Then and now: Adams Avenue Theater

(Roving correspondent/ photographer Kristen Tobiason revisits and documents the scenes of our youth. Today, the Adams Avenue Theater meets “Project Runway”!)

Detail: Discount Fabrics marquee, August 2008 (photo by Kristen Tobiason)No one could have imagined that this hallmark of our glory days, the Adams Avenue Theater (3325 Adams Ave.), would metamorphose into something so random as Discount Fabrics. I don’t think it’s as humiliating as it is simply bizarre.

The humiliation occurred in the late ’80s, during the venue’s brief reincarnation as the Purple Rain Club. The transforming of a theater into a fabric store has a thread of irony that keeps San Diego “weird.” Frankly, I prefer it to the gentrification that has sucked the charm out of other neighborhoods.

Discount Fabrics never remodeled. Outside of the merchandise, everything looks the same as it did. A quarter-century later, there is still a reflection of the building’s punk-rock roots. Shadows still linger, and I can imagine an entryway streaked with the scuff of Doc Martens and cigarette butts; blood, sweat and spit in the hall; the pit, a cluster of motion, like hornets, swinging fists and bodies, a stage bomb, a swan dive from the balcony …

Detail: Discount Fabrics balcony, August 2008 (photo by Kristen Tobiason)Detail: Discount Fabrics entry, August 2008 (photo by Kristen Tobiason)Detail: Discount Fabrics stairway, August 2008 (photo by Kristen Tobiason)Detail: Discount Fabrics facade, August 2008 (photo by Kristen Tobiason)Detail: Discount Fabrics stage area, August 2008 (photo by Kristen Tobiason)

My first show at Adams Avenue was Iggy Pop with Nash the Slash. I was 16 years old, and the experience was exciting, yet terrifying, as if that wild energy would spin out of control at any moment. Detail: Iggy Pop/Nash the Slash flyer, Nov. 24, 1982 (collection Kristen Tobiason)Right up against the stage, Iggy was so close I could have touched him while he sang “Raw Power.” Those were the early days of “Tim Maze Presents.” Dead Kennedys; UK Subs, 45 Grave, GBH, The Cramps (with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Tell-Tale Hearts) … The list goes on. I recall a Lords of the New Church show where Stiv Bators (RIP) got shot with a bb gun. …

It’s a miracle that we survived our youth, amidst complaints, coppers, the paddy wagon … riots and broken glass. We used to moan that the community wasn’t supportive. Now grown up with a family of my own, I wouldn’t appreciate drunk people throwing up or fornicating in my yard, either! But I’ve got a sense of humor and consider it karmic payback when people partying wake me up at night.

The employees of Discount Fabrics thought it was pretty cool that they were standing within a landmark of San Diego’s music history. Buttons and brocade by the balcony stairs, rolls of taffeta in the stage area … I’m priming myself for a punk-rock quilting party!

– Kristen Tobiason

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138 Responses to “Then and now: Adams Avenue Theater”

  1. Simon Says:

    Please say more about the Purple Rain Club--when was that? I have a hunch I was there once--without recognizing the building from its previous incarnation--to hear a high school acquaintance do his rap act. I speak of Nathan “Smooth Tex” Ellezy, a white Texan fundamentalist rapper whom I knew from Calculus class. The dude ate a bag of gummi bears every single day in class, dividing them by color into wee ursine squadrons on his desk and then consuming them according to some color-order decreed unto him by the Lord. Funny what sticks in your mind. I can’t actually remember which shows I saw at the AAT, although I know I was there a few times.

  2. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>I speak of Nathan “Smooth Tex” Ellezy, a white Texan fundamentalist rapper whom I knew from Calculus class.

    Again, I marvel at the capacity of human language to pack the strangest set of images into one mental bonbon.

    Bravo, Simon! My synapses are tingling.

  3. cricket Says:

    well done agian kristen ! I loved the shows i went to there. in 1990 i worked next door to the adams ave theater for a stint as safari books store manager and book buyer. I felt refreshed every morning to see the marque and grin into the past as i opend the store. if my memory serves, the exploited were on the marque for years after the closing ? i think it’s charmingly wonderful that not only are you exploring our lost civilization, but whall turning the stones and exposing the shards of broken malt beverage bottles, madness pins and 7 inch singels, you take the time to let the curent inhabitants know that once, long ago, there lived on this hollowd grown a kingdom known as -- the underground. thank you for [ as the kids say these days ] represinting !

  4. BOogie Says:

    how long did it say “tonight: uk subs” on the marquee of the adams ave theater, it seems like it was a few years. anyway apart from the shows most of all i remember that possum who lived in there and would come out during shows and just calmly wander around

  5. Mmrothenberg Says:

    BOogie: After our recent discussion of bears and otters at Brian’s American Eatery, at first I honestly thought a “possum” was some kind of gay subcultural avatar I hadn’t heard of! :-)

  6. BOogie Says:

    shit man i’m sure it is….

  7. Tony suarez Says:

    I think the “exploited” remained on the outside of Fairmount hall, as I drove by Fairmount hall for years on the way to state. Sure enough, it was on there a long time.
    My first shows were here at the Adams Avenue Theatre. It was a Crawdaddys show with Dave Anderson finding a ride for us to the show. Manual Scan played, too. I witness the screaming idolization by the Davis Sisters. I was hooked.

    I remember playing there at one of the Pipeline gigs, as it was called in late 1982. The scooter club put on an event in January of 1986, and it was closed soon after.
    When I go in to the Discount Fabrics (a great resource for all you furniture geeks), you’ll notice that the stage was really small. Remnant s of the layout show you how small the dance area was.
    I’ll try to link a photo that I have on my Flickr account of the above show.

  8. Mmrothenberg Says:

    RE Tony Suarez and AAT stage time: This Answers performance with Mr. Suarez took place at Discount Fabrics … errrr, Adams Avenue Theater … Sept. 18, 1982.

    Ray: You pre-emptively answered my pending question on the pedigree of this theater. It’s both fascinating and wistful to consider the mundane uses movie palaces of yore have been put to. Discount Fabrics looks quite snazzy compared with some of the retail spaces carved from the former theaters along Mission in SF.

  9. dylan rogers Says:

    I went to some later shows at Adams Ave. Most likley “Donkey Show” and some other bands. I leaned on the balcony rail and it broke, I almost fell off.
    I recall hearning about Chris Negro getting on stage at the ATT and play’n the harmonica with Slayer. I wish I could have seen that.
    Not a fan of Slayer but still.

  10. Dave Ellison Says:

    >>”you’ll notice that the stage was really small. Remnant s of the layout show you how small the dance area was.”

    That was first the thing I noticed when I wandered in there after it became a fabric store…how small it actually was. It was about half the size I remembered it to be.

    I was at the Iggy/Nash the Slash show too… Nash the Slash was covered head to toe in bandages and did this crazy one man band synth music. I saw the Cramps there twice, the UK Subs on New Years Eve, and other great shows too.

