Entertaining Tucson: Entertaining Tucson Vol. 1

Tucson’s 1982 Punk Rock Scene

By H. “Slitboy” Salmon January 14-February 11, 1983 - Newsreal

This page is from the 3-volume set of "Entertaining Tucson Across the Decades."

Change is good, and so is growth and Tucson’s punk underground showed signs of both. It was a year that started off real wide– the scene was disjointed and so diversified. Some bands were real serious, they’d left town to do well, and Tucson was behind them. That is, until most came back with unhappy confessions that were in stride as real life lessons.

But all of a sudden the bar scene was aching for some people to scrape off the mold that was caking on the teen- punk thrills for which their stages were made ‘cuz the year started off with a scene that was jaded.

But don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that bad. It’s just that Tucson’s nightlife has always had a tendency to be kinda slow– the scene needed more kids in order to grow! ‘82 (the early part) was working with the ghost of some “new wave” fun that had once been the most about 2-3 years ago, when it all started here, that was all in yesteryear.
We were groping for direction, we wanted some action we had three different bands, and three different factions!

(And the bands I’m talking about are the bands that have played most of their gigs at “that bar” on 4th Avenue!) They were Sin of Detachment, the Seldoms and Conflict– the latter being Tucson’s token punk outfit and the former being more dirge-like and not as fast. They both released tapes on Iconoclast International. The label was young at the time and still forming, but the fires of inspiration they indeed were warming, for if they did anything, they focused our attention on the small-time garage bands who usually go without mention. And, just for background, between January and May there was the short-lived Trout Unlimited and S.S.K.

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Jonny Sevin were briefly the big band but soon turned out to be a flash in the pan, the Limbs came back from San Francisco, and “new wave nights” were happening at discos, and that sounds kinda gross - you could hope for more, when not too long after Tucson goes hardcore! It was the hardcore uprising that provided the glue, it was fast and exciting (though it wasn’t that new) and bands began thrashing toward one common vision: a world without supervision!

But the end of the summer is when the real fun began because Tucson sported three hardcore bands. There was E.S.S, Civil Death and Conflict and a great new faction of bands: psychedelic!

And, of course, there’re the bands that are arty like Clean Dog, Chromatics, and Yard Trauma party (!) (Y’see the art school faction has always been around. It’s just that they’re the most underground!)

And there are also the new bands the scene’s got in store, like the Hecklers and the Corporate Whores. The last four months have been the ones of most celebration while the previous eight were the ones of preparation! The scene’s now got fanzines, some radio, some indie cassettes and visits from Black Flag, and Dream Syndicate, the Circle Jerks, the Necros, and Channel 3, and isn’t it sickening reading all this in poetry? You might think that it’s all just ego inflating when actually it’s myself that I’m really nauseating– I like to make all of these gross generalizations, but enough of this song-song-like masturbation let’s just hope that for the New Year the underground scene will shift into high-gear, that the punks will grow and the word will spread, that there’ll be lots of great shows– enough said?

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Entertaining Tucson Across the Decades
Volume 1

This page is from the 3-volume set of "Entertaining Tucson Across the Decades," Download a free, 100 page, special edition digital PDF sample of selections from all three volumes, including the full Table of Contents, Indexes and a samples of historical articles and photographs. "Entertaining Tucson Highlights.

1982 Punk Chronology (a close-enough idea)

By H. “Slitboy” Salmon January 14-February 11, 1983 - Newsreal

JANUARY-FEBRUARY (1982): Giant Sandworms, Pills, and Loudness One back from New York and laying low. Jonny Sevin’s album is out. S.S.K. (formerly called the Jewels) are gigging, Conflict, Sin of Detachment and Seldoms only bands in the punk (i.e. Backstage) scene. Lee Joseph starts Iconoclast International label and releases tapes by Sin of Detachment and Les Seldoms. Phantom Limbs get back from San Francisco. S.O.S. fanzine runs for one-ish. Teardrop Explodes plays the UA Cellar.

MARCH: S.S.K. leave to Oregon. Limbs’ Jim Parks puts out one of his nameless fanzine’s. Phoenix’s Soylent Green, J.F.A., Grant and the Geezers, and Tucson’s Conflict play big gig. Whistling Shrimp Records has radio smash-a-thon. Virgin Vinyl starts with Jonathan L.

APRIL: Iconoclast releases Jacket Weather and Jim Parks cassettes. Voodoo Godhead releases cassette single. Gigs: April 10th– Sluts/Conflict; April 23rd; Party Boys (L.A.)/Jacket Weather; April 24th: Wasted Youth/Social Distortion/Conflict. Bad Brains play at UA Cellar.

MAY: Sin of Detachment breaks up. Chris Burroughs and the Nationals form. Jonny Sevin breaks up. Gig with The Cowgirls on May 28, 1982.


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