My Tribute to Flipside Magazine

Flipside was a LA punk fanzine that was published from 1977 to 2000 – although I did not find out about it until I think 1981 or ’82 . You see “back in my day” there was no fancy internet and blogs to keep us updated on music events across the world minutes after they happen.

I grew up in Perth Western Australia – which is the most remote capital city in the entire world. Luckily for us – we had very close ties to Britain , I am not sure of the percentages at the time but our city and the City of Adelaide back in the late ’70s probably had the most British ex -pats of any Aussie cities. Back then Sydney was the most American City and Melbourne was the most European. At the time many of our Television shows, a good 30% (if not more) where British made- we had shows like “London Weekend Update” which most of my friends parents would watch (as did mine) to keep them up to speed on what was going on in the Motherland – I recall as early as 1976 seeing TV specials on Punk Rock and I distinctly remember a class elementary school trip to our local High school in 1977 and seeing my first punk rockers. We had 2 great import record shops and again by the time we read in the British Music press on the latest UK punk bands we could find the records in either one of these stores.

I was also a vert skateboarder and probably had a subscription to the best Skateboard magazine at the time “Skateboarder”. By 1978 or so, the Dogtown boys were already starting to get into punk rock and unlike the rest of my mates, I was somewhat aware that punk rock existed in LA (and America). You see the general consensus at that time was outside of the Ramones Americans didn’t do punk rock. (WTF!)

Its funny as you get older – you definitely have a tendency to forget certain things in your life and what memories you can look back and remember clear as day, sometimes don’t make sense. Well i remember the first time I saw an issue of Flipside and the first issue I bought.It was at Black Plague books in Northbridge – alright I am somewhat spacing on the name of the street (on I haven’t been home in 22 years) but I want to say it was on Aberdeen street – yes it did move to a second location on King Street in 1984. Marina (RIP) the chick that ran Black Plague books – which was basically a punk rock store – had taken a chance and imported a few issues of Flipside and the one I bought had a red cover with interviews with Red Kross in it (anyone know what issue that was?) and the big talking point in the letters pages was the Misfits show which had just been through California and the fact that Jerry Only had clobbered some sap with his bass guitar – some kids said the kid totally asked for it and other kids said Jerry got the wrong guy? Who were the Misfits – I just had to hear them ! I don’t remember too much else about that issue – but c’mon its been well over 30 years since I picked it up – with the amount of beers I have drunk since then you guys are lucky I remember anything !

Flipside opened my eyes up to the enormity of the burgeoning LA punk scene and I read every word of every issue from then on – unlike MRR which was very very political Flipside was always about the scene and kept politics out (Thanks guys!!!) Some where along the way I ended up writing some articles for Flipside (I want to say on my local scene or local bands – again I forget) and when they published my home address I was swamped with letters from kids all over America – that started my experiences with tape trading (it was very pricey to mail 7″ records to people besides you never knew if they would make it all the way there in one piece). At one point I was probably writing to 50 kids a week and to this day I am still in touch with some of those people I was pen friends with at the time (Hi Erik , Hi Adriana)

Some key memories I have from Flipside is mailing away to Joey Shithead from DOA for the “Hardcore 81” record and I “think” that I also ordered Black Flags “Damaged” from him too, hearing about the Exploited’s LA show were all the riot cops came in and cracked skulls, having Shawn Stern from Youth Brigade mailing me the first few BYO releases (Looking for Aussie Distribution) and the 100s of American friends I made a long the way. Writing to Mike from Channel 3 and having him write back was pretty great too.

I moved to England in 1989 and found myself visiting NYC pretty regularly from 1991 onwards – however I never made it to LA until 2000. Of course my first trip there I was name checking every place that was still around that I had recalled reading about in LA back in the early 80s.

I would not go as far as to say if it wasn’t for Flipside I would not be here living in America but I will say that Flipside definitely helped shape my world view of the punk scene and music scene in general. So, thanks guys for all the good times – its been greatly appreciated!

UK/DK | A Film About Punks And Skinheads

Here is the full-length 1979 documentary about punks and skinheads in the United Kingdom featuring bands like The Exploited, Vice Squad and many others.I forget who owned this film but someone I knew did and every now and then we would crack open the ciders and watch it again. If you have never seen it before you are in for a treat.

Anti Pasti

I have no idea when I first heard the band Anti Pasti or how I even found out about the band – which is weird because even though its been 30+ years most bands I do remember how I heard about them – but I guess after you have drunk the amount of alcohol I have drunk in that time you would probably have a hard time to remember to tie your shoe laces or what your name is let alone remember how you heard about each and every band you liked some 30+ years ago.