    I remember right before it closed, Paul Howland’s band played there (I dont remember what they were called)…their drummer wasnt around, so Paul asked me to sit in on drums just for the sound check… that was fun. I think that may have been the very last show there.

    I remember that marque with UK Subs on it for a long time…

  11. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    Ray: These “Then and Now” blog projects are a sweet distraction from work and dishes and diapers.

    Re: The California Theater -- I work across the street and the long abandoned structure has become a spooky city for the homeless. I wouldn’t want to go in there unless I was Snake Pliskin with a machine gun. That would be neat if it went the way of the Spreckles which, in my opinion, has some of the best accoustics of any venue in San Diego. Last California gig I remember was PIL on their Flowers of Romance tour…a long time ago.

    Dylan: Chris Negro played with SLAYER? that is candy for my brain! I admit I am a fan, afterall they were on defjam with p.e.

  12. cricket Says:

    i saw the ramones at the california. 81 ?

  13. Mmrothenberg Says:

    I say we assemble an urban spelunking team to investigate the California Theater! Then for an encore, maybe they can find the hooded figures in Presidio Park.

    Speaking of monster hunting, I would pay money for video or audio of the Chris Negro/Slayer supergroup.

  14. Toby Gibson Says:

    I was at that P.I.L. show at the California. Kommunity FK and Doctor Know played that night. That was the only time I got to see Kommunity FK live and they were super good. I remember the kids were doing stage dives (PIL strikes me as a really odd band for both slamdancing and stage dives) and one kid skanked across the stage and stole one of the drummer’s beers. John and his brother and the drummer were all laughing at that, and the bouncers jumped in like they wanted to kill the kid. Johnny then got pissed at the bouncers and told them to leave the stage area.

  15. Toby Gibson Says:

    Oh Adams Avenue theater- My first show there I saw 5051. I can’t recall who else played that night. I wasn’t at the show where Stiv got shot with the BB Gun, but I recall the word was all over the country that “Stiv would never play San Diego again” (though I believe he did.) Lloyd (Personal Conflict) and Mike Ness were arrested because they beat up those absolutely godawful West Security’s bouncers when the bouncers tried to manhandle them at the back stage door- that was the jail stint that Mike Ness cleaned up after. I believe Charlie Harper lit off fireworks inside the building- like skyrockets and stuff- on New Years eve. I was pretty stoked to have the good fortune of getting to hang out a little with both Charlie Harper and Wattie at Adam’s avenue, just having a few beers and talking story. That was pretty cool for me as I loved the UK Subs particular brand of garage rock ever since Jason turned me on to them, and talking with Wattie was always funny because his accent was so strong no one could understand a word he said.

    Other stuff from Adam’s Avenue: Owen Neider did a stage dive off the balcony at that Social Distortion/Personal Conflict show. I think Dave Lopez (from I.B.) did one off the Marshall Stacks at GBH (another super cool group of guys to get to hang out with.) And then there was those two rednecks who tried to hassle Rude and various members of SDSH in front of Adams Avenue and ended up being tossed through the plate glass window of a store two doors down.

    Good times! :)

  16. thy green rock Says:

    Dave Ellison Says:
    I remember right before it closed, Paul Howland’s band played there (I dont remember what they were called)…their drummer wasnt around, so Paul asked me to sit in on drums just for the sound check… that was fun. I think that may have been the very last show there.

    Not sure if this is the same memory, but Blue Puss, featuring Paul Howland, Rob Labbe, Erik Griswold and myself played a private party at AAT. It was a ‘sweet 16′ party, I think. It was quite surreal, as I remember it. The place was pretty decayed at that point, and had already closed. It was like, “cool, we’re playing the Adams Avenue Theatre. Wow, we were hired by this girl’s parents.” Cool and dorky at the same time.

  17. dylan rogers Says:

    Kristen/Matt Rott: I was not there but days after that show someone told me Chris jumped on stage with Slayer and just joined in. From what I understand it was great. I believed it because when ever I would see Chris wondering around town he was playing the harp. It is one of many things in life I wish would been there to see for myself. Speed Harp!

    I stood in front of the california theater durning some great shows. To be young and broke.

  18. thy green rock Says:

    Paul: Thanks for setting that straight. I like your version a lot better than mine. There are good reasons why you’re one of my heroes.

    Another concert memory, related to the California Theater: I remember sneaking in with Bobby Lane to hear Iggy Pop in 1989. Yes, he did indeed sing “1969” as “1989” “It’s 1989, OK” and “Last year I was 41…” Pretty sure, anyway.

  19. Barney Firks Says:

    I was working as a stage-hand/spotlight operator at the California Theatre in the late 80’s. Saw some great shows: Iggy, Eek-a-mouse, Siouxsie, Peter Murphy. Most of the shows I went to at Adams I was so drunk I can barely remember anything. But I do recall Stevo w/ the Vandals and that turntable around his neck. A bunch of us went to Fear and The Dead Kennedy’s at The Olympic Ballroom in LA, and there was a huge riot. I think the story was Jello broke his leg somehow, and the next night they played at Adams and he was on a stool with a full cast. He was still great! The Olympic was a crazy place. Thousands of punks and four or five separate pits. Every time I went there, after the show the doors opened out and a line of riot cops was waiting for us. I remember Suicidal at Fairmount Hall, and I think it was Art heckling Mike Muir. Muir just dove off the stage head- long into the foray, and came out ok. UK Subs and The Exploited at North Park Theatre. Good show but all seats. Just rambling here, but I have opened for the UK Subs in three different bands. Here in SD, in LA and in Munich. I agree Charlie Harper is way cool and super nice. When we played with him in 1990 he said he was just turning 50, so he must be pushing 70 now! And they still tour. Did a few dates with The Exploited about four years ago. Again I concur, could not understand word one from Wattie, but he still belted it out well. Had three youngsters with dreads as a backing band.

  20. Toby Gibson Says:

    As far as I know, Charlie Harper has had three bypass surguries.

    I left out the demise of Adams avenue (or perhaps one early demise- I’m not certain how long it continued as a venue.) One night around (85?) some dirtheads broke into adams avenue and spray painted ” “Spring Valley Metal Militia” on the wall and supposedly sawed a bar or something like that in half with a chainsaw. As far as I remember the punks were blamed and shows were no longer booked there at least for a while.

  21. Mmrothenberg Says:

    What’s the landscape like in San Diego nowadays for the shows that back in the day would’ve occupied AAT, Fairmount Hall, NPLC, Jackie Robinson YMCA, Wabash Hall … All those substantial spaces that used to host gigs mounted by our favorite punk impresarios?

    Are there new venues for this kind of indy action, or have market dynamics changed so radically that such mixed-use spaces no longer play a part?

