Punk Interviews

A WORLD OF OUR OWN: MYDOLLS AND THE HOUSTON PUNK SCENE (2016)

On July 28, 2016, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) presented A World of Our Own: Mydolls and the Houston Punk Scene, an interview with Texas first-wave punk band MYDOLLS (1978-present), SugarHill Recording Studios President and producer Dan Workman and Wild Dog ArchivesMydolls discussed their nearly four-decade-long career recording, touring, and producing records; their DIY ethos and cultural impact; and their role as community leaders working to empower women and musicians of all ages. Following the discussion, Mydolls performed a live concert in the Museum gallery.

CAMH also displayed collected ephemera and materials from the band’s archives in the Museum’s Cullen Education Resource Room. Admission was free and open to the public.

Select artifacts from Mydolls curated by Max Fields and organized by Wild Dog Archives (2016).

Part of the music-based lecture series 20HERTZ, this presentation is held in conjunction with Mark Flood: Gratest Hits20HERTZ is a lecture series conceived around themes of musical influence in everyday life. The series asks artists, musicians, and all-around-creatives to share the music that has influenced them throughout their lives.

Watch a video of the lecture, courtesy of CAMH.

 FLYER BY BARRY ELKANICK; COURTESY OF CAMH.

FLYER BY BARRY ELKANICK; COURTESY OF CAMH.

ART PUNK: CULTURCIDE ON POINT ZERO, TACKY’S POP PROPAGANDA DUBS (1987)

CULTURCIDE ALBUM REVIEW: “TACKY SOUVENIRS OF PRE-REVOLUTIONARY AMERICA” LP (SICKO #1, JANUARY 1987)

“The underlying aim is to produce music that successfully opposes the social system within which we are all immersed. To produce music that is a particular style is to invite the system to use your music for its own ends. We’ve seen that happen with punk music. But if you take the system’s own propaganda as your ‘style,’ it defeats that process. Dubs also make use of the massive conditioning of the population. Between today’s alienated individuals, no real dialogue exists…any non-mainstream attempts to communicate have to start from the zero point.” – Perry Webb/Mark Flood in SICKO #1 (January 1987)

Formed in 1980, experimental noise rock band Culturcide and their version of performance art converged with the early punk and underground music scenes. By 1987, the year SICKO magazine covered the release of “Tacky Souvenirs of Pre-Revolutionary America”– the band’s controversial, now classic, LP featuring comedic dubs of overplayed mass media songs–Perry Webb/Mark Flood had already created a distinct surreal/cut-up language of his own using sardonic humor and satire to create a new noise that opposed “the social system within which we are all immersed.”

Mark Flood: Gratest Hits is an artist interpretation/reflection spanning a 30-year history. The exhibition, which includes ephemera from Culturcide, is on display at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston through Aug. 7, 2016.

tacky-souvenirs-review
sicko-culturcide

PEEL TALKS TEXAS PUNK, SPINS MYDOLLS’ ‘IN TECHNICOLOR’ ON BBC RADIO (1982)

  EPHEMERA COURTESY OF   WILD DOG ARCHIVES  .

EPHEMERA COURTESY OF WILD DOG ARCHIVES.

TRANSCRIPT

In January 1982, MYDOLLS took a holiday in London and were interviewed on the JOHN PEEL RADIO PROGRAM on BBC-1. Peel’s show came about in the mid-seventies and has since given first chances to now-renowned musicians. “Peely” spun IN TECHNICOLOR and expressed a great interest in the Texas music scene.

The fall of 1983 heralded further intimations of success: the band appears in a scene of Wim Wenders’ film PARIS, TEXAS, starring Nastassja Kinski, which won the coveted Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1984. Shot on location in Port Arthur, Texas, the film has MYDOLLS performing A WORLD OF HER OWN off their recent 12″ 45 EP SPEAK SOFTLY AND CARRY A BIG STICK. 

