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Entry date: 2-11-2022 - SNFU and Youth Brigade at the Jar - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Early in my days of going to shows, summer of 1985, I went to see Youth Brigade and SNFU at the Mason Jar. There was a local opener, I’m sure, but I don’t remember who. Could have been anyone, but earlier that year I had picked up the Someone’s Got Their Head Kicked In (BYO 1982) compilation at Zia and had fallen in love with it. I then picked up a copy of SNFU’s And No One Else Wanted to Play record and was blown away. I still have it and its controversial cover to this day.

Anyway, I went to see those bands by myself. Either I couldn’t talk Ben into going with me or he wasn’t around that night, so I walked up to the show after my shift at Taco Bell and went in. Looking back, I can’t remember running into anyone in particular and it was one of many shows that I sort of took in by myself. I’m kinda weird like that, I guess. I don’t mind doing things on my own and if I run into people, cool, if not, oh well.

Since it was one of the first shows I saw in person, I was blown away. Youth Brigade were great, and their energy matched what I had experienced on their Sink With California record and the comp. Somebody I knew was not a big fan of theirs and called them “meathead punk” but I didn’t care, and I wish I remember who said it. Maybe it was someone who’s reading this? Either way, I was stoked and full of 15-year-old angst as I sang along with “Man In Blue.”

When SNFU came on, though, my life changed a bit. They owned the Mason Jar for 35 minutes or so and the place went off. It was the first punk rock pandemonium I experienced, and I was in love. Chi Pig, their singer, was jumping all over the place and hitting the low ceiling with regularity and the band was tight as fuck. I got so high from their energy that I was walking on air as I left the Mason Jar and headed east on Indian School Road towards home.

I stopped in at the Circle K, which was not yet on the corner of 24th St but just a little east. I don’t remember if I bought anything, maybe cloves, but the guys from SNFU were in the parking lot and getting some beers. I was awestruck and lost the ability to speak until one of the dudes, Muc or Brent, I think, said, “Hey! Did you like the show?”

I talked to them for a bit and tried to act like I knew what I was talking about, but it left a big impression on me regarding the punk rock family tree. We were all part of something in those days, fans and bands, that none of thought would last or be worth thinking about when we “grew up.”

Of course, I exaggerated that interaction for years later and made it seem much cooler than it was when I talked about it, but it stuck with me. I played that SNFU record all the time for many years although I never really gravitated to any of their other albums.

A few years later, but in many ways, a lifetime, I got to chat with those guys again when they played at a place near the airport called Time Out of Mind. I have mentioned this place before as it was where Religious Skid opened for Fugazi, but this night was ridiculous. It’s a story for another time, really, but let’s just say we had a very good time, and they probably remember that show. When I decide if I want to run for political office or not, I’ll tell the whole story.

I have appreciation for the Stern brothers, too, of course. Not only do I still like Youth Brigade, but they also said “okay” to my friend Tom when he asked them to put The Father Figures on Punk Rock Bowling and they even cut us a check. Definitely have enjoyed my interactions with those guys and hope we get to hang out again. What an experience that was and it really needs its own post. I’ll get to it, I promise.

The memories that flood in as I sit down and write these posts are so amazing. I can kind of see what good ol’ Indian School looked like, and I remember how being a punk walking down a busy street in 1985 was a little like taking your life in your hands and a little like being a secret king of the world. Summertime in Phoenix in those days was still kind of slow and free and easy like it is now but the world seemed so much younger than my eyes perceive it today.

I also still had a sense of smell.

To look tough, I was probably wearing my pegged black Smith jeans I got at Roads to Moscow and my JFA summer 84 shirt. That shirt is so threadbare now. I gave it to my daughter Devin years back and I know she appreciates it although I hope she wears it over something else. That was one of my favorite outfits in those days. Those pants, that shirt or my Anti-Nowhere League shirt, my black creepers, and sometimes even a bondage bracelet.

I probably had my hair dyed jet black then, too, and bangs in my eyes to obscure the black eye liner my dad hated. I distinctly remember having to tuck it up in my little Taco Bell hat each day. It’s funny to think of it now, but that seemed so rebellious to me in those days. Of course, we didn’t have Hot Topic to make it seem normal. Just Van’s and Whatever and Roads.

I wish I knew who opened that show. Probably friends with them now. Life is weird and wonderful, and music makes it better. Go see a show.

See you tomorrow.

This is the cover I have. I am cooler than you. Not really, but 15 year old me would have definitely thought that.

I want to add that as I made the playlist, I was reminded of just how much I LOVE these records. Holy cow! "Misfortune" by SNFU? Good lord that song rules so hard. Every time I was lucky enough to see them live I waited for that song and lost my mind each time. I can close my eyes and see the pit all around me and the arms and legs flying. As a bass player, any song that starts with a rumbling bass is going to make me get all goose bumpy and this one is of my favorites. "I said M-I-S-F-O-R-T-U-N-E!"

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1 Comment

Steve Roberts
Steve Roberts
Feb 11, 2022

Watching you play Shawn's birthday party was awesome. Can't wait until you tell the whole story.

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