I'm a screenwriter and former NYC teacher. I currently reside in Los Angeles with my girlfriend, Brandye, and our cat, Baby Cakes.
I am passionate about film, Spirituality, music, literature, the 12 step movement, and helping others...
Nick Forte and pals dine at Pat's Old ABC Crue at Santo's Party house- Rich Trash, Jack Poop, Justine photog, Jav Against, Jim Hell No, Daryl cXa, Ted Leo of the Scientists, Animal Crackers, cXa, etc. Rorschach in Illadelphia
Before I leave to get married tomorrow, (Saturday is the big day!) I wanted to drop one of my jewels from back in the day- the second issue of my attempt to do a "personal zine". I can remember feverishly working on MFT # 1, in an apartment that Joe Martin, Patrick Winter, and myself co-habitated in for about thirty seconds in the summer of 1990. (I'll try to post it, I think the originals are in the garage) However, the second issue was obviously a reworking of my worship for two zines, Cometbus, by Aaron Cometbus, which was an East Bay zine about day to day stuff, coffee, travel, etc. And, of course, Sam Mcpheeter's Dear Jesus. Which along with Born against and his Vermiform label, were arguably one of the biggest influences on the ABC No Rio scene's aesthetic and outlook. As I reflect on the time of Marching For Trash # 2, I see a sad little morbidly obese kid who couldn't get laid, a job, or find his way in the world. I also see the stirrings of the person that I am today- Idealistic, Positive, dark, Creative, Good. I just wanted to be loved, is that so wrong????
The thing I'm most proud of is the "Fat City, USA- Fear Of A Fat Planet" piece. In my film school days, I would turn that concept into a whole film. I know that while we paid it lip service, both me and Joe were sick of being teased and tormented, I know I was. I'm proud of Marching For Trash # 2. I wouldn't be the person I am today without having experienced that period.
Chuck SS and Dave K. ATL 8/3/06 (Dave looks great! Geek no more?- Rich Trash) 1.) How did you first discover ABC?
As I knew Mike Bullshit for years at this point, he told me and a few friends about the new place. I was really glad somebody was able to put on shows at places other than CBGB's and the Pyramid. I ended going to the very first show with Adam Nathanson and a few others. I do mean few, as there was only a handful at the first show.
2.) What are your earliest memories of playing/hanging out at/or organizing a show at ABC?
The main memory was how cold it always was. In the NY/NJ area it is cold 9 months out of the year and if wanted to see bands play, you had to endure it. If you notice most photos from ABC, everybody is bundled up to some degree. You never had to worry about going inside and thinking, "Where am I going to put my coat?" You were wearing it. We all learn how to layer clothing during this time for sure.
3.) What are your fondest or worst memories of ABC?
Since I was one of the main people there, I have a crapload of memories. I was going to write all this down for my now cancelled book, but you'll be getting the inside scoop in bits and pieces over the next few weeks. I do have alot to say, esp. commenting on what others had to say here.
But...I'll say this now for starters...
Fondest memory is of the people who came to the shows and all the friends I bonded with. My ABC No Rio years, for better or worse, was the best time I had in my life. I knew the direction I was headed and being around everybody galvanzied it. All the people at ABC were true individuals. None of us fit in anywhere else. I'm going to go on about this at another time, but it was true. I never had such an experience before or after."
Worst memory: The decision to allow alcohol into ABC. My being straight edge actually had very little to do with my being against it. ABC No Rio was a target of the local community for a while at that point. I didn't think we needed to attract undue attention to the club by having a bunch of drunks loitering around the front of the place and people getting rowdy inside from an alcohol binge. I wasn't worried about the causal drinker but at that point ABC was booking plenty of crust punk bands and their fans loved their 40 ounces. I was at the meeting which it was decided that ABC would allow alcohol inside. Sadly, the meeting was held during the week and only 6 people showed up. Of course I was the only "nay". I was very angry that the decision was made with such a low turnout and minimal discussion.
What was the result...people drunk off their asses, people laying out on the sidewalk passed out, empty bottles laying on the floor and on the stairs inside ABC, etc...One show while I was working the door, some genius threw a half consumed 40 ounce into the doorway, nearly missing me and a couple of others, shattering the bottle. So basically all the points I made came true. Seriously, I have always felt this is one of the main reasons that things at ABC started to disintegrate.
Like I said, I'll be writing more on this subject at a later date.
4.) What do you do now?
In May 2002, my family and I hightailed it out of New Jersey for the much warmer climate of Atlanta GA. I had my own business (video store) but had to actually had to "get a job" when it failed. I'm currently out of work, a casualty of the current depression. For the last couple of years, I was active in the local punk scene. Some of the kids here are really cool and would have fit in nicely in the early ABC No Rio days.
Hey everybody! Back from the wake, funeral and sorrow of saying goodbye to my beloved Nanny.
Here's a fantastic FULLY DOWNLOADABLE version of Freddy's long lost Fuck Rock- ABC No Rio Comp. 1991! Courtesy of Vinny and his extraordinary Blogged & Quartered! Check back frequently to his blog and ours for more amazing HC and the memories behind it.
