We Got Power's Dave and Jordan: We Just Loved Hardcore Music
How did Bazillion Points end up as the publisher for the book?
Dave: I approached Ian Christie at Bazillion Points after reading the Touch and Go book he had put out. Touch and Go was a fanzine out of the Midwest. It became a record label later, but first it was a fanzine. It was run by Tesco Vee; we used to trade issues back and forth in the mail. That's what you did at the time in the pre-internet days.
Jordan: Yeah, in the pre-internet days you traded printed material or little things you drew up. You sent it via snail mail to somebody else and you would have to wait days, if not weeks, for it to get to whoever you were sending it to, and then it would take them days or weeks to send you stuff back. On the internet, you can just throw stuff up and people see it almost immediately and click 'like' buttons and share it on their page.
Dave: Along with the fanzine trading, we were also trading cassette tapes of bands, flyers, and other kinds of ephemera that was from our little corner of the country. That is how we would pick up on other little scenes--through fanzines, because there was no national media coverage of this that wasn't outright negative and derogatory. Everyone knows about the famous punk rock episodes of CHiPS, and the media reports that were really sensationalistic, who were just painting this music in a certain way. We were really reacting against that at the time--making fun of it.
Jordan: To get back to how the book deal came out . . . After Ian Christie at Bazillion Points released the Touch and Go book, we approached him. We had already had this idea of what we wanted to do, which was a collection of pictures, words and then the reprints of our fanzine.
It's a treat that the book includes a full reprint of every issue from the fanzine, but along with that, there's some really great essays written by some of the band members and figures of that era. It gives a glimpse into how many of those bands were formed and the challenges they faced--some of them were living in vans, then joining new bands only to disband later.
Dave: Yeah, that was always my idea--to marry the images to personal stories. Many of these people were friends of ours for many years. We thought it would just be a good idea to get some words in there.
Jordan: The funny thing about the people in that scene is that they like to tell those stories. For example, the way I got Mike Watts to write his piece, which was really about San Pedro, was I took a rough draft of the book to his gig and showed him Dez Cadena from Black Flag's piece. He looked at that and said, "Well, hey, I got to write about Pedro." The thing about Mike Watts is that he is all about San Pedro. He saw that and he had to tell his story.
Dave: The thing about Los Angeles is that it's a bunch of different communities that are strung together in their own little worlds. These little scenes were originating out of Southern California with bands like The Middle Class, The Germs, Black Flag, Circle Jerks and so many others. A lot of these bands were able to get on the road, and in the wake of that, it was starting all these scenes in places like Phoenix. I remember Phoenix early on--they had JFA, the Meat Puppets.
We were really into both bands, and of course, some pretty important musicians from Phoenix came out to L.A. at the time. Paul Cutler, who was in a band called The Consumers, came here and started 45 Grave. There's this real L.A.-Phoenix connection.
Each corner of the country had their own flavor, their own kind of style. Bands out of D.C. were very much D.C. bands, and bands out of Boston were very much Boston bands. Bands out of the Midwest were totally their own. They are unmistakably from their regions.
This makes the upcoming show, We Got Power Night of ROCK, at the Trunk Space all the more exciting. The Phoenix component of the exhibition, which was organized by Amy Young [a New Times contributor], will feature a live performance withThe Father Figures, Scorpion VS Tarantula, JJCNV and French Girls.
Dave: There's a definite connection, absolutely. I remember going to Phoenix for the first time in 1983 with the band I was in at the time, Sin 34. We were supposed to play a show with Red Kross, but Red Kross cancelled. I remember playing Mad Gardens and the wrestling rink there. I have some pretty stark memories of it.
Phoenix put out a compilation record called, "This Is Phoenix, Not The Circle Jerks." Johnny Victor put it out. A lot of scenes were reacting, like "This Is Boston, Not L.A," because L.A. was the big scene. It became a running inside joke. Funny enough, when we stayed in Phoenix, we stayed at Michael from JFA's place. He did a fanzine called Phoenus, and he is also the bass player in The Father Figures, the band playing at the Trunk Space. So with all this stuff there's a history.