  22. Barney Firks Says:

    Funny thing about memory. I was trying to go to sleep last night, and I was thinking about something I read here, and memory. I have heard most people think memory is like a tape. We have all of these files stored in or brain, and upon recall pull one up and play the tape. However, researchers now believe that is not the case. They feel that a memory is an event, created at the moment and for the moment. Like a short film being made each time. And it is slightly altered evey time you create it. In fact each time you make a memory, it degrades a little bit. For example, two people saw something happen 20 years ago. One of them thought about it often over the years, and the other never thought of it, not even once. So, they meet again after all of these 20 years and mention the event they both witnessed. The person who never recalled the event until that point would have a more accurate and pure experience of it than the person who had thought of it often, and therefore had degraded the image by creating it again and again. It is an interesting concept. So, as I was laying there in bed I thought about something I read above about Iggy Pop in 1989, and The California and thy green rock. And suddenly it washed over me…the anagram…a memory forgotten. So, after all that, was it not I who let Bobby and Heather and you into Iggy through the side door in The California Mr. G?

  23. Toby Gibson Says:

    I was out there three years ago and as far as I could tell Wabash Hall was still being used for live performances. I drove around looking for Fairmount Hall for a while until I deduced that it fell victim to urban renewal. I got close to finding King’s Road- within a few shop doors but I wasn’t sure which it was. And I snooped around the Lyon’s Club but couldn’t really ascertain what it’s used for today.

  24. Ray Brandes Says:

    The International Blend/King’s Road was at 4034 30th Street. The building facades have changed quite a bit and the tire store that was across the street is now gone. If you’re facing west on 30th Street, the building is directly north of Auntie Helen’s Thrift Shop.

  25. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    Matthew: There are lots of bars and then there’s SOMA, an underage venue at the old Mann Theater on Sports Arena. Shows like the Killers, White Stripes, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Shins, etc. Have seen Sonic Youth there a couple times. And Helmet! Tim Maze still has his hand in the Casbah, as well as owning The Turf Club, Krakatoa and now a swank hipster restaurant called Starlite, which he co-owns with Steve Poltz. John Reis (Rocket from the Crypt) owns The Pink in North Park, which has become the new indie mecca in San Diego. Off the Record is on University/30th now. There are dozens of new restaurants and clubs around this area, as well as art galleries, and the new refurbished North Park Theater.

    I should be excited to live right in the middle of the hot spot. but I prefer to get my zen on these days rather than tackle a noisy scene I’m no longer a part of --way past my bedtime. I’m in a different chapter of life. Good vegetarian food, books, retreats -- don’t drink or small talk — Going out reeks of effort -- dressing up, getting a babysitter. I love new music and thank god for Pandora, but hanging out in clubs is a fond memory.

    Paul: I forgot the trip to TJ. remember the tijuana carnival?

  26. Toby Gibson Says:

    I recall Cliff Cunningham telling me one time that he’d had a dream that he was on top of that tire store across from Kings Road (it was a defunct gas station, wasn’t it?) and he had a high powered automatic rifle and was mowing down the cops as the arrived to hassle the punks.

    There was also Smiley’s Bar, just up the block from Kings Road. I recall being 16 years old and hanging out in there with Terry Tall and Terry Marine. Right near smiley’s there was also some sort of half-assed pinball arcade.

    When I was in town a few years ago Jason and I met up and went “punk” bar hopping around downtown and North Park just for old times sake. It was totally funny that we were the two straight guys that all the fashionable and carefully contrived “punks” eyeballed. If I were them I probably would have assumed we were cops from the liquor commission.

  27. Kristen Tobiason Says:

    Toby: weird seeing “ghosts of punk rock’s past” isn’t it? I do a double take when I see a jacket emblazoned with Discharge mixed with Hello Kitty accessories.

    I was doing the “retro” thing in the 80’s, trying to look like the 60’s. What did people from the original 60’s scene think about that? Did they cringe?

    we are on one big turning wheel.

  28. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Kristen: … Or “grinding wheel,” as the Wallflowers would have it.

    There’s an AAT plug in this great 1977 TV appearance by the Zeros, which was sent to me by Tom Griswold:

    “The Zeros on Sun Up: ‘Don’t Push Me Around’ and ‘Wimp’

    “The Zeros clip was just before their first San Diego show in 1977, the one Javier mentions near the end. (They’d played LA a couple times before this clip.) The show (at Adams Theater) had the Dils SD debut as a three piece and the Hitmakers featuring ex-Dils Josef Marc and Jeff Scott as well as Ron Silva (pre-Crawdaddy) The clip is from September or October 1977.”

  29. Dean Curtis Says:

    Amazing clip! Wish I could have been to that show with The Dils and The Hitmakers!

    A couple’a other memorable shows at AAT that I recall are Lene Lovich (I know some people didn’t like her records but she was good live) and Toots & The Maytals (I remember they did a whole lot of their 60s stuff).

  30. Bobby Lane Says:

    Thanks for setting us all straight ,Paul,we always could count on you for for a solid bassline amidst all the riff-raffery and erratica.I did the flyer for that state theatre gig and got punched pretty good at that show, not by wattie as one would expect,if they have seen that flyer,but by Joe Goochman(i butchered the spelling on that).Someone strategically shoved me into his back and before I could split(cause I knew what was coming)he punched me square in the kisser.As I was washing the blood off in the bathroom,he came into piss and I asked him,rather pointlessly I must admit,”what did ya do that for?”,whereupon he shrugged and said”I dunno” and we left it at that.It always has been a wonderful world,doncha think?
    On the subject of erased tape and deleted memory,I remember sneaking in to see Iggy in 88 at the California theatre with Paul H.,possibly accompanied by Rock and Heather,but I cant recall,but possibly also,Barney did let us in.This gets confusing as Paul and I also snuck into the Terrence Trent D’arby show there in the same year,even stranger was that he struck me as a cross between Iggy and Aretha Franklin at the time.
    I also must inform you all that I no longer work in Hillcrest at the aforementioned former Guild theatre location and that I was never the owner of that tattoo shop.Thankfully so because the rent there is horrendous and there’s really not much money to be made in Hillcrest on tattoo’s.I now work in North Park a scant six blocks or so from my house at Body Marks Tattoo.Cricket can vouch for the veracity of this statement as we passed an afternoon on the front porch here when he was in town.

  31. Bobby Lane Says:

    The Sess are playing a “house party” at the Yard at 39 17th street which is either east village or on the edge between Sherman and Logan depending how you look at it,next friday the 29th,its all ages and theres four other bands.Check their Myspace or Squires blog if you want to have a listen.They handle a Remains cover in a manly fashion and yet somehow manage to evoke the Fall,Birthday Party et al. at the same time.You likely wont see me there though as I tend to agree with Kristen as to what constitutes a good time these days.
    Party Pooped.

  32. Ray Brandes Says:

    Sorry about that, Bobby--I tried to give you a plug but it was apparently a little late.

    About that Zeros clip--I have been talking to Ron Silva a lot lately (I’m in the process of doing a lengthy Crawdaddys piece) and he happened to mention that Adams Avenue show today, referring to it as San Diego’s first big punk show. It was 1977 by the way, just like the Clash song.
    One of the things I really like about the clip is how cool and open minded Clark Anthony was towards these punk kids. I used to despise Clark Anthony and his weather forcasts and his bad poetry in the seventies and eighties, but he earned a few points there.

  33. Dean Curtis Says:

    Ray, maybe that had something to do with the fact that father of one of The Zeros worked at the same station, haha!

