I was watching some live footage of bands like the Bad Brains and Black Flag on YouTube today when it occurred to me that some shows I had actually been at might be on the internet somewhere. I started doing searches on ABC No Rio, CBGBs, and other clubs I used to go to in NYC in the late 80s and early 90s. I discovered a bunch of clips from the False Prophets, one of my favorite local bands in that era, and it looked like the band itself had put them up. I was particularly excited to discover that they had clips from the Rock Against Racism show at the Central Park bandshell on May 1, 1988. I was a sophomore in college at the time and remember that show well. The False Prophets and Nausea were the punk bands on the bill on both put on great sets. I started watching the footage and it really brought me back. Then I noticed something: me! Yes, you can see young Chris at age 19 down in front. So follow this link:
If you go to the 7:15 mark you will see someone wearing a black trenchcoat with a big white cross in a circle* on the back. That’s me. If you then go back to the 5:45 mark and watch for that jacket, you’ll see me pogo across the screen and back as the band kicks into “Marat/Sade”. Then go here:
At the 1:46 mark the camera pans by me as I’m turning and you can see my face. So young and dour.
I also discovered a clip of Sham 69 playing at CBGBs in 1988 and I also attended this show, though I’m not in the footage.
The clip has the band playing “Borstal Breakout,” one of their classic sing-a-long anthems. This was one of the high points of a show that overall quite disappointing. You’ll note the presence of a keyboardist and saxophonist on stage. On this tour they were showcasing a “new sound”, which was some weak-ass pop bullshit.Let’s just say the kids were united in not wanting to hear that out of Sham 69.
* I painted that trenchcoat with the symbol of Social Unrest, a California band that I was really into at the time. Social Unrest was, as I’m sure you’ll be shocked to find out, a lefty political band. Wearing that symbol almost got me beaten up by black skinheads once though. I was coming out of a diner on 6th Ave at like 3 in the morning when a group of black skins confronted me and asked me if I was a Nazi. I was boggled by the question and said hell no. They asserted that the Social Unrest symbol looked like the cross of Odin, which the Nazi skins had adopted as one of their signs. I explained the Social Unrest connection and they grudgingly accepted that answer. White paint = bad idea.