John Price

The Birth Of A Punk Rocker Part 2

Crass-Lexicon by John Price

Pulling into the parking lot behind the indescript and dirty clump of buildings in downtown Spokane, it doesn’t appear that there is any kind of event happening, just small clusters of kids mulling around drinking from bag wrapped bottles and playing grabass. My friends and I are these wide-eyed kids from Idaho sitting on and around the car smoking weed and drinking beer. We start getting antsy and walk around to the front of the building where the door is only to see it is still locked. The flyer in the window says, “The Accused, Big Yuck Mouth and Moral Crux, 3 bucks at 8 pm- all ages”. Since none of us are wearing a watch we continue to mull around and be completely amazed at the other kids waiting for the show.
I figure these kids must all be locals because they seem to know each other and interact with each other while we stick out as the outsiders. My friends from Idaho look a little uncomfortable so we just continue to imbibe in alcohol and marijuana until everything feels loose. People from other small groups are beginning to wander around and interact with others, before we know it there is a small long haired kid with a dumpy looking girl with messy hair and torn up fishnets asking us where we are from and if we got a couple of cigarettes. Soon enough we are sharing our beer and weed with them and they are giving us shit about being from “Iowa”. Hell, that’s close enough for me cause now we have some locals for friends.
These two brought others and then they are taking us around to other groups of kids and everyone is talking about the band they saw last week or the ones that are playing tonight. They all have one big thing in common, tonight’s show is gonna be awesome. The Accused are from Seattle and they play tight, fast neck breaking hardcore and are legendary for putting on a good show. Someone cries out that the doors are open and everyone starts moving down the alley, around the corner and towards the front doors. There is what can be barely described as a line of crazy eyed kids, wearing all manner of different dress, definitely punk rockers with crazy hair and devil may care attitudes. As we get to the front door it is obvious that quite a few of these kids put more into getting here than than getting into the show as many are panhandling for change to get the three dollars to get in.
As I enter the front door, directly to my right is a small table with a short guy with really curly and long hair selling t-shirts for three dollars. At this price I can’t pass one up even though I haven’t seen the design. I hand him the three bucks and he gives me the coolest T-shirt I have ever seen, it is white with the bands name,”The Accused” across the top and a gruesome picture of a mohawked devil woman tearing a mans head in half and eating his brain in full color. On the back are the words, “Martha Fuckin’ Splatter head”. Damned this is gonna be cool back in Idaho! One of the first things I notice about the interior of this club, 123Arts, is that it is a fucking dump. No frills front area, just a bunch of punkers standing around in groups very similar to the ones in the alley. I hear a staccato blast of electric guitar coming from down a hallway and that is my que to go in that direction. The short hallway enters into a small room with a very small stage, maybe eighteen inches high and no more than twenty feet across and packed floor to ceiling with kids. Before I notice the opening band is playing, my eyes are locked on the mass of humanity just in front of the stage. There is no rhyme or reason to it, just heads, elbows and high knees and people tangled and tearing at one another….The pit.
I don’t know anything about the first two bands, I notice that a lot of the kids are singing along and seem somewhat familiar to their music. I stand at the side of the pit occasionally pushing and shoving into the mass and starting to feel the environment. What looks like a giant fight is actually just kids getting some release and having a lot of fun. After each set, I go back out to the car and get some air, smoke more weed and drink a warm beer. When I go back in for the headliner band, The Accused, I notice that the guys who were sitting around the table in the front selling shirts are now setting up the band’s equipment. After it is set up the short curly haired guy I bought the shirt from comes onto the stage and rips out a gutteral scream to the first shredding notes of a guitar. Now the fucking place is packed and where I am standing is not the edge of the pit but now the middle.
The whole place comes alive and the pit starts undulating, I do what feels natural as I can feel the music and the energy pass through me. Sweating and feeling as if I am about to fall down I slam into the kids around me in a frenetic broken form, high knees and elbows and the occasional blow to the ribs, this feels fucking great! As I look to the stage, the guy (Blaine), who sold me the shirt is jumping six feet in the air and kicking his legs out straight while belting out lyrics. The guitarist, a blond dread locked guy is ripping out guitar riffs perfectly on time with the chaos in the pit. Everyone has their eyes locked on the stage and it is hot as hell in this place. Nobody is leaving for anything and even the occasional person I see fall down in the pit gets pulled back to their feet immediately. The energy is indescribable…
The Hundred mile drive back to Lewiston Idaho was quiet as most of us slept. It was during the very late hours and I don’t even remember coming home. I woke up the next day sore and bruised and my head a little fuzzy from partying. As I looked next to me on my bed and saw the T-shirt it all started coming back to me, one of the best and greatest nights of my young life and the turning point on how I felt about music. Punk rock is not only music, it is a lifestyle an experience and an adventure. My life was going to be very different from the day forward.
Today’s recomended album; Dead Kennedys- Plastic Surgery Disasters

John Price
DOC #716639

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