In 1980 I went and saw The Circle Jerks and T.S.O.L. in a double bill at The Starwood in Hollywood, Ca.
In those days you could see two bands play for $8 bucks. They’d play two sets a night, one at 8 P.M. and then a second show at 10 P.M. A lot of the clubs in Hollywood like The Starwood, The Whiskey and The Roxy did it this way at the time. I remember catching several shows a night at multiple clubs back in those days…Leaving one club all covered in sweat from slamming, throwing the leather jacket back on, jumping into a cold car and on we went to the next club, slamming the night away….and lets not forget all those late night Oki Dogs!
So back to The Starwood where this story began, the club itself had a great setup. You could see a show and then your ticket entitled you to hang out in the punk rock disco they had going on out back which was also a show in and of itself. On my first night there between the early and late shows I watched one girl attack another girl, beat her ass, then drag her across the dance floor by her hair…. Bravo!…Cheers and Jeers all around.
When the show was getting ready to start they’d have a door call for people seeing the show, everyone would shuffle in quickly surrounding the stage and the back walls. In the center a huge pit would start to form. The stage was about chest high, good for stage diving!
The greatest part was the beginning of the shows at The Starwood. The announcer would come on and welcome you to The Starwood and then say “Please Keep The Violence To A Minimum”…. It was a hell of a wake up call coming from the club itself…. Is there gonna be violence?… Oh, this is gonna be good I thought to myself.
Well, that show sure lived up to the hype. The band T.S.O.L. came out first and the slamming was fierce. T.S.O.L. fucking kicked ass, they were so fucking awesome that night, every song was tight as hell and pounding loud. They sounded just like the E.P.
At the intermission, before The Circle Jerks were to come on there were numerous audience skirmishes… I never saw anything like this at any show I had ever went to before. This was pretty interesting to me… “Audience Participation”.
The Circle Jerks came out, and wow!….They were fucking great, they sealed it for me! They became one of my favorite bands that night the way they controlled the audience with every single song they did. The audience really reacted to them, they skanked, slammed and sang the lyrics to every song. Circle Jerks rule!
It became quickly apparent that violence was definitely apart of this scene and I began to rely on my mothers advice… “There’s strength in numbers”… “Make sure you guys stick together no matter what happens”… She was right… When you’re in a pinch it’s really great to have a friend at your side that you can count on. That’s why I became friendly with all the Pit Monsters of the time. Guys like John of Circle One, a guy with a heart of gold but clearly Warrior class. Especially Oliver… Oli-Lads…thanks for saving my life Homeboy! Rest In Peace now brother because when I get there we’re gonna raise hell for an eternity!