Thursday, September 14, 2006

I Remember...MDC, Going Nowhere Faster Than You

Back in the times known as the 1980's, one of the most fierce and relentless attacks to ever carve it's presence into vinyl was the debut LP from MDC. Then known as Millions Of Dead Cops, they self released their debut LP on their own R Radical Records label. The cop/klansman on the cover is etched in my memory... along with many of those speed soaked tracks. Perfect to skateboard too, crammed with cuts fit for cranking out of a big ol' boombox, or maybe via that prehistoric 80's predecessor to the overpriced I-pod, known as The Walkman...

MDC - John Wayne Was A Nazi

MDC - Corporate Deathburger

MDC - I Remember

MDC - Dead Cops

The band had moved out from Texas, squatted for awhile at an abandoned SF beer factory taken over by punks, known as the Vats. They had toured extensively, taking Texas brethren like DRI & The Dicks around the US on the Yippie sponsored Rock Against Reagen tour. MDC had a fairly large renown in the punk scene, were angry & outrageous, challenging people with their anti-racist, anti-authortarian, anti-meat and anti-homophobic stance. Their overt politics had them arguing with everyone from skinheads to then meat eater Ian MacKaye and the homophobic rastas Bad Brains.

For awhile in the latter part of the 80's, I actually lived in the same house as the lead singer of MDC. By the time I met him though, hardcore was crossing over into a macho pseudo metal thing Dave wasn't really down with, and he had tried his hand running a vegetarian deli at Rainbow Grocery, and was living in a run down house off of 16th St in the Mission. Also living there at the time was a mendo gay hippie dude named Lawrence Livermore who was so busy with his zine called "Lookout" that he had not quite yet signed Operation Ivy & started his label Lookout Records. I worked over at Subterranean, answering Flipper's fan mail and stuffing anti nazi armbands into DK's 7" singles. Amongst the other guys renting rooms included my friend Mike who had just left the band A.P.P.L.E in NYC and would soon start Broken Rekids which brought the world some of the initial releases from The Gits & Naked Aggression. We had your annoying college radio DJ, a few token speed freaks, loudmouths and even Dave's crazy ex-cop brother upstairs for awhile. Aside form having numerous punk rock record label ties, and a constant flow of touring musicians, freaks & international activists hanging out at our house, it also had it's own zine and T-shirt designs marketed under the Tales From The Rathouse brand, manifested by probably the only sane people who ever lived there, one Joe Britz. David Arquette's cousin Tim moved out, so we moved in this dude Doug from Philly who was gonna play in a band I was starting with Michael Dean, the singer of Bomb, backed with some members of my old band the Bedlam Rovers, and the drummer from Eyeball.

It seemed like HC headquarters, where MDC would often park their RV outside, which became just another annex of our sprawling punk rock estate on Landers St in the Mission. Their were frequent visitations from members of Earth First, travelling strippers & fag filmmakers like Bruce LaBruce, and lotsa bands, with members of Coffin Break getting stoned in the kitchen, while maybe Lint & Matt from Op Ivy were hanging out on upstairs.

With MDC always up to something, my band played quite a few shows with 'em and I roadied many gigs, and even ended up singing back up vocals on one of their albums. One night at the Kennel Club shortly after the late great John Waters movie star Divine passed the band was known as Mourn Divine Correctly, and Dave came out in a gorgeous blond wig and pink taffeta gown.

One of the most memorable occasions I recall was when the pope came to town, and MDC decided they were gonna have their record release party on our roof.

We lived right across the street from the historic Mission Dolores and that put us on the papal itinerary... What better way to celebrate the release of their upcoming album with a mock last supper scene shot after hours at the local wax museum on the cover. The LP cover with then guitarist Gordon sitting in the Jesus spot actually wrangled enough wrath from Pat Robertson's 700 Club, it became listed as one of the Christians rights "10 most evil and Satanical albums". The blasphemic blast would be released under their ever changing moniker of Millions Of Damn Christians...

(which followed recent forays under the names Multi Death Corporations and Millions of Dead Children...)

Of course, the secret service had never approved this, and the hood was blockaded & surrounded on all sides. The neighborhood was cordoned off and the cops told all the residents no one could come or go for hours while we awaited for the glorious holy papal vistitation. Protestors, which are de rigeur at any San Francisco social occasions were barricaded blocks away, while we were under virtual lockdown all by our lonesomes. We were holed up in the house since 10am with a few cases of beer, some German punk girls with expired visas, and some members of the Yeastie Girlz.