Anyways Anti Pasti – were a great little band back in the day – I did own their first album “The Last Call” on Rondelet Records  (made famous by Special Duties song “Rondelet Control”) and I never had a clue what they looked like – hey back in the day there was no myspace or facebook pages to just log on and check out a band ..you were lucky if Sounds or Punk Lives printed a crappy black and white picture of the band on stage in the back of the magazine….I am presuming that they did not have a “mega” punk image like GBH or The Exploited did because I never saw any pictures of them ever , not even on the back of their records let alone the front of their records. But no big deal they had great songs and that was good enough for me. I never knew the band was from Derby either and I spent 10 years living right down the road from Derby.

So like I was saying they had great songs – some of my favorites were “Call the army I’m alive” , “Another Dead soldier” and “Six guns” , which if my memory serves me correctly  went to #1 In the UK Indie Charts back in the day.

From what I hear like many of the  old school bands they are looking to dust off the guitars and reform this year (2012) here is hoping they will at least make it to NYC if that happens – whoo hoo

GBH (Charged GBH)

(Charged) GBH or as most people call them GBH started in Birmingham in 1978 but really didn’t start gathering any momentum until 1980 – I forget where I first heard the band, but it was probably on one of the first “Punk and Disorderly” compilations – for me they stood out much more than some of the other bands on the compilation and although my memory is very vague (way too many beers ago) but I also owned their first few 7″s records too. For some reason I never owned their first album “City Baby Attacked by rats” but pretty much everyone else I knew did own the album so I got to listen to it all the time (and it was frigging great!)

Back in the early 80s there was no internet to check out bands music videos or live concerts so we pretty much had to catch glimpses of our favorite artists in music magazines. Not sure if anyone remembers but there used to be a full color glossy magazine out of England called “Punk Lives” that had some pictures of GBH in it and I remember thinking I had never seen a spiked mohawk as big on anyone as Jock from GBH that thing had to be well over a foot tall! unheard for the time.

I was pretty up to speed with the LA punk scene at the time and Goldenvoice Concert promotions were having massive arena style shows in LA at the time – 5000+ punks plus , GBH were booked to play a show and there was so anti English backlash (I forget why) and some wag had started a GREAT BIG HAIRCUTS GO BACK HOME campaign (geddit??? G.B.H. G.B.H.) anyways of course it never stopped the band playing as those same wise ass’s probably went to the show and had a great time as well – funny how that all works out.

Of course like many of the ground breaking punk bands of the time GBH never packed it in and are still making albums today (Their last one was called perfume and piss from memory) I caught the band at an all day punk fest in Nottingham in the 90s and they still deliver a great show – kudos for never selling out or giving up.

Probably for me if I had to pick one song that defines the band it would have to be Sick Boy. In fact the ex bar tender at my favorite NYC bar would always play it for me whenever I dropped in for a drink or two – here it is.

Discharge

One of the most influential of the “2nd wave” of Punk bands in England was the almighty Discharge. Although the band did form in 1977 they never really started to gain momentum until their ex roadie Cal became the singer. Cal changed their vocal style (of the previous singer) from the more Sex Pistols, Clash style singing to short sharp bursts of political statements (usually Anti War) and with Bones (Tony Roberts) heavy distorted grinding guitar tone they basically influenced a multitude of musical genres, Crust Punk, Grindcore, Thrash metal, hardcore punk and d-beat.

The band were so big in the early 1980s that their fist album ” Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing” went to #2 in the British indie charts and top 40 in the British mainstream music charts. Its insane to think that something so heavy and ground breaking could connect with so many people these days but Discharge were at the right place at the right time back in the day.

Discharges first single “realities of war” came out on local record label Clay records and received strong support from Influential BBC radio DJ John Peel. The band rode the 2nd wave of Punk that was exploding in the provinces at the time and toured the country with band such as The Exploited and GBH. Man I would would have loved to have caught that tour back in the day but unfortunately I was living on the other side of the planet at the time.

I did manage to catch Discharge (with Cal) back in I wanna say 91-92 I think on the back of the Massacre Divine album. Although Cal is a little dude he owns the stage and is very captivating to watch (as all good front men are) I have never seen them play with rat singing (although I have caught the Varukers plenty of times! ) but I hear he does a good job

Anyone interested in discovering the roots of D-beat (named after Discharge naturally!) needs to pick up a copy of Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing and their record Why? You will not be disappointed.