My talk today is a comparison essay of three characters from the early punk rock scene. A Punk Comrade GHOST Special.
Dennis Danell original bass player for the punk rock band Social Distortion, Pat Fear singer and guitar player extraordinaire of the mockery punk band White Flag, and Mike Conley singer of the popular punk band MIA. I call them the PUNK HUB MASTERS
To move my essay into the realm of where I am looking from, I will be using a concept from my favorite psychologist Carl Jung. Now for a short Jungian psychology concept…
“The specific role of the archetype in synchronistic phenomena seems to be to serve as the constellating hub of a situation across time,and to be the factor of [inner order] that gives this distinctive set to the situation.”
Punk rock is a phenomenon which created a situation of order as a constellating hub. A hub is a focal point a center around which other things revolve from which things radiate. I am applying this concept to the origin of punks and to punk rock…
We were nobodies of the underground, sitting on a youthful explosion, that was a rip-tide of good-fella punk friends. The early individual punks found each other through the hubs we created. Back in the late 70s and throughout the 80s, as you know the punk scene created a network of hubs that worked independently from each other, yet depended on each other to sustain the punk scene.
Examples of Hubs were Fanzines such as We Got Power or Flipside Fanzine. Also, every punk band had its own hub. Record labels, music recording studios and record store hubs. The major places to make the scene! Such as Licorice pizza, ZEDS, Tower Records and Moby Disk Records and our own Whittier Record hub Lovells Records. Without forgetting the college and underground radio program hubs where the innovative music played. These were the greatest of supportive hubs such as Pat Hoed’s Adam Bomb (KXLU), Stella Stray POP and Rodney on the KOQ.
The major hub that brought us all together was an amazing force know as gigs. The garage to Club 88, the Masque to the Whisky A go go and beyond. Where the fans, bands and promoters met!
The focal point here was the paper flyer. These papers were handed out at gigs. Unique band flyers with local and logo band art. Mostly Xerox copies. Xerox machines a revolutionary major hub for the punk scene. The US Mail and the ring ring telephone press buttons or circular dial extenuated the positive communication hub…remember? Punks spent a great deal of time alone…creating, practicing, and thinking in our own hubs! Coming together via shows, the phone and the mail.
This is where the HUB masters such as Denis, Pat, and Mike were found. They shined there. They masterly brought all the HUBS together. These three punks were genius hub masters. Networking was their punk underground gift and they are authentic examples of the early punk rock phenomenon.
Dennis, Pat, and Mike are a part of the Southern California punk scene. They influenced a generation of fans and often are not known or acknowledged for their influence.
They infected my little hub of a bedroom converted into a fanzine office. I often felt overwhelmed working on Flipside and under a big wave of stuff always about ready to crash. These guys showed me the skills of synchronizing things together. Making it seem easy.
Number one Punk Hub Master: Dennis Danell,
I first saw Denis when I was living with my sister in Fullerton Orange County. It was 1978. I was working at a local Dry-Cleaning Business as a cashier. Staffing on Flipside Fanzine on the side. He was riding a sting-ray bike sporting a spike haircut. At that time is was unique. We were speaking the same language. I looked similar with my partial shaved hairdo with orange hair color. A year later we met at the scene and become friends.
Dennis taught me loyalty of friendship. I witnessed his expansive heart that made his band stay tighter together. This is the work of the hub master. Denis still visits me in my dreams. Always polite, honest, and his happy Dizzy self. He had the ability of synchronizing punks together in a charming way. He will not ever be taken for granted. He was at the right place at the right time.
I will read some quotes from Flipside 20 A Social Distortion interview. I feel these short quotes embrace his character.
“Denis: We wanna sound like no one else, We wanna sound like us!!”
“Denis: Tommie’s chilly burgers. I ate one of those and didn’t have to eat for 2 days and I was shitting for 3 weeks! “
Second Hub Master: Pat Fear.
