I've been procrastinating for the past month on answering some interview questions. I finally got around to answering them today and I thought I'd post a couple with my answers. Feel free to comment!
Q: How did you first learn of punk rock? e.g. from a friend? from the radio? Magazines? Please describe your first encounter with the music. (If you can't remember the very first time, describe one or two of your earliest memories of punk.) How did you feel at that moment? What did you think of the music?
A: When I was in high school I used to read Circus and Creem magazines religiously. I saw an advertisement in one of those magazines for a new magazine called Punk, and I immediately subscribed.
My first taste of Punk Rock came from New York, from bands like Patti Smith and The Ramones. I remember seeing Patti Smith for the first time at The Roxy, in 1976. She looked so skinny and scrawny when she stepped on the stage. No make-up, no glamorous outfits, but then she started singing and she blew me away. She had this incredible sex appeal that came from strength rather than looks. She was doing something that I had never seen a woman do, she was rocking like a dude, and by that I don't mean that she was acting like a guy, I mean that she had the kind of power that up until then had been the exclusive property of male rock stars.
Q: What was your first punk show? Describe your reaction emotionally and intellectually.
A: In April of 1977 the Orpheum Theater had a show which featured The Germs, The Zeros, and The Weirdos. I was going out with Nicky Beat at the time, so he invited me to go hear him play drums with The Weirdos. I remember walking up to the venue and seeing The Germs outside warming up for their set by smearing food substances (whipped cream and peanut butter?) all over themselves. I went up and talked to them. They were very friendly and giddy.
The Germs opened the show. They played horribly, but were funny and very interesting to watch. The Zeros played a rocking set, but it was The Weirdos who brought down the house. When they were done playing, people were screaming for more. Some of the people started holding up three fingers to make a "W" and the audience chanted "Weirdos, Weirdos..." holding our W's up high.
The Weirdos looked and sounded like nothing I'd ever seen before. That's why it pisses me off when people claim that the LA punk scene was derivative of the English scene. New York punk came first and it was those bands that influenced the early LA punks. The Germs may have shown an Iggy Pop influence, and the Zeros may have been influenced by The Ramones, but the Weirdos were surely influenced by their own twisted lunacy and their art school backgrounds. The Weirdos were the most original band I'd ever seen, and they remain my favorite rock band.