“What we had going for us was that we put on wild ass shows. Anything could happen at our shows, and it usually did.” – Jerry Anomie, Legionaire’s Disease Band
Culturcide in Europe
The first of Houston’s underground bands to play in Europe, Culturcide received a warm welcome from Dutch and Belgium audiences. They landed in Den Hague and went on to play a government-sponsored rock festival in Amsterdam at the Paradisio theatre, with such acts as Bad Brains, Nick Cave, SPK, and many other bands. They also played in Eindhoven, Vin Ray, Nijmegen (Holland) and Ghent and Antwerp in Belgium. Another week of dates in Germany unfortunately fell through, but Culturcide made lots of new contacts and friends in the cities where they played.
They received coverage in the Dutch magazine 007 and Britain’s SOUNDS. While in Antwerp, they caught an art-video installation about violence in America which featured Ed Gein and replicas of some of his gruesome “leather” crafts.
Upcoming Culturcide projects include recording their live set for release, tunes like “Pizza Hut,” “Death Speaks,” “Feeling I Was Gonna Die,” “Pass for Normal” and all of their other great songs which until now have been heard by a lucky few. Dan Workman, their guitarist, will do a solo performance at Lawndale as part of the “On the Edge” series on September 26. Be there.
(Sicko #2 courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)
Wild Dog: Didn’t you debut at a Pearland High School Talent Show?
David Bean (vocals, guitar): It wasn’t a talent show, but a school dance. Kinda wild, we blew the circuit & fuse a couple of times. And we threw beef liver and spinach all over a bunch of girls. We threw out the green spinach on “All the Pretty Girls.” It was a punk show or something.
(Galley and media courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)
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.”
“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)
(Scans courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)
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.
(Original galley courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)
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.
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.
(Original galley courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)
Ben DeSoto, an award-winning local photographer, activist, and chronicler of early punk imagery in Houston, captured these two photos of Henry “Wild Dog” Weissborn in the crowd at a Big Boys show held at the Island, Houston’s Main St. punk venue, in 1980.
This is Henry Wild Dog in his element, heavily politicized from the beginning.
(A Wild Dog stare from the middle of a Big Boys crowd at the Island, 1980. Photo by DeSoto; Source: The Island – Punk Rock Houston)
George Henry Weissborn, Jr., who is completely unknown to many outside of Houston, was born in New Orleans in 1955. His family moved to Houston shortly after and he was raised in southwest Houston. At the age of 14, Henry’s adolescence was informed by the thriving countercultural scene happening in Houston in the late 1960s. In an article dated November 14, 1978, published in the University of Houston’s Daily Cougar, Henry cited his reading of SPACE CITY! in 1969 as the catalyst for his involvement in the Yippie! movement. While most of the evidence shows that the Youth International Party (YIP) had waned drastically from its late 1960s roots, Henry Weissborn proudly carried the flag in Houston as a student activist.
An avid collector, writer, and archivist, Henry amassed one of the largest personal collections of grassroots literature in the city. He joined the Socialist Revolutionary Anarchist Federation and the YIP, and he led a three-member Direct Action Committee on the UH campus through the mid- to late-70s. He collected pamphlets, literature, and handwritten letters from a number of similar groups throughout the country. In all, Weissborn documented the latter phase of the counterculture as it moved from the hopeful days of the late 1960s through to the Watergate era of distrust and the crushing blow of Reagan-inspired conservatism throughout much of the early 1980s. Among his archives are the street view of Houston’s underground with runs of SPACE CITY!, ABRAXAS, and MOCKINGBIRD–three renditions of alternative press in Houston that focused primarily on continued psychedelic awakening, civil rights activism, and an end to police brutality.
Henry Wild Dog also channeled that anger through his pen. In 1976, he was a junior studying Sociology at the University of Houston. At 21, he was connected internationally to a wide network of anarchists, socialists, and activists. His archives show that he avidly wrote letters, sent self-addressed stamped envelopes, and requested copies of virtually every newsletter, quarterly, and mail order catalog he could get his hands on that would provide him a means to expand his garage rock and punk collection of albums and ephemera and introduce him to new noise in the most obscure regions, not just the East and West Coasts. Weissborn was experienced on both an academic and esoteric level.
By most accounts, Weissborn was a card carrying member of any social justice cause he joined. His activist publication, ULTRA, evolved into WILD DOG zine after he helped organize a Yippie outdoor concert turned punk rock debut at the Paradise Island. Communication and political action remained common drivers throughout Henry Wild Dog’s life.
He passed away unexpectedly in 2008.