When I told Andrew Kline (Strife, Berthold City, World Be Free, WAR Records) that I was going to be doing '90s Hardcore Week on the site, he asked how he could help. For the first of his two contributions to '90s Hardcore Week, Andrew shared some of his old show flyers from that era in Southern California. Included below along with flyers from his personal archive, Andrew takes us back with memories from each show. -Carlos Ramirez
We were all a bit more open-minded in the '90s, and most hardcore kids would like bands like Born Against, Still Life, Downcast, Jawbreaker, Samiam, Los Crudos, etc., as much as they liked Judge, Insted, or Chain of Strength.
This was the first time I saw Born Against, and I even interviewed them after the show for my first ‘zine called Word to Your Mother… The sole issue had interviews with Born Against, Chain of Strength, and Ressurection. John Hitz, the drummer of Born Against at the time, spit a huge loogie over his drums while they were playing and it landed on my pants. I was grossed out to say the least, but not as grossed out as when Sam pulled a GG Allin and crapped his pants on stage at the Macondo a few nights later.
Chain of Strength
I don’t think anyone knew this was going to be Chain of Strength’s last show. It’s a bit ironic that this show was a matinee at a Hollywood bar as well. I actually missed this show as I didn’t realize it was a matinee and requested time off from work so I could go to the show that night! I am bummed that I missed this, but happy that I got to see them a few times before they broke up.
This was a matinee show at Spanky’s, a venue in Riverside, which weren’t uncommon, but rarely drew a big crowd. I think Even Score was on tour with Edgewise at the time, and I may be wrong, but I vaguely remember playing with them at Toe Jam in Long Beach the night before.
Anyway, this was an important show for us. We met [Victory Records founder] Tony Brummel and hung with him and the rest of the band outside the venue waiting for the show to start. I remember playing “Butt’s Up” with a tennis ball with all of them outside of the venue. A few years later we would sign to Victory Records.
We got a chance to play Spanky’s in Riverside a number of times. [Strife drummer] Sid [Niesen] was in a band from Riverside called S.D.I. (Society Defeated by Ignorance) before he moved to Thousand Oaks, and they had played Spanky’s a few times as well. Aside from being just a perfect small venue, I really loved the diversity of the bills there. No two bands on this bill sounded alike, and that was something that happened often in the '90s
I don’t even think I made it out to this show, but I always loved the art for this flyer. I remember picking this up at a show at The Country Club in Reseda, and always loved the way it looked. End to End was an awesome band with a record on Foundation Records that I only got to see once at the Country Club, and Shocking Truth featured Ron [Martinez] from Final Conflict. Carry Nation was by far my favorite of any of Dan O’s [Mahony] bands.
Another amazing show at Spanky’s… Statue also played this show, and this was Undertow before Pettibone was singing. I picked up an Undertow demo at this show, and Ron Brotherhood was outside selling Integrity For Those Who Fear Tomorrow cassettes. I still have the tape I bought. Forced Down was amazing, as was Statue, and Undertow. Our friend Brian Murray who drove us to the show got poked in the eye, and [Strife singer] Rick [Rodney] had to drive us back home.
Toe Jam was a really short lived venue in Long Beach in a building that now houses a Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. For a short period of time we went to every show there that we could, as driving to Long Beach (or getting a ride in my case) was much easier then the 200-mile plus round trip drive to Riverside. Infest were scary as fuck…
Inside Out (Part I)
This was one of the very last Inside Out shows. Katon [W. De Pena] from World Trust and Hirax must have put on this show because there is no other reason why they would be headlining on the flyer! I remember seeing them play, but unsure if they headlined the show or not. The Inside Out 7” had just been released and everyone was so eager to hear those songs live. They started playing and the crowd just exploded.
Inside Out (Part II)
This may have been the last Inside Out show before they did their short reunion run a few years later. Another diverse bill with no two bands sounding alike. Every band was great. I always loved seeing One Step Ahead, and I feel like they are one of the underrated bands from this era. Another explosive set from Inside Out that included some foreshadowing of what would come including songs like “Rage Against the Machine” and “Darkness of Greed."
I remember calling Ezzat to try to get us on this show as Insted were one of our favorite bands at the time. No one knew this was going to be Insted’s last show until [Insted singer] Kevin [Hernandez] announced it on the mic… No big fanfare, no “final” tour… Just a great show at an awesome hardcore venue.
