We Got Power's Dave and Jordan: We Just Loved Hardcore Music
Dave: It took a lot of time for it to get out, and you were lucky if you had some distributors that picked up 20 copies at a time to get it out to places where people could discover it. It required a lot of footwork.
Jordan: Some of that is coming back now. For example, there's a bookshop that just opened up here in L.A., and all they sell are fanzines--or zines, as they call them. They're not even called fanzines anymore. They just call them zines. Back in the day, we called them fanzines because they were music or punk rock fanzines. At this shop, all they do is sell little zines now. So people are doing more printing now. They may be editing digitally and promoting it from some website, but I think people want once again to have a physical object they can hold on to. That's a reason why people will purchase vinyl records; they don't want CD's, but they will gladly purchase vinyl.
Dave: Yeah, the analog. The hard copy. That's the cool thing about the book and our photographic prints. They are just real things to look at, not staring into some screen. The idea with this book is that we wanted something that was the complete experience, where one would be able to just completely immerse themselves into this world, this time and place.
The 6th issue of We Got Power was never released and it was incomplete, but luckily for us readers it is included in the book.
Dave: Some pieces of it were lost too. Unfortunately, I lent out a page from the zine that had the Steve Mcdonald from Red Kross interview that just sort of vanished and we weren't able to reproduce it. We had Jennifer do a present-day interview with Jeff and Steve from Red Kross in light of that page being lost.
Jordan: Having the unreleased 6th issue was a nice little treat. There's some funny stuff that would have been completely forgotten about.
Dave: Yeah, we forgot about it. It was filed away and fortunately, most of it was saved. Some of it was archived, but throughout time, things vanish--that's just the black hole factor.
You both mention in the book that when you were working on that 6th and final issue, it seemed like a natural progression to not finish it because the scene itself was dying down, right?
Dave: It was definitely changing, and our priorities were shifting. I started focusing more on making my film, "Desperate Teenage Lovedolls," at the time. I shifted all my energy towards doing that and that's how I spent 1984.
Jordan: It's a real interesting film. It takes off where the hardcore scene dies. You can see where we went to next, but you definitely got it. You can see that we were kind of burning out on the hardcore punk rock scene.
Dave: The hardcore punk rock thing was burning out in L.A. We had done what we could at the time. It was kind of fortunate that the old interview with Red Kross was lost, because Jennifer's interview with Jeff and Steve from 2012 gives a really interesting perspective on the whole thing.
Some essays in the book serve as tributes to characters that slipped through the cracks of the history of that scene, such as Mike Webber and Kim Pilkington.
Dave: A lot of people checked out pretty young that were around the scene. A lot of people had some really hard endings and these people were friends of ours that worked with us--people we were in bands with or worked on projects with and people that we were really close to. So we wanted to pay tribute to our friends.
Jordan: The cool thing is that Henry Rollins did a great job of describing those certain kinds of people, those people who are just characters with a story in themselves. That's the nice thing about having his piece come right up front in the book.
In the pieces that you both authored, you talk about meeting each other because you lived in the same neighborhood. You both shared a passion for this music, and you talk about wanting to extend that to others by documenting and creating something that could help spread that passion.
Dave: We were really into promoting the bands and what was going on. We loved this music so much that we thought everyone else should too. That was really the reason we started the zine. We were just doing our own thing at the time and we definitely felt there was really no coverage of this stuff.
We would go to shows and there would be 20, 30 people there. We would see really great shows and think, "Why aren't there more people here?"
Jordan: Everyone was kind of going through similar things--just realizing that you don't fit into the mainstream society and then somehow [coming] across this really intense music. They become a moth and the music is the flame driving them out to some weird warehouse, or some house party in some other city that you would never have gone to before.
You're there and you might be talking with someone--you can always chat about music, this band, that band, The Ramones, Minor Threat, Black Flag. You felt a connection to people because you were into the same music.
WE GOT POWER: A photography exhibition based on the book We Got Power! -
Hardcore Punk Scenes from 1980s Southern California by David Markey and Jordan Schwartz- premieres this Friday at 6 PM at Modified Arts.
Phoenix Got Power, Too: An exhibit of local music-oriented photos from 80s & 90s
will also premiere this Friday at the Trunk Space at 6 PM.
Filmbar will be screening two of Dave Markey's documentaries on October 5th.
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