    Can’t wait for the Crawdaddys piece! Is Ron in SD? I never see him in Alameda. Say Hello from me the next time you talk to him.

  34. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>Ron Silva … happened to mention that Adams Avenue show today, referring to it as San Diego’s first big punk show.

    We should do a post on it at some point! Have any Zeros visited the blog?

  35. Ray Brandes Says:

    I talk with Hector all the time. I’ll invite him to do a Zeros post.

  36. Ray Brandes Says:

    Hi Dylan,
    The Zeros had a much bigger influence outside of San Diego, having moved away at around the same time the original Crawdaddys folded. I’ve toured with Hector in Europe and in general the Zeros are seen as part of a San Diego sound which they helped to originate. I’m currently working on a large Crawdaddys piece that will include a Hitmakers history.

  37. Ray Brandes Says:

    Hey Dylan,
    You might be interested in Flying Color, the band Hector had with Chris Von Sneidern in SF in the late eighties:

    Hector said he’d send me a bunch of Zeros stuff, or write something himself.

  38. Paul.Howland Says:

    Hey Kristen, put away the meditation bench get a sitter and head on out for this one .Seriously it’s gonna be fun, Dubriders are bringing in a serious sound system for this one. Anyone in SD even mildly curious about dubstep and grime should check out MRK1 at the Kava Lounge this week. Read more here. See you there. P

  39. Mark Mullen Says:

    That was fun reading.

    Pics brought back some good memories.

    Not sure how many different Black Flag singers I saw there, Henry rolling in the broken florecent bulb glass was fun to watch.

  40. scott harber Says:

    As a blur of events and memories at the Pipeline/Adams Ave Theater I remember playing there in 5051 w/ the Circle Jerks, Christian Death, and The Cramps. The Cramps was on my school’s prom night and how much better is it to have played w/ Lux and Ivy than to have hang w/ the goat ropers at Poway High.
    Also saw a very sedate version of the Stranglers there.
    It always seems that shows at venues where there is a broken up platform are more intersting and eventfull as there are little scenarios happening in the various sections.
    At one show outside there was a large 4x4 truck that drove by on the side walk dong some threatening etc.
    Sidebar here-there was a show in about 1980 we played as the first incarnation as Social Spit at the Blind Center on Upas St. The show was a benefit for Renee or ? who was beat up at a Skeleton Club show. I was 14 and had been playing for about 2 weeks after bass lessons w/ Dave Ellison and Dave Doyle. Dave Fleminger, Squirell, and Bruce were in this original lineup of SS.
    So a group of us are outside and a truck w/ some metal-necks w/ about 4-5 guys in back drives by. They shout and threaten and drive away. They do a lap and return and we taunt them back at which point they show a couple of bats. It now gets tense. They do another lap and now they stop and a guy jumps out of the back as the truck drives away. He is now alone but he has a bat and we, about 6 of us go over and beat the shit out of him after his bat gets disarmed. Pretty ugly and then The girlfriend of Renee or ? who the benefit was for who was security comes over and maces the lot of us. Nasty business and I recall Jarhead telling us not to rub our eyes etc and we all went into a bathroom to wash our faces. Good times.
    Sidebar over but I always think of this when I see large 4x4s.

    Also at AAT I seem to remember a guy dropping onto his head from a balcony and doing a number on his back.

  41. Dave Fleminger Says:

    Scott: So THAT’S what was going on that night outside the show!
    28 years later it’s cool to know the whole story…I was in the Blind Center bathroom at that point trying to get my nose to stop bleeding after being bashed in the face in the pit, and suddenly half of SS and a couple others come running into the bathroom after being maced..
    I’m just sitting there trying to halt nostril bloodflow and everybody’s around me screaming and trying to get at the sink to wash out their eyes, which from the look and sound of it must have felt like they were on fire. Never fully knew the whole story behind the macing until this very moment.

    That and a memory of this little miniature white picket fence around the stage…and knowing that thing isn’t gonna be up for long..

  42. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Dylan: We should do a whole post on great shows we stood outside!

    Despite the best efforts of the band, I listened to all the Violent Femmes’ first SoCal gigs outside barroom doors. I’ve recounted how we had to hide Wendell, our percussionist, in the Saigon Palace men’s room ’cause he was only 17 … And I think I recall that when Altered Images came to the spirit, their 17-year-old bassist had to stand in the alley outside with a long cable snaking inside to his amp.

    What were the rules we had to follow playing bars? IIRC, those of us 18 to 20 could go directly to the stage and play but were forbidden from entering the bar area (I recall lots of pre-gig down time in parking lots and backstage storage areas), and our younger members were (officially) SOL.

    We could also review creative ways we did get inside. I remember a couple of Spirit gigs where I was anointed backup vocalist or percussionist just so I could see the show!

  43. dylan rogers Says:

    MATT ROTT: I think that’s a good thread idea.

    I once put together a band with a young friend(matt k shrugg) who was maybe 17, just so he could get into a show and see the other bands.
    We had one practice and played the gig. The crowd loved us and some people asked if we had cd’s for sell. It was fun and trashy(sloppy) garage punk. We called ourselves The Econoline Sect, because I drove a sweet Econoline van back then. Matt hid in the back of the club watching the other bands, I snuck him a beer or two. A real cool time!

  44. Ray Brandes Says:

    Hey Dylan,
    I’m currently in the middle of posts on the Crawdaddys, Unknowns and Zeros, for this site of course.

  45. Max Brown Says:

    Flashback ,
    Tim Maze asking me to escort the band from the stage to the projection room at the Adams, oh yeh baby , sitting in my leather with the only the band , ripped ,how lucky. The Cramps…..getting a real hard look at them , I lasted 15 minutes before I felt out of place…

  46. Mmrothenberg Says:

    So wait, wait … Back up on this Blind Center/Social Spit fracas: For nearly 30 years Dave Fleminger has been thinking his bandmates were Maced by the cops … But now Scott Harber (one of the Maced) says it was actually Renee Edgington’s folks trying to break up a melee with a bat-wielding redneck … And does this have anything to do with the legendary tale Toby relates (and I remember) of the cowboys going through the plate-glass window?

    This is like a punk-rock version of “Murder on the Orient Express”! Or “Clue”: It was Lou Scum in the Fairmount Hall parking lot with the lead pipe!

  47. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Sounds like the Adams Avenue Street Fair is still going strong …

  48. Todd Lahman Says:

    Does anyone remember the Lords of New Church show? They were incredible and Stiv was in top form ripping a new asshole to the SDSH’s who were trying to start shit. Great rapid fire one liners from Stiv. It didn’t end so well with the skins throwing folding chairs and chasing the band out on to the street. Hey don’t give the jocks a hard time. Go to a show with the guy from the Dead Boys and another guy from the Damned, basically the two of the bands that helped jump start the scene and give them shit cause god knows they really deserve it. Real smart!

  49. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Can someone tell me what happened when the Crawdaddys and Battalion of Saints played Adams Avenue Theater?

