All of this is an elaborate lead in to the SST/Masque connection. There was another Masque reunion back in 2008 at the Echo (there have been these reunions in each decade over the past 30 years). While I sadly missed the show itself due to a personal meltdown, what heralded the 2008 reunion was the publication of a book that I could only have fantasized about when trying to track down all the Dangerhouse 45s but which is now validated as a real-deal, historical moment. It has only taken me the space of a few years to unpack my copy here in the bush but man was it worth the wait. The late Brendan Mullen with Roger Gastman’s “Live at The Masque: Nightmare in Punk Alley” (Ginko Press and R 77, 2007) is a jaw-dropping coffee table photo book (with essays, ephemera, lists ) that is just such a visual treat if you have any interest in that particular era of Los Angeles underground culture. Beautifully done, with great photos of nearly every act of the era you can think of as well as candid scene shots taken by just about every rock chronicler of the day. Cue music: the Go-Go's "Living at the Canterbury." If you haven’t tracked down the book by this point in time, put it down on your holiday list and start saving. I haven’t had such eye popping visual enjoyment since, I dunno, the Satchmo art scrapbook that came out a couple years ago, where they captured all of his folk art and collages. Let’s just say that Kira, Keith, Greg, Chuck and Raymond are all accounted for.
Is Chuck not wearing one of the best t-shirts of the late 1970's here? Photographer unknown. Can we read into Chuck's hierarchy of the billing for his own rating of his contemporaries' worth vis a via the Flag? No Wurm? Where is that shirt today as I need to copy it. Though I have to say that many SST acts presumably in 2011 may have actually enjoyed the Nuge and Aerosmith Cal Jam II sets if given the time machine. I know I would have.
The crowd shots are among my favorite images in the book. The authors have identified Greg Ginn and Joe Nolte of the great Last checking out unidentified action either at the Masque or the Masque benefit. At first I thought it was Greg in full-on Ramones regalia with a "Sally Can't Dance" t-shirt. Fuck yes! But no. After some sober reflection, it must be Greg that is next to Joe on the right and not the guy back in the leather jacket. Readers thoughts? The other part of the same crowd spread has Rock Bottom from Rock Bottom and the Spies, Karla Maddog and Al Flipside at the lip of the stage. Checking out the Weirdos is my guess. Photo by Gabi Berlin. There is another reet photo in the book by Gabi from the same night of Al Flipside, Nickey Beat and Rock Bottom all together. This book is too great and this is only the scraps.