Sunday, May 3, 2009

Storming Through Georgia, Dan Houston on Judge

Original flyer for said show, notice the formerly Youth Of Today tag line

DCXX reader and now-contributor Dan Houston sent us a great story about seeing JUDGE in his Georgia hometown back in '90. We thought this was great and so should you. Thanks to Dan! -Gordo DCXX

The Most Important Show Of My Life
Judge and Edgewise
The Whitehouse in Augusta, GA
July 26, 1990

In early 1989 my parents moved from California to Augusta, Georgia. I was not pleased with this turn of events. I had discovered punk/HC the previous summer, and had since become a Gilman street regular. I even helped out with re-opening the club after Tim Yohanan and MRR decided to end their involvement (by help I mean I showed up to a few meetings and cleaned the bathroom, but hey, I did do something - ha!). Anyway, I decided I was not hard enough to live on the streets of Oakland and reluctantly flew out to Georgia that June after I finished school.

Georgia sucked. The summer of 1989 was pretty much a wash out. My friends from California would call me every other week or so and let me know what awesome show I had just missed. The phone calls generally went something like this, "Dude, you missed Verbal Assault! It was so amazing, I can't believe you moved. Man, it sucks to be you."

Boy it did suck to be me.

Fortunately school started, and I managed to meet a couple of other kids that were sort of in the know about hardcore. One of these kids was a guy named Winn Wallace. I am not sure why Winn was into Hardcore, because he looked like an extra from an Edie Brickel video, but he knew his stuff. He told me about how Youth of Today had played Augusta in 1987. He also told me about how he was setting up shows, and was going to have bands from New York come play the next summer. I thought Winn was full of shit. I mean how was this pseudo long haired hippie kid going to get NYHC bands to come to Georgia?

Eventually I got my answer.

One afternoon I was listening to records and Winn was flipping through the current issue of MRR. He noticed that Don Fury had printed his phone number in his latest ad. Before I knew what was happening, Winn had grabbed the phone and was dialing New York.

I guess it is no real surprise that Don Fury answered his own phone, but at the time I was in awe as I heard Winn say, "Hey is this Don?" I was even more shocked when Fury didn't immediately hang up on him. Winn asked him if he knew Ray Cappo's phone number, to which Fury responded, "No, but I have the number for the guys from Judge, they should be able to help you out."

Within minutes Winn was on the phone with Sammy Siegler, and was asking him about Judge's upcoming summer tour. Sammy said he wasn't sure what was going on yet with Judge, but he knew that Shelter, Quicksand and Inside Out were touring, and that they were coming to Florida. Maybe they could stop in Georgia on the way down.
We were beyond excited. We spent the next week or so telling everyone how we had booked Shelter. One of our friends found the perfect place to do the show where we didn't have to put a deposit down, and we even lined up a PA.

But then Winn got a phone call from someone at Revelation. The Revelation person (possibly Jordan Cooper, but I can't remember) essentially said that Sammy had misspoken, and that the Shelter tour was not going to be heading our way. Ray Cappo then got on the phone and personally apologized to Winn, saying he didn't mean to let us down. He also said that he would make sure that he made it up to us. I am not sure what he did, but a few days later Sammy called Winn back and said that Judge was going to come through in July, and that Porcell had remembered playing Augusta in '87 and was looking forward to coming back.

We set the date for July 26. The rest of the summer was like one of those long countdown shows. Everything seemed to be building to that Judge show. We saw some really great bands play - everyone from Econochrist, to Neurosis (pre-drum circle era), to a pre-fame Green Day. But to us they were the warm up acts for the big event that was happening at the end of July.

Don Fury ad that appeared in MRR

I did have one problem with the show. Winn was convinced that more kids would come to the show if we put "Judge - formerly Youth Of Today!!!" on the flyer. I told him what a stupid idea that was, but he answered me by telling me I had no business sense. He was probably right, but to this day I get pissed when I look at that flyer. You'll also notice the flyer says Edgewise were from New York. We actually thought there were from New York, and we laughed about it when they got to Georgia and we learned they weren't from there after all. It turns out that they heard that a lot on that tour.

Finally the day was upon us. I had a a job in an Oriental Rug store that summer and routinely worked 12-14 hour days hauling rugs, but on July 26th I did about 15 minutes of work. Most of my day was spent on the office phone talking to Winn about getting the show space ready. At around 3pm my boss pretty much sent me home. I immediately headed down to the White House (the name of the show space), and waited. And waited...

At around 7pm the dudes from Edgewise drove up. I am pretty sure they were in two mini vans, and had a compact car. They had been caravaning with Judge's van, and somewhere in South Carolina, Judge had their alternator break. They were getting the part replaced, and would get to the show as soon as they could.

