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Notes From the Underground

By Arwen Curry

Twinkle, Twinkle, Punk Rock Stars:
Old rebels buy into glamour, success and bottom line

LAST MONDAY NIGHT'S NOFX show was a queasy flashback to gigantic auditorium shows I attended as a misguided pre-teen. In a blunder that seems a little too incompetent to be credible, tickets to the show (which was scheduled at Palookaville) were sold twice, necessitating a move to the Civic Auditorium. Finding a precious $11 ticket in the street, I stepped inside, got felt up by the lady security guard and looked around for punk rockers amidst a sea of baseball caps and baby-tees, but with little success.

Once beyond the lobby, the best excesses of rock stardom glimmered in full force--flashing colored lights reflected off the cymbals while kids balanced on the bleachers for a better view of LAB, playing old-school-gone-metal hardcore on the distant stage. It was some time into Good Riddance's set that I realized the fundamental problem with the scenario. A basic principle of punk rock--which, as far as I know, is what the three bands all claimed to be playing--is that the people on stage are no better than you.

Instead of rejecting the more lucrative industry tradition of deifying musicians, these old punks chose to embrace it, causing some fans of their music to flee in horrified alienation to the AK Press booth to read books about the old days. But while looking at pictures of Chumbawamba playing did rekindle hope for a while, the pep rally, complete with fights (for the boys) and giggles (for the girls), continued all around as NOFX played songs about sexism and people starving to death on the streets. I'm sure they're quite used to this sort of thing, but I still couldn't help feeling a little embarrassed for them.

Then again, I suppose someone has to get rich and keep popular culture rolling, and I'm sure NOFX--the Bon Jovi of the '90s--would outsell their predecessors easily in SC.

Local Bands: Publicity Is Your Friend

Scott Warden, big man-about-radio at KZSC, is interested in promoting local shows, however large or small, by inviting bands to come up to the station and chat on the air the Sunday before playing in town. So far, Slow Gherkin and Junk Sick Dawn have taken him up on his offer to broadcast silly jokes and play some of their tapes as a preview to upcoming performances. Interested local and touring bands are welcome to contact him at [email protected] for a slot.


The King Kats play the Redroom with "special guests" on Thursday. On Friday, Hurl and The Audience play in town (look for fliers and scooters, 6pm, $3). Also on Friday, The Muggs play with Betty's Love Child and Red #9 at Saratoga Teen Center (more info: 741-5433, 7pm, $3 donation). Fury 66, Goodfellas, Missing 23rd and S.T.U.B. play at the Skate Station in Sand City on Saturday. Also look for a show with Nuzzle, Malcriada, Parades End, Nexus 6 and The Killer Was in the Government Blankets on Saturday.

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From the March 6-12, 1997 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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