SLUG & LETTUCE #36
July 3: I have just made it back home from the Go! reunion show and I am swamped with a million different feelings and ideas. First of all, I was surprised at the lack of people that turned up for something that I thought would be a fairly good sized show. But then after realizing that most of the people from "back in the day" that would appreciate a Go! reunion have disappeared, either to other cities or else just into their own worlds -- it wasn't so surprising, but that also set about my brain waves turning and thinking about those days and remembering those first several shows at ABC. I'm sure anyone who has had any involvement with ABC NO RIO for an extended period of time was reflecting on it today. Funny how Mike being back brings that upon us, I see those reminders as a good thing. A lot has changed over the 4 1/2 years that the HC/punk shows have been going on at ABC, both good and bad. Likewise a lot of people have come and gone, some remembered and some forgotten. But I love the opportunity to remember things and look back on them and appreciate the then and now of the situation. I have to admit that Go! seemed better today than they were then, and yet today I had a new appreciation for them and enjoyed seeing a few familiar faces that I haven't seen for ages, and years and remembering all those who were not there and wondering where some of them have ended up now. In 1990 when the shows were new, "Old School" was a term that was thrown around a lot and new school as well, and somehow all of the in-jokes that were running rampant during the Go! set, some that I got and some that I didn't and the mentions of Old School had a new meaning to me today that wasn't there 4 years ago, and it was funny. I remember the very first show I went to at ABC, when I was really eager and excited and thrilled to fucking death to find out about such a thing and I wanted to do anything I could to get involved in helping out. It was such a different place then. I started out by making flyers, that was the least I could do and something that felt quite appropriate. I tried to talk to Mike that day and felt sort of intimidated by this person I had read about and wanted so much to talk to and tell him that I really wanted to help, and it's funny how things have evolved and changed and I got involved and now, well I imagine that there are people who come to ABC now who feel that intimidation and want to help out and don't know where to start and get scared off by something, whether it be the person they try to talk to is doing a million things (as was the case with Mike that day), but at the same time I have to say that I am glad that I pursued it and stuck it out and did push to get involved and I feel that over the course of the past 4 1/2 years a lot has happened and it's been really great. Mike came and left and has come back and it must have been weirder for him to come back and see what has happened to something that he had so much to do with starting. Over the years I have seen photos that people have taken -- those group shots inside and outside ABC of the "volunteers" and they usually really throw me as I look at those so familiar faces that have al disappeared and it sort of makes me sad, but happy just remembering all that has happened. I'm a sentimental sap anyway. But today I found myself remembering those first few shows I went to and the inspiration of Mike and Dave and various other people selling a few zines and records of local bands and friends' efforts and of buying anything that I could get my hands on, and thinking to the present where you have numerous people who have distros set up some huge, some small, and it is just really fucking cool. I love to see that happening on all levels and sizes. I can remember sitting in Reconstruction Recoreds looking at the walls covered with flyers from those early days at ABC, and it seemed shocking that some of those bands played together--I mean 5 or 6 bands that all have become "bigger" drawing bands of their own started out playing these shows among friends at ABC that were no big deal and in looking back it's almost hard to believe that it happened and actually did really start something much bigger, and yet where is it now? I'd like to think that there is more than just ashes. But I like to think back to those days when I was full of enthusiasm and energy and I try to tap into that same sort of feeling and I wonder what has happened to the new energy that used to come through the city so often and put a new spice into everything. It seems now that the same few people have been doing the same old thing, and while that is great, it's also sort of stale and has turned very negative. I really feel that there is this overwhelming negative air around ABC right now, and I don't think that it necessarily comes from the volunteers or the people who just come down to see the bands but I don't really feel that the air of the place is full of the once positive energy that it once was and that makes me sort of sad. I think that ABC is such a great place, I am happy to have it and to have been a part of it, and I hope it lasts for a long time to come, but I also feel that we are in great need of some new involvement, and new energy and new ideas. Everone is all too quick to bitch and complain about the way things are, and yet it seems that few actually take the energy to do something about trying to change it or make it what they want (and I'm talking about a lot more than just ABC No Rio) but gee, how many times have we heard that before!?! Seriously, we need something new going on, and we need positive attitudes and positive energy and new ideas flowing--people really trying to get things going. Whatever happened to making shows for flyers. I mean, those very same flyers that I conce collected and then years later reminisced about on the walls at Recon, barely exist anymore. It's not just ABC either. Once upon a time people got really into making flyers--bands made flyers and for any given show you could find 4-5 different flyers made up by all the different bands--now you're hard-pressed to find anything other than the monthly schedules we make up. Why is that? Does no one really care anymore at all? I think that the lack of flyers represents a lot and I miss them. Once upon a time people made flyers because they cared about the shows and were interested in supporting what was going on--they wanted to get out word that there was something going on and people took a bit of creative pride in making their own flyers for their bands or for a show they were interested in. Nowadays you're hard-pressed to see bands make flyers for their own shows--what the fuck is that about?!? Has everyone gotten so totally apathetic that they just don't even give a fuck if anyone comes to a show--even if their band is playing? And then people wonder when no one shows up. Seems obvious enough to me. Quit bitching though, if you are not even doing anything. It doesn't seem all that complicated to me--it's not like people don't know the formula and anyone that doesn't--well it's not too hard to find out. I just want to see people do stuff and not wasted away bitching and complaining and moanting about how the scene sucks and this and that. But hell, maybe no one gives a shit anymore. I don't completely believe that though.