I have some Mike B.S. pics tomorrow, some back and forth btwn Mike and Brendan (still) and, if I have the time, maybe I'll have some Manacled/Antiem memories cuz' I have an awesome coupla' pics. Also: Dave K. answers the four questions.
HEY! Ladies! Please help mark this blog with your memories! You know I e-mailed you on Facebook asking you to answer our four questions. I am going to be following up with you tomorrow! No excuses about business, guys! PLLLLLLLLLLLLLLease, I'm getting married next weekend! I don't wanna hear it! lol.
Lester Salvador: Both Brendan and Mike BS's perspectives are important ones in the history of this thing. The question of "when does a safe space become oppressive space?" is definitely something that played itself out in real life at ABC--and well, the current climate over there speaks for itself, for better or worse (depending on your POV).
Good stuff, Rich. ... There's a lot of fucking history revision happening in regards to ABC-NO-RIO and *our history*...it's good that you are gathering the stories, bro. Cheers!
Here's some comments that have been left on threads from Facebook. I didn't want anyone to feel deprived from seeing them because they tell more of the story. Lester was my co-editor for Right Trash Fanzine and the kid who hipped me to Hubert Selby, Jr. and William S. Burroughs! The dude changed my life! Thanks Lester!
Lester Salvador: Hmrph. Maybe I should write something... But what to write? I could rant on this for awhile, y'know. **sighs**
Patrick Winter: Bring it Les. Your perspective is needed. Maybe you could offer some insight into Eschneider and his fruitful use of the word "Gringos"?
Mike Bromberg: Pat -I read the blog, and boy, I am so sorry that I was such an asshole. Guess that was just me (as probably everyone can attest to). Anyway, hope you can accept this belated apology. I'm less of an asshole now, if that's any consolation. PS - I just posted like 25 old pics, flyers, etc from ABC - check out my pics.
Richard Trash: I'm gonna post all these comments, guys! I will post yours and the pics and flyers, Mike! Lester Salvador, you better fucking write something for the blog! C'mon, bro!
Here's some more commments from Mike!
Brendan pointed out in the Fuck Rock ABC blog that he's always been the negative guy and like, no shit. I just wanted to point it out cos you spent like 90% of your post talking shit and so that became your entire focus. There WAS that, but there was so much more - so that's what I tried to cover.
Anyway - here's some apologies from me: - Sorry when I was an asshole to people, especially Pat Winter. (see the blog) Fuck, did I really do that stuff? I'm really sorry. I can't say I wasn't an asshole a lot. I'd like to think I'm better now (I really am.)
- And sorry to Anthony Emo, who I really fucked over. Fuck - what was wrong with me?
I posted like 25 pics and flyers just now - including a GREAT Manacled pic and amazing Rorschach and Born Against pics, PLUS lots of folks just hanging around, having fun in the pit, and the "ABC Fun Crew" page from Inward Monitor. CHECK THEM OUT!
Anyway, Brendan - still got a copy of that bootleg SFA 7"EP for me? (Yeah, right...)
Anthony from back in the day, he's the kid with the dreads flailing next to Mike B.S. in the lower left hand of the flyer
Here's Anthony from Go!'s reflection on the ABC days!
It's always about a girl, or boy isn't it? The first show I saw at the 'RIO seems to be the same as almost everyone's. Krackdown, Moondog etc. A girl I had a crush on told me about this new place, and recovering from one of three times my nose was broken at a show, I was glad to find a respite from the gladiatorial aspects of both CBs and L'Amour. Taking my life into my hands every time I wanted to see some hardcore was losing its, at best, dubious charm and a club with a new attitude seemed to be the ideal solution to this. The early days of ABC seemed an oasis of geek lunacy welcome in the testosterone soaked environs of NYHC. Nothing against testosterone per se, except when it was either kicking me in the head or lobbing bottles into the crowd. It was a place where you could see four bands play that somehow had seven of the same people in them. There was an openness of attitude and a willingness on anyones part to make an utter ass of themselves that really resonated with me at the time. I have no single fondest or worst memories from that time. In some ways they might be two sides of the same thing. As Brendan has mentioned in his typically blunt and honest manner we became a scene unto ourselves to the exclusion of many. In creating a community that we saw as ideal we left no room for opposing viewpoints. I agree that hate, phobia, and "isms" had no place there, but I'm not sure how we thought that we were taking the moral high ground in some of our own behavior. There was a pride which I felt in being one of the few "ABC kids/funcrew"/whatever but in retrospect I'm not sure that was always a good thing. On the other hand, the bands that came out of that time and place were some of the best I have ever seen and played with or in. Many could not have gotten out of the basement but for the existence of a place like ABC and I ultimately feel that so much more positive than negative grew from the place and scene there. Anthony Champa, Belfast, Northern Ireland Here's Anthony today, from his Facebook pics, he's the guy standing with the guitar
Bill Florio was and is a constant. He still goes to shows and was practically ABC show that I remember. He published Smashin' Through fanzine and now tries to help kids. What a guy! Here's Bill's reflections:
1.) How did you first discover ABC? Brendan from SFA handed me a flyer with SFA depicted by the Banana Splits and Bugout Society depicted as the band Winger.
