Michigan Punk Rock

1980's Michigan Hardcore Punk Rock & Syntax Cable-TV show

Intro

Back in the early 1980's (wow, that is now half a lifetime ago!), I was involved in the punk rock / hardcore scene in the East Lansing, Michigan area. Coincidentally that is also where I went to college...

My involvement with the "scene" was primarily to help some of the bands get free publicity by videotaping them either at local venues (bars, clubs, basements, etc) or in a local Public Access TV Studio (yup, home of REALLY boring shows; except ours of course!) and airing their works on Public Access TV.   I was involved in one particular show that was sort of a "poor man's" (ie: no budget) Saturday Night Live type of show called SYNTAX  for which I helped videotape and edit (as well as be in front of the camera on rare occasions). For another show, specifically the  "Hardcore" show, I was the cameraman.  Back then, most everything we did was on "Betamax" videotapes, which were kind of pricey from a college student perspective in 1981.  But I did manage to save a few of the shows and performances that I worked on.  An interesting time it was!

One time there was a concert with MDC, Tolchok and The Crucif*cks that was held on top of some barn in Okemos. Someone called the cops and that was pretty much it (but it was captured on videotape!).

There was a small cafe in East Lansing called "Bunches" which had a tiny stage (maybe 8 by 10 feet on which a band could perform. I remember seeing L-7, the Crucif*cks and a few other bands there...

"X" played in East Lansing as well (at Dooley's Bar), unfortunately we were not allowed to videotape them, although the opening band, Jan James and the The Flying Tigers did let us videotape them (and I still have several videos of that performance). Craig Calvert was a guitarist with the Flying Tigers (a blues-a-billy / rockabilly type of band) and prior to that, a hardcore band called The Fix.  Another venue took place in a basement somewhere in Lansing, and I believe that Toxic Reasons played at the MSU Union Hall. I do remember a Black Flag concert (either in Kalamazoo or Grand Rapids), but I could not get video equipment that weekend, so I had to resort to using Super8 film. I ended up with a 3 minutes reel, which I remember putting on beta tape and then added audio later.

One of the "biggest" bands that I remember was The Circle Jerks.  I ran one of the cameras (from a scaffolding/light tower) and also edited one of the songs which featured the lead singer "mooning" the camera! And I still have the ticket stub to the concert (see below). How it survived over 22 years of moving I don't know.... And to think that admission was only 6 bucks (about the price of a blank betamax videotape) !

 

 

Plus there were other concerts, but my memory is a bit hazy from that time period (I wonder why....).   Unfortunately most of my belongings got damaged in a flood in Michigan in the mid-1980's, so I lost what few things would have survived otherwise (I had photos, negatives, slides, videos, concert tickets, albums, singles, concert ads & flyers, etc).  The few photos that have survived, Iput on this website on a separate "photo pages" (see links at top left once).

Some of the local bands that I videotaped in and around Michigan (Lansing, East Lansing, Kalamazoo, Okemos) included:

 

 

  •  The Crucif*cks
  •  The Necros
  •  Violent Apathy
  •  Tolchok
  •  The Meatmen
  •  L-7

    We also had a bunch of other bands come through the Lansing area during that time (1981 - 1984), such as:

  • The Misfits (played in Kalamazoo)
  • Minor Threat
  • Black Flag (played in either Kalamazoo or Grand Rapids)
  • The Circle Jerks
  • Social Climbers
  • Toxic Reasons
  • MDC (Millions of Dead Cops)
  • Whipping Boy
  • The State
  • The Dicks

    Well, my betamax videotapes are now 20+ years old and starting to reach the end of their useful lifespan. I don't want to lose the records of some of these performances and have converted them to DVD so that I continue to watch them.  Let's keep the music alive!  The early 1980's were an interesting time!

Updates

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June 15, 2017 - YES!  This site is still active.  There just hasn't been anything new for me to add.  I'm still looking around to see if I can find any additional new items to add (old photos that may be lurking around in boxes in closets), but haven't really found anything.   But, the DVD's of the old converted betamax tapes are still available.   I only make them as needed.

May 15, 2006 - I've just been informed that some old friends (Thanks Vicki!) will be sending me 9 betamax videotapes containing footage from the early/mid 1980's for me to transfer to DVD.  Let's hope that the tapes are in playable condition!   As I have mentioned previously, I used to be involved in running the videocamera for some of these concerts, so who knows, maybe there's some long lost footage there that I helped videotape!

May 21, 2006 - I've managed to transfer about 7 hrs of footage from the beta tapes.  One tape was not playable.   The materials is obviously too much to fit on one DVD, so I had to make it 3 of them!   Two of the three DVD's have finished and the 3rd is rendering while I'm typing this.  

Early 2007:   Here's what I've ended up with (the above footage plus stuff in my own collection), a total of 8 DVD's.

August 18, 2007:  Managed to add DVD#9 to the listing!  After wrestling my Betamax player to the ground, I managed to get a tape which I tried previously to copy to DVD but couldn't, now all of a sudden managed to have a video signal that was somewhat stable enough to transfer.   Also added #10, which is the opening bands of the Sept. 1982 concert in Kalamazoo.

