IN FROM THE DESERT
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Can you remember a time before DIY was a term people used to describe getting things done on their own with little or no budget?
Does the album title “Nuke Your Dink” ring a bell?
If you can and it does, you’re probably familiar with Las Vegas punk bands The Remains, Fuck Shit Piss, Schizoid, Abeyance, AWOL and the other bands that will play this Friday at Backstage Bar & Billiards.
These were all bands made up mostly of students from Bonanza, Clark and Eldorado High Schools. Las Vegas band The Remains had the song “Lost in a Crowd” listed next to songs from bands like 7 Seconds and Subterfuge on the above mentioned compilation released in 1984. It’s a rare gem to collectors of a period that is something of a golden age of American punk rock spanning from about 1979 to 1989.
Danny Breeden, singer of Fuck Shit Piss, organized the upcoming reunion show and is also the man responsible for hosting live music concerts or “desert shows” at a place referred to as The Tubes, or Losee Road, from the mid to late ’80s. Breeden discovered the non-venue while riding his motorcycle out near a pig rendering plant in North Las Vegas.
“There were these five big concrete tubes and a three-wall cathedral,” says Breeden. I was like I got a fuckin’ stadium out here.”
Remembering another magic moment at the start of the era, Warren Pruitt, singer for Abeyance, remembers how he landed in the skater-punk band after going to a house party.
“I was there and this guy is trying to sing while eating a submarine sandwich,” says Pruitt. “I’m thinking this guy sucks, so I knock him down, take the mic and start screaming. The next day, I’m in the band.”
The Tubes as a venue, was born out of necessity as the warehouses within the city that used to allow all ages music concerts were eventually shut down, and the only legitimate venue, That’s Entertainment, began to favor new wave events and raised their prices on the punkers.
Sergio “Checko” Salgado plays bass for Schizoid. Back in the day, he acted as a punk rock archivist putting together the Beefy Burrito fanzine and videos.
As he describes the desert shows, “The whole thing with having our shows out there was that we were our own club. The money that was made was just given to the bands. And if there was an out-of-town band, none of the locals would get paid. It would go toward that band, and we would create this scene.”
By 1987 the Vegas punk scene had a reputation outside of Nevada.
“Bands loved coming to Vegas,” says Breeden. “They loved our energy and they loved the fact that we slam danced so hard. They loved the desert. We saw TSOL here for nothing. We were seeing bands that we considered gods.”
The scene spawned a movement. Protest shows at the Nevada Test Site. Punk rock picnics. Kids looking out for each other’s rights and needs. But by 1989, due to racist skinhead violence and a fatal car crash, the scene was brought to a end. Yet in some form its spirit lives on. And you can catch a piece of it for all its middle aged but un-faded glory Friday.
LAS VEGAS HARDCORE PUNK ROCK REUNION GIG, 6 p.m., Friday, Backstage Bar & Billiards, 601 Fremont St. Self Abuse, AWOL, Remains, Bad Attitude, 5150, Fuck Shit Piss, Abeyance, Lethal Injection, Substance D, Schizoid, T.P.U., Bad Habits.