Protopunk

ANARCHO-PUNKS ORGANIZE FIRST ROCK AGAINST RACISM CONCERT AT UH (1979)

Led by a sociology student named Henry Weissborn, the three-member strong Direct Action Committee (DAC) at the University of Houston began organizing “Be-In” events in the spirit of the previous decade’s counterculture. Also know by the Youth International Party’s moniker “Yippies,” Weissborn, brothers Jeff and Dave Stewart and their fellow activist party banded together with some of Houston’s earliest punk bands to produce these underground music gigs.

There is cut-and-paste evidence that legendary Houston punk progenitors Really Redand Legionaire’s Disease performed at Yippie-organized Be-Ins, including an outdoor event held November 18, 1978, at Lynn Eusan Park, which drew a massive crowd of around 500 supporters, according to a report in Weissborn’s first DIY publication, ULTRA magazine.

Houston’s student Yippie chapter planned to launch the city’s first Rock Against Racism event on campus as documented on this flyer promoting ULTRA, but the “free rock and reggae” campus event was called off. The show took place instead at Paradise Island on April 1, 1979. Among some of the classic punk bands performing for the first time were AK-47 and Vast Majority, two of Houston’s most radical.

ORIGINAL FLYER COURTESY OF   WILD DOG ARCHIVES  .

ORIGINAL FLYER COURTESY OF WILD DOG ARCHIVES.

ISLAND DOES AVANT GARDE, CLUB MOD, & DADA AS PROTOPUNK ‘MOVEMENT’ (1980)

Selected local happenings from 1980 as chronicled in the "History of Houston Punk" series — part recollection, part oral history –published by PUNX in 1986.

TRANSCRIPT

“The Punk/Avant Garde connection is highlighted by a show at Rock Island…reportedly the best acoustic production ever held at the Island. The bands include the Ruse, Spermwhale, and Polyphony.”

"In April is the premiere of a new venue, the ‘ultimate hole in the wall’: Club Mod. The Tix host the Throb Prom at this dingy warehouse on Milam St…which has a single light hanging precariously from the ceiling. This party highlights the difference between sixties and eighties psychedelia: black and white nihilist clones in urban cage, but human nonetheless. Other bands to play here later are the Huns, Killerwatts, and Vast Majority."

"September 19 is a show of the Big Boys with Really Red at the Island. The Big Boys also play the Parade and Spit, and at the Spit, the management apparently does not like Biscuit’s brand of weirdness and pulls the plug."

"On 10-15 there is a Post feature, 'Punks, Wavers, and Posers': interviews with W. Wolff, Christian Arnheiter, David Bean, Margaret Moser, Dick Long, Henry Weissborn, etc."

"October's issue of XLR8 features the first of two parts: 'After the New Wave,' which is a fascinating and intellectual look at punk and new wave. It explores the protopunk movements of Dada, juvenile delinquency, and the street fighters of the sixties. It concludes with a positive encouragement for us to face the political and aesthetic challenge before us with integrity and individuality."

"On Halloween an art-space at 3221 Milam plays host to Culturcide and Really Red."

"On December 15, WILD DOG #4 is published and the Derailers make their club debut at the Parade…the club cuts them off early. This is the last punk show at Parade."

ORIGINAL ZINE IMAGES COURTESY OF   WILD DOG ARCHIVES  .

ORIGINAL ZINE IMAGES COURTESY OF WILD DOG ARCHIVES.

ALIENS INVADE THE ISLAND (1981)

“Roky Erickson, singer for the late and much-lamented Thirteenth Floor Elevators, the best psychedelic band to emerge from the Southwest, knows a good hallucination when he shrieks one.” – Rolling Stone (from a flyer promoting Roky Erickson’s appearance at the Island)

After being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1968, famed 13th Floor Elevators frontman Roky Erickson was committed to Rusk State Hospital in East Texas. Shortly after his release in 1974, he formed Roky Erickson & The Aliens. The band’s first full length album, I Think of Demons, debuted in 1980, followed by The Evil One in 1981.