As you know Pat was a force to deal with. He lived in Riverside which was not far from Whittier Ca where Flipside Fanzine was based. Flipside put out a few music vinyl fanzines on Flipside / Gasatanka Records.
Pat was the HUB master and helped bring it all other. Was it only a few years ago I argued on Facebook about his hate for Sahara Palin? I would ask him to slow down and redirect his energy. White Flag played a show with the Simpletons around 2008. They played a Saints Song, Demolition Girl. A nice dedication to me. Yet that was Pat… he always tried to make his friends happy. He was humorous in an irritating and funny way. He had the gift of inclusion. He is a constellating hub across time which brings us all here together today.
I will read some quotes by Pat from Tape 6 Flipside Music Fanzine. I will try to read them the way pat said them. With his high degree of sarcasm.
“What is the purpose of White Flag?”
“To create an illusion of creativity. Because we are too good to be believed.”
“White Flag is a band that’s done everything done before… but better.” “There are two kinds of people in the world, people who are in White Flag and all those who wish they were.”
“White Flag is more than just a band it is a concept of how to live your life.”
“We look like women, talk like men, and play like mother fuckers. (twisted sister quote.)”
Pat wrote a theme song for our video fanzines. I’d like to share a short description from our catalog describing the beginning of Flipside Video Number Two,
“Now if you want to see the good old video monster in action you just got to catch this video. So, if you get it, and put it in your VCR, you might just die. Because the opening Flipside Video Number Two is the band White Flag. Gutsy and pure, Pat Fear will knock your block off while he plays guitar for the opening theme song called “Flipside” with backup singers including some Redd Kross members and one Bangle member …”
Third Hub Master: Mike Conley
Mike originally came from Las Vegas and then stationed his band MIA in the Orange County beach area. He brought punks tighter together. He did this at parties, gigs or at the Flipside House. He could wheel and deal the punk zone. Back stage Mike would make me laugh. He would follow me around saying,
“Want a cocktail, Hudley,” while rolling his eyes round and around. Just like Groucho Marx.
In 2008 when editing my memoirs about the punk scene I came across some Mike comments in a Flipside Fanzine Interview with his band. Unbelievably I received a call at that moment from Nike Adams, a member of MIA, telling me of Mike’s demise. A week later at his funeral his oldest daughter told us a short story.
She said that when they were traveling in his car her dad always had the music on too loud. She told him he could use head phones like everyone else. He never did. That’s punk.
I will now read another short quote from my Punk@lullby Journal Number Four.
From the Pogo to the Slam Pit
Recently, at a benefit show for the passing of Mike Conley of M.I.A., a slam pit broke out at the Detroit bar in Costa Mesa. After about 19 years my natural feelings of irritation and perspiration filled with moisture above my brow. In the past, the slam pit became a testosterone-filled ring of jock bodies circling round and round before the stage. Bouncers and bands tried to control it. They could not stop this wildfire. I grew to hate it. Yet, the recent show again proved me wrong. There were some women but mostly men dancing around having a great time. Yes, their firm bodies now had become a little soft around the edges, as one middle-aged guy stopped and said to me, as if Mike Conley for one moment materialized,
“enjoy this moment, it is the best time of your life!” This guy was beaming with youthful glee.”
Flipside produced one of MIA’s album entitled After the Fact. I will read lyrics from a song that Mike wrote. A Quote from the Song, Whisper in the Wind,
“In my eyes you’ll see a thousand memories He said stare into my soul All of me you shall know Live your life full, live your life free, Tomorrow’s but a vision, Yesterday is a dream…”
Mike had the quality of inner order. A quality of depth and control that was not always easy to access.
This concludes my essay on three PUNKs of the early Southern California Punk Scene. The Denis, Pat and Mike I knew were extraordinary.
They were punk Hub Masters.
(I presented this at Pat Fear and Other Stories~ December 3, 2017 )
For more punk rock reading pleasure you can buy my DIY Punk@lullaby Journals One through Four at the link below.