2.) What are your earliest memories of playing/hanging out at/or organizing a show at ABC? I remember the first matinee was less than zero degrees outside and inside it was colder. I walked over to Tompkins Square since the show started late and watched a homeless man rap to a guy playing an electric plank of plywood standing around a flaming garbage can in the band shell.
3.) What are your fondest or worst memories of ABC? Every show there for the first two years were some of my favorite shows of all time. The worst would be that original homemade PA system that was made of solid oak and had to be lugged down 4 flights of stairs every week and was left and then hastily removed a year later by a band called Falafel Mafia.
4.) What do you do now?
Besides answering questions about the 1990s punk scene? After retiring from being a Bridezilla punching bag for many years, I play in multiple punk rock bands and spend the workdays bridging the achievement gap. I'm down to one Pepsi a day and 5 Arizona Iced teas. --------------------
Bill says: I really enjoyed the Mike Bullshit Brendan Rafferty rants, brings back a lot of memories, glad neither of you guys have changed.
Bill! We'd love to digitize your Smashin' Through's. You game?
Here's a pic of Mike B.S. and Brendan at a Go! show, probably 1990.
Mike Bullshit was the lead vocalist and Force of Nature behind Go! He is also the biggest reason that this blog exists at all. Mike was the man who started booking matinees at ABC No Rio in 1989
Here's Mike's reflections on his ABC No Rio days:
The next 2,300 words are just all over the place. Some things are addressed one area, others elsewhere, and lots of it is just memories. There’s no order. (No order? Hey - that's pretty punk!) But I hope you’re able to get the feeling of my take on the times. Mike BS (PS - It's too long for 1 email, so I'll split it)
Brendan and Gavin found the place, I started the hardcore matinees there, and booked the first 6-7 months, which were absolutely amazing – Born Against, Rorschach, Citizen’s Arrest, Animal Crackers, SFA, Puzzlehead, Bug-Out Society, Bad Trip, and The Manacled would play often, and some out of town bands which hooked into the scene, like Seizure, Inflatable Children, Affirmative Action. Citizen’s Arrest were like the house band – all four of them were always there, so if a band was late or didn’t show, they would play. They played so often – just about every week it seemed!
(Note: I have a flyer listing every show, which bands played, cost at the door and how many people paid to get in. I’ll scan it and send it along. A valuable historical document… or not. And I have some other early flyers I’ll try to scan and send along.)
We didn’t really have a PA. I think I bought a $25 microphone and borrowed some speakers and we made it work somehow. One band had 2 singers and had to share the mic.
I really had no idea what I was doing, but at the beginning I often worked the door, set up the shows, sold some records through a little distro there I set up, paid the bands. I remember putting down salt and chopping the ice on the stairs heading down to the basement so people wouldn’t kill themselves getting down there. But people stepped up and got involved with what was going on pretty quick - cleaning up, helping make sure the shows went ok, working the door, selling the records, getting stuff like duct tape from the store when we needed it, etc. Everyone was great, and fuck, I was so happy. Lots of people really stepped up and got involved creatively – making flyers and zines, t-shirts, art, taking photos and videos, starting bands, and of course all the kids who just came every week, week after week. We could usually count on 30-40 people paying each week, even on a show without a major band.
I dubbed the thing the “BSM Presents” and tried to form it into a collective but it probably became more of a true “collective” after I left, since I’m such a control freak. But I was able to pull it all together and get things done, so maybe having a control freak in charge isn’t always a bad thing. I made the final decisions, and stood behind them. Still do.
So many great times. But there was no heating or air conditioning and only one bathroom which really didn’t work well. How did this all even happen?
Some of the early shows, it was so cold, especially when we were still doing them in the basement – I remember the guitarist from Rorschach playing with gloves on with the fingers cut out so he could hold down the strings. Ernie from In Your Face (formerly of Token Entry) said that it reminded him of the old A7 shows. I hadn’t been to any of those – my first shows were in late 1984 – but it was cool to hear that comparison. You had to be really careful knocking into anything or falling down cos you could cut or hurt yourself. We really didn’t do a good job of fixing the place up at all. They did later. But you would be dancing and like dust would be rising from the floor, and there’d be nails sticking out of studs. God, it was so fucking awesome, yet so ridiculous at the same time.
I PROBABLY should not have booked the show with 2 straight edge bands and The Wretched Ones (a drunk-core band) and Sticks and Stones. Jon Reed made a flyer really making fun of straight edge kids. In retrospect, it was very uncool, and I’m sure alienated tons of people. We did have chips on our shoulders. But, y’know, we really tried to form whatever community we could. I personally tried to be inclusive and get people involved. But I was no angel. I’m sure I got caught up in some of that, too.
