Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Thirty one years ago, I took the cover photos and designed the graphics for "Saturday Night Pogo," the third ever release from then spankin' new Rhino Records, as I had for their second release "Twisting with The Low Numbers," wherein I placed the band (yes, twisting) in front of the most desperately garish oil-sheik mansion ever in Beverly Hills, replete with human statuary with the pubes brightly painted. (I had nothing to do with Rhino's first release by Wild Man Fischer, although I did finagle this artist to pay me for listening to his single while he was giving them away promotionally. The Wild Man was also a Confused Man.) For you young'uns, pogoing was the official oldschool mosh dancing to punk rock music: try and guess what it looked like!

This cover sports famous gonzoid literati writer Richard Meltzer effecting his best Travolta, amidst the concept spoofing "Saturday Night Fever" via the then reigning Disco fad, mortal enemies of us punkers. The would-be Bee Gees would be the guitarist from Chainsaw (I was hyping my future better half's own punk band, also included in the compilation,) an unknown punk who later wracked up a jail sentence I'm told, and the actual CEO of Rhino, who wanted to be somewhere on the cover. I said fine if he put a stocking over his head. This was one of the first domestic compilations of punk rock back in the day.

Which segues into the inevitable whatever happened to's of its punk musicians in the intervening decades. The Winos and The Low Numbers were a band put together by the other founder of Rhino Records. Both are mega-wealthy now with their multi-media empire, sold to Warner Bros. Both bands sported record company executives, from Columbia and Warners, band-slumming. The Dils were known for punk anthems and became Rank and File which included Alejandro Escovedo in addition to its Kinman brothers. The Berlin Brats resembled the NY Dolls, with the somewhat known Rick Wilder. Vom featured cover boy Richard Meltzer with their track produced by the future deputy Mayor of the city of Los Angeles. The Motels eventually recorded ballad-y new wave actual Billboard hits via its stellar attraction, velvet and smoke-voiced Martha Davis, who still performs to this day and sounds no different, a good thing. Backstage Pass included Spock, a local scenester, and Che Zuro, later of The Orchids and still a performer.

My personal favorites, placed prominently on the back cover layout, were Chainsaw and The Dogs. My better half's last band Chainsaw, theatrical punks before their time, released a single that is prized by collectors today, broke up in a fistfight, and reunited 28 years later for a successful European tour to mark the re-release of all their material abroad and eventually domestically. I didn't know The Dogs at the time, but their distinctive power trio nouveau MC5 hardest rock had impressed me mightily, particularly in those days of radio mellowmush. I later became fast friends with Dog bassist Mary, later in Kanary, a band I've also lionized to mix my animal metaphors utterly.

the Chainsaw single

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite compilations - picked it up because it was impossible to find The Dogs, Vom, or Berlin Brats '45s anywhere else. The Winos put out an LP as Mogen David & The Winos (!!!) a few years before punk or Rhino happened. The Motels song is the only pre-major label track I've ever heard by them (I hear they rocked a lot harder in their mid-70s Berkeley days.) -Loren KUSF

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