From the Archives

Austin’s The Dicks on New Wavoid Rejection, Radical Messages (1981)

“I think The Dicks were one of the earliest poster bands…When I returned from San Francisco, several friends said, ‘It’s too bad all of us want to be singers and none of us can play anything.’ I said, ‘Why don’t we just lie? Let’s make up a band, and call it The Dicks.'” – Gary Floyd (Vocals)

dicks1

(Original galley courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)

Where Were You the Day Punk Died in Houston? (New Year’s 1980)

As the curators of Wild Dog Archives reflect on the project’s first year of existence nearing the eve of a new year (35 years after the so-called death of punk in Houston), an expression of gratitude is in order for our virtual spectators who have commented on or shared an artifact from Henry Wild Dog’s collection and kept the story alive. Here’s to 2015 and the hope that the remnants of punk may yet “feed many generations to come.”

punksdead
TRANSCRIPT:

“At this time a cruel accusation can be heard from many mouths. As much as we might try to persuade ourselves, inspired by the spiral of the punk scene in ’79 — the accusation is true. Punk really did die. It died in Houston on January 1, 1980, at exactly 3:47 a.m. Just like Beethoven, idealism, Hendrix, and Disco…Punk would never be heard again.” (from PUNX’s “History of Houston Punk” series published in 1986)

punx

(Scans courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)

Wild Dog Records: Teenage Punks Vast Majority Talk Anarchist Sounds (1979)

Houston’s youngest band at the start of the scene, Vast Majority recorded its lone studio effort I Wanna Be a Number in  March 1980 on Wild Dog Records. Henry Wild Dog, who helped produce the 7″ single, had a brief stint with the band as part of its second lineup. His contribution to gigs at Paradise Island earned him the DIY-inspired handle Henry “Bad Guitar.” Original member Scott Telles (vocals and trumpet) recounts the band’s history with WDA’s namesake on the Hyped 2 Death Archive Series #201.

As verified in an interview with the original members in WILD DOG, the politically motivated teenage punk band performed for the first time alongside AK-47 at Houston’s inaugural Rock Against Racism show held on April Fool’s Day 1979 at the Island.
vast-majority (1)

(Original galley courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)

Punk Politics, British New Wave, and Really Red at the Island (1979)

In a 1979 review of British new wavers the Tom Robinson Band at the Texas Opry House, WILD DOG zine chronicled a post-show piece of Island performance history when vocalist and bassist Tom Robinson joined original Texas punk legends Really Red on stage for a surprise guest performance.

Robinson, described with TRB as a slick, polished, and mainstream act, plugging Texas hardcore punk at his own performance is a testament to the impact and influence of Really Red, who are considered to be “the backbone” of Houston’s underground music scene. The Red/Robinson ensemble, Wild Dog recalled from the audience, “did a surprisingly tight impromptu set of such rock-root numbers as ‘Louie, Louie,’ ‘Waitin’ for My Man,’ and Jumpin’ Jack Flash’.

“Such grassroots support of our scene by such a celeb is not to go unnoticed,” Wild Dog underscored. “Robinson is definitely not in it just for the bucks. His guest appearance at Paradise was an encore above and beyond the call.”

The political bent of Wild Dog Zine is evident in this review, with a nod to Robinson’s activism and support of the Rock Against Racism (RAR) campaign in the UK. In an earlier post, WDA recalled Henry Wild Dog’s efforts to organize a Houston RAR concert at the University of Houston, which was cancelled.  On April 1, 1979, the original lineup featuring Really Red, Legionaire’s Disease, and Christian Oppression performed at the Island, where Vast Majority and AK-47 debuted as part of the effort.

UPDATE

After querying the Island collective, Vince Layton informed WDA that he rode over to the Really Red gig with Robinson following the TRB show, which was, by his and others’ account, “great but woefully under attended.” A friend of Layton’s who worked at Cactus Records, then on S. Post Oak, talked Robinson into going to the Main Street dive. If you attended this show, please consider archiving your experience in the comments section.

trb_really-red_texas-opry

(Original galley courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)

Caught on Tape: Black Flag on Beta from Jettisoundz Video (1984)

“For better enjoyment of this Tape, hook your VCR up to your stereo, and play back at full volume!!!!”

(Black Flag recorded live in Bierkellar, Leeds, May 1984.)

bf1

bf2

(Media courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)

Experimental Noise: Culturcide ‘Dedicates’ First Single to Museum of Fine Arts Houston (1980)

Culturcide

(Media courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)

Formed in 1980, experimental noise rock band Culturcide recorded their debut single, Another Miracle/Consider Museums as Concentration Camps,  at MRS Studio in Houston, where the AK47’s The Badge Means You Suck and the Legionnaire’s Disease single I’d Rather See You Dead also were tracked. Fronted by noisemakers Jim Craine and Perry Webb, the single’s lineup credits two guitarists, Trazz and Dan Workman, as well as screams by Adele and yells by Don.

