Punk Flyers 1980-1990: Black Flag/Milk(RVA)

As some who follow this thread have noticed, the majority of the flyers I post are from Virginia-mainly Norfolk and Richmond. That is where I was during the early 80s, until moving to Philadelphia in 1986. We used to take many road trips to see great bands like MDC, Agnostic Front, Cause for Alarm and Social Distortion in DC, NYC and even Baltimore. But a majority of the bands we loved came to Norfolk, and mostly Richmond, where there was a killer Hardcore and Punk scene which in my estimation rivaled any other city’s scene.

Maybe it was the transient nature of these college towns (ODU, VCU, Va Tech were there)- many of the people I met at shows, or who had introduced me to a great new band were from out-of-town, so this may account for it. personally, I don’t care why the punk scene in Virginia was so amazing, I am just glad that I was here to be a part of it, whether going to a show, promoting a show, or actually getting to perform on a great bill. Being in close proximity to DC, and the Norfolk connection with our friends from NYC made this area a hotbed of touring bands, and great local talent.

Speaking of great local Talent, the two flyers below showcase that very theme-Local talent. Starting with this flyer for an early Black Flag show at The Casablanca in Richmond around 1982. I remember a bunch of us piled into my truck and headed to Richmond from Norfolk, as we did on a regular basis. This was the first time (of 3) that I got to witness Black Flag live, with this being the best show of them all. The place was packed tight, and if memory serves me, this show was what today’s live club shows are not-inexpensive and packed with more fun and energy than should be humanly allowed. The openers were Saccharine Trust from California. They were on SST Records as well and toured with Black Flag a lot. Local heroes Red Cross (later to become White Cross) played most of the good shows in RVA, and they always played like they were the headliners. It helped that they were loved immensely by their local fans, who were a loyal bunch to be sure.

Norfolk had their own local heroes on this bill, and they were Frontline;their big claim to fame was to have 2 songs included on the The master tapes Volume II compilation on Affirmation Records alongside bands such as No Labels and Zero Boys. At the time, that was huge in Norfolk, since none of the other Norfolk Punk bands had that kind of notoriety. Many good HC bands would follow in Frontline’s shadow, but they were still the originals in Norfolk, VA. I am not sure who designed the flyer, most likely someone on the Plan 9 Records staff, who promoted the show.

Black flag flyer

Below is a flyer for a very short-lived band that was actually an early GWAR side project named MILK. I remember this show from 1985 because everyone there was tripping. EVERYBODY!- which added to the mystique of the show I think. Members were, as far as I remember, Dave Brockie, Chris Bopst, Jim Thomson, Ron Curry and Matt Linkous. There could have been more people, but I just don’t remember. This post is about the flyer more than anything else, and it is a beauty! I appreciated the flyers that were all hand designed artwork more than anything else. This flyer was designed by Milk member Ron Curry

Avant garde would be the term I would use to describe the sound-it was more of an art band than a punk band, which makes sense given the fact that most of them were art students at VCU before, or during this performance. The finale had every one of the musicians walk off the stage after what seemed like a 40 minute improvisational jam. The guys just looked up and realized that there were people in the audience-people who were staring with a glazed eye, slack-jawed kind of WTF is this expression. Dave Brockie didn’t get the cue. He remained on stage for about another 10 minutes until someone went up and walked him off. This is how I remember the debut of MILK at New Horizons in Richmond.

My memories of this show consists of an upside down, hazy, awkward and surreal 40 minutes that may or may not have happened at all (I’m told that it actually did), so please, if someone remembers this show clearly, post below and give us your take. I am hoping to get at least 5 posts, and probably 5 completely different descriptions. And that is the beauty of a show like this. Only a handful of people got to experience Milk (I am not totally sure that they performed more than once or twice after this, if at all), and this particular show was not like other shows…it was just weird. Entertaining, but weird.

Milk Flyer

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4 Comments

July 14, 2014 · 7:39 pm

4 responses to “Punk Flyers 1980-1990: Black Flag/Milk(RVA)

  1. Eva

    I remember the Milk shows exactly, EXACTLY, as you did. I saw Gwar a ton as well. I was at VCU 1985-1989 and then hung around Richmond two more years. I briefly dated Larry Perkins who slung brew and managed Rockitz when I was in college. He is a great guy. Saw so many shows there. Steve Hunter who did freelance photography for the VCU newspaper the Commonwealth Times also has a Flickr account with a bunch of White Cross photos at Benny’s. I think that was their last show. I recall going to their last show at Benny’s—Energy!!! Pretty sure I saw Black Flag as well (at Rockitz) but things are a bit fuzzy for some of the shows back then. Totally remember Death Piggy, Love Tractor, did Bad Brains play (if not there then in DC)? The Richmond punk scene was really amazing and very creative and raw. This was the same time that Richmond had such underground speakeasies called “Shot Houses” where bands like the Fine Young Canibals would show up amongst heroine addicts, college students, local poets, and hookers. Avant Guarde at its most edgy. It was a good time, and a tremendous amount of talent was literally hanging around in those local clubs.
    – Eva

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now I am sure we were in the same room at least once. Before I joined GWAR in 85, I was in the Norfolk Hardcore band Judicial Fear, we played with Minor Threat and DOA at Benny’s, with Red/white Cross at Casablanca, hard Times, and many house parties. I moved back to Virginia 2 years ago after being gone since 1986! Glad to be back.

      Like

  2. Eva

    I posted a reply earlier but it is not showing up. Yes the show was exactly as you recall. One of thexreasons everyone appeared to be tripping at that show is because there was a girl (not me) walking around with a spray bottle spritzing everyone with liquid. Though paper was rampant back then and that show was particularly out there.

    Liked by 1 person

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