Thursday, February 26, 2009
Punk Rock Roots
I moved to Berkeley with my girlfriend from Connecticut in 1975.I was a hippie then, but got a DJ gig at KALX where I played prog-rock and fusion and worked with Doc Pelzel to help create the record library. My friend Marc Monosonic got me a job at the Wherehouse record store in Oakland on Lakeshore, where I met Gary Hobish. I met Mik through KALX and met JD Buhl-he was a neighbor.
At the Wherehouse I met a guy named Jim-where are you today Jim? He convinced me to cut my hair, shave my moustache, and he turned me on to Punk. The first show I saw at the Mab was the Nerves in early 77.
By April 77 I was wearing a leather jacket and I took my new girlfriend Barbara to see the Damned at the Mab with 6 other bands. That night changed everything.
I moved from the Whorehouse as we called it to working at the little Rasputins, where Blondies is-it was half the size of Blondies then narrow cramped seedy store with tons of $1 records worked with a smarmy funny guy named Saul.
I worked at Rasputins with Ken Sarachan and a funny guy named Saul.This is where I met Tim Yohannon, Eric Boucher (Jello) John Poet, and a lot of future friends. Mik got a job at Rather Ripped and brought me up to Northside to work with him and Ray Farrell.
Meanwhile my old Connecticut friend Gary Mollica was hanging with bands like the Pagans and Ubu in Cleveland, and his friend Jim Ellis visited me so we could interview and visit the Residents. We did a story on that in Cle magazine. I was a DJ at Kalx now playing lots of punk and new wave in the summer of 77,but by 1978 they told me I played too much punk,wasn't diverse enough, and exiled me to 2 AM. That was my last radio gig till KWVA in 2002.
At Rather Ripped we played and pushed punk on everybody. There was a collision of philosophies because the other guys at Ripped weren’t too sure about this new junkie DIY music that didn't sell that well. They were used to selling the prog-rock and space rock imports.
Russ Ketter used to come downstairs at Ripped and break Teenage Jesus and Angelic Upstarts records cuz he hated them! By now I was playing music with Irene Dogmatic and the Beauty Killers, and myself, Mik, JD, and Gary Hobish had a little practice band called the Saviours.But we wanted a keyboard player.
That is when Gary Mollica left Cleveland in 78 to join..the Jars. And Gary hung out with us at Ripped, met Marge, and eventually got a job at Music Faucet.We started playing clubs, and eventually when Music Faucet took over the spot vacated by Oddyssey near the new Rasputins Gary brought me over from Rather Ripped where we met Kim, Alissa, Rob Noxious, Fang, Crucifix and lots of other bands. Universal Records was a gas ! Gary Mollica and I continued the tradition of in-stores and autograph parties and happenings. When Gary and I had sucessive falling outs with the owner , Mike Montalto, Kim Ham and Alissa Welsch continued the punk rock madness until Universal moved to the Haight.
Gary And I continued to play in the Art Faggots, formed after the Jars with Ray Farrell and Margie Steele. We played lots of clubs and recorded a demo with Armin Hammer (and Steve Fisk).Just when the band was moving into new phase I had to move to Connecticut to be with my family and my dying mother. Gary and Marge were in a horrible car accident that almost took Marge's life. Ray Farrell went on tour with the Panther Burns.
By 1984 Rather Ripped , Universal, The Jars and The Art Faggots were gone.