A song from Coyote
A day of thanksgiving
A history of the land
A call from the wild…
As I meditate upon
The four directions
Of the medicine wheel…
My comrades and allies,
Coyote surprised me with a story
One that brought happy tears
To my eyes…
“I have known you longer
Before you came to this
Native song of life…
I knew you as a child
I smelled you in the weeds
As you fell and rolled
Down tall green grass
as a laughing youth…
I knew your favorite trees
you expertly climbed
I rested near the rocky hills
where you dreamed
Reflecting thin white crystals…
I knew the places where you rode
on a white horse
The rugged trails you blazed
through the large sage mountains
That roll with scented fennel
to the sound of the sea…
At night you heard us singing
I called to you
I scared you
I woke you up
with a screaming ascending yelp
Sharing the mysteries of life…
One-night years ago
I walked right next
to the car door of
The man you would marry
I sized him up…
Now the story is clear
I have known you
longer than you
have known of me…
I also sang this story
to the visiting raccoons
remembering you now
as a wild friend
I told them our story
The nature of a life long song…”
All wild things that know us
When we walk in their fields
Or on their hills!
Doing a little reflective researching for my little talk. Always gets my heart beating a little faster. This band insert was one of my favorite ones. My work. But I always wanted to do a newspaper Fanzine. The individuals that made this vinyl fanzine happen are amazing ! What a wild project… a wonder how it ever happened?
Think upon the seals’ barking Only then will you see them Sharing their magic… The cool of the fog, The foam from a wave Coffee in a cup. Old-school arcade Ticket from a master psychic in a booth, Walking, talking, and smiling… Driving, feeling, all together Tunnels and dark canyons. The Mermaids are singing The universe is glowing… The marina is full Halloween flags And gibbous moon.
Wind stopped cave is dark no movement "Blake's" worm. Dreams from last night still light feelings "If we keep the healing temple open, the people will come?" A faint glimmer candy corn desire baked potatoes, ham and tomatoes salt and pepper holy dill... Magic inverted deep turn deep.
My heart was fashioned to be susceptible of love and sympathy, and when wrenched by misery to vice and hatred, it did not endure the violence of the change without torture such as you cannot even imagine. ~ Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The older I get the more I know it is true to expect less from others. Less from others is how it goes. I also feel I give less to others. The need to support shows , bands and artists is less. I don’t expect others to support me either. When they do I am thrilled. When I am thrilled and get that feeling in my belly to go and do something it must sustain for a while. My libido is not what it use to be. I can expect it to become lukewarm quickly.
“But you’ve got the beauty and strength of love on your side. And if we can find our sense of humor too…why, these are the weapons of the angels.” ~ A Summer Place (1959)
I raised my kids on old school punk rock. That is not the only music playing but it had the noticeable charm that was part of my life and theirs. Very good character building.
Years after their attack on the punk rock world the Misfits first album was played in our car when the kids were young. I purchased the CD at Wal-Mart. They laughed and danced to the humor and wildness of this original punk music. I told them my adventures with the band. I told my kids about a barefoot Glenn Danzig who was not much taller than my oldest son at 13. Maybe the thought of their long bangs hanging in their faces or their sense of humor is what made mean love the band so much back in the 1980s… The Misfits are a big wig band now. I remember when they were youths and fun as hell to be with.
My youngest refers to me as “Mommy!” His voice is deep enough now, at 16 to echo Glenn’s voice from the song, “Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?” The Walk Among Us album is my all-time favorite Halloween punk album… ever.
Maybe it is in bad taste to think about this song. The violence and shooting in Las Vegas is not something to belittle in any way. Humor is something contradictory to the grief and horror we share now. The early punk scene had a whole lot of humor mixed in with the bad stuff.