July 20: Bikini Kill. For a last minute show a hell of a lot of people turned up (and right in the middle of the New Music Seminar--what an annoying load of shit that is). I found them to be pretty good. Kathleen was bitching about people taking photos. I didn't bother cause it was a hot sauna. I thought it was cool that they played ABC. Thought when she said not to tkae photos because "punk rock is supposed to be about the now" and that it's not very punk to take photos, and it made her uncomfortable, seems like a contradiction to me, but it was an interesting thoughtful night.
July 22: Anti-Flag from Pittsburgh eventually showed up to a show with no people. They were really nice and really good. ABC was lame and I felt bad for them. I really hate the fact that we have these shows with really good bands and no one comes--it's as if you have to have a major headlining band in order for anyone to come down. What is even worse is that I booked Anti-Flag again with the Bad Genes on August 8th and hardly anyone came to that either, which was a real surprise. So Anti-Flag gets three cheers for being a cool bunch of guys and for continuing to play full-energy shows to 3 appreciative people. (I didn't even g t their photos printed in time for this issue.) Ha Ha on everyone who missed the Bad Genes playing Necracedia songs on their way to tour in Europe. I was loving life and reliving my teen years, and ironically enough 8 out of 10 people there had some connection to Puttsburgh--ah, keep it in the family, and fuck the rest of yinz!!
July 23: Aus Rotten play and a million people turn up. Anti-Flag got to play again too, to a reasonable amount of people. The place was fully of crazy punk rockers that I had never seen before--half of whom came directly from Canada from the "Punk Fest." Controversy reigned with the Undesirables, one of the few bands to get themselves banned from ABC No Rio.
August 23: The Varukers come over from England and end up just playing ABC No Rio with just 3 days notice. They're supposed to tour with the Casualties, but somehow the shows just didn't booked--so they're here with nowhere to go and no shows to play and people across the country will probably been whining about that for awhile. They head off to the mid-west and then turn oup on the 29th to the Chaos UK show saying it all fell through. So Chaos UK play and the Varukers play and it was a punk rock frenzy with too much drunkenness all around. Mega amounts of people and more glass bottles that I have ever seen in once place, most of which end up smashed on the street. The cops ended up there 3 times in one night and violence hung in the air all night long. Too fun for photos.
September 1: Summer is now coming to an end and this weekend we've got the Beer Olympics going on--which ahs turned into a two-day punk fest with a phenomenal list of bands playing--it's gonna be a good one and I'm busting my butt to get this issue done in time for that. I had this idea to write about various shows that I have been to this summer and various place that I got my energy and inspiration, but it has to be done when it happenes and it's too hard to think back on those things--so what is here is more of a brief summary. Somehow the Defiance show didn't get mentioned and that was probably the best of all. Pure fucking punk rock ecstasy is what they were. As always ABC No Rio has been at the forefront of my mind, especially since we've been having a lot of problems there and it feels like everything is falling apart due in large part to apathy. I'm happy to be going into fall now and having the weather (yes I am weather obsessed) cool down, it's my absolute favorite time of the year and I feel an incredible surge of envergy from the crisp air. Well big thanks are in order to Tad, Ryan and Kyanne for all of the reviewing help. Mike was off on tour, so his reviews will come back next time. Also thanks to all the people who have written really cool letters in response to #35. I had intended to print some of them--especially the ones relating to major indie labels, but as always the space is tight. I do plan to print them in the next issue so if you are interested in writing on the subject, feel free and perhaps I'll print your letter. Thanks.
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