Later this afternoon I'm heading down to Blackwire Records to see D.R.I. It's a weird occasion for me. I'm stoked, but it's tinged with a bittersweet sense of melancholy nostalgia. The last time I saw the Texan powerhouse was exactly 30 years ago, December '87, at the show above. That was the night that the East Coast contingent of Nazi skins (coming from as far afield as Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne and our own town of Canberra, which was home to the worst of them) organised to meet en masse and fuck our shit up. They were violent thugs, bigger than us, and the pattern that had been established over the years leading up to that night was that they bullied, and we ran. That night the unthinkable happened: we fought back, and they were not ready for it.
Some memories of that night:
- Randy from Massappeal, full-force smashing a skin in the face with a folded cymbal stand. Lots of blood.
- A big dude (who I now believe to be Chumly Porter, D.R.I.'s roadie at the time, who would later join the band before taking his own life in 2011) wading into the melee from backstage, to flat-out deck two of the biggest skins.
- When things were looking grim, my friend Trog taking the stage and grabbing the mic, rallying the room into fighting back. An action that would result in him having part of his ear sliced off with a knife, when he was jumped by some of these cowards a few months later.
- After the tables had turned (and a bunch of tables had literally been overturned) a room full of passionate people chanting "NAZIS OUT" until they left.
- Later, after the show had resumed, getting brained so hard by a stagediver's knee that I blacked out in the pit for a few seconds.
Yeah, I know I'm old, and there's nothing worse than hearing old punks rant about their glory days. But there's something important to take away from this: Nazism, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, hate, is on the rise. Everywhere. At the highest levels of power, and in your hometown.
Don't be complacent. Stand up. Fight back.