The Sun Club in Tempe. Mad Gardens on Van Buren. The Stumble Inn down in Tucson. In another lifetime (read: more than 25 years ago) these and a dozen other scuzzy dives around Arizona were all ground zero for punk rock.
Flash forward to present day and many of the aforementioned spots have long since become defunct, either via a wrecking ball or a transformation into another establishment altogether (for example, the Mason Jar became a gay bar back in 2004).
The only evidence of these venerated venues and the epic gigs they hosted are the wealth of old school fliers and posters on websites like Shaved Neck and the Facebook group AZ H.I.P. Flyers 1977-.
In honor of Arizona's 100th birthday today, here's a look back at some of the online remnants of our state's punk past.
If you've read our recent list ofArizona's 100 greatest songs
, there are a half-dozen or so entries by local old school punk and hardcore bands, ranging from theSun City Girls
andGrant and the Geezers
. These iconic acts, and many other local punk favorites, played hundreds of gigs during their day in hole-in-the-wall dives in both Phoenix and Tuscon, like the Salty Dog on Thomas Road or the old Knights of Pythias Hall in Tempe.
Also on the bill were some of the biggest names in early punk, including M.D.C., Agent Orange, D.O.A., and Dead Kennedys.
And the only way to promote these shows was handmade fliers hastily produced on the office Xerox or the five-cent copy machines that were seemingly at every convenience store in the 1980s. Before the desktop publishing revolution, these posters were made with love with ransom note-style clippings from magazines and plenty of black marker sketchings.
Former Tucson resident Bill Cuevas was a diehard punker back in those days and attended countless shows in both the Old Pueblo and the PHX. And he has the fliers to prove it. Cuevas created the website Shavedneck in 2004 to display 'em (as well as fanzines and other locally produced ephemera from the era of Reaganomics).
"There were many times over the years when I almost lost these flyers; considering them dead weight amidst a move or almost giving them all to a girlfriend's punk rock little sister," Cuevas states on the site. "Nobody in the punk scene at the time envisioned the World Wide Web, and few persons, including myself, envisioned any future interest in the hardcore punk of that era, let alone the nostalgia and cred that it generates today."
Shavedneck also contains vintage photographs of Tucson gigs taken by Cuevas' friend Ed Arnaud where people can spy a young Henry Rollins fronting Black Flag or members of the Circle Jerks getting rowdy at the Stumble Inn.
A similarly epic archive of punk ephemera exists on Facebook via the AZ H.I.P. Flyers 1977- group, which was launched in April 2010 by a cat named Darren Nonversation.
According to the group's page, its intention is to provide "as much of a comprehensive, cohesive, exhaustive, artistic record" of as many fliers from punk, indie, hardcore, metal, and rock shows since 1977 as possible.
Its all-inclusive nature is because "the group chooses not to dismiss the music that evolved from punk." Anyone is able to join and post fliers from the past. Many longtime punk scenesters and luminaries are members and have dug into their archives, whether its local promoter Mike Genz or infamous artist/designer Bob Judd.
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As of this writing, more than 600 different images from the last 35 years are viewable, running the gamut from early appearances by JFA and the Meat Puppets right up to recent gigs at Skrappy's in Tucson and the Underground in Mesa, both of which are the modern-day inheritors of Arizona's punk legacy.
That same spirit of passing the torch to the current crop of punks is exactly why Cuevas started his site eight years ago.
"Its with this in mind that I 'tip my beer' to the present generation who instead of wallowing in the past use [these flyers] as a foundation upon which to build bigger and better things," he states on this site. "Enjoy these flyers, this slice of a bygone era, with foresight to the future of challenging, difficult, "do it yourself" non-commercial music."