Articles Tagged with: Hardcore Punk
Bucharest | Sir Richard Bishop
Sir Richard Bishop, Bucharest, Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Sir Richard Bishop, Bucharest, Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Apologies, as this is a bit out of order, being placed in the middle of the Bangkok series, but I have just returned from a trip to Bucharest, Romania where I had the great fortune to see Sir Richard Bishop perform at a club, thirty-one years after I had seen him for the first time at a hardcore show in DC.

I’ve posted the introduction to his interview below, but if you should read the article in it’s entirety here, at The Attic. A very nice piece of synchronicity.

Sir Richard Bishop, Bucharest, Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Sir Richard Bishop, Bucharest, Romania; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

It was 1984 in Washington, DC, at the height of that city’s legendary hardcore punk scene. We were young, aggressive and frustrated, and though not dumb, the amount of things we didn’t know were huge. We had no idea how important that punk scene was in DC. We had no idea that we were in the last year of hardcore punk, that the next year, the scene would just collapse into fragments. We had no idea we would survive and grow old and sit in chairs at desks for decades to come. And we had no idea that the visceral, instinctive and emotional wave of hardcore punk that surprised us and filled us with ideas and growling intensity was a feeling we would never feel again.

One of the great surprises was at a JFA show in DC in 1984 at the 930 Club. The small club was packed as usual for a well-known out of town band, a band whose logo was easily drawn on jackets, skateboards and walls. None of us knew the opening band, but back then, we had no information except for paper magazines and we were hungry for most any music. The opening band came out and the guitarist with his head wrapped in an Arab keffiyeh head scarf, started to sing in a high falsetto, like a feminine muezzin, chirping out a call to prayer. This went on for minutes. No accompaniment. This was at a time where hardcore punk fans would abandon their favorite bands for daring to play a song less than faster than the speed of light.

People started to leave. A few here, more there. Than a constant stream of people headed for the door. Hardcore punkrock took in and embraced many different musical flavors (The Pogues and The Butthole Surfers for God’s sake) almost because there was no place else to go. But a challenging avant-garde, experimental trio? Sometimes, people just wanted to thrash. For the few of us that stayed, and it was a fair amount, we were enthralled for next hour. All I remember thinking was, Who the fuck are these guys? And where the fuck are they taking me?

During one sequence, the drummer was standing, sticks just barely brushing the cymbals, in a trance, the band letting the tension build. When the break finally came, the drummer descended on his kit and I saw a drumstick shatter but did not see where the top half went until the guy in front of me turned around, blood streaming from his face. We filled in the gap he left and closed ranks to get closer to this crazy band. Who were they, I asked someone after the show. Sun City Girls. I bought their album that week and drove my friends nuts with it for months. I don’t even remember JFA playing.

Thirty-one years later, I was in Bucharest for a week, there to photograph the people and the streets. This musician I had met that night before took me to Club Control to watch a free, improvisational duet of violin and percussion as she was friends with the violinist. This show was an unexpected choice and I was enjoying the performance and oddly proud of the size of the crowd in attendance for such an experimental performance. Then some guy named Sir Richard Bishop came on. I had assumed it was going to be a DJ since it was a club. I had no idea. Bishop brought out a gorgeous small body 19th century guitar and started off with a song, heavy in the Phrygian mode, playing fully off of the North African mode. Unexpected again. I heard his voice in between songs. Definitely American. At times, percussive and at times, trancelike, I sat on the floor beneath the bar and let myself get taken along for the ride.

It was afterwards, outside in the terrace that I found out that it was Richard Bishop from the Sun City Girls. Well, look at that. We had both survived.


Tompkins Square Park

There was a punk rock show in Tompkins Square Park last weekend, an anniversary of a big riot there in ’86 when the park was full of punk squatters and dealers. That was back when going to a hardcore punk show many times had a strong element of danger and fear; fear of getting stomped, sometimes fear of the police, or just in general, fear of getting hurt.

So seeing reunion shows or bands that are still performing 20 years later is always a dicey proposition. I remember at the tail end of the summer in DC in ’84, everyone was agreeing that hardcore was dead and you could feel the energy of the scene move elsewhere. I kept going to shows but they were not the same. Sometimes these shows are depressing. We’re all old and slow and fat and should know more than three chords by now. Other times, you remember the energy and the reason why you went to every show. Plus seeing the East Village Whole Foods crowd with their little doggies watching the show was funny.

This was a good show. Mongrel Bitch, Urban Waste, Hammerbrain, Nihilistics and Reagan Youth.

When I moved to New York in January, I met Laura of Mongrel Bitch while looking at apartments. She gave me the heads up on the show so thanks, Laura.

L. Brownia, Mongrel Bitch

L. Brownia, Mongrel Bitch

Laura Sativa, Mongrel Bitch

Laura Sativa, Mongrel Bitch

Charlottica, Mongrel Bitch

Charlottica, Mongrel Bitch

Mongrel Bitch

Mongrel Bitch

Ron Rancid, Nihilistics

Ron Rancid, Nihilistics

Nihilistics

Nihilistics

The only time I saw Reagan Youth was in 1985 or ’86 at the Rock Against Reagan show on national mall in DC. That was a long time ago, with a massive outdoor crowd, cops driving their cars through the crowd periodically, helicopters overheard. Dave Rubinstein has long since passed.

Pat McGowan, Reagan Youth

Pat McGowan, Reagan Youth

What would a hardcore punk show be without David Peel. He still looks exactly the fucking same.

David Peel

David Peel

loser
dad
skin
kids

kids2

And to cap it off, I got my feet puked on and I was only wearing flip flops.

this fucker. don't know what he ate but it looked like mabo tofu when it came out

this fucker. don't know what he ate but it looked like mabo tofu when it came out