August 26, 2007: ok, found a few more items, see DVD#11, #12, #13

Sept. 9, 2007:  ...and yet some more!  The "lost episode" of the Syntax Live Punk Show is now on DVD#14 and more Punk & New Wave stuff taped in and around Lansing from 1980 to 1983, including the Circle Jerks concert, the original Crucif*cks Studio performance, et al on DVD#15.

July 26, 2010:  ... no major updates ... just wanted to let everyone know that this site is still alive, and all DVD's below are still available.  I have updated the software that I used to create the DVD's off the old betamax tapes, and time permitting (ha!), I'll try to re-convert these tapes and improve them.   As I find time, I'll update the info below.

Note: There is some minor overlap on some of these DVD's; as the performances were strewn around various copies of betamax videotapes that I have.  On some DVD's there's the entire concert, then on a couple of compilations there's just one or two pieces from the same performance. 

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DVD #1:  (Time:  2:02 hrs)    

  • The Guns
  • Zero Defex
  • Spike in Vein
  • Idiot Savants
  • Outerwear
  • Toxic Reasons
  • SS Decontrol  (Ann Arbor, MI   Jan. 1983)
  • Class War  (Lansing, MI   Oct. 1982)
  • Zero Defex  (Cleveland, OH   Jan. 1983)
  • The Crucif*cks  (Akron, OK   Apr. 1983)
  • The Offenders  (Austin, TX   Aug. 7, 1982)
  • Soylent Green  (Akron, OH   Apr. 1983)
  • Millions of Dead Cops [MDC]   (Akron, OH  Apr. 1983) 

 

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DVD#2:  (Time:  2:05 hrs)   

  • Tolchok  (Okemos, MI   Aug. 1982)
  • The Crucif*cks  (Okemos, MI   Aug. 1982)
  • Millions of Dead Cops (Okemos, MI   Aug. 1982)
  • Rights of the Accused  (Chicago, IL   Dec. 1983)
  • The Dicks  (Akron, OH   Apr. 83)
  • Minor Threat  (Lansing, MI)
  • Starvation Army
  • The Crucif*cks
  • Rage
  • The Agitated
  • Zero Defex

 

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DVD#3:  (Time:  2:50 hrs)  

  • The Crucif*cks
  • Millions of Dead Cops (MDC)
  • Soylent Green
  • The Agitated
  • Urban Mutants
  • SS Decontrol
  • The Necros
  • Unidentified Band

 

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  DVD#4:  (Time: 23 min)

   

  • The Dicks
  • The State

 

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 DVD#5:  (Time: 60 min)   

 

  • The Dark
  • MDC

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 DVD#6:  (Time: 48 min)

The Crucif*cks compilation with performances from:

  1. WELM-TV Studio (1982)
  2. Bunches Cafe, E. Lansing (4/17/82)
  3. Lansing (6/16/82)
  4. Okemos barn ((8/17/82)
  5. Kalamazoo (9/24/82)

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DVD#7:  (Time:  60 min)  

 

 

 

 

 (both from the "The 666 Club" show on WELM-TV)

  • 11:55
  • Army of God

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DVD#8:  (Time:  50 min)  

Michigan 1982 Hardcore compilation, one or two songs each from the following: 

Band                      Venue
1)   The Circle Jerks     MSU Student Union
2)   Army of God          WELM-TV Public Access Studio
3)   The Meatmen          Lansing Cable TV Public Access Studio
4)   The Crucif*cks       WELM-TV Public Access Studio
5)   Violent Apathy       Kalamzoo, MI  Sept. 26, 1982
6)   The Necros           Kalamzoo, MI  Sept. 26, 1982
7)   Tolchok              On a barn in Okemos, MI
8)   The Crucif*cks       On a barn in Okemos, MI
9)   MDC                  On a barn in Okemos, MI
10)  L-7                  Bunches Cafe, E. Lansing, MI
11)  Toxic Reasons        E. Lansing, MI
12)  Minor Threat         Michigan
13)  11:55                WELM-TV Public Access Studio

=============================================================== 


DVD#9:  (Time:  61 min)

 

  

  • (Midwest Hardcore 1982-1983 compilation disk #4)
  • Class War
  • Violent Apathy
  • Scream
  • Double O
  • The Crucif*cks

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DVD#10   (Time: 37 min)   

(Taped in Sept. 1982 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, expanded footage from what is on DVD#8)

  1. The Crucif*cks
  2. Violent Apathy
  3. The Necros

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 DVD#11   (Time: 48 min)    

( I taped this on 17. April, 1982 at Bunches Cafe in East Lansing, Michigan; the light was a bit poor at this venue, after all it was a Cafe)

  1. L-7 (the band from Detroit, NOT Los Angeles...) 
  2. Scribbles (aka: "The Crucif*cks" - from what I remember, at the time, there was an issue about the band's name, so it was decided to temporarily change it in order to be able to play at Bunches Cafe, also, that night, the lead singer, Doc Dart, was not "available" - I think he was  temporarily detained by the local gendarmerie, ahem..., but I don't remember the exact details, it was 25 years ago...)