  50. Todd Lahman Says:

    Thanks Toby I was well aware of the senseless violence that was so prevalent in the scene way before that show. Its nice of you to keep me informed.

  51. Toby Gibson Says:

    Oh hey- think nothing of it. :)

  52. James Harrell Says:

    I was also at the Lords of the New Church Show. I don’t remember exactly how things got started, but I do recall Art and Chuey flicking pennies at Stiv. After a time, Stiv unzipped his leather pants, pulled out his member, and asked them”Why don’t you come up here, and suck my @#*&!”. Pretty ballsy for such a skinny little guy. As you can imagine, that didn’t go over too well with the SHSH boys. Bouncers entered the fray, and started dropping like bowling pins. Until the advent of the UFC, I never saw anyone who could throw a punch as hard, or as fast as Art. I remember walking out, and stepping over broken glass from a couple of store fronts.

  53. dave ellison Says:

    Everyone thinks of San Diego as very laid-back, but the punk scene there at the time was, apparently, one of the most violent. Henry Rollins (who I’d assume knows something about that) wrote about being beaten up at a Black Flag show in SD and commented “San Diego was a rough place.”

  54. Dave hobbs Says:

    I was at that Lords of the New Church show. I was at the front of the stages, just to the left. I look right and I see this silver object hit Stiv on the side of the belly. It left and immediate purple bruise. The object appeared like one of those old Zippo lighters. I later heard a rumor that it was a CO2 cartridge. Who knows?

    Anyway, in the days and weeks that followed, Stiv began saying in interviews that he was shot in San Diego. Perhaps, he believed he was shot with a pellet gun. Or perhaps he was embellishing. But, in the aftermath, word got around that San Diego was dangerous, and shows became a bit thin.

  55. Alena Tuchscher Says:

    Stobbe I also went to punk shows w/people from Bonita/Chula Vista, I recall the shows you mentioned above and many more UK Subs,Misfits Social D, exploited, GBH (at Adams Ave)etc. Does anyone remember going to a show in the middle of Watts? I know the Misfits were one of the bands that played. If my memory is correct gunfire broke out, cops all over and it was scary trying to get out to the car because so much gunfire.The cop copter was low and shining brightwhich at the time was a rare experience in SD if it happened at all.What was Adams last name?

  56. mike stobbe Says:

    Adam Macdonald . He was a big dopey sweetheart , usually had 3 mohawks going at any given time . Jay and I had scooters for a long time before hie got one , but when he did he had to out do us in bizzare fashion . He ended up buying a light blue Bajaj , which was an Indian made rally rip off . It was a neat bike but plagued with mechanical difficulties .

  57. Dean Curtis Says:

    Keith: Thanks for such an interesting post. I also loathed the senseless violence. I guess because I started attending punk shows early on in the 80s nobody bothered me, but it disgusted me when people attacked other people in the same scene. Punk or mod or rockabilly, we were all there for mostly the same reasons, why fight amongst ourselves? Attack a surfer jock or redneck if you must fight! (ha!, just kidding)

    Your post reminded me of my friend Michael Clayton (may he be resting in peace). As an openly gay man with a mohawk he had it pretty tough in San Diego.

    I think San Diego was very homophobic, especially in La Mesa where I grew up, and at the beach towns.

  58. P Gargoyle Says:

    Hey all. Keith !! HAIRFIGHT !! I wanted to post this link and then come back later to give my perspective about the lack of Queercore/HOMOCORE in san diego.

    In my opinon Roger was hugely influential to the early punk scene here in San Diego. He and Chuck and Testiclehead are people that I always remember with verve and it was exciting for me to learn years after that he was indeed an out and openly gay man. He was part of the small group of people that I grew to know during my time in the early scene and admire.

  59. Dean Curtis Says:

    Is Roger Pinnell related to Tim Pinnell of The Bedbreakers? (great SD blues band in the 90s with Tim Brown on Howlin Wolf-esque vocals, Tim on guitar, Matt Johnson on drums?). They played at my wedding in 1990. I just did a search for Tim and found out he’s working at Top Gear Guitar Pro Shop in La Mesa. I think Tim was also in Eleven Sons but I could be mistaken.

  60. P Gargoyle Says:

    Yes I do believe they are brothers. I am going North very soon and I hope that I can catch up with Roger there.

  61. Jimmy Says:

    I never got to thank those two girls, many years ago. Adams Ave. Circle Jerks, must have been 82/83? I was so wasted I could only sit on the side, then puked. These two sweet girls picked me up, took me to the bathroom and helped me wash up. Took me outside for some fresh air. I’d like to thank those girls.

  62. ava Says:

    is this edmundson?

  63. mike stobbe Says:

    Dawn , I’m friends with Adam on Facebook , he looks to be doing okay . I haven’t talked with him much though so I couldn’t say for sure .

  64. Dawn Says:

    Hey there Tony! I goofed around with the bass for awhile, then it went to Junior who played it for awhile with a band of sorts. Anybody know what Junior’s been up to all these years? Wish I could make the show, but I am in Missouri and Jim has been hospitalized for 6 weeks and it looks like he’ll be there another month, so traveling is out at the moment. I’ll be there in spirit, tho’!

    Mike, thanks for the head’s up about Adam on Facebook. Glad to know he looks to be okay.

  65. mike stobbe Says:

    Dawn , Junior got married a few months ago and he is just a man about town DJ here in San Diego , and doing very well for himself .

  66. Mmrothenberg Says:

    BTW, the San Diego Concert Archive says the Zeros/Dils/Hitmakers gig was Oct. 8, 1977. I’ve yet to see a flyer or anything.

  67. Mikel Says:

    > I’ve yet to see a flyer or anything.

    Um, yes, you have. Maybe you didn’t realize it because the Dils weren’t listed (they were a late addition).

  68. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>Um, yes, you have. Maybe you didn’t realize it because the Dils weren’t listed (they were a late addition).

    Mikel: Oof! Have I posted it yet??

  69. Mmrothenberg Says:

    … And was that show actually the first rock gig at Adams Ave.?

  70. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Et voila! Thanks, Mikel:

  71. Mikel Says:

    > Oof! Have I posted it yet??

    I don’t believe so.

  72. Mikel Says:

    Now you’re proving ME wrong! I just found a better copy, but I like that one in its present shape.

  73. Mikel Says:

    Once the barriers got put up
    The implosions began

    Yes, Gary, there IS a song in there…

  74. dave ellison Says:

    I always wondered about the balconies at the Adams Ave. Theater. What were they put there for? Balconies in a theater always face the stage/screen, but these didn’t. I always wondered how (assuming it had been a movie theater) they could have put chairs on those balconies that allowed anyone to see what was going on.

    Of course, they worked fine for shows where people would be leaning on the railings watching the band. Better yet, if you got there early enough you could find a place to sit and hang your feet off the edge… which gave you a perfect view of both the band and the crowd (just as interesting to watch as the band a lot of times).

  75. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>I always wondered about the balconies at the Adams Ave. Theater. What were they put there for?

