Otto Von Stroheim

I got into Punk Rock very slowly. Around 1977 I heard The Sex Pistols and Patti Smith on KROQ and saw pictures of them in mainstream rock n roll magazines like Creem. I bought Elvis Costello My Aim is True when it was released in the US but me and my friends were into Classic Rock and Prog Rock and they didn’t dig Elvis so I couldn’t bring it to any parties and play it. In 1979 when I was in 10th grade I moved to the small surf town of San Clemente. Orange County was exploding with punk energy and lots of surfers were into punk even if they didn’t dress like Punks. Me and a couple of friends starting buying different punk records like The Dead Kennedys, X – Los Angeles, The Ramones – End of the Century, and Black Flag – Jealous Again. But when I got Decline of Western Civilization, I knew that was the real Punk scene that I wanted to be part of. Not many bands came to San Clemente and there was no clubs there except for an old movie theater. I saw Oingo Boingo there around 1980 or early 1981. I couldn’t even get Rodny on the ROQ on my radio in San Clemente because we were too far away so I would trade for tapes of his show and get them a month after they aired! I had one punk rock friend who drove to LA regularly to see Wall of Voodoo at The Whiskey. He was into British bands like The Clash, The Members, Stiff Little Fingers and Gang of Four. The first show I went to with him was Gang of Four at Perkins Palace. After that I went to shows as often as I possibly could and frequented record stores like Zed in Long Beach, Berlin Wall in Huntington Beach or drive up to Melrose to go to Vinyl Fetish. We went to The Cuckoo’s Nest 3-4 times a week, got flyers for independent shows at various types of venues all over Orange County and LA. In late 1982 I moved back to the San Fernando Valley and started hanging out in Hollywood on Hollywood Blvd. Between 1981-1983 I averaged about 6 shows a week – I went out to gigs every night and sometimes during the day and sometimes went to two shows in one night. For about a year I went to the Cathay DeGrande almost every night, at least to start the night. I taped shows and traded tapes around the world, I had penpals in Poland and Brazil and around the country. I religiously read Flipside and Maximum Rock n Roll. By late 1984 I started going to see all kinds of other music – Industrial, Speed Metal, Goth, College Radio indie bands, Cowpunk, etc. By the time I was 21 in 1985 I was hardly going to any Punk Rock shows. I saw Fear at Club Lingerie and The Weirdos had reformed so I saw them a couple times but most of the great hardcore punk bands had changed – The Circle Jerks were trying to be mainstream and sounding like a rock band, Black Flag was playing metal style hard rock (Their last good record was My War), TSOL was a joke with a different frontman, drug habits and lame Hair Metal style music. Newer hardcore bands seemed generic and repetitive to me. I got really into Blood on the Saddle and Tex & the Horseheads and The Meat Puppets. I turned my combat boots and Doc Martens in for a pair of cowboy boots and left Punk shows behind, but I never stopped liking the music.

I worked for Nate Starkman & Sons which was the mailorder arm of Independent Project Records. Also did artwork for some small labels and did some ads for 4AD once.
I worked for Tape Traders Newsletter. In 1985 I started Tiki News magazine.
For one month I booked a month of shows at The Chameleon in San Francisco. Since 1990, I have hosted the biggest tiki event in the world, Tiki Oasis.

Trivia about myself – from mid-1981 to end of 1984 I probably went to about 900 shows. 1982-1983 I averaged 6 shows a week each year. I knew everyone at almost any show in LA, but I didn’t make very many lasting friendships and to this day I am only in contact with a few friends from those years.

These days I am married with kids and live in the Bay Area in Northern California. I work as a graphic artist and promoter.

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