White Glove Test: Louisville Punk Flyers 1978-1994
by Mike Bucayu, Steve Driesler, Tim Furnish John Kampschaefer, Douglas Maxson, and Shawn Severs.
I arrived in L.A. the day after Black Flag started a riot at the Starwood. Blondie’s “Hanging on the Telephone” blared on the radio as I followed that new Route 66 called “Interstate-40” from school house to adulthood. Punk was everywhere from the Midwest to NYC to nearly every city with a college campus in between. Even remote Louisville had a scene; although I never heard the Babylon Dance Band or the Blinders or The End Tables I still can smell the body odor and spilled beer and inaccurate urination practices in the men’s room from each of their gigs. While few of these bands made it anywhere outside their area code, they all spun out a stack of zines and the telephone pole posters that somehow survived till today. I fell in love with these posters as much as the sound: crudely made, sexual or sacrilegious, and always ways promising show that might well disappoint or end in bodily injury. The posters in this book evoke a remote time and place as clearly as any art can, they evoke another time and place as Toulouse-Lautrec’s La Belle Ã‰poque advertisements, Victor Moscoso’s psychedelic rock posters, or Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s Rat Fink bubble gum cards. This collection of Louisville-centric posters is every bit as exciting as the long gone bands were and in some cases I sense that this MIGHT be every single poster for every single gig some of these bands presented.
Today we Photoshop, back then we doodled. Bands cut and pasted found art and photocopied photocopies to get a bleached out high-contrast look. The aim was not delicate shading or accurate line work; it was to impress an aggressive image onto that small subset of the populace eager to attend an afterhours house show in a dump bar in a dangerous part of town. They didn’t want guitar expertise; they wanted guitar catharsis and were willing to take a beating to get it. In this collection you see an evolution of artistic styles: drummers became better at lettering; a few bands scraped up the money to pay for colored ink and not just colored paper; big name bands like The Untouchables and D.O.A. contributed art from actual art school students. Today these bands are mostly gone; the members dead or employed in the sort of dead end jobs they warned themselves about as they mimic their parents and complain about Skrillex and Taylor Swift. So often all we have left of these deceased civilizations are memories of flamed out parties and forgotten boxes of undistributed advertising. That’s what this collection is: the collective remembrance of a distant generation and a scene so small and fragile two trucks full of rednecks could have whupped everyone in town. But they were there, damn it, and they were LOUD. This book is their last echo.