I first fell in love with the superficial idea of punk as a kid in Soviet Union. When I was about 6 or 7 there was a program on TV that highlighted the corrosive effects of capitalism on young minds. Among others, it showed a bunch of teenagers with funny haircuts and clothes that called themselves “punks”. Later in the 80s, as the powers eased up on things like rock music, art, etc., it was not uncommon to see a lad sporting a Mohawk or a gal in torn fishnets. As for the music, I guess for me it started with the band Kino, which I guess in today’s terms would be classified as post-punk, but at the time I first heard it we just called it rock. This opened the door for me to many other Soviet underground bands at the time. Some of those bands in their sound were pretty much punk. Later, when I was about 12, a friend made a tape with the 1st Clash album on one side and Black Flag’s DAMAGED on the other. The Clash side was great. Just good music. Black Flag on the other hand was like nothing I’ve ever heard before. It was bonkers! It made me wanna throw bricks through stuff and run into people (this was before I even knew that slam dancing was a thing). Later I heard the Ramones and was forever changed! I came to Columbus, OH from Russia in 1992. Like most kids my age I fell in love with Nirvana. Like most kids my age I grew out of it and moved on to underground. I was lucky enough to have met some and seen some really cool bands as a teen growing up around here like New Bomb Turks, Gaunt, Cheater Slicks, Scrawl. I eventually started playing myself. The rest is history.
My first punk show was Rancid, I think. My friend JG, his girlfriend Mindy and I started a record label called Death By Noise (taken from a Crime song). JG and I had a band with our friends called The Feelers. We put out our first 7” on our label. We subsequently put out one more of our 7”s as well as a 7” by a local teenage punk sensations Vegetative State. I also briefly had a label called Pif Paf Records which put out a 7” by another band JG and I were in called Exwhites. I worked at 2 record stores here in Columbus, Johnny Go’s House Of Music and Magnolia Thunderpussy Records. I also volunteered at my friend Ken’s record/comic book store Rudy Goose Comics and then Evil Empire Records.
I have contributed to a couple of on-line blogs. When I was in high school I wanted to start one bad. I even interviewed Eric from New Bomb Turks, a band from New York called the Heartdrops, and a local music legend and mentor Bob Starker. But that never went anywhere.
I was a gig promoter. And I volunteered putting up punk gig flyers for a couple of local venues when I was younger. I’ve put on a lot of shows independently and for venues I’ve worked with. A few house shows as well. The best thing I’ve done though is a 3-day bender at Ace Of Cups two years in a row which feature various punk and garage bands such as Zero Boys, Gories, Cheater Slicks, New Bomb Turks, Dwight Twilley, Screaming Females, Terrible Twos, Timmy’s Organism, Great Plains, and many many more. I was on a couple of street teams (mostly so I could get free shit), I also helped a couple of local venues and promoters with flyering.
I was never really part of the punk rock penpal scene. Not like some people I knew. But at some point during AOL I sent out postcards and stickers to a couple of kids I met in punk chat groups. I even have a couple of demo cassettes that someone was nice enough to share with me. I thought that was pretty cool!
These days I live with my partner of 11 years and a taxed cat called Milo in Columbus, OH. Until COVID-19 I was a manager of a local venue called Ace Of Cups, which was owned by my friend and Columbus music legend Marcy Mays of Scrawl. Then my industry infamously took a dump when the pandemic hit. I now sell used cars at a big local car dealership.
…Punx Not Dead…