    Dave Ellison: Gladiatorial spectacles, maybe? (I believe Stiv Bators vs. BB gun would qualify … )

  76. Tony Suarez Says:

    The balconies are still up last time I checked. Instead of seats and a make out corner, you’ll find chenile and other 50/50 fabrics for upholstery, or whatever your sewing creative juices can concoct!
    The Nickelodeon record store is still two doors away!

  77. Bruce Injection Says:

    We played with Bow Wow Wow at Adams Av but never got on the flyer. We were the only opening act that night, as I recall.

    Don’t know who arranged it or who was there other than the usual suspects and hundreds of Bow fans.

  78. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>We were the only opening act that night, as I recall.

    Bruce: The San Diego Concert Archive site claims that a band called Wild Kingdom was on this March 7, 1982, bill. Anybody know ‘em?

  79. Mikel Says:

    > March 7, 1982

    Well, that listing seems a bit suspect, since the San Diego Concert Archive also lists a June 13, 1982 Bow Wow Wow show (and I only recall the Injections opening, as well). Plus, the Tim Mays story above (I wrote it, and I try to be as accurate as possible) says he started doing AAT shows in April 1982.

  80. Bruce Injection Says:

    So…did Tim Mays book us?? He must have… must have liked us because any band at that time would have loved to open for a Malcolm Mclaren band!!

    We had to play on the floor with borrowed equipment but I think it was OK…BWW was great…

    Wild Kingdom??

  81. Mikel Says:

    Wild Kingdom at least was an actual band, going by this listing of a live review in Flipside in 1981:

    Pagan Ritual, Geza X & the Mommymen, Vox Pop, Wild Kingdom, Omlits -- Myron’s Ballroom

  82. Dave Doyle Says:

    >>>claims that a band called Wild Kingdom was on this March 7, 1982, bill. Anybody know ‘em?


    Played several gigs up in LA with them between ’80 and ’82. Vaugely New Ro with a touch of Wall of Voodoo (due to the non kosher percussion section ala Joe Nanini). They had a good, tight sound and were always very cool as people. Always a fun gig with them at the ON Club or Madame Wong’s.

    I recall Reuben the guitarist had this crazy hairpiece he carried around in a box and would apply backstage, big giant pompadour looking thing.

  83. Mikel Says:

    Wild Kingdom Roma-Destiny flexi disc (No Mag, 1981)

    Here’s a little gem that I know nothing about. It came with a great Los Angeles punk/new wave zine called No Mag, though I found it in a box of books at a yard sale, with no zine in sight. I have seen the name Wild Kingdom on old flyers, but until I scrounged this flexi up I hadn’t heard them. I’ve scoured the net for info on them, plowed through old Flipside, Search & Destroy, BravEar, & the few Slash magazines I have and learned nothing. So you get what I know: The music.

    Starting with an off drum, the song jumps into an odd intro, something that seems to be setting the stage for a grand play. And when the song shifts that is what happen. Sounding like Roxy Music filtered through early Wall of Voodoo, Wild Kingdom takes the vocals from declairation to a melody that sounds like Fly Me to The Moon to a Bryan Ferry style wail. Meanwhile the music pulsates and shifts, the frantic beat smoothed over by a stark but warm synth. A guitar accents and then rips into a Manzanera like solo. And then the outro, which sounds like the intro. A perfect piece of art rock gone new wave.

  84. Dawn Says:

    Didn’t Bow Wow Wow play the Skeleton Club back then?

    RE: Matt’s mention of the Stiv incident made me delve into my archives for this gem from a London newspaper:

  85. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Heff, I love it! We should revisit the old “Homegrown” concept with a set of songs written by different contributors about the ups and downs of our shared history.

  86. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>this gem from a London newspaper:

    Dawn: LOL! But … It was a BB! I mean, obnoxious, yes, but … “Surf Punks Gave Me Wedgie!!!”

  87. Bruce Injection Says:

    “Surf Punks Gave Me Wedgie!!!”….REALLY…Come on!!

    Bow Wow Wow never played the Skel Club.

  88. Dave Fleminger Says:

    Matthew: Homegrown album…let’s do it.

  89. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Flash: Mikel Toombs has apparently solved the mystery of the disappearing Wild Kingdom (and appearing Injections) on the March 7, 1982, Bow Wow Wow bill.

    Exhibit A: I b’lieve this is Version #1 of the flyer for the show, with BWW, Wild Kingdom and a band called Red Wedding:

    Exhibit B: A near-identical second version, in which Wild Kingdom is off the menu, Red Wedding has moved up to the second spot and “guests” have joined the bill:

    Conclusion: Wild Kingdom dropped out, and Tim Mays added the Injections to the bill (too late to add them to the flyer).

  90. Mmrothenberg Says:

    PS: Further intrigue … Why was the (presumably) original bill presented by “Tim Maze & KCR,” while Version 2 was a Tim Maze solo project?

  91. Bruce Injection Says:

    Great!! I never saw the flyer. I guess we were last minute “guests”.

    Don’t remember Red Wedding appearing though??

    What is with the date discrepancy???

    Further intrigue…

  92. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>What is with the date discrepancy???

    Bruce: LOL! My powers of observation are phenomenal … I didn’t notice that this show moved from March 7 to June 13!

    Anybody know what happened? I assume Bow Wow Wow rescheduled its tour, and everything else lined up behind that.

  93. Bruce Injection Says:

    Yeah …. aren’t you an editor or something???

  94. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Hey — anybody here work at KCR? Tim Maze co-sponsored a number of shows with the SDSU radio station, generally off-campus … How’d that come about?

  95. leatherfaery Says:

    I remember red wedding.they had to have a “dressing room” ( some room off the stage)their “manager” was running around like they were rock stars . They were annoying. That entire show was ATTITUDE starting with red wedding to the boys of Bow Wow Wow.They had the nerve to it infer that because we were an american band that we were somehow privledged.That was a night of entitlement that I never forgot.

    Annabella was chewing wads of gum and smiled a lot. She made the night.

  96. Mikel Says:

    A final excerpt from my ’84 Tim Mays story (I had completely forgotten about the Rodeo):

    [Mays used the Adams Avenue Theater] because it was available and because the established clubs shied away from the hard-core sound.

    “Most of the clubs are fairly timid when it comes to that,” says Mays. “T.S.O.L. was scheduled to do the Rodeo, but after my show, somehow word got out that it was kind of rough — they’re ALL kind of rough at Adams Avenue — and so (Rodeo manager) Bruce Warren got worried and decided he didn’t want T.S.O.L. to play the Rodeo.”

    Considerably less swanky than La Jolla’s Rodeo, the Adams Avenue Theater poses few problems for Mays inside, but the adjoining residential neighborhood creates some headaches for him.

    “The biggest problem is the people loitering and the problems that it causes me with the police,” he said. “I’ve got to make sure people aren’t outside causing disturbances. I’ve got to keep everything real tight with the neighborhood out there.

    “The main problem I face, and that’s the case with any underage shows like that, is community relations. The police and I work together, so it’s not a problem actually, I just have to put a lot of work into keeping it from becoming a problem.”

