Punk Politics

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.

IMAGERY OF REVOLT: AK-47’S THE BADGE AND THE MACHINE MANDALA (1980)

IMAGERY OF REVOLT: AK-47’S THE BADGE AND THE MACHINE MANDALA (1980)

One of the most iconic records to come out of the first wave Houston punk scene, AK-47’s The Badge Means You Suck (/Kiss My Machine, 1980) was a protest anthem against Houston’s Police Department, which had a documented history of racism and extreme violence during the 1970s.

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.