“Two Headed Dog,” “I Walked With a Zombie,” and “Creature With an Atom Brain” are just a few of the hard-driving, horror-infused songs Roky Erickson penned that separated him from the Elevators’ psych rock sound. The early 1980s proved to be a prolific time for the artist as he produced new music and toured consistently throughout the U.S. and Europe.

In the summer of 1981, Roky Erickson & The Aliens returned to Houston for a gig at the Island, the city’s premier punk rock venue.

FLYER COURTESY OF   WILD DOG ARCHIVES  .

FLYER COURTESY OF WILD DOG ARCHIVES.

JOSEFUS AND AN END TO LSD-LACED ORANGES AT MILBY PARK (1970)

Prior to Houston’s first wave punk scene, the city held its own during the psychedelic underground of the late 1960s, with legendary venues such as Love Street Light Circus downtown and its own version of Woodstock in Milby Park on the weekends.

Local psych and garage rock bands performed for free on the rolling hill where nearby trees concealed coolers full of LSD-laced oranges. The venue at Milby Park ended abruptly, once again under the boot of an antagonistic HPD.

Formed in Houston in 1969, Josefus was a latecomer to the Houston psychedelic circuit, which included 13th Floor Elevators and Red Krayola, two of the most notable Texas acts from this era. Playing at Milby Park and other local venues, Josefus’ darker experimental sound bridged acid rock and blues-infused Southern rock; however, the sound was not harmonious with Summer of Love psychedelia.

Dead Man, the band’s first full length album, was released in 1970. While the band dissolved shortly after this debut, it was revived again in 1978 with a new lineup, and Josefus released several singles on its own Hookah label. Josefus continues to perform sporadically as of 2013.

Simultaneous to Houston’s earliest punk bands, WILD DOG zine acknowledged the garage and psych rock music that influenced — yet created a rift within — the newest wave.

MEDIA COURTESY OF   WILD DOG ARCHIVES.

MEDIA COURTESY OF WILD DOG ARCHIVES.

GRASS ROOTS ACTIVISM, ROCK AGAINST RACISM (1979)

Before WILD DOG zine, Henry Weissborn, a sociology student at the University of Houston and President of the Direct Action Committee (Yippie Chapter), edited the organization’s underground zine, ULTRA (1978-1979), which covered civil disobedience, gay rights, feminism, marijuana reform, anti-nuclear campaigns, and the counterculture.

In 1979, Weissborn booked New York’s Joy Ryder and Avis Davis to headline a Rock Against Racism (RAR) outdoor concert/event at the University of Houston. The Yipster organized show was cancelled at the university campus, and the lineup was rescheduled at the Paradise Island club. Houston’s first RAR concert on April 1, 1979, featured first wave punk bands Really Red, Legionaire’s Disease, and Christian Oppression (The Hates). Vast Majority, a band Weissborn later joined as Henry “Bad Guitar” and helped to produce its only release on Wild Dog Records, made its first appearance at the venue, as did AK-47.

ULTRA #4, Weissborn’s last issue, covered Houston’s emerging punk scene in its last pages and notified readers about an April 1 “Be In.” Only weeks after the RAR showcase, WILD DOG #1 debuted in April ’79.

“We’ve only just begun,” Weissborn said in his inaugural Editor’s Note in WILD DOG.

“The Houston punk scene is getting off the ground…the April 1 Rock Against Racism brought out virtually all the punk bands in town. Wild Dog hopes to keep the heat on!”

STUDENTS OF THE   UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON  .   HOUSTONIAN 1977 – SENIORS: VOIGT – WHITE.   HOUSTONIAN YEARBOOK COLLECTION. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS,   UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON LIBRARIES  .

STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTONHOUSTONIAN 1977 – SENIORS: VOIGT – WHITE. HOUSTONIAN YEARBOOK COLLECTION. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON LIBRARIES.