One thing to keep in mind, though, before passing judgement on those involved in the ABC scene then, was that most of the dedicated ABC people STOPPED GOING to the CBGB’s matinees because of the violence and the many violent jock assholes there. Not everyone there. But lots of them, and if you weren’t some tough guy it could’ve been intimidating. Was there constant violence? No. Were there lots of violent jocks happy to push their weight around, looking for a fight? Fuck yeah. So ABC was an alternative to that – a different scene that we were trying to build. I won’t apologize for that. We shouldn’t have to. And I won’t apologize for screening bands due to their lyrics and attitudes. Anyone with a problem with that we probably didn’t want to play anyway. And lots of bands did play. And lots of kids did show up.
The first Rorschach show was supposed to be them and Outburst and Mr. Pickle, but both them cancelled so I called CA last minute and they played, and I put a sign on the door “Rorschach, Citizen’s Arrest and anyone else who wants to play.” 16 people paid to get in. The bands were thrilled. Door was $2.
I loved when Burn played – that show with Krakdown and Moondog. Lots of “non-ABC” people showed up for that one. 175 people paid, which is beyond insanity. It freaked many people out, and there were lots of concerns – we had no security and all the ABC folks were the biggest wusses. Gavin helped keep an eye on things that day (it was a show for his birthday). It was amazing. Wish I could’ve gotten Burn to play again.
Calling bands – I had this list of phone numbers of like, every, every NYHC band – and virtually NO ONE wanted to play. Just about no one who was well known, except for Supertouch (who I booked although I wasn’t really into them.) And really, I knew absolutely everyone cos of Bullshit Monthly. I was this annoying dork who people probably just put up with since I put them in my zine. Vision, a halfway “known” NJ band that would play, came by in their van on the day of their show, looked around, and drove away. But they left their guitarist! Poor guy. He was really apologetic. Must’ve felt like a complete dick. Too funny.
I spoke with Uncle Al – formerly of Murphy’s Law – about his new band Unholy Alliance playing ABC, but they didn’t fit in with the “no homophobia, no sexism” thing and we couldn’t see eye to eye. My whole thought was: You don’t like gay people, and I’m gay and booking these shows, so you must think I’m this inferior guy, so why would you want to play a show I booked? Sexism is always tougher to call. Not sure if I ever really figured out how to screen for that. I think I just told people our policy and it worked out or it didn’t. They self-screened. Or they lied. (I learned that later) I knew most of the bands, and always felt free to scan lyrics when tapes and records were sent. Once again – no apologies.
For the In Your Face show I spoke to them beforehand because they had a song called “The Faggot Stomp” and I said they wouldn’t book them. But the singer said it was an old song and they didn’t play it, and it was stupid (it was – about trying to pick up a girl who was actually a guy in drag ). They renounced it and I booked them.
While I booked lots of mid-level bands, like Yuppicide and Lethal Agression, I always tried to book smaller bands – often their first show. People would send tapes and I’d almost always schedule them in, even if I didn’t like their music. Many of them were just average, and since no one knew them and with not many “name” bands were willing to play it was another reason many HC kids didn’t come down. Plus the area was pretty drug infested and hard to find. It wasn’t just the ABC “clique.”
When you think about it, ABC was/is pretty tiny. If you have 100 people in there they’re all jammed in, and it’s a sweat box. The “last” GO! show in 1990 had about 90 people and it was tough going. I’m not sure how we even got by when MDC played.
After the bands were paid we’d keep a little bit to pay the club and maybe like $30-40 for ourselves. Every so often like 12-15 of us would go out to dinner afterwards and hang out. I remember one night at a vegetarian restaurant in Chinatown.
Swiz was amazing – that was in Feb, 1990, when ABC was under renovation and we moved to the Lismar Lounge for 3 shows. I had to cancel two weeks of shows before we found that spot, including a show with Uppercut. (Another band which wasn’t so great but had at least some kind of draw. And I knew the bassist, Patrick, which is probably how I was able to book them.)
Jon Reed did make the most incredible flyers – the one with the 2-tono weight about to fall o those people stands out. And he did that Henry Rollins parody tattoo on Charlie’s back – instead of “Seek and Destroy” it said “Run and Hide” and the sun was this goofy cartoon sun – it was hysterical. There was a lot of fun happening there.
But really, there were usually like 40-75 people there each week when I was booking, sometimes more, sometimes less, and the core ABC group was way fewer than that, so many people did know, or found out one way or another. CB’s started doing shows again at some point so for a while there HC matinees there and by us (ABC on Saturday, CB’s on Sunday).
And of course the Poison Idea show – the one and only night-time show that I put together. What a disaster. The place really wasn’t soundproofed so of course all the people in the neighborhood called the cops, who showed up and wanted to get in and y’know, don’t even ask how I was able to convince them to stay out in but they showed up like 3 times. Somehow we were able to keep the show going. It was funny – I kept asking Pig Champion to turn down the volume on his guitar and finally he said “Man, if I turn it down anymore this is going to sound like a banjo!” But they were great. They drank so fucking much. They just hung out in their van and drank. And they were so fucking huge. The night before they played the Pyramid club and the singer had shoved a microphone up his ass so of course I asked him, please, not to do that (since we only had one). He also breathed fire at the Pyramid show and I asked him not to do that either, since I’m sure the whole place would’ve burned down.