    Along with a somewhat competitive group known as United Efforts, a youthful bunch that puts on shows at Fairmount Hall, Mays has the local punk concert scene pretty much to himself. He will do larger, considerably more commercial shows — he once booked Missing Persons into Golden Hall and sold it out — but he runs into circumstances beyond his control.

    “This is a really sticky point with me,” says Mays. “You work with bands such as R.E.M., which I brought to town the first three times they ever played San Diego. You work with a booking agency and establish a relationship with the band, and you maybe lose money on them once or twice. You expect when they become successful you will be given the opportunity to reap back your time and effort.”

  97. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>(I had completely forgotten about the Rodeo)

    Mikel: I don’t think I ever knew about the Rodeo! San Diego Concert Archive says the Red Hot Chili Peppers played there?

    And this Reader story describes Randy California and Spirit playing the Rodeo in August 1984.

    But I don’t recall this club one little bit.

  98. Ray Brandes Says:

    The Tell-Tale Hearts played with the Beat Farmers there, in 1985 I think. The only thing I remember about it is that it was in La Jolla.

  99. Ray Brandes Says:

    I looked it up. The Rodeo is now the Rock Bottom Brewery. It’s across the street from the Chevron Station, down La Jolla Village Drive from the Gilman intersection--not far from the Che Cafe.

  100. Mmrothenberg Says:

    View Larger Map

    I don’t get how I didn’t know this place had shows … Was it a bar? In which case, I’d’ve been too young to get in until ’86.

  101. gary heffern Says:

    i saw the red hot chili peppers there with about 10 other people…they were too young to drink…i remember thinking now this is original…and these kids can play. And Bobby Keys from the stones used to hang out there and drink…and we’d talk until late in the evening…never abut music though…geez, I wish i would’ve, i just looked up all the people he played with and the sessions that he’s done…he looked in pretty bad shape I remember that, and the bartenders didn’t treat him so well. I saw James Brown there. it was a pretty weird place.

  102. dave ellison Says:

    The Rodeo was (for real) an “urban cowboy” themed bar or club. I’m pretty sure it was pronounced like Rodeo Drive.

    This was an actual trend when that movie was popular. If you ever saw the movie, it centered around Gilleys, a country music club in Texas. I don’t think it was around for long… haha. Some trendy girls I knew from high school were into this after they moved on from punk rock. After that, I think it was a bar called The Elephant.

  103. Mike Miller Says:

    The Rodeo was one of the few bars that I was unable to sneak into in the four years I followed the Pens around as an under age fan. I do remember sliding Gary some of my angsty poetry one night outside of the bar and later listening outside. I think Gary sang a song acapella--with the line “your love is like a washing machine” or something like that.

    Dave Ellison: I think I might know those girls (Dee Dee, Annie, Sherry, Becky?).

  104. Carl Schneider Says:

    At that Lords of the New Church show at Adam’s, I remember something about at some point during the show, Stiv was getting really upset at the audience and pulled his shirt up and said something about him being shot! I remember it being kinda funny.

  105. Carl Schneider Says:

    I cant beleive no one ever fell and/or jumped from the balconies at Adam’s Ave. lol

  106. dave ellison Says:

    wow, the last thing I would have thought when I made that comment was that someone would know who I was talking about.

    Mike… It sounded like I was being insulting by saying “trendy,” but they probably would have been the first to admit it. Those girls were all really nice… I think they really just enjoyed following different trends, and there’s nothing wrong with that as far as I’m concerned. But yeah, that’s them. Are you still in contact with any of them?

    …and do we know one another? You obviously know I’m from Poway.

  107. gary heffern Says:

    wild…I wrote that in San Diego? I thought I wrote that after I moved to Seattle…I recorded that song on Bald Tires in the Rain. Thanks for the heads up on that.

  108. Mike Miller Says:

    Dave: I don’t know if our paths ever crossed. I am from Mission Beach and was in a band called P.S. Your Cat is Dead… I don’t remember how I met the Poway girls but yeah they were great. I think Dee Dee’s dad or one of her close relatives was on Hee Haw and I remember her getting into country dancing… She was cool…

    Gary: My memory isn’t great but I do remember that pretty clearly… Remember that poetry reading at the Mexican restaurant by the Spirit? Everything was going great, there was some sort of fund raiser, and then someone stole all of the money!

  109. gary heffern Says:

    I don’t remember the money being stolen…but it sounds about right ….it was one of our first SCREAM DOOR shows …we did one later at NPLC with john doe, keith morris, young roginsky (roger pinnell) I’m trying to remember the name of the guy from Mexico, and also greg hetson from CJ…Marc Rude was part of the Scream Door productions I can’t remember how. I found a bunch of my poetry from back then and it is embarrassing how bad it was…completely cringeworthy, pithy, phew!

  110. gary heffern Says:

    Carl! I used to think about the same thing…that someday an ambulance would have to be called…from what I remember, they weren’t the sturdiest to lean against.

  111. Carl Schneider Says:

    Gary, are you thinking of Luis Guerenta from Mexico?

  112. gary heffern Says:

    Yes! Thank you…I kept thinking louie something….Somewhere I have a picture that someone took of all of us.

  113. Carl Schneider Says:

    Luis was a really cool person, very supportive of the punk scene from it’s early days and always looking out for his scene in TJ, helping out bands when he good. He had a great attitude!!! Sadly he died a few years ago.

  114. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>Luis was a really cool person, very supportive of the punk scene from it’s early days and always looking out for his scene in TJ

    Carl: We’ve mentioned Luis in a few contexts around the site … Still waiting for the definitive Tijuana blog post, though.

  115. gary heffern Says:

    “The first promotion for Mays, then just a “concert fan” was in East Hollywood in early 1980. The show, which included local band The Penetrators along with L.A. groups The Weirdos, Plugz and Suburban Lawns, did well enough to encourage him to try something closer to home.”

    This was at the Elks Lodge right after the infamous riot. I forgot that this was Tims first show. Many years later, I think around 1990 or so I was in Montana at a 2nd hand thrift shop in the middle of nowhere, and came across this book and it had a poster of that show in it…boy was I surprised…oh but now they have re-released it in 4x4 inches and it looks like the customers who are buying it are pissed off…so don’t buy it. The one I have is a HUGE book, and i paid about 100 bucks for it. It also has some shawn kerri stuff in it as well.

    Also one point that I would like to make as well is the fact that the journalists and the promoters at the time also got put into the position of being called “sell-outs”, and a lot of them quit or gave up…other people tried to fill their shoes, but it just wasn’t the same…so I just want to acknowledge all the folks who kept on writing, and Tim for not giving up promoting. (Now if we can just get him to lower the pricing at his new restaurant!)

  116. gary heffern Says:

  117. mike stobbe Says:

    Tim has let me into enough shows to pay whatever price he thinks is fair for his food or drinks .

    Shit if it weren’t for him , punk rock would have had a very different face in San Diego , if it would have even had a chance at all .

  118. Bobby Lane Says:

    I did see people jump from those balconies at adams ave,a few times.How’s the movie coming,Carl?

