Friday, January 29, 2010

Seduction Of The Innocent: How One Kid Got Into Punk Rock

In another interview segment from Mike, he describes a pivotal time in any punk kid’s life: How he was first exposed to the underground DIY scene.

I grew up on a small beef farm about half an hour from Springfield, and attended k-12 in a small town of about 3,000 white people. I went to my first “real” underground punk show around age 16, in 1990 or ‘91. Months earlier, a friend named Chip and I saw the Dead Milkmen and he was wearing a shirt he’d bought at the show when he was shopping somewhere with his mom. Upon seeing that shirt, these two crazy looking people gave Chip a birthday card that had “happy birthday” scratched out and the time and directions to a show at the Commercial Street Club scrawled inside. Later, he showed me the card and we decided we’d go if we could gather up a couple of carloads of friends for safety. Punk had an exaggerated reputation for being violent, as did all of Commercial Street at that time. I remember it was one of Now or Never’s earliest shows, and I think Walking Octopus or The Rising Sun may also have played that night (they were older local punk bands) and headlining was a band from KC or St. Louis or thereabouts, they may have been called Never Alone or something like that (I just remember they also had “Never” in their name). Now or Never made by far the biggest impression on me of all the bands, but the event itself, the whole unconventional scene, the freaky punkers, the radical political overtones, the dilapidated venue casting menacing shadows on eerie old railroad tracks in the bad part of town, just the absolute craziness of it all completely captivated me and immediately I began to fall in love with the punk movement. None of the other people I came with seemed impressed at all, and none of them ever came to another show, except for Chip who occasionally made one, but I distinctly remember only missing two shows there (one for sickness, one for girlfriend issues) for the next several years until Dave stopped booking at that venue.

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