The Manacled. Fuck. What a bizarre experience, and so fun to watch. They could ONLY have happened at ABC-No-RIo
There was some art group from Canada that came down and totally redid the floor (which was always about to collapse, it seemed. Greg and I tried to fix it, but we stopped when we realized we had absolutely no idea at all what we were doing. Their art show was up for about a month. Thankfully I think only 1 piece got vandalized. I tried to keep people out of the basement, since a lot of it was down there, but, y’know, no one wanted to be the police.
A Bad Brains roadie came down and threatened me one day, but I didn’t pay him too much attention. I was young and invulnerable – at least in my own mind. Guess I was luckier than not.
I did my ABC’s Top 10 Hunks feature in Bullshit Monthly, which, y’know, would’ve been completely not cool if a straight guy did that about women, but it was in good fun and hopefully no one was too scarred by it.
Some responses to what Brendan wrote: - I mentioned above the reason ABC folks didn’t want the violent jocks showing up, so I won’t repeat myself. - People suggested bands for certain days and I did my best to oblige but I did all the final booking. On flyers I told bands to send me a tape, or contact me, Sam Venus (later Sam Evac), Gavin or Tim Singer. - No apologies for screening lyrics. Tough shit. - I wonder if I’ll be in Brendan’s “tell-all-no-names-withheld” book. Which is worse – to be included or (gulp) not to be included. - Dude - why do you always focus on the negative in everything? Sheesh.
Brendan and I go way back. I think he was the first person I told I was gay, on this really long talk we had walking around for hours while on acid. And he was there for my first seizure, in Nov, 1985 when we took a trip together up to Albany. I passed out in the shower – and missed an early YOT show. But we got to see COC and DRI at some VFW hall – and they were both amazing. I shared a band with him for a while, shared my life with him for a while, it seemed. Sent him Yoo-Hoo when he was in the army, and we wrote long, long letters too each other while he was in Kentucky then Egypt then Ireland. I used his picture on the cover of the first SFA 7”, got him to point his loaded gun at me, fuck – we did a whole lot together. I stayed over his house one night while he fucked this young woman like 6 feet away from me – which I totally slept through but he told me every time I mumbled in my sleep they stopped to make sure I didn’t wake up. We shared lots of good times. But Brendan is the king of “truthiness” and shall we say “embellishes” to the extent that you never really know what percentage of what he’s saying is true and what's exaggerated. That's been my take for over 20 years, and trying to convince me in 2006 that Amy Nausea was working as a stripper just reinforced that.
Finally tonight, Jim Testa, who we interviewed a few days ago, has decided to step into this fray again, in regards to the to and fro between Brendan and Mike's reflections:
I'm just gonna step in and say that I consider Mike B. and Brendan as my friends and as with almost anything in life, the truth to all this probably lies somewhere in the middle. Yeah, the ABC'ers could be cliquey and a bit elitist; but also, those CBGB HC matinees WERE extremely violent, and it just kept getting worse - chains, knives, I believe somebody brought a gun and Hilly finally pulled the plug. Kids left in ambulances almost every single week.
But let me tell you about Brendan - I was on the other side of almost every argument he and the ABC No Rio regulars got into, a lot of people thought we were "scene enemies," in fact; but for as long as he worked at CBGB (which was right up until it closed), he never let me pay at the door when he was working. Brothers in hardcore? It sounds like such a cliche, and yet, if you weren't there, you'll never know how true it was.
And you know, all this bickering and arguing and scene politics was just as much a part of the ABC No Rio scene as the great shows and the silly dancing and the hanging out in the backyard. So I'm actually really happy that people are yelling at each other (figuratively and digitally, if not physically) here; feels like old times.
I'm gonna be out of the loop for a few days, my Nanny just died today, so I will have a ton of Dave K's flyers when I come back!
Dave K. was the always incendiary working man that I idolized as a little 17 year old kid. Here was a guy who lived, breathed and loved HC. He lived in Linden, NJ, had a crappy job and just lived for the weekend jaunts to the city to see shows and buy records. He was notoriously opinionated, geeky, and one of my best friends. Because he was such a HC purist and hated the infiltration of other sounds in HC so much, my band, The Manacled, even had a "Dave K. song". Which was simply about how much he hated everything that wasn't a roots HC derivative. Dave was sXe, and still is. I know it disturbed him that so many of us betrayed the edge, but I and so many others had to test the Grand Fires. I love Dave. Dave is currently living in Grayson, Ga. Married, etc. We'll hopefully have his interview soon.
