, of course.

Almost went to a gg allin show there. Almost. Man, that was a scary neighborhood. Brooklyn-1988 type scary, not like the kids have it today with "scary" meaning no Starbucks.

Anyone remember the Grog and Tankard on Wisconsin, next to the strip club? I played there with two different bands in high school.
posted by bardic at 10:10 PM on September 19, 2006

Oh god, the Grog. Spent too much time there in '88 - '89 as they would accept my pathetic fake ID. Got thrown out of the strip club next door one afternoon as I tripped on the step on the way in and fell flat on my face. Quite an entrance.
Ohhh, got thrown out of the old 9:30 on the way in to see the Butthole Surfers 'cause of the old lick and transfer the hand stamp trick, but they noticed the stamp was backwards. Whatta moran.
The new 9:30 is overpriced, both the cover and the drinks. And so damn clean.
posted by zoinks at 1:44 AM on September 20, 2006

This post made my day. Or my week, at least.
posted by Hypnic jerk at 2:37 AM on September 20, 2006

I just lost an hour of productivity. Thank you.
posted by glenwood at 6:46 AM on September 20, 2006

Looks like a fantastic site. I too love the way videos pop out of the map (i.e., Old 9:30 club). This site goes really well with a dvd I watched last night called: We Jam Econo (the story of the minutemen). D. Boon, D. Boon how we miss you... :-(
posted by Skygazer at 7:08 AM on September 20, 2006

Man, I thought I was so awesome in 9th grade when I found out that you couldn't spell "harDCore" without DC. About ten years later I found it being used as the name of a kickball team and then I knew I was old.

As for the 9:30, all the impossibly hip kids I know now go to the Black Cat. "Black Cat Black Cat". Or the Wharehouse. Or the Electric Maid. Whatever, as long as they're off my lawn.

And only related geographically, but this book on DC graff artists was a nice flashback to the pre-Borf days of graffiti.

Nice post.
/and bardic gets five cool points for that video and the Grog reference.
posted by now i'm piste at 7:22 AM on September 20, 2006

This is a fantastic link and makes me jealous of the music the DC kids had.

I grew up in the New York punk/hc scene of the early-to-mid 1990s seeing bands like Nausea, the Radicts, Yuppicide and SFA but have fond memories of catching Fugazi when they toured and of hiking down to DC to see the latest bands the ex-members of Iron Cross/Youth Brigade/Minor Threat were in.

Time to break out the old Dischord records when I get home. Thanks.
posted by huskerdont at 7:25 AM on September 20, 2006

Got thrown out of the strip club next door...

That would be Good Guys, not that I've ever, umm, been there or anything.

This was a great trip down memory lane. I went to at least 200 shows at the old 9:30. I even saw several dozen at the new 9:30 before leaving the area. Though the new 9:30's layout is not as nice as the long lamented Wax Museum, their sound system is first rate. I highly recommend seeing a show there if you find yourself in DC.

Thanks for the post.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:09 AM on September 20, 2006

posted by exogenous at 8:17 AM on September 20, 2006

I loved the Dischord bands when I was young-- one of the first punk records I ever bought was the SOA 7" (wanted to hear what the new singer for Black Flag would sound like.) Minor Threat and Bad Brains were two of the best live bands I've ever seen-- must have been great to have that on a regular basis.
posted by InfidelZombie at 8:41 AM on September 20, 2006

It was only a few days ago, here, that I learned that Smash! is now gone.

posted by Alt F4 at 8:53 AM on September 20, 2006

this is great. thank you.
posted by Stynxno at 9:34 AM on September 20, 2006

Ah, to be 16 again.
posted by trbrts at 10:05 AM on September 20, 2006

I used to live next door to the Russian Embassy (up Wisconsin from Good Guys).

ps: pg 99 forever!
posted by nasreddin at 11:47 AM on September 20, 2006

I like the Black Cat.
posted by bardic at 1:27 PM on September 20, 2006

I went to frickin' grade school with Dante Ferrando.

I went to elementary school with Amy Farina of the Evens. My little brother and she brought cupcakes to kindergarten the same day, because they both have the same birthday!
posted by jonp72 at 1:33 PM on September 20, 2006

The Metrobus that passed by my suburban home terminated at Dupont Circle. From there it was an easy hike to everywhere on that tour, and an array of record stores besides.

That place and time are still my idea of what a city should be: enormous free museums, art studios and practice spaces in every cool old building you can find, protests as normal recurring events, and punk shows by night. Sigh. (snuffles into what remains of dc space t-shirt)
posted by pernoctalian at 2:22 PM on September 20, 2006

posted by bardic at 3:38 PM on September 20, 2006 [1 favorite]

Cool disco dan, allright. I was in the District between 1991 and 1995 and went to every Fugazi Ft. Reno show during the period, I think, including the one where Guy yelled at the guy for eating an ice cream cone. I can't even describe how amazing those shows were.
posted by Mid at 3:56 PM on September 20, 2006

Smash is gone?
posted by sudama at 8:46 PM on September 20, 2006

sudama -

I haven't seen it myself, but according to this MeFi post, they've moved. The Smash! website still lists the M Street address, but this CityPaper article from June notes that rent was going up and they were considering a move to Adams Morgan.
posted by Alt F4 at 5:50 AM on September 21, 2006

Excellent post. It's hard, sometimes, to contain the nostalgia I feel for those days. DC Space, old 9:30, Wilson Center, and all those damn churches---the locations of my most heartfelt music love.
posted by OmieWise at 8:47 AM on September 21, 2006

Ya can't have a COOL "DISCO" DAN tag without the quotes...

Wow. I'm actually weeping for nostalgia from this post. Maybe I should move back to DC...
posted by bugmuncher at 12:28 AM on September 22, 2006

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