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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.

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(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.

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(Original flyer 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.)

Mydolls: Punk Idealism and Missing Teeth at the Island (1980)

Houston’s female fronted Mydolls was formed in 1978 by guitarist and vocalist Trish Herrera and bassist Dianna Ray. Linda (Bond) Younger, guitar and vocals, and drummer George Reyes complete the original lineup, which continues to perform today, nearly four decades later.

Inspired by protopunk legends from the early New York scene, Mydolls recorded their first single, Nova Grows Up/Therapist, in 1980. Their second 45 release, Exorcist/Imposter (1982), and 12″ album Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick (1983), also were produced on Houston independent label CIA Records, which was founded by Houston punk progenitors (and friends of the band) Really Red.

In 1986, the year Mydolls originally disbanded, PUNX magazine out of Houston published a three-part series on the “History of Houston Punk.” Part 3 focused on the year 1980, featuring short narratives from the city’s founding punks and first wavers, including Mydolls.

‘My Personal Anarchy’ (below) was contributed by Trish Herrera, recounting the female punk experience in Houston.

I was a rebellious back-up singer from Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys. Having been strip-searched and arrested for not putting on my blinkers when changing lanes, I was fairly oblivious to limitation.

“Mydolls’ friendship developed into 5 and a half years of expressing repressed emotions about our fucked up system. Being new and inexperienced became beneficial…we were oblivious of breaking rules. We didn’t care if we were viewed as fashion risks until one day Dianna’s teeth were knocked out by some Island tourist jock who shoved her, face first from the back of the dance floor, claiming she was a ‘fucking waver.’ This incident gave new perspective on the punk idealism, originally being ‘acceptance of any human being’…overlooking the problem that not many of us know how to behave as human beings.

“We always wore black as a memorial to the symbolism in Dianna’s missing teeth, and it stuck.”  

NOTE: According to an interview in Maximum RockNRoll #356 published in January 2013, Dianna Ray lost her two front teeth watching the Butthole Surfers perform at the Island in 1982.

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(Media courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)

Search & Destroy: Iggy Pop at San Francisco’s Old Waldorf (1977)

“We thought LUST FOR LIFE would come out and knock the world backward; we were wrong. It was kind of like working on FUN HOUSE. That was a great album…people hated it.”Iggy Pop (From a 1977 interview with Search & Destroy’s Lynn X.)

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(Search & Destroy No. 4, 1977; photo by Richard Peterson; image 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.)

CLE Magazine: Issue 2, North Coast Punk and the Electric Eels (1978)

“The [Electric] Eels were an extremely loud, controversial assault on their audience. They were also very entertaining. The Eels are gone for now but there are some excellent tapes floating around. It would be great to have some of them released.”Michael Weldon, contributing editor, CLE

Issue 2 of Cleveland, Ohio’s underground punk periodical CLE was released in the fall of 1978, a year after its debut in winter 1977. Covering the local first wave scene, CLE was founded by then 18-year-old Jim Ellis, who served as editor and publisher for the full five-issue run until the publication folded with Issue 3B in spring 1981.

Henry “Wild Dog” Weissborn reached out to emerging scenes from coast to coast. This scarce publication from his archives remains an imprint of early North Coast punk.

“Watch CLE for more on the Eels, Mirrors, Tin Huey, Rocket from the Tombs, Milk, Devo, Styrene/Money Band, Pere Ubu, the Wolves, Friction, Cinderella Backstreet, Bizzaros, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks…” – Footnote to “Electric Eels: Attendance Required,” Issue 2

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(Original zine courtesy of Wild Dog Archives.)