There is some really cool video footage from this show as well with some weird slow motion effect on it that must have been standard on an early camcorder.
Poison Free zine
Poison Free was a ‘zine by a kid named Phil Doane. Anyway, he put on this show at a “venue” called the Dust Bowl in Boyle Heights. I put venue in quotes, because it was actually a house in a super-sketchy part of East Los Angeles. They called it the Dust Bowl because there would be a huge cloud of dust when the kids would start a circle pit.
I remember Strife had a show there once and we called the promoter to get directions and the conversation ended with “look for the long hair guy in the driveway with the shotgun…”
This was a really big show for us. It was our first show at a “real” venue, and one of the first hardcore shows at the Roxy in years. I’m not sure how [New Age Records founder] Mike Hartsfield pulled this one off, but it was amazing. This was the first West Coast show for both Mouthpiece and Ressurection, and the start of long last friendships for all of us. Normally our crew of friends would have to pile into cars and drive to Long Beach and Riverside from Thousand Oaks to see us play, so this was somewhat of a “local” show and all of our friends came out to represent.
There was some drama with the touring bands, and someone decided to go home, so I ended up playing bass for Ressurection for the rest of this West Coast tour. Everyone was psyched to meet Slash outside as he was parking to go into the Rainbow [Bar & Grill\.
Rage Against the Machine
Just 9 months after the final Inside Out show, [vocalist] Zack [De la Rocha] was back with his brand new band. This was one of their first handful of shows. Nobody knew what Rage Against the Machine was going to sound like, but everyone was excited to see Zack back on the mic. It wasn’t Inside Out, but Rage did not disappoint! Zack had the same intensity as he did with Inside Out, but the music obviously had much more of a mainstream appeal.
I bought their demo that night and listened to it religiously. I loaned that out more than every other tape in my collection at the time as well. There is a picture of me and Spencer from Mission Impossible from this show that made it to the B-side of both Ice 7” records for some odd reason! Did something happen?
This was a true local show. We booked this ourselves. Cheers was an awesome venue in Simi Valley that was very short lived. NOFX was the biggest band that played there, and we played there twice, the other time with Endpoint, Ashes, and Metroschifter.
Our second guitar player at the time [Mike Machin] worked at a print shop so we would always make these really cool offset printed flyers. We met Vic [Galindo] from One Choice at this show (he had long hair and a mustache), and we have been friends every since.
This was another local show that we booked in Simi Valley. Bouncing Souls were on tour with Lifetime and this may have been the Soul’s first-ever West Coast show. Kinko’s had just came out with the printer that could print additional colors to a black and white flyer, so we took full advantage of that whenever we could. We made a version of this flyer with a blue flower as well.
As far as I know this was the only show at Paradise Bay. There was an awesome video of this floating around years ago filmed with a fisheye lens that I would love to see resurface again.
This was the first-ever show at Macondo, a cultural space turned venue on Melrose in East Hollywood. For a few years, Macondo was really the only venue in the LA area consistently putting on shows. This venue and the Showcase Theatre were two of the most important venues to me growing up the in '90s.
This was a really big show for us, so big that the last three bands did two different sets because so many people showed up to this gig. This was kind of the tipping point for AFI, and where I could really see that they were on their way to reaching far outside the punk and hardcore scene.
We played a live set on the radio before this show, and I remember that we gave away two tickets to the show on air. It was pouring rain, and the Fire Marshall showed up and threatened to shut the show down. Ezzat was a quick-thinker and made everyone go outside, and let half the crowd see the first show, and then directly after Ensign, Strife, and AFI all played a second set.
Voodoo Glow Skulls
I think the one thing that really set Strife apart from many of our contemporaries is that we would play with all types of bands. You may look at this flyer and not see a connection between Voodoo Glow Skulls and Strife, but the Voodoo guys were big supporters of the band. They had a record store called Cheap Guys where we played a few times, and they would always come out and support us when we played. Our van lit on fire going up the grade on the way home from this show.
The California Takeover (Part I)
Not much needs to be said about this one. Here’s an original flyer from the California Takeover show.
The California Takeover (Part II)
Everyone talks about the first night of the California Takeover since that was the night we made the recording. We did the second night at the Showcase Theatre. Aaron Bruno from AWOL Nation sang for Insurgence (a local band from our area). He came out and sang with Snapcase at the Return of the California Takeover a few months ago at the Terragram Ballroom in LA. Seeing his earlier band on this flyer may connect the dots for some of you.
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