ABC No Rio show list 1989-1993
12/9/89 GO!, Atrocity, Citizen's Arrest, Bugout Society 12/16/89 Maximum Penalty, SFA, Yuppiecide 1/6/90 The Manacled, Release, Courage, Social Disorder 1/20/90 Bad Trip, Citizen's Arrest, Inflatable Children, Bustin' Out! (no shows month of Feburary) 2/17/90 Supertouch, AWOL, The Cause, Those Unknown 2/24/90 Rorschach, Swiz, Face The facts, Eye For An Eye 3/3/90 Lethal Agression, Bug-Out Society, Glee Club, The Functional Idiots 3/10/90 In Your Face, Inflatable Children, Dog Tired, Beef Trust 3/17/90 Krack, Citizen's Arrest, SFA, Baboon Hearts, GO!, The Manacled 3/24/90 Born Against, World Discrimination, Release, Iranadu, Anthophobia, Courage 4/7/90 The Undead, Seizure, Affirmative Action, Die Hard 4/14/90 Born Against, Rorschach, Big Gulp, Inflatable Children, Vision 4/21/90 Situated Chaos, Bugout Society, Inside Out, Product 19, Out Of My Way 5/4/90 (fri) SFA, Yuppicide, Citizen's Arrest, Go!, Rorschach, Quicksand (evac records) 5/5/90 Supertouch, All Fall, Lost, No Future 5/10/90 (Thurs) Poison Idea, Wrecking Crew, Nothing Left 5/12/90 Eye For An Eye, Sticks and Stones, The Wrecthed Ones, Neblick henbane 5/26/90 Citizen's Arrest, Go!, Beef Trust 6/9/90 Born Against 6/30/90 Citizen Arrest, Go!, The Filth, Jawbreaker, Fifteen 7/14/90 Supertouch, Inflatbale Children, Product Nineteen, Nothing Left 8/18/90 Nausea, Christ On A Crutch, Psycho, Animal Crackers, Anal Cunt 9/1/90 Oi! Polloi, Destroy, Nunca Mas, Born Against, Jesus Crust 9/29/90 Krack, Stcks And Stones, Tom's Better Half 10/06/90 Sexpore, Wussies, Disrupt, Casualties 10/13/90 SFA, Necracida, 23 More Minutes, Anthem, World Discrimination, Stupid Americans 10/27/90 Affirmitive Action, Word Made Flesh, Wrecthed Ones 11/10/90 Citizen's Arrest, Hellnation, Bazooka Joe, Hammerbrain, Psycho 11/24/90 Yuppicide, Inflatable Children, Rorschach, Puzzlehead, Said And done 12/8/90 Bugout Society, Animal Crackers, No Escape, Mental Floss, Greyhouse (ABC No Rio 1st anniversary) 12/15/90 Born Against, Sam Black Church, Moss icon, Voice Of Reason 12/22/90 Urgent Fury, Nausea, Neutral Nation, Grinch, Affirmative Action 1/12/91 Go! Commonwealth, Pressurehead, Huasipungo, Situated Chaos 1/19/91 Bad Trip, Disrupt, Nucas Mas, Unleashed Anger 1/26/91 Radicts, The Casualities, Nobody's Heroes, The Wurst 2/2/91 Seizure, Sticks and Stones, Headstrong 3/16/90 Citizens Arrest, No Escape, Intent, Mental Floss 3/23/90 Puzzlehead, Upperhand, Just Cause, Naked Angels 3/30/90 Bugout Society, jawbreaker, the Wussies, Wax, Gunk 4/6/91 Rorschach, Holy Rollers, Device, Nothing Much 4/13/91 Moral Crux, Hellvator, Hammerbrain 4/20/91 Born Against, Cringer, Citizens Fish, Huasipungo 4/27/91 Jesus Crust, Neutral Nation, Rejevenate, Jack Acid 6/1/91 Urgent Fury, No Future, Intent To Injure, Dead Language 8/3/91 Downcast 8/9/91 (fri) Jesus Chrust, Wurst, SFA, Pig Pen, Breakdown, Radicts 8/10/91 411, Merel, TDF, Killer Kane, Positive Greed 8/17/91 Born Against, Rorschach 10/26/91 Born Against, Chisel, Merel, 1.6 Band 11/2/91 Rorschach, Animal Crackers, Native Nod 3/6/92 (fri) Rorschach, Assuck, Merel 12/12/92 Rorschach, Chickenhead, Sleeping Body, Ted Franko
Dave promised me to get me a letter that he wrote to MRR re: ABC from many moons ago. In the interim, here's a response to it from a Google search:
LETTER TO MAXIMUMROCKNROLL MRR #90--November, 1990
Dear MRR, This letter is in response to Dave Koenig's letter in MRR #86. I live close enough to New York City to know what's going on, all you fucking jerks at ABC NO RIO'S and your stupid fanzines should eat shit. In Effect records is the best thing to happen to hardcore since Combat. I have, and plan to buy, all their releases and they all rule. Your big beef about censorship (yes, I have a copy of the big debate that was on WNYU radio station) well fuck off. Who made you so holier than God that you can set censorship rules. Just because you don't want to be censored and they do, doesn't make you better than them. And fuck off, I've talked to people in those bands and if you say stuff against them you better be prepared to get a good ass kicking by them and all their friends. And God knows I'll be there. You guys are just jealous that your records will never make it into the malls because you guys stink and you'll never sell 100,000 records and your record labels won't send you on tour, and you all still have to work your shit jobs while they can live off the money they made from the band.