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 DVD#12   (Time: 28 min)

 

( I taped this on sometime in April, 1982, somewhere in the Lansing area)

  • The Social Climbers (not really hardcore, sort of described by someone as post-punk alternative - whatever that means ...).

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 DVD#13   (Time: 31 min)

 

 

  • ( I taped this on 16. June, 1982, somewhere in the Lansing area)
  • The Crucif*cks
  • Whipping Boy
  • Minor Threat
  • The Meatmen

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 DVD#14   (Time: 30 min)    

 

Syntax: The Live Punk Show (taped on March 2, 1982); due to content matter, the cable commissioner requested a copy of the show for review; strangely enough, "technical difficulties" prevented us from providing such a copy, saying that equipment failure prevented us from taping the show; alas, we did have a tape, and here's probably the only surviving copy.   Primarily it consists of viewers calling in, along with videos of the Crucif*cks & The Meatmen.  Members of the Crucif*cks & some local punks, as well as the Syntax crew were present on the show.

 

 

===============================================================

DVD#15    (Time: 62 minutes)    

 

 

 

 

  • Punk & New Wave compilation featuring:
  • The Circle Jerks concert (Nov. 6, 1983)
  • Black Flag (Super8 film, w/some 35mm stills & the 6-pack song)
  • The Meatmen (the Lansing Public Access TV studio recordings)
  • The Crucif*cks (WELM-TV Studio recording, same as on DVD#8, but better quality)
  • Figures on a Beach (FOAB) (Live at Bunches Cafe)
  • The New Improved Zen Leisure Suits (WELM-TV Studio recording)
  • The Crucif*cks (Live at Bunches Cafe, Scott smashes his guitar)
  • Hammerslag (somewhere in Lansing)
  • The Nozones (predecessor to The Crucif*cks, featuring Steve Shelley [now with Sonic Youth] and Scott Fagerston)

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The ULTIMATE 15x DVD COLLECTION:      

 

 

 

(The entire collection of all 15 DVD's for only $99.00 + $12 shipping + sales tax if applicable). All 15 of the above DVD's (it's like getting 5 of them for free!   It takes me quite a few hours to prepare these, as all DVD's are only created as needed.  Note: shipping is for within the USA; if you reside outside of the USA, please contact me prior to ordering.

 

 

 

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Select the DVD's that you would like above (by clicking the "PayPal - Add to Cart" button next to each selection), then click here to view your cart and check out:

  (Note: you must have a PayPal account to finish the transaction; if not, you can easily & quickly open a PayPal account which will allow you to use your favorite credit card safely & securely).

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    Some Notes about the DVD's:

Most of the DVD’s in this compilation were originally aired as part of the (generally weekly) half-hour “HARDCORE” Public Access TV show on WELM-TV in East Lansing, Michigan during the early 1980’s; some individual songs were also shown on the half-hour "SYNTAX" show which I helped to produce.  

The bands gave permission to be videotaped during their performances in order to give them free publicity & exposure using Public Access TV as the medium.

The source material for the many of the DVD’s came from Vicki’s Betamax videotapes which were downloaded to a personal computer and then rendered to DVD media.   Some of the material was from my personal colllection as well.

The photographs on the some of the DVD labels were either taken by myself or are stills from the video performances.   Some (but not all) of the video camera work was by Vicki Sprague and myself.  Vicki was the main producer and editor of the "Hardcore" show; I was co-producer & editor of "Syntax".  Many thanks also to all the other uncredited people that were involved in these productions.

Generally speaking, the quality of the video equipment that was provided by the WELM Public Access TV studio was not that great; Panasonic video cameras and portable Sony betamax equipment that could barely be considered "broadcast" quality.   The audio feed was usually a basic microphone (either external or built into the camera).   That, coupled with the generally distorted sound mix of most hardcore bands made the audio less than desirable when listening through modern hi-fi sound systems.  Back then we only got to listen to the sound through rather tinny sounding 3” speakers in the editing room or on our TV’s.

All of the DVD's are recorded in the NTSC (USA) TV standard and are not region-encoded (ie: "region free" - meaning that they should play on any DVD player worldwide that is capable of reading NTSC encoded disks).   All DVD's have been tested on my own consumer DVD player to ensure that they work, however, there may be some older model DVD players which may have issues with DVD-R or DVD+R media.  If in doubt, try playing the DVD on a different player.

All DVD's have menu structures and feature standard DVD navigation methods; from the main screen use your remote control to go to the sub-menu by highlight the "down arrow" button then pressing select (or enter) on the remote.

-->  Gotta have one or all of these DVD's?  Feel free to order them by clicking on the "add to cart" buttons above, or contact me at "peter @ pcelias . com"  (copy the text between the quotes and remove the spaces - sorry, but I have do to this to keep the spammers at bay...)

 

 

 

Violent Apathy - Whoo Hoo song 1982

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