We Got Power Documents Arizona Punk Past and Present This Weekend
We Got Power, the fanzine, grew out of a desire to document the Reagan-era '80s hardcore punk scene as it was taking off in Southern California. Amy Young, the drummer of the now-defunct She*Riffs and of the garage-pop band French Girls (and a sometimes-New-Times contributor), brought the We Got Power exhibit down to Phoenix via Perihelion Arts and Pravus gallery. She wanted to connect the local music scene's history to the broader hardcore punk rock history Dave Markey and Jordan Schwartz had documented.
Melissa Fossum Dave Markey's "Black Flag wheat pastes flyer to Jordan Schwartz's chest" at "We Got Power" at Modified Arts.
The Trunk Space is hosting the Phoenix component to the exhibition, which is currently showing flyers, photographs, and other ephemera of the '80s; as First Friday hours close, they are hosting a show with local bands Father Figures, JJCNV, French Girls, and Scorpion vs. Tarantula. Up on the Sun talked to her about nostalgia in punk rock, zines, and the importance of documenting musical history for younger generations.
Up on the Sun: How did you get connected with the project?
Amy Young: My partner, Doug, and I opened Perihelion Arts back in 2002. We had a space for years on Grand Ave. before moving to Roosevelt Row, and then we also co-own Pravis Gallery, which is across the street. Now we don't have a physical space, but we are doing about one or two shows a year using different galleries. We both really like music, so we tried to have that in our program--regular exhibitions that involved music that we like, which is a lot of subcultural stuff like punk rock, grunge, and similar type of alternative music.
One of our first shows that we did back in 2002, 2003 was an exhibition of flyers from old Phoenix punk rock shows. We got people who played in old bands in town to pull stuff out of their collections--all the way back to the '80s, and even maybe the late '70s. That was really cool.
We've done shows with Ruby Ray, who's a photographer from San Francisco, who chronicled the early days of punk rock in California. We did an exhibit with Lydia Lunch in 2005, 2006; we always try to keep music that we are interested in somehow in our exhibit programming. A friend of ours who we've done shows with, the photographer, Dave Nass, is friends with Dave and Jordan, who made We Got Power. Dave has been in some bands in L.A. over the years, and they just did an exhibit with this book at Track 16 in L.A.
So they were talking about touring, and we connected over the possibility of doing a show in Phoenix. We hooked up and decided to do a show. Kimber Lanning, who owns Modified Arts, has a guest curator program, and we had talked about doing something there, so this was a really good fit. I also try to work with the Trunk Space as much as I can, and will be doing maybe about four shows there during the year. So we decided we would do the main exhibit for the We Got Power book with photographs from the book at Modified, and then we'd do a local component at Trunk Space that would feature photographs, zines, and other cultural artifacts prevalent in 80's Phoenix music.
How did the Phoenix component to the exhibition come together? How did you decide what to keep in or leave out?
We knew that Dave and Jordan's book, We Got Power, was a chronicle of the
'80s punk rock and hardcore scene from California, so we wanted to do a similar type of show. We got involved with Arthur Shane, who's been in the scene for years and years, and has worked on zines and documenting things that have been going on in the music scene. Joseph Cultice was taking lots of photos during that time, so we invited him to showcase photos and materials from that time.
Arthur is bringing zines and other ephemera from that time, while Joseph will show a full selection of photographs that feature bands from the '80s Phoenix punk rock scene.
So who's playing on Friday night at the Trunk Space?
The show is on Friday night after First Friday hours close.