I'll admit my opinion is somewhat biased. The SICK OF IT ALL album is the first hardcore record I ever bought and I still had my long hair when I bought it at my local mall, but I looked at it and took a chance. When I first listened to it I thought "now this shit's a little too rough for me" (ever since Iwas small I was social outcast, I always got picked on and was often beaten up) but the lyrics are what got me, "It's My Revenge," "It's Clobberin' Time," and "Pay The Price." I shaved my head, started going to shows around here, and now I do the ass kicking instead of getting my ass kicked.
One funny thing that I caught on the radio debate was when I think it was Steve Martin called the other group "a bunch of girls," and one dork on the other side (jerks from the group Born Against and Rorschach) said, "What's wrong with girls?"--nice reply. I'll tell you what's wrong with girls, they ain't got no balls like you guys. They're also weak and it's easy to kick their ass, and they like to fuck guys just like you three. That's how I would have answered that question and I'm surprised that they didn't say that, and let's talk about being fucked by guys. The subject of homophobia came up on the show but only for a second. I've talked to people who go to ABC NO RIO'S and it seems a new trend to be anti-homophobic because some faggot runs the club, yes faggot. I was brought up to refer to those people as such, and no I'm not going to change my whole vocabulary for the sake of some stupid trend and neither should SICK OF IT ALL, and you don't have to be homosexual to be a faggot or a queer. For example you three dorks are all faggots and queers, but then again you're probably homos too. This is a great country and you can do whatever you want in it, so keep saying all your shit and writing all your crap because it's your right but it's also SICK OF IT ALL's and KILLING TIME's right to kick your ass. Fuck off and learn what "HARD" core is all about, and stop being brainwashed by MRR. Thank you S.O.I.A. for helping me get into a scene I would have never known about.
Tomorrow I'll post Dave's flyers, more gems, and Mike Bullshit's interview! Oh boy!
Here's a flyer from cXa's first show! Here's a pic of Pat Winter in the corner Here's Brendan in all his glory! Not sure who took this photo, if you did, let me know! Here's Brendan Rafferty's (SFA- vocals) reflections of his ABC days. Some will think them slightly controversial undoubtedly, but such is life. We weren't a perfect little society! lol. Brendan's criticisms are constructive in nature, plus I love how with his writerly ways, he really went to town on our four little questions. Thanks Dude! Buy his novel when it comes out!
1.) How did you first discover ABC? In early 1989, my band, SFA, was out bowling with Bugout Society and we decided to make a bet. We had been playing shows together at various clubs in the tri-state area and usually flipped a coin to see who would open. We decided to bowl against each other to see who would open the next time we played together. They won. (Thanks Mike) Charlie from Bugout Society approached the people running the collective and booked the first ABC Saturday hardcore matinee, April 15th, 1989 Here's the flyer... A few months later, my friend Connie Hall, the woman who was booking all the hardcore matinees at CBGB, pulled me aside to let me know that the CBGB matinees would be ending at the end of November.
I went to Mike Bullshit to let him know his band GO! would not be playing CBGB in December as planned. Mike took the initiative and started looking for another place. The Pyramid, Lismar Lounge (where he and I booked shows the year before), Downtown Beirut II, and other venues were nonreceptive so he got the contact info from Charlie and went to ABC-NO-RIO and that's how it all began.
Mike, me, a few others began booking every Saturday. We were renting John's soundboard and PA every week. I had to bow out after the first few months because I was a new father (twins) and my free time ended. That's the same reason Gavin bowed out early on.
It's weird how much its changed, in some ways for the worse, and how this little shithole that was our last choice has become so legendary.
2.) What are your earliest memories of playing/hanging out at/or organizing a show at ABC? This is where I talk shit and badmouth ABC-NO-RIO and throw a little harsh reality at the rosy memories and false history that regards the ABC collective as DIY saviors of the scene.
But before I do that, I will say I had great memories of hanging out there, booking shows, playing upstairs and downstairs and there were a lot of cool kids and great bands. There was a great sense of family there and a number of people that I will always think fondly of. I also got to play with and make friends with some really cool (an underapreciated) out of town bands like Necracedia and Krack.
Now to talk shit...
Within the first few months, there was a growing sense of arrogance about ABC. There was a revisionist demonization of the CBGB matinees, exaggerating the violence and reimagining the rockstar attitude of the Youth Crew as though it represented every aspect of the CBGB matinees. There was a repeated attitude that the CBGB matinees, the Ritz shows, and the new shows at other large venues were populated wholly by elitist cliques and goons.
The ABC crowd proudly declared themselves the anti-elitists, the anti-clique... but they wound up being more hypocritical than the Straght Edge phonies that used to preach unity while doing their best to divide the scene a few years earlier. The anti-elitists, preaching against exclusion, against cliques... became even more elitist and more exclusionary.
I was at one of the earliest ABC hardcore collective meetings. This was just as I was bowing out due to work hours and new fatherhood. I didn't personally have the time to take a night off and stand outside a club, handing out flyers for upcoming ABC shows.