In this introduction to Culturcide on Houston Matters (via Houston Public Media), SugarHill Recording Studios President and Culturcide guitarist Dan Workman reflects on the band’s entry into the Houston underground music scene in the 1980s.

Sweden’s Underground Digs Austin’s 13th Floor Elevators (1983)

PSYCHEDELIC LARM was a publication in Sweden dedicated to countercultural music. Issue No. 16 featured Texas’ own 13th Floor Elevators (1965-1969), considered by many to be the first psychedelic rock band.

The Elevators performed at The Vulcan Gas Company (later Armadillo World Headquarters), an underground music venue on 316 Congress Avenue that closed in 1970. The band’s four LPs, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators (1966), Easter Everywhere (1967), Live (1968), and Bull of the Woods (1969), as well as seven 45s, were released on independent label International Artists (1965-1970) based in Houston. Well known Texas psych bands The Red Crayola out of Houston and Bubble Puppy out of Austin also recorded on the label.

An avid Roky Erickson and 13th Floor Elevators fan, Henry Wild Dog amassed a sizable collection of Elevators ephemera by trading fanzines with national and international collectors, as evidenced by this scarce and out-of-print artifact connecting the Austin and Swedish music scenes.

elevators

(Image courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)

Roky Erickson & the Explosives Record Live at Rock Island in Houston (1979)

In the winter of 1979, Roky Erickson, on tour with the Explosives, played a two-day gig at Rock Island, a short-lived name for Houston’s legendary punk dive, or, as the flyer suggested at the time, “Cultural Rock Club.”

Tracks from the 1979 Island performance were later released on Rocky & the Explosives’ LP, Casting The Runes, in 1987 on UK label Five Hours Back.

As noted on the album, “The Wind and More,” “Night of the Vampire,” “For You,” “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” “I Walked with a Zombie,” “Bloody Hammer,” and “Stand for the Fire Demon” were recorded live at Rock Island in Houston, December 22, 1979, and the three remaining tracks at Soap Creek Saloon in Austin, November 27, 1979.

roky

(Original flyer courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)

Houston Yippies Present the Disease, Plastic Idols at Paradise Island (1979)

By early 1979, the Island had become a mainstay for Houston’s first wave punk scene with bands such as Legionaire’s Disease gigging there regularly. The Disease made even earlier appearances at local Yippie events, including a “Be-In” organized by Henry Weissborn and the UH Direct Action Committee held November 18, 1978, at Lynn Eusan Park on the University of Houston campus; the outdoor event, which included Texas punk legends Really Red, drew a crowd of around 500 supporters.

Not long after, Houston’s first Rock Against Racism (RAR) event was planned for April 1, 1979. An original flyer promoting a Legionaire’s Disease show with Plastic Idols on the bill lists a date (March 25, 1979) a week prior to this seminal event, indicating that “punk & the Direct Action Committee” were affiliated or had at least banded together for a time.

Within weeks of the RAR show, Weissborn reworked the final copy for ULTRA (what would have been a fifth installment), instead launching his first music fanzine, WILD DOG #1, in late April 1979.

march-79 (1)

(Original flyer courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)

Wild Dog Zine: NOLA’s Red Rockers and Police Intrusion at the Island (1981)

“I saw the Sex Pistols when they came to the Kingfish in Baton Rouge [in 1978]. That was the beginning. Then The Normals were the only punk band in town, and I really liked them alot [sic]. They were something different. Their music was a big influence.” – Darren “Derwood” Hill, bassist and backup vocalist, Red Rockers (From a 1981 interview in WILD DOG)

Originally formed in 1979 as The Rat Finks, the Red Rockers were the most successful band to come out of New Orleans’ early punk scene.

In 1980, Red Rockers recorded two of its original songs, “Dead Heroes” and “Red Star,” on the No Questions, No Answers compilation released by FINAL SOLUTION zine editor Larry “the Punk” Holmes’ Vinyl Solution Records. That same year, the band recorded its first EP, Guns of Revolution, on Larry the Punk’s New Orleans label before relocating to San Francisco in 1981. Red Rockers’ first LP, Condition Red, was recorded in 1981 on San Francisco label 415 Records and featured guest vocals from Jello Biafra on a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”

Red Rockers gigged at the Island in Houston in 1981 while on tour. Henry “Wild Dog” Weissborn and contributing interviewer Marjorie were “fortunate” to party with the band during their stay, according to an interview in WILD DOG zine, in which Darren “Derwood” Hill discusses The Clash’s influence, opening for The Dead Boys at Houston’s Whiskey River in 1979, the changing New Orleans scene, and dedicating a song to the Houston Police at the Island performance.

Deeply rooted in progressive and underground movements, Weissborn steered many of his interview questions toward punk politics and the band’s social message. “Anarchy is fine, but you can’t be an anarchist for anarchy’s sake,” Derwood said in response to whether the band held anarchist or Marxist beliefs. “You’ve got to have something behind it. You can’t destroy everything because then you destroy yourself.”

redrockers1
(Original galley courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)