Anyway, the rest of the show went off with out a hitch. Somewhere around 250-300 people had shown up (this was a huge turn out for Augusta) and the place was more packed than I had ever seen it. Edgewise played an awesome set. We knew their lyrics because we had gotten their promo material a few weeks ahead of time. The Edgewise dudes were pretty freaked out that these kids in the middle of Georgia knew their words. Anyway, Edgewise finished up, and then we waited. And waited. And waited some more.

It was probably midnight(and a good two hours after Edgewise played) when Judge pulled up. But they pulled up.

Now I know this is probably not a huge deal for people who lived in the tri-state area in the late 80s, seeing as how Judge played all the time, but to us it was like superheroes had arrived. I was in awe as THE Mike Judge strolled into our makeshift show space. Due to the late hour many people had assumed they would not show up and had gone home, leaving around 100 or so people still waiting around. For some strange reason it appeared that the dudes in Judge were really stoked to play to the small crowd that was assembled. I didn't know at the time that Judge's perceived machismo and militant lyrics had really brought the troublemakers out on other stops of the tour. There had been some sort of incident at the previous show that had started to bum the band out. I guess they were just happy to see regular geeky hardcore kids who weren't into fighting. They quickly set up and began the set by asking for requests. I yelled out "Just Like YOU!!!" - and as soon as the words exited my mouth Lars and Porcell were into the opening riff.

The rest of the set was highlighted by an all Edgewise sing along on FED UP!, and Ian Shaprio, an older dude from Boston (and self proclaimed member of the original Boston Crew, which we highly doubted) yelling "WARRIORS!!!" after every song until they played what he wanted to hear. Porcell dedicated NY Crew to Augusta, changing the lyrics to Augusta Crew, which in hindsight is beyond hilarious.

I remember being totally drained after the show. I think I had been running on adrenaline for 48 hours. I got home at 4am, and called in sick the next day at work. I guess we were super lucky because I know Judge had some major trouble in Florida, and then skipped over some smaller shows on their way out to California.

A lot of people don't realize that there are/were actually scenes in small cities and towns around the country, and that the smallest gestures from a big touring band can have huge implications. Most of the early to mid 90's Georgia/South Carolina hardcore scene attended the show. For years, when we encountered some sort of major problem with a show space or with police, I would say things like, "hey if some kid can get Judge to come to Augusta, Georgia we should be able to figure this out."

That night, I stopped being a consumer of hardcore and started being an active participant in the hardcore scene.

Dan Houston up front singing along to Agnostic Front with the red Smorgasbord shirt on


hopeless case of a kid in denial said...

The Whitehouse was a ripper,see the Exploited's "Live At The White House" LP for proof! DUDE but what about the biggest rager down there in Augusta/ATL who was booking back then--CRAZY JOHNNY!! That dude ruled,he even kept booking us after i went after his soundman who tried to charge Value $100 for a dented spitscreen on a microphone. I still have Crazy Johnny Rading's business card--"Crazy Johnny--Punk Rock and Fried Chicken". A night in GA hosted by that guy always included drama,crazy southern punker girls,discussion of Georgia Championship Wrestling,fireworks and zero sleep.
God bless/damn the South.

oldmantdr said...

Crazy Johnny- I could go on for hours. That dude was/is insane. He booked Edgewise and let us do the show at his space. Born Against and Rorschach went to his house and stood on his porch until he paid them(he set up a show for them and then never bothered to show up). Dude was hilarious. I remember when you dented that mic Erba, Brian Brownlee was so pissed that night. Pretty funny.
-Dan H.

hopeless case of a kid in denial said...

haha yeah that sounds about right! Add Crazy Johnny to the list of whacko promoters/characters that used to run towns back then--Jake from the Unisound,Johnny Banana in Pittsburgh,The Joker in Pueblo (those dudes in the Fanatics fucking ruled though) Tony Chainsaw from the DMZ in San Antone,etc.
I once saw something written on the backstage wall at the old Antenna club in Memphis that I never forgot--"The South--it's enough to break up any band--John Stabb".
fuckin' A. true that.
Great stories on this website!

JUST SAY YO! zine said...

I really loved this story, it reminds what's so special about booking your first shows!

Anonymous said...

Hey Dan, somehow ran across this and it took me back. That was a great show, remember takin judge to Kroger afterwards so they could get vegetables and all(bein vegans) It was an influence on me becoming vegan a little later. But anyway the Bass player had a broken leg and layed down in the frozen food isle and didn't want to get up. You were also so stoked to share grapes with John Porcelli. I really enjoyed that time looking back on it. The Neurosis show at the White House when almost everyone went outside because it was so loud. Blew me away. I still remember the first show I ever set up was for yall "Moral Deceit" at Augusta College with Bedlam Hour. Thanks for remembering all that too. Sorry I put the Youth of Today thing on the flyer, I was young and dumb. Don't even think I was 15 yet. Hope you are well, wonder if we can get in touch sometime.
The Underground still exists I hope.
take care
Win Wallace