Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Carducci - The Man, the Shirt/Try to Lower Yourself to Our Level/We Got Power 1981-1982

I remember as a teenager buying all the issues of We Got Power in real time as they came out from the very first issue. I found the issues again recently in the barn archive and I have to think they may be some of the only copies of We Got Power in the southern hemisphere. It has been at least 25 years since I have looked at some of the issues. It was a little like looking at a yearbook (that is if you went to school with Watt, Rollins, Schwartz, Markey, the McDonald Bros. and Julie from Sin 34). Countless hours were spent looking at them in the early 1980’s, often accompanied by the music covered in the magazine itself. I remembered all the “scene" photos/collages that were featured in early issues, that guy’s hand-stencilled Husker Du symbol on his army jacket (when all we all could find in the Valley was “Land Speed Record” w/insert for the upcoming tour dates), a youthful, pre-shaman Merrill Ward wearing a striped shirt, Danny Spira as a “prep,” full page photo of John Macias in tartan pants, Pettibon artwork, early Ed Colver photos including a memorable one of the Meat Puppets where they all looked a little like Bill Gates but more handsome and poorer.

At the time, I noted that the first issue or two originated from Isla Vista, even though the coverage was mostly, or so it seemed, West LA. One image that really stood out was an SST ad for “The Punch Line” (SST 004) and “Pagan Icons” (SST 006) both of which were bought in real time prior to seeing the ad and to this day evoke many memories of being 13-14 and discovering the pure joy/intensity and intricacies of the music which opened wide other musics like free jazz and Beefheart in the near future. Air guitar to Ginn w/walkman was easy enough – Baiza was now another matter. That ad featuring the Carducci shirt was an inside joke that I didn’t get until Rock and the Pop Narcotic (the first edition) fell on me like a ton of bricks. It was an articulation of an SST-centric worldview that I held privately and shared with all but had not yet seen in print and to which I could now point others to. In retrospect, I have to acknowledge that We Got Power played a role in shaping my SSTphilia now in its third decade. When people talked about “the year punk broke,” I directed them to Rock and the Pop Narcotic, the We Got Power film empire and the review of the first Meat Puppets lp in We Got Power. It only confirmed what we already knew to be the case of the historical import of what Ginn had started in the 70’s. Enjoy Overkill live in Goleta, a collage with Watt and the always entertaining Misfits in great form from Issue No. 2 in 1982.

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