I recently found a bunch of old California punk flyers buried in a box that had been stored for years since back in the 80s when these shows that took place in both the Bay Area (SF and Berkeley) and in SoCal. This Amoeblog focuses on some California punk flyers from the 1980's.
Almost as much as I loved the music itself, I equally loved most of the simple but impassioned flyer designs and the raw energy that went into making them. They were often created by a band member or one of their extended crew. While the styles ranged a little bit from one flyer to another, they were usually just handdrawn graphics or images or maybe just one simple image cut out of a magazine and slapped on the page.
Sometimes the main information (the band names or club info) might have been handwritten or else typed out, but not like today on a computer. Back then it was usually made on a typewriter, then blown up on a copy machine to match the scale of the flyer.
Compared to now, when everyone has the luxury of a tricked-out computer oozing with graphic programs etc. that can do every type of desired design at the click of a finger, this was an archaic and simple time. It was when cut-and-paste meant literally cutting out an image or graphic with a scissors and pasting it with glue or Scotch tape or sometimes just spit to hold things in place. Having a friend who worked at a local Xerox store or working there yourself was always a plus. Same went for those who did fanzines. I remember many show flyers being so rushed that they would be Xeroxed and all passed out before anyone would catch some glaring typo or ommission such as the date of the event having been left off the flyer! Or sometimes with handwritten flyers it was impossible to make out the name of the venue or the date because it was so badly drawn or so artisitically done that design prevalied over content and legibility.
By no means is this a comprehensive collection. It is only a handful of what I've found. But of course, there are many extensive collecions out there. That SF punk exhibit last year at BAM/PFA in Berkeley had some good flyers on display. There is the Gingko Press 1999 published collection of American punk flyers (circa 1977 - 1985) titled Fucked Up + Photocopied: Instant Art of the Punk Rock Movement. Also if you just do a google search under "California punk flyers 1980's" you will find some really great ones. This Amoeblog is just a sampling of the some of the ones I had personally saved. And looking back at them now I find them interesting on many levels, not just the artwork, but the whole era they represented and of course the music and the shows themselves. Some had really amazing lineups that, at the time, I don't think I fully appreciated, like the one at The Farm in San Francisco down on Potrero near the freeway overpass that had The Descendents, 7 Seconds, Circle Jerks, and The Not all on the one bill. And it was probably something like $4 or $5 at the most to get in. Then there is a flyer for Black Flag and the Meat Puppets at the On Broadway in North Beach, SF in May, 1984. Included are two flyers for the one show at Ruthie's Inn on San Pablo in Berkeley in October 1986. The second one was made to include an extra band and the new higher price of $4 (with one drink min). Bands included Boston's FU's and Strangle Hold, as well as Anti-Momb, Unity Instigation, and Public Enema.
The flyer at top of this page was for a show in April 1984 at the On Broadway in SF titled "From The Cradle To The Grave" -- the name taken from the UK, not Canadian band, The Subhumans' 1983 album title and arguably the anarcho group's best album. The lineup for this show included Subhumans, Angst, Sleeping Dogs, X-Tal, MJB, and Treason. Not bad for just $3. Note how these Bay Area show flyers include seven digit phone numbers like 398-0800 which would have had the (omitted) 415 area code. Reason being that this was still a few years before Pacific Bell introduced different new area codes like 510 for the East Bay, when pretty much all of the Bay fell under the one 415 area code.
Suicidal Tendencies were already pretty darn famous by the time they came up north to Ruthie's Inn in October 1985 on a bill with No Mercy and Beowulf -- bands that were often associated with one another since they all hailed from the Venice Beach area and appeared on the compilation Welcome To Venice (also name-checked on the flyer).
Speaking of SoCal, the LA area show flyers below include an amazing bill with the Dickies, Cockney Rejects, Circle Jerks, DI, and Uniform Choice at the Olympic Auditorium on Aug 2, 1985 where, as advertised on lower part of same flyer, the following week they had another cool show with a lineup that included D.O.A., Conflict, and Upright Citizens. Then there is the LA show with the Circle Jerks, Rhino 39, and the Go-Gos at Blackies on La Brea in Hollywood in February 1980 -- a year before the Go-Gos released their IRS debut Beauty and the Beast featuring the hit "We Got The Beat." And finally, there is a flyer for an October 1982 show with the Misfits at Los Angeles' Florentine Gardens, the same year they had released Walk Among Us.
Of the bands, both included and not included here, but from this era, among my top favorite ones I saw in concert included The Descendents, MDC, 7 Seconds, Dead Kennedys, Flipper, The Mutants, and The Pop-O-Pies. Unfortunately I never did get to see my all time favorite punk band, Minor Threat, play live. I saw Fugazi few times but never Minor Threat, whose records, to me, sound as great today as when they first came out.