So I spoke up and suggested that somebody needed to go to Irving Plaza or Chaos for some upcoming Sick of it All show and hand out flyers for the next weekend's ABC show. I was voted down. The concensus was that no one wanted "those people" at ABC. I argued that new kids discovering hardcore wouldn't know about ABC-NO-RIO shows... that a lot of cool new kids looking for good shows would only know about the big shows at large venues if no one goes there to hand out flyers for other places.
If you lived in California or Germany you could read about ABC-NO-RIO and how cool it was in some fanzine. But if you lived in NYC and wanted to find a cool place for HC shows, you would never know ABC existed because they didn't want you to know. Besides the fact that they were deliberately trying to exclude outsiders and new kids, they were also fucking over out of town bands. An out of town band would travel twelve hours to play ABC in front of a handful of regulars who didn't pay a cover.
I argued these points and, as I recall, with the exception of Chris Boarts (who wrote the coolest, most diverse local zine at the time) I was voted down.
Just as the straight edge Youth Crew bands were trying to make a scene just for them and creating an "us vs them" friction within the scene, that's what the ABC folks were doing, while preaching against it.
3.) What are your fondest or worst memories of ABC? I have many good memories of friends I made, making a drunken ass of myself with a microphone and seeing bands like Citizen's Arrest get the exposure they deserved and might have not gotten if not for ABC. ABC may have excluded many... but they did include a few gems that I was glad I got to see.
I remember in 1995 or 1996 being booked to play ABC-NO-RIO with Cause For Alarm, perhaps the most genuinely positive (not in an ugly sXe way) bands to ever come out of the NYHC scene. Some crusty trust fund kid who just discovered punk, on behalf of the collective, wanted us and Cause For Alarm to submit our lyrics for approval to make sure there was nothing racist, sexist or homophobic Tyler King, who booked the show, wisely intervened with a few other ABC old timers and I never had to submit my lyrics. I was very dissapointed... I was looking forward to meeting with the motherfucker who asked for my lyrics so I could personally "submit" them.
4.) What do you do now? I continued playing and booking shows for a long time and worked at CBGB until we closed in late 2006. I am currently writing (naming names and not holding punches) and also working a crappy paratransit job... Hey, the "no future" lifestyle is all fun until the future catches up with you. My newborn twins that forced me to be less active with ABC are now 19-year-old college sophmores. Yikes!
Here's Patrick Winter's (drums for Citizens Arrest, Antiem, Go! lol, creator and editor of Paper Cuts Zine, etc.) reflections. As he describes it- brutally honest!
The brutally honest version...
1.) How did you first discover ABC?
I believe Joe Martin mentioned it to me. Seemed like a good idea. I never seemed to fit it within the SXE elite's at CBGB's so i was open to try out something new. A lot went into getting that place ready to host shows and we were all very dedicated and serious about it. It was a good thing at the time.
2.) What are your earliest memories of playing/hanging out at/or organizing a show at ABC?
My earliest memory is actually the process of helping to build a stage. And thinking, man, I hope people will come to shows here. Along with these "weekly meetings" we used to sit and have in the beginning discussing our goals and assigning tasks. As far as organizing shows. I never did that really. the one time I wanted to put a band on a bill I got chewed out by mike Bullshit for it.
3.) What are your fondest or worst memories of ABC?
I don't have a Ton of fond memories really. It was fun to play there but the place lost its charm for me pretty quickly. Too many people seemed to think they ran the place and the folks who helped to get the thing up and running were expected to just sit at the sidelines.
Worst memories? Any time I had to talk to or breathe same air as Sam McPheeters or Mike Bullshit. The only thing that might be worse than that would be having to sit thru TITANIC again. But dealing with those two and their tremendous egos was akin to a surgical hemorrhoid treatment.
That also makes me remember the time I was asked to fill in on drums at a GO! show. Mike BS thought I could do it without even practicing. Which i didn't. So, i showed up and pretty much messed up every song I played and Mike BS made a point of making a spectacle of how bad I was to the crowd. That would probably be the worst memory but it really goes under the whole Mike BS being an asshole umbrella.
The last CXA show was a notable fond memory because the amount of people crowded into that basement stage area was insane, I thought someone was gonna end up getting seriously hurt. It was nice to see that people came together and got the importance of it. it meant a lot to me at the time. We had been broken up for a bit already so it was strange to play because we all really weren't talking to each other.
4.) What do you do now?
Graphic Designer and full time Dad. Here's Pat today!
Welcome to what we hope will be a place for us to archive, digitize, and discuss our memories from the early ABC No Rio era of NYHC! (1989-1994) There were good times, there were bad times, but most of all, they were fun times...
Leave comments! Help share your flyers, fanzines, memories, etc. A great way for you to be a part of this would be to simply answer these four questions:
1.) How did you first discover ABC?
2.) What are your earliest memories of playing/hanging out at/or organizing a show at ABC?
3.) What are your fondest or worst memories of ABC?
4.) What do you do now?
Please e-mail and give consent for us to post your responses.