Having no punk rock scene in Lewiston Idaho to speak of, I packed up what little an eighteen year has and moved to Seattle. I took Steve Simpson and Steve Valen with me as they were my skateboarder friends and also into the punk scene. Steve Valen was a surfer and skater from Venice California whom had already been to Seattle and knew the area. Steve Simpson was my best friend for many years and pretty much got into punk rock the same time as I did and he wanted to get the fuck out of Idaho just as bad as me.
Seattle had an already well established punk scene. There was a monster contingent of gutter-punks who were all runaways or street kids, house punks from the suberbs who had cars and homes and then the hundreds of other misfits from everywhere else that you would always see at each show. I noticed that things were alot different here in the big city than they were in Spokane, at the shows everyone pretty much stayed to there own crowd out in the parking lots and alleys before the show and there was more of an edge to the people themselves. Violence was common at every show either in the parking lot or inside and it did not seem to affect anyone’s spirits. It Alost seemed like it was part of the scene.
I did not really fit into any category at first and would go to shows with my own group and not intermingle very much with any others. We would go to the teen feeds around Seattle which were at different spots to feed all the homeless kids. This is where all the punker kids would network and how I ended up expanding my own group by eating with these other kids and finding out where the other teen feeds were and what shows were coming up. I lived in Everett Washington about an hour north from Seattle, with the Steves and a few other friends who all worked at different jobs. We would kick it at different houses around the Everett area and party every night. Everett had a pretty good scene and one of the best parts was they had really good bands and the girls were to die for. To this day, I am still madly in love with at least three of the girls from the Everett and Lynwood area. The bands from up north were The Accused, Big top, Sabre, Forced Entry and Mace. Each band had its own following and crowd that I would encounter at all their shows and parties.
The Seattle scene was always where I chose to be at. Sure we would fight with the gutter punks and always had some girls from Bellevue driving us around from show to show, but I enjoyed riding the bus to downtown and drinking beer in alleys and feeling like I belong in the city. There are so many freaks in the city and more than a million ways to die. It makes you feel free. My friends and I started adopting a more militant style of dress, short cropped hair, skintight Levi’s, Doc Martin boots and flight jackets. You knew who we were at shows and there was no quarter given if you crossed our path.
The shows in Seattle were mostly all ages which made for a better scene because of all the kids. The shows were cheap and in some crazy areas. My favorite venues were The O.K. Hotel, the Party Hall on Madison, Oz which later became DV8, The Off Ramp and RKCANDY. There were many more that would pop up for a few shows and then many other top notch ones around the greater Seattle area, but these were the ones in the city that had shows every week. The pits at these shows were fucking crazy! I never left one without a busted lip, a cracked rib or a deep bleeding scrape on my body. I always go directly into the pit and do not leave until the band does. When the pit is moving in a circular motion like at most metal shows, I go against the flow and punish others as I get pretty beat up myself. Even in the craziest pits, when someone falls down they are immediately pulled up to their feet by many arms. It is an unspoken rule. Myself, I never liked to see girls in the pit. I would see the go down all the time and when I am mowing people down in the opposite direction, I really did not want to let up if I seen a girl. There have been a very few exceptions, I have seen girls that were in all night and standing right beside me at the end. As I leave shows I have people slapping me on the back at every show saying, “good pit!”.
There were always the same opening bands at every show, they ranged from metal to hardcore to weird alternative. The bands were almost exclusively openers for the bigger acts, Dumpt, Date Rape, Subvert, Aspirin Feast, Sabre, and The Gits were just a few. The Gits had been around awhile and were doing great shows and good things. Their singer was Mia Zapata, one of the coolest punk rocker chicks you could ever meet. She was never stuck up because had a band and did not turn her back on my crew because we were skins. She was just a humble and good hearted person. Some fucking animal named Mendoza murdered her in the same year the scene lost G.G. All in and Kurt Cobain. The latter two wanted to die but Mia was just getting ready to live. The whole fucking scene changed after that…..
The number of all ages shows dropped and other clubs were changing ownership and names or booking different kinds of music. There was a spike in bar shows and since this was 1993, I was legal age and able to go to them, but it did not make up for the youth missing from the shows. It got to a point where when me and my crew would go to shows we were not viewed as before and some idiot would always walk up to the bald headed guys in the red impala with flames and get the shit kicked out of them. The shows had always had that violent edge to them but now there were gutter punks going out of their way to cause confrontation and they were getting beat up because of it. At one point I just dropped the whole devil may care attitude and expected to have to fight at every show. I am cool with that but the days were alot more fun when you were looking over your shoulder.
My own time in the Seattle punk rock scene started in 1989 and will not end until I move away to another town. It has been a blast and I have never regretted a single minute of it. I have seen some of the best bands in the world and partied with some of the best people too. I hope one of these days the all ages shows are dominant again as they were always the best. Spend three dollars to see eight bands, does not get better than that.
Today’s recommended albums; The Gits- Kings and Queens
Christ On A Crutch- Spread Your Filth
…in memory of Mia Zapata…
Categories: John Price