This is a subject I’ve been putting off for a long time. It’s just seemed too huge a task to even scratch the surface of the St. Louis Punk/New Wave scene of the late 70s early 80s. A lot of water has passed under the bridge. A lot of folks are gone now.
In 1976 I was living in Soulard with Tony Patti and my brother Patrick. We shared a 3 room flat and had 2 large dogs. Rent was $50.00 a month and we never seemed to be able to come up with it even though we were all working. We lived over a store front that was being used for revival meetings.
We raged through chemically enhanced music marathons that included King Crimson, Captain Beefheart, Roger Ruskin Spear, McDonald & Giles, The Beatles, Funkadelic and many others.
We loved listening to Jockenstein ranting over his Parliament collection on
One day Tony came home with The Ramones first record. I thought it was a put on with songs like “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue” and “Beat on the Brat”. I had no idea it was just the beginning of one of the most important genres of the record industry.
I moved back to the
A whole new music scene was beginning to build. We had great rags like the short lived Noise, everybody's favorite Jet Lag, Carrie Lindsey’s NoisyPaper, and Reverb. There were tabloids like Metro that I believe predated Interview. Tony wrote a brilliant essay about cockroaches in Metro. The Riverfront Times was just starting out too.
There seemed to be a renaissance of art. John Linton produced 2 plays – “Mall Children” and “You Look Egyptian, Dear”. I remember being in a small theater in the basement of the
Jet Lag would print any review we submitted, no matter how lame. I sent one in that made absolutely no sense at all. Don't get me wrong, I have a great deal of respect for John the Mailman and Steve Pick!
Carrie Lindsey and Timothy Tyme published an issue of NoisyPaper with a flexi-disc insert of my band Earwacks. Eva-Tone, the people that manufactured the disc, took it upon themselves to censor our punk rock song “Ronald Reagan”. The word fuck appeared 3 times but they beeped the song 4 times. One of the words was fun. Timothy Tyme’s great response to this was the quote, “We’ll have no fun under Ronnie’s rigid rule”.
The Reagan era fueled the fire for a lot of us . The book “Fire on the Mountain” was published with an inside look at the revolutionaries in the hills of
We were all getting a tremendous amount of press from all of the media outlets.
We were finding all kinds of alternative venues like bowling alleys, VFW posts, etc. Who can forget American Legion Post 555 off of S. Kingshighway?
Everyone was doing regional tours of all the college towns complete with a pre-show interview at the local radio station. This always packed them in.
Alan Kalina booked us opening for John Cale at the Casa Loma Ballroom. We partied with the band until dawn in a swimming pool a friend owned. Alan also booked The Oozkicks as the opening act for Iggy Pop.
A Who cover band named The 6 O'clock News changed their name to the Strikers started playing Ska and got involved in the "Sid and Nancy" movie.
As far as indie records go, I think The Dinosaurs were the first. Dominic Schaeffer and I saw them at Wash U's Gargoyle. We heckled the band calling them the "Dinah Shores". Their front man Bob Rueter thought it was funny and we became friends. He let us in on the details of producing our own record and soon everyone was doing it.
Bands I remember off the top of my head were The Raymillands, The Felons, The Strikers, The Dinosaurs, Antimation, Blammo, White Pride, The Zanti Misfits, The Murder City Players, The Philosophic Collage, Max Load, Brown & Langrehr, Dear John, The Welders, Trained Animal (my favorite), and let's not forget Jambox and The Oui Oui Twins. I'm sure there are many others and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, leave a response and I'll update the list.
I just spoke with Tony and it seems to me that this topic will require several entries. I’ll come back to it soon!