Wild Dog Zine

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.”

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(Original galley courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)

Wild Dog Zine: Phil Hicks’ ‘Cage’ and No Wave Pop at the Island (1981)

“The overall concept of the band is two girls and alot [sic] of machinery…there is a discordant…there is a quirky element to it. It’s highly personal music, you know?…This is Mod-Art. Get up and dance.” – Mechanical Servants (From a May 1981 interview at the Island)

Releasing only one EP in 1980, New York’s Mechanical Servants consisted of two female vocalists with an arsenal of musical apparatus – Pamela Kifer on guitar, organ, and synthesizer and Victoria Harper on bass, typewriter, and synthesizer. According to Kifer’s Tumblr, where there are photos from a past gig at the Island and pool party with the Bongos in Houston, the tech no-wave duo self-recorded their four-song EP (and only known surviving record), Min X Match, on the Mystery Toast label.

A long-time fan of female fronted groups, Henry “Wild Dog” Weissborn attended the Mechanical Servants’ show Sunday, May 17, 1981, at the Island, after which the band joked about bruises from their performance, which featured male go-go dancers (what must have seemed an odd number at the mostly punk rock dive), and Island manager Phil Hicks’ bondage themed props. “Servants 1 and 2” also discussed plans to release a second independent effort, Zombies Go Home, a nod to NYC’s 3 a.m. crowd.

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(Original galley courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)

Wild Dog Zine: Island Owner Phil ‘Hix’ on Stolen Mics and Broken Glass (1979)

“There will be some regulations, rules, standards, or something of the sort – I hate to use the words ‘rules and regulations’ – about who helps clean up. We used to have popcorn in here. Instead of eating it, they threw it.” – Phil Hicks (From a 1979 interview in WILD DOG zine)

Paradise Island (Parasite Island), Rock Island, and later just the Island was Houston’s first designated punk rock venue, an exile’s dive on Main Street converted from a former Mexican restaurant. The club was run from 1978 to 1983, debuting many local first wave acts such as Christian Oppression (later the Hates, Houston’s longest running punk band) and AK-47 while also hosting nationally famous bands, including X, Black Flag, and Dead Kennedys.

In a 1979 interview by John Peters for WILD DOG #3, Island owner Phil Hicks spoke candidly about whether his club would survive overhead and damage costs from unruly punk crowds or sell out to disco investors, Austin versus Houston, Legionaire’s Disease’s notorious performances, and whether to leave broken glass on the floor in the spirit of its destructive shows.

“If rock’n’roll doesn’t pay the bills then I will be satisfied that I have experimented at all levels,” he said. “I don’t think it’s fair for me to support a building and not to at least be able to experiment and try different things. I have never put popular rock’n’roll bands in here, not because of the budget, but because I started out with a game plan of having a place so that unexposed talent or bands could come in here, so they would have a place to play in front of people and could get a start. Momentumwise [sic], emotionally – so they could get out of their practice room.”

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(Original galley; first page out of six courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)

Wild Dog Zine: The Normals on New Orleans Punk and the Clash (1979)

Like Houston, little is known on a national scale about the first wave New Orleans punk scene. According to Legionarie’s Disease frontman Jerry Anomie, New Orleans hosted some of the band’s wildest shows.

Henry “Wild Dog” Weissborn and Larry Holmes (aka Larry the Punk), founding editor of New Orleans zine FINAL SOLUTION (F/S), exchanged news about the local punk scenes. “Back in the day, every city had one fanzine writing about the music in their town, their bands. Henry had Houston, I had New Orleans, and Henry and I traded articles, traded fanzines,” Holmes told Wild Dog Archives. Launched in 1979, the same year as WILD DOG, F/S ran for nine issues until it folded in 1981.

In October 1979, The Normals hit the East Coast. According to an interview (below) in WILD DOG #3, the band was set to play with Neon Leon, a black punk band, at Max’s Kansas City in NYC and with The Battle of the Minorities, The Laughing Dogs, and Iggy Pop at the Zappa Club in Brooklyn. A few of the stops included CBGB’s on Halloween, The High Club in Philadelphia, and The Rat in Boston.

The Normals and other New Orleans punk bands are the subject of an upcoming documentary by Al Champagne and Pablo-Romero Estevez titled Almost Ready: The Story of Punk Rock in New Orleans.

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(Original galley courtesy of Wild Dog Archives; promo photo of the Normals from Wild Dog #2.)

Wild Dog Zine: The Stains, Austin Punk and Drone Reality (1981)

“Punk rock is wanting to indulge in one’s own kicks unmolested in a society that doesn’t allow it, and in the meantime having to live with the fact that man can destroy himself and is on the verge of it daily. It’s a way of letting everybody know, hey, this is fucked up and that we want to change it and that the plastic bullshit that’s happening everyday just isn’t it.” – Ron Posner, Stains guitarist (From a 1981 interview with WILD DOG zine)

By Wild Dog’s standards, The Dicks and The Stains were Austin’s leading punk bands during the scene’s formative years in Texas in the early 1980s. Along with Big Boys, The Dicks and The Stains frequently gigged together in Austin before both bands relocated to San Francisco, after which The Stains became Millions of Dead Cops (M.D.C./MDC).

Original Stains songs “John Wayne was a Nazi,” “Born to Die,” and “Dick for Brains” were later included on the Millions of Dead Cops LP (1982). The band went on to record music with Jello Biafra through his Alternative Tentacles label.

WILD DOG zine sat down with The Stains in 1981 to discuss revolutionary ideals, what constitutes a good band (influences include the Sex Pistols and Black Flag among others), and the band’s personal definition of punk rock.

NOTE: The Stains had released their own zine, The Austin American Stainsman, at the time of publication.

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(Photos by Amy Mann and Michelle Levinas; original galley courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)

Imagery of Revolt: AK-47’s The Badge and the Machine Mandala (1980)

One of the most iconic records to come out of the first wave Houston punk scene, AK-47’s The Badge Means You Suck (/Kiss My Machine, 1980) was a protest anthem against Houston’s Police Department (HPD), which had a documented history of racism and extreme violence during the 1970s. Nine victims are named on the cover of Badge, among them 23-year-old veteran Joe Campos Torres and 21-year-old activist Carl Hampton. The HPD tried unsuccessfully to sue the band after the flipside’s release in 1980.

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(Original artwork by Jimmy Bryan; original signed lyric sheet courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)

Wild Dog Zine: Joan Jett & the Blackhearts at the Agora (1981)

“It’s hard for me to even think about being a feminist. When people say, ‘You are a girl, you can’t do this,’ I can’t even conceive of that.” Joan Jett in WILD DOG zine 

According to Joan Jett, founding member of The Runaways, Texas had always been good for the band. The Runaways played an early punk show with The Ramones in Houston in 1977, before Houston’s first wave emerged. After disbanding in 1979, Jett headed to England to record alongside Paul Cook and Steve Jones, original members of the Sex Pistols. In 1980, Jett released a self-titled album on Ariola (U.K. import); the domestic LP was released by Jett and bandmate Kenny Laguna on their independent label Blackheart Records.

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts sat down with WILD DOG in 1981 following a performance at the Agora Ballroom to discuss Jett as feminist icon, Wyoming’s Accelerators, British glitter influences and living in N.Y.C.

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(Photos by Reta and Judy Hill; Original galley courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)