When I think of the 1980's,I don't think back with any true fondness for what most people remember the 80's for: New Wave music,E.T., Ronald Reagan, etc... I think of things I did during that era. Being a music junkie,sports fan,and pro wrestling enthusiast. I liked what I liked. And didn't care about current trends or what the mass populace was buying into.
1985 was a very pivotal year for 'ol Krude. I had just entered high school. I was playing sports year round. I started growing my hair. And concerts were my main choice of live entertainment. The concerts I saw that year make up a rather impressive list,if I say so myself:
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Liberace, you ask? And Dead Kennedys? In the same month,nonetheless. How many other people on this planet can claim to have seen those two acts in the same month? At age 14?
Krude since birth. Krude for life.
Going to see Liberace was a goof from the start. My mother had asked me what I wanted for Xmas 1984. I had just seen a tv commercial for the upcoming Liberace Easter Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. So I told her that I wanted Liberace tickets,as a goof. Low and behold, I received the tickets as a Christmas gift. So I went in April 1985. It was a geriatric fest with me being the youngest person there. I wanted to buy a t shirt at the show,but Liberace wasn't selling t shirts at his gigs. Just autographed silk scarfs. There was no way I was walking into school wearing a silk Liberace scarf. So I came home empty handed. It was a flashy show.Liberace emerged from a giant Easter egg. Bragged about his rings.Played a little piano. All gay as shit. But very entertaining.
Joshua from @onpiratesat on twitter opened this Dead Kennedys can of worms for me a few months back. He posted a DK album pic and I responded about seeing a DK gig at the Showplace in Dover,NJ in April 1985. So here's the story about seeing the Dead Kennedys,at a nightclub,being 14 years old:
Dead Kennedys are my all time favorite punk band. Back in the 1980's,punk was still punk,not the distorted pop it is today. And stage diving was called slam dancing.So when I learned that DK was coming to NJ play an 'all ages' gig,I just had to go. My best friend managed to talk his 17 year old church buddy into driving us to this show (about 35 miles away). We all got permission (somehow) from our parents to do this gig. Away we went!
The show itself had 3 opening bands:
The Junkyard Band- they were like the Fat Albert band
Children In Adult Jails- female fronted punk band
Secret Syde- a weird alternative band
Problem with having 3 opening bands was- When are the Dead Kennedys coming on? I had never been out that late at a club. Mom isn't going to like this...
The Showplace was a popular spot at the time for metal and punk bands to play. It was near a supermarket,if I recall correctly. We had to ask a cop for directions at one point (no GPS or Mapquest then). When we asked "where is the Showplace". The cop looked at us and said "Y'all looking for the Dead Kennedys". That kinda shocked us. Then he pointed down the road towards the club.
We arrived at the club. Doorman didn't want to let us in. But somebody with DK told the club workers that it's contracted as an 'all ages' show. Then we got in,after getting a stern warning from the bouncers about staying away from the bar. We did.
The 3 opening bands played. Then it was time for DK. The club was packed. We were standing against the stage in front of guitarist East Bay Ray. Singer Jello Biafra came out with a stocking over his head and started verbally ripping on Born In the USA (Springsteen tune). Then the band started with David Allan Coe's Take this Job and Shove It. THEN THE SHIT HIT THE FAN.
This was my first punk show. First time in a floor pit. People were slamming,stage diving,shoving each other,having fun.Problem was that some guy dove off the stage and his boot caught the side of my head. His STEEL toe boot. Knocked me senseless for a minute or two.
I staggered towards the back of the club to collect myself. My friends were still near the stage slamming. I watched the rest of show in relative safety. I'm sure I received a concussion that night,but I never went to a doctor. The DK's were great. They played some then new songs from the upcoming Frankenchrist album. I bought a t shirt ($6)! Awesome night.
After the show was over,bassist Klaus Flouride was sitting near the stage. We walked up to him,shook his hand and he signed a few autographs. Jello Biafra had gotten into a brawl near the end of the show and was taken out of the building by security.
Punk Fucking Rock.
Home at around 3am. No regrets.
I feel lucky to have experienced all that I did all those years ago. I try my best to make great memories with all that I do now. Life is short....