We got drunk & stoned all day, and watched the tv coverage as the pope mobile finally approached... At precisely the right moment, circa 5pm as the pope and the fog rolled by, we hustled Al's drums up the back stairwell, Franco's bass rig and Dave might've used a bullhorn for all I know. Somehow I ended up with a video camera in my hand scrambled onto the roof. I attempted to capture all the excitement as the band blasted into "This Blood's For You", the lead off track on the new LP at the time.

We looked down at the papal welcoming party, some who seemed surprised, but likely unsure of what we were actually doing... If they thought it was an assasination attempt, it wasn't scaring anyone, and I'm pretty sure the pope couldn't hear us at all...

It didn't take more than 5 minutes for secret service to come out of nowhere, guns drawn , trying to get MDC to stop making a horrendous racket...

We were sent back down the stairwell, and had all the musical equipment confiscated along with some of those german passports...

The secret service looked around nervously at the decor, whch was mainly flyers for shows like Rock Against Reagen, and for bands like The Dead Kennedys, and of course our heroes Millions of Dead Cops.

I remember Dave, when asked if any weapons were in the house, voluntarily offering the surprised federal officers a peek at his gun, which was stored away in a locked chest, registered and unloaded. For some reason the cops didn't take my video camera, and were fairly polite when they realized we are all pretty harmless, and even barely buzzed since the beer had run out hours earlier...

I only wish I knew what happenend to that video tape...

Years have passed , and MDC are still going. They've been through a lot, both Dave & the drummer Al Schvitz ended up doing stints in prison a few years back. This summer most of the original members toured Europe, sadly without their longtime drummer Al who was back in prison. Dave got clean & sober, and even ended up teaching school on the east coast. Al's never been quite so focused, and has had his problems for sure. Last week though, word is Al, an aging rock n roll warrior, with a penchant for petty theft and dope was released from the joint, and hopefully he can stay clean and avoid doing anymore time. MDC is due to play acoustically at two upcoming gigs in the Bay Area within the next couple weeks.

I look forward to catching back up with them... and hearing some of those classic tunes...

They'll be at The Eagle Tavern where Dave & I's old housemate Doug ended up as the bartender/booker... should be purty darn fun. (Also on the bill is a guy named Greg Dale who spent quite a few nights at the old rathaus that turned into weeks... )

September 21st:
Alcoholocaust Presents
MDC !!!

(featuring Gary Floyd)

then on the following Saturday, thereunited band takes part in a Ruthie's Inn reunion show curated by Wes Robinson... a black old school east bay punk promoter whose now in his 70's!!!!

back in the day Wes used to bring bands like RKL, Metallica, Verbal Abuse, MDC, Death Angel and whatnot through a venue on San Pablo called Ruthie's Inn

Here's some MDC from their most recent release as Magnus Dominus Corpus( or Millions of Dead Contractors, a reference to Bush's totally sick Iraq war for profit exploits).


MDC - Going Nowhere Faster Than You" (MP3, 192kbps)

MDC - Destroying The Land

MDC - Ballad of GW

here is a link to a post I did about MDC from April 2005... the last time I saw these guys, on their 25th anniversary tour

Playing with MDC at their Oakland gig on the 23rd of September is Arno-Core, the only punk rock Terminator tribute act I've ever heard of... They'll be playing a big Ruthies Inn punk rock art fag mafia reunion type gig in Oakland this coming weekend. Other acts on the bill include the survivors of every last death defying group of 80's punk rock troublemakers they could squeeze into a day long event. Think survivors of ne'er do 'ells like The Fuck Ups , Verbal Abuse, Code of Honor, Sic Pleasure( Let's Kill The Muni Driver), Crucifix ( peace Through Annihilation) and many more...

Download the Arno-Corps promo mp3 track

Arno Corps Total Recall here

Corpses of the Ultimate Dominators

Corpses of the Ultimate Dominators

Magnus Dominus Corpus

Sudden Death Records

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Hey Mike! I was up on the roof with you and MDC that day in 1987.

Your memory of the sequence of events is much clearer than mine :)