WILD DOG ZINE: THE STAINS, AUSTIN PUNK AND DRONE REALITY (1981)

"Punk rock is wanting to indulge in one’s own kicks unmolested in a society that doesn’t allow it, and in the meantime having to live with the fact that man can destroy himself and is on the verge of it daily. It’s a way of letting everybody know, hey, this is fucked up and that we want to change it and that the plastic bullshit that’s happening everyday just isn’t it.” – Ron Posner, Stains guitarist (From a 1981 interview with WILD DOG zine)

By Wild Dog’s standards, The Dicks and The Stains were Austin’s leading punk bands during the scene’s formative years in Texas in the early 1980s. Along with Big Boys, The Dicks and The Stains frequently gigged together in Austin before both bands relocated to San Francisco, after which The Stains became Millions of Dead Cops (M.D.C./MDC).

Original Stains songs “John Wayne was a Nazi,” “Born to Die,” and “Dick for Brains” were later included on the Millions of Dead Cops LP (1982). The band went on to record music with Jello Biafra through his Alternative Tentacles label.

WILD DOG zine sat down with The Stains in 1981 to discuss revolutionary ideals, what constitutes a good band (influences include the Sex Pistols and Black Flag among others), and the band’s personal definition of punk rock.

NOTE: The Stains had released their own zine, The Austin American Stainsman, at the time of publication.

 PHOTO BY MICHELLE LEVINAS; COURTESY OF WILD DOG ARCHIVES.

PHOTO BY MICHELLE LEVINAS; COURTESY OF WILD DOG ARCHIVES.

PHOTOS BY AMY MANN AND MICHELLE LEVINAS; ORIGINAL GALLEY COURTESY OF WILD DOG ARCHIVES.)

WILD DOG ZINE: LEGIONAIRE’S DISEASE, SLUGGO! AND AUSTIN’S 1206 CLUB (1979)

“Punk to us was: Do what you want, whatever it is, as long as your heart is in it.” –  Jerry Anomie, Legionaire’s Disease

The Houston and Austin punk scenes manifested simultaneously yet from different soil. Both cities began experimenting with shows in 1978. Houston had Paradise Island and Austin’s stomping ground was a near-campus Tejano Bar called Raul’s, which hosted early punk performances from The Violators, The Skunks, and The Huns.

Judging by this letter to WILD DOG from SLUGGO! – Austin’s original punk fanzine – the banter seemed friendly enough on the surface between the competing scenes. While Wild Dog is lauded for its coverage in “Smogville,” there were menacing threats toward what Henry described as “the most notorious, original Houston punk band,” Legionaire’s Disease.

The “Diseased ones” formed during the earliest days of Houston’s embryonic punk scene. Discussing the band’s early shows, frontman Jerry Anomie told Wild Dog Archives, “Some bands were busy rehearsing, and they wouldn’t play for an audience until they got good.” In the DIY spirit of the times, Legionaire’s Disease followed a different tactic. “Man, we just started doin’ shows, you know.”

Anomie was the undisputed wild man of the Houston punk scene. “Anything could happen at our shows, and it usually did,” Anomie says. Brawls, fist fights, and full-fledged riots have been attributed to many Disease gigs.

Legionaire’s Disease was still a cover band in early 1979 with its roster of songs by the Dead Boys, Iggy Pop, Richard Hell, and the Sex Pistols. “What we had going for us was that we put on wild ass shows,” Anomie says. Released from prison in 1973, Anomie literally had no fear and there were few limits to his brazen stage antics when he was in high gear. “Our shows were wild as a motherfucker.”

The Huns from Austin were introduced to the Disease at a show at the Island. “We never did really connect with any Austin bands,” Anomie notes. “They were mostly college guys, and we considered most Austin bands as arty farty with the exception of The Dicks, Big Boys, The Huns, and a few others.” After hearing about the chaos of a Disease performance, The Huns invited the band to play in Austin.

Legionaire’s Disease accepted the offer and made the trip to Austin in mid-April 1979 shortly after their Rock Against Racism performance.

(CONTINUED BELOW…)

  ORIGINAL GALLEY COURTESY OF   WILD DOG ARCHIVES  .

ORIGINAL GALLEY COURTESY OF WILD DOG ARCHIVES.

 

Stabbing at Austin’s 1206 Club

The 1206 Club was a dive bar in Austin. “It was an old hippie bar in a black section of town,” Anomie recalls. Historically, the building was once the famed “Charlie’s Playhouse,” which opened in 1958 as a blues and jazz club. It was a known hot spot throughout the 1960s and shuttered in 1970. At the time of the Huns/Legionaire’s Disease gig, the 1206 Club had recently reopened in December 1978, and punk bands performed there as a side stage to Raul’s.

