(The above image is of me, Sophocles Frangakis, at an F.S.P. show back in the day in “the pit”)
For a great article on the coming of age of Punk Rock in Las Vegas and s0me good historical background on the Punk/Hardcore/Underground Scene in Las Veagas, see this article from the Review Journal:
For the connection between Punk Rock, me and Kyklos Greek Cafe please read on. I will ramble on about the subject for another post or two!
Ok, so Punk Rock is not everyone’s cup of tea but for a time it was mine and it definitely left an indelible mark on me and one may say on my restaurant, Kyklos Greek Cafe. Punk Rock is much more “safe” these days and is “accepted”, in its commercial form, as just another form of music or style that one may choose from the endless smorgasborgs of style, fashion, culture and music to choose from.
1987. I was 17 years old and heavy into Duran Duran at the time. Now before you all call me a sissy, before Duran Duran I had other favorite bands. In fact, my first favorite band and who I still love was the Monkees.
Some of my fondest memories to this day were when I lived in Chicago as a wee lad from age five to about 12. At this time all the Monkee reruns were playing and it just got me. I loved the show and the songs.
But I know that many don’t consider The Monkees a real band so I need to add a “real” band to my tastes for you all to take me seriously and that real band which followed The Monkees was The Beatles. Looking back it seems natural that The Beatles would follow on the heels of The Monkees as the The Monkees were the American imitation to the English world phenomena.
But getting back to 1987 and Duran Duran, I was digging the music videos, the music…all of it. I got into them I think when I was 14 or 15. Then at 17 years old, 1987, I sat in my Biology Class at Valley High School and to the desk behind me(or in front of me, I can’t quite remember) I became fast friends with Jeff Lacaze. Now Jeff was not a punk rocker at this time but he was into Metallica, the Metallica of the Master of Puppets era. Through Jeff I too got to really like Metallica and this culminated in our going to see them open up for Ozzy Osbourne at the Thomas and Mack Center. This was a big deal for me. But somehow, I wasn’t to stay here in my tastes musically and I began to notice some of the school kids that dressed differently with all sorts of interesting band names on their T-shirts. Now THIS was alluring.
I can’t quite remember which song I heard first at this time but whatever it was, I was moved in a deep way. I DO remember which bands I listened to because some of my cool Punk friends at the time made me compilation cassette tapes with awesome music. The bands on that first compilation if I remember correctly were The Angry Samoans, Black Flag, The Fartz, Wasted Youth, T.S.O.L and now I can’t remember what else.
Now in this day and age of digital sound and precision sounding music it may sound strange that the music of that time, the Punk music, sounded so much better to me precisely because it was recorded so low budget and by the standards of that time even, very poorly, at least this was true for many of the bands; there were exceptions. It was just a bunch of kids that were making their own music, their own distribution, their own fliers, T-Shirts, shows and just about everything else you could think of, THEIR OWN. And that folks, in large part, was the mystique and driving force behind the Punk Rock of those days. It was new, unhampered , fresh, drawing fuel from all the new ideas and energy that only youth could bring to any movement.
I must say that Punk Rock represented a search for truth for me. The bands of the time, at least a good portion of them, were very openly questioning the Government and all the “normal” social forms that most everyone just accepted at face value. There was no pretense and Punk R0ck had a certain purity and innocence, strange enough to say, that resonated deep within me. When a band had a song, they stood behind the song in TOTALITY, it wasn’t a song written because the motive was to first make money from the song, but the song meant to convey EXACTLY what the singer/band wanted to convey. How well each band and song succeeded in this, of course, is left to those who made the music to answer but the point is that to the Scene(those making the music and those who were at the shows, buying the stuff or in any way a part of the culture), it could easily be detected how real a band was and who the posers were. In other words, the Punk Rock of those days left very little room for hypocrisy.
One of the sad things that happens to any art whether it be music, painting, film or whatever is that over time a certain atrophy sets in within any movement which is inevitable. What was fresh, new, unfettered sooner or later progresses through time and if it perseveres it becomes more and more accepted and not only accepted but is recognized as something that makes money. So with this realization, attached to any scene, come those that lose sight of the original meaning and purpose of any given thing and those who simply arrive with no deep abiding purpose into the culture except to realize a monetary benefit and that monetary benefit is the extent of their reason to be there. Of course, there are those passing through any scene or culture that are there only for the good time, the girls or guys who like that stuff and many other miscellaneous such things.
To be continued…….