Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Dirty-ass r & R
I've been hit by a couple of waves of hardcore nostalgia lately. In a lifetime previous to the one before the one before this one, I was one of the guys who always brought a camera to the punk rock show in my hometown. Since my hometown was Austin Texas, and this was in the mid-1980's, a lot of pretty great bands passed before my eyes, and some of them left an impression (and a few dents) in my camera. Some of these bands went on to be nationally known, if not exactly famous, like Doctors Mob, True Believers, Poison 13 and the Offenders. Some of the performers definitely were, and still are, infamous, like the Butthole Surfers and Daniel Johnston. And then there were bands that were somewhere in the middle, like Scratch Acid.
Scratch Acid were Brett Bradford, Rey Washam, David Sims, and David Yow. Brett was quiet and restrained, Sims controlled and vaguely menacing, Washam tempramental and probably the best drummer in Texas, Yow was a great frontman, and the most hilarious guy on the planet. For some of these reasons, and for their ferocious music, SA became known in some other regional hotspots, like pre-Nirvana Seattle (I imagine Kurt Cobain was familiar with wild-ass Scratch Acid magic), but they never became Mega. Sims and Yow's next band, Jesus Lizard, were better known (and hopefully better paid.)
But Scratch Acid.....boo-yah. They were truly amazing: scary, thunderous, cacaphonic and funny. They were as heavy as Led Zeppelin, but far more unhinged.
There's a guy in DC who's making a movie about Scratch Acid, and I want him to see these pictures, so that's one of the reasons I'm posting them. Looking at the images now, I'm struck by how sharply they document a pretty blurry phenomenon and cultural moment in my past. Scratch Acid burned across my life like some sort of a hairball meteorite, and though I couldn't have known it at the time, my life then was as wide-open as their music. Anything could have happened at one of their shows, and anything could have been around the next corner for me. But inscribed into these pictures is exactly who they were, and exactly who I was. You can see just how Yow wrapped his cowboy boots in duct tape, and you can see that I was one of the (many) people who loved the way he did that.
I'm so glad I have these pictures. Without them, I would be tempted to think Scratch Acid slayed me because I was young and stoopid. Now I know I didn't dream them. I can be sure that they were the real deal: bonified slobbbery monsters of rock.