  119. Bobby Lane Says:

    Last weeks reader has a cool story by Mike Dowdy that takes place partly at the adams ave show that featured the Cramps,Red Hot Chili Peppers and Telltale Hearts.Check it out if you get a chance,I think it’s worthy of a reprint here,I can e-mail him about it,Matt,if you’re interested.

  120. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>Check it out if you get a chance,I think it’s worthy of a reprint here,I can e-mail him about it,Matt,if you’re interested.

    Bobby: Eager to check it out — and I can just link over from a post here to the story there. :-)

  121. Bobby Lane Says:

    That’s great,I’m sure he would like to have it featured here.

  122. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Bobby: OK, I give … I can’t find that Reader article online! Any clues?

  123. Mmrothenberg Says:

    I asked about this a long time ago, but we’ve got a lot of new folks now, so maybe it’ll spark more memories:

    Who remembers a show (around ’85?) that Luis had a hand in that was held in an old movie theater about five long blocks off Revolucion? I know John Doe and Exene were there, maybe the Circle Jerks … Big SoCal punk bill, huge influx of SD punks coming in on foot … The cops got freaked out about all these weirdos and locked the doors FROM THE OUTSIDE! One mishandled cigarette in that old building, and half San Diego’s underground contingent would’ve been conflagrated.

  124. gary heffern Says:

    I know that John and Exene held Luis in high regard, as he was a really great and sweet person. Does anyone remember how he passed away? And I’ve asked on here many times…but have never gotten an answer how did Tom from standbys and eleven sons die…and when did he die?

  125. Carl Schneider Says:

    I was told that Luis death was drug related (OD). I had no idea that Tom died. Standbys was one of the first local punk bands I ever saw (at Skeleton Club), then later they played with the Clash and the Rubber City Rebels at the Civic Cernter. Was so cool seeing them playing at a Clash show!!! I only met Tom once, was always low key but seemed like a really friendly person.

  126. Carl Schneider Says:

    If I had thought back then who would probably be the first to die of all the people from the scene, I would have always thought it would be Steve Garris. But actually I’m happy to say that I saw Steve a few years ago and he was doing really well and CLEAN! But even clean, he’s still same old Steve! haha

  127. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>But actually I’m happy to say that I saw Steve a few years ago and he was doing really well and CLEAN!

    Carl: Indeed, SFG has visited and contributed here as well.

    RE Tom: I’m hoping to find out this isn’t true. Besides not wishing anyone’s premature demise (duh!) I really liked the Standbys. And he was easily my favorite member of Eleven Sons.

  128. Dean Curtis Says:

    I remember seeing James Brown at the Rodeo, too. Also saw The Alarm there, and it may have been the first place I saw Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper (or it might have been at the Catamaran).

    $20 seemed to be the going rate to pay off a Tijuana cop. I recall a specific DK show in Tijuana.

  129. Mmrothenberg Says:

    >>I’m just as anxious to get this done too, but i want to do it right and not just slop it together just to get it done.

    Carl: Testify! I know how much work goes into something like your project. I get off real easy here, since I can kind of bite off little chunks — with massive help from a great many contributors.

    But a movie? Self-funded and all on your own? Dude, that’s an epic challenge. And it can get to be a pretty lonely one!

    If there’s anything our wee community can do to facilitate, I’ll be proud to put out the call. :-)

  130. Bruce Injection Says:

    Terry Marine, Lou Skum, and I all new the early Marc Rude as well as anyone. Definitely talk to Terry at least.

  131. Carl Schneider Says:

    Bruce: I’ve already have talked to most of the people who’ve known Marc (with the exception of you -- contact me if you’re interested)

    But Terry and Marc were always together back then and of course were part of FONO -- so getting Terry would be nice. The only people from that era in San Diego that I haven’t been able to find that but would really like to get is Richie Fortune (from FONO) and Laura F. who ran the Skeleton Club and who always had mixed feelings about Marc.

    Marc has pissed off a lot of people too during his life, as I’m sure you could imagine, and finding people that didn’t like Marc and/or that want to be interviewed has been really tough. There’s only a few I’ve found, I spoke with Buddy Blue before he died, he didn’t want to be in it. Exene didn’t like him, she refuses to be in it. If you know anyone that didn’t like Marc with good reason, send them my way.

    My email is

    About the documentary:

  132. gary heffern Says:

    Carl, are you going to be editing it yourself? if not, I know some editors there in LA Leif Torgerson and Richard Chew:

    and Joe Hutsching (best known for his work with Oliver Stone:

    anyway…these are friends of mine, and you can feel free to use my name if that helps any…and if they are too busy they would absolutely refer you to someone…as they are wonderful people, as well as being friends.


  133. Bill Starling Says:

    Not sure if I have a flyer for the show from the backdoor but I do have a copy from the 517 show. That was a good one. Drank with the dogpatch wino’s and they gave me a White Flag album….still got it to.
    Let me know your contact info and I can send you a pdf.

  134. Martin T Says:

    Saw the UK subs there on New Years eve; it was crazy!
    People were shooting fireworks off inside the place.
    I remember bottle rockets shooting right in front of my face.
    I thought it was going to be my last show.

    The DK’s show when the cops broke it up with force. It seemed like there was at least a hundred of them just itching to use their billy clubs.

    That place was very edgy.

  135. Mmrothenberg Says:

    Battalion of Saints at the Adams Avenue Theater, 1984:

  136. JG Says:

    Did anyone ever die at the 3325 Adams ave venue.

  137. Jeremiah Cornelius Says:

    The most important meal of the day

  138. Rex Edhlund/Todd Richter Says:

    Holy hell this has been a trip to read. All because I wanted to see if the internets had a picture of the Psychedelic Furs show at the Adams Ave. Theater. Now I am all getting all sentimental about all the memories getting stirred up. There was indeed a Red Hot Chili Peppers show at the Rodeo, although they were pretty unknown back then. I remember sitting on one of their amps watching hem perform in the tube sock only thing and then later, I met and mooched a ride from Black Market Carl which began our years together as roommates at the Morgue on Texas Street.
    Also, KCR was THE cool station back then and one of the only ways someone could HEAR half the shit Tim was booking back then, so KCR student dj shows contributed a lot to the scene as far as I’m concerned.

    And Chris Negro… wtf. I was friends with him, saw him everywhere, but really- should we feel bad about the fucking nickname? It was never mean, there were just too many fucking Chris’.

    Remember that “Steve Garris must die” graffiti that was on the bridge over University Ave. for years? Well THAT didn’t work. Anyhow, the Psychedelic Furs show was amazing, the girl I made out with after the show that I don’t remember the name of was too. Those days were so psycho, we all got away with so much shit! I don’t know for sure but it just seems like the world was a LOT more liberal- some bars just said “fuck it” when the felt like letting someone drink, and places like the Jackie Robinson YMCA was like a magical land of no laws.

    The weirdest part is that I HAVE a kid now so I’m GLAD things aren’t so dangerous and the SUPER-weirdest part is… she goes to shows at the Che Cafe.

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