This is the talk I gave before the event. I did not speak in proper order as I intended and felt a bit overwhelmed. Yet I felt it good to follow through my commitment to James as best as I could. Once over I felt the usual depressed feeling. Like after a punk band coming to visit and play a show and then on to the next town. Wanting to go with them. Yet there would not be tomorrow’s show. I drove through Hollywood seeing a new world of young people walking and talking. Part of a scene I knew nothing about. Like the days when I roamed the streets here as a young punk. Someone like me may have been wondering the same thing…. maybe an old hippy and before that an old jazz person… on and on. I am old now and life is different. Different people to support and love. Yet the punk scene is a love thorn in my heart experience for me. I love all the players and I am sure they do not all feel that way about me. I tell myself I will not do this kind of thing again. I am a behind the scenes punk…. Yet I most likely well torture myself again.
Punk the Capital
Building A Sound Movement
Washington, D.C. | 1976-1983
A FILM BY JAMES JUNE SCHNEIDER, PAUL BISHOW, AND SAM LAVINE
It was a few years ago that James approached me to interview for Punk the Capital. He was coming to my home. So, I got out all my old Flipside Fanzines to study and pull out those amber moments with DC bands. Amber moments are a term I stole from Kurt Vonnegut to describe life experiences. Those moments in time that have value and meaning that one can visit again and again. I have learned so much visiting backwards to the origins of my punk rock history. As the character in the book Slaughterhouse-Five, Billy Pilgrim learns that experience has value. I learned that each band we interviewed holds those experiences. Information that is even new to me now.
The late 1970s and throughout the 1980s our underground punk scene went by so fast. Friends, bands, clubs, and the hubs among hubs.
The live bands or events brought us together. I am amazed by the time spent apart. A show was a few hours in the evening. Everything else was planning, writing, practicing, and listening to a record, a song. Every issue of Flipside Fanzine took about 2 months to create. Letters, classified adds, record reviews, band interviews and developing negatives for images in each issue. I am sure we all have our punk creation stories.
I was anxiously waiting a few years for the film to finally come out. I watched as James touched the country and abroad like any touring punk band might do. It is all documented on the films Instagram page.
All the time it took to do this film is like publishing a fanzine. A lot of creative time spent. I respect that. Punk the Capital tells a unique story about the origins of the DC scene and all the players.
Like our Los Angeles Punk scene. Friends, bands, a shady club and most importantly the fans of the punk scene. Hell, we are only 9 minutes from the Masque club opened by Brendan Mullen 1977 …. The origins of a scene here in the heart of Hollywood, The origins of Flipside Fanzine. Before that was the zine Back Door Man (1975), Slash Magazine (1977), Lobotomy fanzine (1978) and early1980s Ink Disease Fanzine co-creators and good friends Thomas Siegel and Steve Alper. Cannot forget We Got Power fanzine either.
I once saw an image taken outside the Masque club. Graffiti on the wall right behind a picture of the orange county band the Middle Class. In big black letters… “Flopside and Slush.” I hope I got that right. Amber moments can get floppy and slushy with age
Across the U.S. and into Canada we are having a Gigantor punk rock amber moment. I feel united. A once tight community of an underground punk scene together again. Breaking through the membrane of one hub, many hubs a punk rock scene.
Soon you will watch a similar origin story like the Los Angeles scene. You will get to know all the players. The friends, bands, clubs and beyond.
Enjoy the film Punk the Capital.