President Donald J. Trump Proclaims October 15 through October 21, 2017, as National Character Counts Week
This is different to the soullessness of our current President. He has the character of a consuming black hole. It seems ironical that he could even think of this month as a time of National Character. I guess one can have anti-character. As the anti-man or doppelgänger. The only character Trump has is the mockingly strange lies that fly around him.
The only good quality that bounces off him, what I find about the anti-man is that he makes me laugh. Maybe there is a thread in his tiny soul that we can pull on. Maybe his poor soul is in bondage to his big ego? Somehow we can tie his little meek soul to some astro zombies and pull it out of him?
There is a contradictory tweet for almost every occasion. ~
Alex Hindman, Fortune, “The Roots of Trump’s Hypocrisy,” 29 Aug. 2017
One song to the next pulls me…
I coined the word punk@lullaby. It means that the whole time I was in the punk rock scene, from beginning to end, it was all about a song. One song to the next pulled me though the scene. Once that loud music got into my blood there was nothing like it. ~My Punk@lullaby, Journal One by Hudley Flipside.
Everyone is talking about our loss of Tom Petty. A guy whose songs play on the radio. I mean one cannot go by a day without hearing one of his songs. It wasn’t always that way. A guy from Gainesville, Florida that made it big. You can read his story. I will be focusing on one song that has magnified in my life. I am sure also too, all the good girl and bad boys of the San Fernando Valley.
It is a strange song because it always makes me embarrassed because he is singing about my life. That is what good song writing does. It is inclusive. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley! I grew up walking Ventura Blvd every day. I played in the Hills of Mulholland too! Loving Elvis and riding my horse were real! It all happened for me in the 1970s. Somehow this song and the lyrics especially speak of a punk edge, a drug edge… and that wildness.
The conflict between the good girls and the bad boys is real. In my life I did not stay home with a broken heart because I eventually joined the vampires on Ventura Blvd. I instead, ironically, headed east with the bad boys. Yet I know what he is taking about.
I wonder how he knew so much about the valley for not actually growing up there. I guess some help from other artists he knew. Or found this insight hanging with friends and listening to their stories. He does dig deep into the experience of being a valley girl or guy. Anyone that grew up here as a kid all the way through to their teens has done some “free fallin’…over Mulholland.”
“I wanna glide down over Mulholland
I wanna write her name in the sky
I’m gonna free fall out into nothin’
Gonna leave this world for awhile”
Ya been there done that!! It is an amazing song for me and I always feel like he is singing about my generation! Us Valley Kids. Kind of like Social Distortion’s song Hwy 101,
“Listen to the boulevard, listen to the falling rain
I believe in love now, with all of its joys and pains
Sick boy, sick girl, looking nice dressed up on a Saturday night
Take a walk downtown for a while and chase the pale moonlight
I can still hear the mission bells and the train rolling’ through your town
Goanna leave this world behind, we’re Southern California bound.”
I never went to a Tom Petty show or bought one of his records! Social Distortion I knew like the back of my hand once. Both reached a place of musical fame. We should honor them for their generational symbol of something unique and different in this world. In music, however, they manifest in our life or culture as something special about a way of life. Both songs hold value in my life and tell a damn good story. One that we all can relate too. Especially if you have been there and experienced it personally.
⊕“The aim is to balance the terror of being alive with the wonder of being alive.”
― Carlos Castañeda
After putting gas in my little green number (Fiat) and shopping at Trader Joe’s, I drove down Sherman Way along Bell Creek! I heard a loud “helloing” from some beautiful Datura flowers! I did not have my cell! I would have to come back later for a picture! I was flying to my po box! I only visit it now and then when business is ripe. I opened it to a pile of advertisements! I pulled them out very disappointed! Then I heard, “wait you are just in time!” The mail person handed me my new, New wave chicken Volume Seven; The Baseball and Ramones Issue! A good moment! I don’t get them as much as I once did! I dropped the groceries home and my little green number pulled me up to the flowers and I took some pics!
I dig Vince Guaraldi !!