“The place was packed, and the old hippie that ran it made a lot of money off the bar,” Anomie says. “He asked us that night if we would come back and play in two weeks, and we said ‘Hell yes.’”

What the Disease didn’t know was that the core of Austin’s punk scene had come out against the band just after that first performance. SLUGGO! had published a scathing review of Legionaire’s Disease, and the band came back to a near empty house. Says Anomie, “They just didn’t like us; they thought we should have more artistic ability.”

There are two ways to look at small crowds, according to Anomie. “Some bands would get discouraged if they didn’t have a turnout. For us, the fewer people we had at a show the harder we would play.” He adds that the Disease’s second show in Austin was “one wild ass show!”

After the band’s set, Anomie approached the club owner for a cold drink. “I ain’t got nuthin’ for you!” was the reply. “I thought to myself, ‘we’d better get outta here. This is about to turn nasty,’” Anomie remembers.

He and the band started to load up, but before they could leave, Anomie’s nephew, drunk from the show, turned over a table inside the club. “When he did that, this guy punched him,” Anomie says. “Next thing I know, Norman’s got this guy jacked up and he’s trying to push him through the window, and then the fight spilled into the street.”

Within minutes, a crowd had gathered from the surrounding neighborhood. “Franky Frazier, who was known around the Houston scene as a bad motherfucker, had a baseball bat and we were all in full swing.” Anomie then witnessed an unknown assailant stab bassist Norman Cooper in the back, which ultimately punctured his lung and landed him in the hospital overnight. He snuck out of the hospital the next day.

The fight after this gig proved to be the end of Austin’s 1206 Club. And what appears to be a tongue-in-cheek insult from SLUGGO! is referencing a brutal assault that took place only weeks before the letter was written. Although the “junk rot” reference may sound harsh, Anomie explains the band “didn’t get good until I finally got David Tolbert and Craig Haynes on guitar and drums.”

Once the band acquired the rehearsal space behind the Old Plantation, its sound improved and by the end of 1979, Legionaire’s Disease had released its first single Rather See You Dead/Downtown, introducing Houston punk in the New York, L.A., and San Francisco scenes.

WILD DOG ZINE: THE HATES ON DESTRUCTION AT THE ISLAND (1981)

“In the past there have been a lot of situations where people were up and pogoing, but there has never been fist fighting and destruction as went on at my last two shows. There were things being thrown at us, and I liked it.” — Christian Kidd on performing at the Island, WILD DOG #5 (1981)

Christian Kidd (Arnheiter) formed Guyana Boys Choir with bassist Robert Kainer and drummer Mike McWilliams in 1978. The band’s first live performance took place December that same year as an opening act for legendary Zydeco performer Clifton Chenier, at the downtown Masonic Temple.

Guyana Boys Choir was short lived, and Kidd regrouped as Christian Oppression with drummer Glenn Sorvisto and bassist Ed Felch. The band was renamed The Hates after Kainer rejoined Kidd. The Hates’ first two EPs were recorded at Wells Sound in Houston in 1979 on the band’s private label, Faceless Records.

  Christian Oppression, the second iteration of Hates frontman Christian Arnheiter’s band, perform at Houston’s   Paradise Island   club in 1979.    PHOTO BY   GLEN BROOKS  ; CONTRIBUTED BY   CHRISTIAN KIDD  .

Christian Oppression, the second iteration of Hates frontman Christian Arnheiter’s band, perform at Houston’s Paradise Island club in 1979.

PHOTO BY GLEN BROOKS; CONTRIBUTED BY CHRISTIAN KIDD.

“The punk scene in Houston is systematically suppressed,” Christian Kidd said in WILD DOG #1 (April 1979). Kidd noted in this 1981 interview with WILD DOG that punk shows were becoming more violent at the Island — and that he enjoyed the audience response.

“There’s a punk crowd in Houston, and this is part of that hardcore crowd,” he said. “It’s building up; before you just had a few people going crazy in the crowd. There seems to be different factions, too…they really didn’t get along, and I thought it was great.”

ORIGINAL GALLEY COURTESY OF WILD DOG ARCHIVES.