Thursday, July 22, 2010

Arizona Hardcore Documented

Apropos of nothing, other than I've been cleaning out:

I remember scattered bits from this show. I didn't go up to Phoenix shows much despite the city's proximity; Phoenix and Tucson had the minor rivalry of the otherwise irrelevant, kind of like the Oilers-Flames of the '90s. This was pre-fame Offspring but we probably went up more for 411 -- Dan O gave a shout-out to the Tucsonans, which undoubtedly thrilled us. After the show Brendan Groundwork and I interviewed the Offspring on some guy's back porch. They were a bit stoned, probably horrifying straight-edge us, but genuinely nice and thoughtful people. As a result, when they later became the symbol of everything that was wrong with the decade, it was kind of sad, like seeing a well-liked second cousin get picked up on a morals charge.

Counterpunch was one of two notable Phoenix SE bands at the time, the other being Stand to Reason, with which they shared something like 75 percent of their membership. They put out a 7" of fairly standard moshcore (which I ordered from "Statue Records" and never received, and that's why I remember all this) then switched singers to some grunge dude, added a spazzy funk element to their sound, and sounded ... about as good as you'd expect a straight-edge band pretending to be the Red Hot Chili Peppers to sound, I guess. Actually, that's probably a bit unfair -- the first time I saw them I really thought they were cool, but it wore off fast.

411 and Triggerman played together twice in Tucson, which was actually a bit notable -- I think that since they were ex-members-of the same bands, they wouldn't play the same shows in California. But my memory of those years is getting sketchier. Outreach was kind of Groundwork's little brother band -- either they started as Forthright and then changed to Outreach, or vice versa. It wasn't easy, naming a straight-edge band in those years.

My brother probably did this flyer, since it shows some graphic design skills. The background image was the cover of one of Groundwork's 7"s.

And this must be from the other 411-Triggerman show in Tucson. The OC visits were pretty big events; we promoted them relentlessly and got a (DPC) capacity crowd every time these bands came out. Judging by the sloppy design work and the "let's see what Word Perfect has" fonts, I was the one who created this flyer.

* * *

#32 -- "A Cup of Coffee With My Interrogator" by Ludvik Vaculik

Vaculik's always been sort of on my radar as a prominent Czech dissident writer, but I'd never read him until now. I have a taste for this sort of thing, obviously, but even so I'm impressed. I got this thinking it was one of his novels, but nope -- it's a collection of short pieces (here called "feuilletons," and we've all learned something today) on the life of a dissident in 1970s Prague.

By this point, it seems, the real fear was past and all that was left was a malignant bureaucracy, trying to grind down rather than crush. Vaculik responds with dry humor and guts -- he sees the silliness, but he's not always willing to laugh it off.

One of the essays -- and I've already misplaced my copy, goddamn me -- deals with anti-intellectualism in Prague. It rather neatly anticipates the Tea Party, 25 years in advance. And that's one of the great things about this book; they're tied to a specific time and place, but often, they've got a timeless impact.


Brian Howell said...

This is Brian from Triggerman. Thanks for the nice words and for posting those flyers; I never had a copy of them!

gsdgsd13 said...

Hey, cool. This means 50% of Triggerman has (have?) now shown up here (Gavin dropped by some time ago); if you're in touch with Sean or Joe, send 'em by.

I may eventually post the interview I did with the band, if I can get myself motivated to scan.

anders said...

Really cool. Loved those bands. I didn't live in AZ but I was at that 411, Offspring show. Booked Groundwork and Outreach for a show in Santa Fe, NM (I might have a flyer for that). Thanks for posting that stuff.

anders said...

I also booked Soulfish in Columbus, Ohio a few years later.