Thanksgiving 1980, I’m having the dead poultry with my family and my cousin Janice. The doorbell rings and in walk two guys with close cropped hair, striped t-shirts, flannels around their waists and fucked up jeans. My best friends Patrick and Jeff, rocking a look that was shocking for the time– the dominant culture had yet to embrace short hair and thrift store shopping. That wouldn’t come for quite a while (probably about the time that you adopted it) so it made quite an impression around the table as my cousin stared at the freaks and my parents and sister exchanged “see what we are dealing with” looks with her.
We were headed out to see X and DOA, a hardcore (’81) punk band from Vancouver. The venue was the infamous Starwood on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood, a formerly glamourous club in the 60s and 70s where Led Zeppelin hung and out Van Halen got their start. It would later become known as the spot owned by Wonderland murder victim Eddie Nash. John Holmes and the coke crowd wouldn’t be there that night, though– this gig would be run by the beach crowd, the HBers.
We were beach kids from the South Bay of Los Angeles drifting into the violent surf punk subculture that started in Huntington Beach, California and found its way into sensational local newscasts and an episode of Quincy, M.D. This article explains it well, but to summarize, as punk sprung up in LA, it was rapidly adopted by groups of young, rambunctious surf jocks, especially in Huntington Beach. These crews pioneered many of the rituals that became the face of American Punk, especially the fighting and slam dancing, which was originally a dance (not a bunch of college kids pushing each other) often referred to as the Huntington Skank.
Back to the story– so we were headed up to see X, not sure we even knew DOA was opening but the hardcore crowd knew. When DOA was playing, the place was packed with the HB crowd, the pit was full and proper (skanking, not “moshing”) and bottles were flying from the “VIP” balconies up above. Pretty scary. After Mr. Shithead and the guys finished, the really hard element left the club. X came out and played a great set to a much less crowded and rowdy spot.
No real point to the story, just bragging about how OG I am.