Self portrait by Caine Rose
When asked to contribute to Double Cross by sharing one of my favorite memories from a hardcore show, I took pause in indecision. The first show I went to was about 25 years ago and there were so many untold favorite memories that I lived in those early days. Which to tell of? Besides, I really don't listen to much hardcore music contemporarily, save "Eight Miles High" by Husker Du last night on repeat while I washed a sink full of dishes. And I'm not a nearly 40 year old man who wears band t-shirts, save the Antidote "Thou Shalt Not Kill" shirt I scored from Ray Cappo when he stayed at my house on tour in 1987, when I was working out the other night. Still, the chance to share a moment in time seemed too much to negate.
While I have many stories of the notorious youth crew cast of iconic bands such as Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Wide Awake, Side by Side, Judge, Project X, et al., I think my favorite memory is comprised of an event that few took part in and probably no one will ever read that remembers and that is both a shame and blessing, for now it gets to be retold.
It was the summer of 1987, all my hard work as a singer and band leader was beginning to pay off with more and more gigs manifesting. My original straight edge band, Screaming for Change! (circa 1986), had incarnated into What if!, as so many bands back then did. It contained essentially the same members and same songs, just a renovation to facilitate my quest for changing with the times. Where SFC! was a more hard-lined militant SXE approach inspired by say, DYS, What If! took the more diplomatic Dag Nasty route to drug free, positive liberation. We landed a show with none other than Brian Baker's brainchild, Dag Nasty at some club whose name I have forgotten in Virginia Beach.
Caine with Touch X Down at The Anthrax, January 2, 1988, Photo: BP
The one all ages matinee show turned into a youth crew adventure to remember. The event was set up by a guy named Eddie, who professed to be a local promoter who had a real interest in my band and just had to get us on the ticket. He invited us to stay at his place and even offered to ease a few of our parents into the deal with persuasions over the telephone. At the time, we were all 15 to 17 years old and a few of our parents were a bit tentative about unleashing their teenaged sons to a beach trip a couple of hours away from home with no adult supervision.
Eddie coaxed them with claims that he was a doctor that did social programs with kids and that he was hosting a drug free and positive environment with a cookout, et al. for all of us. When we finally arrived the night before the show, a 40-something washed up hippie/surfer named Eddie greeted us with, “hey dudes, ya’ll got any weed?”
We had brought along a posse of Richmond kids and the 10 or 12 of us that came along wrecked Eddie’s place that night. He had a vintage collection of surf and skate stickers that ended up on some of our boards by morning. And there was no cookout!
The show was finally at hand and what a great bill it was: Dag Nasty, Swiz, several other D.C. bands and What If! At the time, Peter Cortner was singing for Dag Nasty and we had a good relationship with him since he was a very personable and humble guy, but Brian Baker was every bit as stuck up and stand offish as rumors had it. I had met him before, but it was only as a fan who just wanted to express thanks for his contribution to Minor Threat. A couple of us got really burned up when we heard that he was sighted drinking alcohol either in the tour van or at some local bar before the show. It was all the impetus we needed to exact some straight edge revenge.
Near the end of the show, during a big sing-a-long, a couple of us grabbed the mike cord and wrapped it around his ankles just as a pile on commenced. He instantly fell back and onto his ass! As the cord got yanked on by fans who wanted to sing, it pulled him across the stage. He was rendered helpless for a few brief, but precious seconds. Revenge was sweet!
It was the precursor taunting to the later heckling of Ian MacKaye on the first Fugazi tour in Richmond, where we yelled at the former straight edge god after he cried about “not being in that band anymore” and that we “should just move on”. No one was there for Fugazi. We were there to see a Minor Threat reunion. What do you expect!? All these years later, my thoughts are, the only thing worse than those who try to divorce themselves from their former glory is those who parade around the carcass of their long expired glory. Be here now.
One of Caine's former bands, What If on a pretty damn good bill
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Posted by DOUBLE CROSS at 9:54 PM