Michigan Punk Rock

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

Minority Derelict Wrestling Show II / SYNTAX

So what do you do when the excitement of living in a university dormitory just isn't enough?  Hm, let's see - how about producing a cable TV show ?

Sometime in the fall of 1980, during a class I took at MSU (Michigan State University), a woman named Stacey asked for some volunteers to help her with producing a cable TV show, something that might be useful experience if your major was "telecommunications" - which mine wasn't... but I figured it might be interesting!

So I went to the WELM-TV Public Access studio in East Lansing to see what it was about.  They (Stacey & Robin) needed some help running cameras and other assorted tasks while they were busy in front of the camera.  A couple of weeks later, I took Albin, one of my friends from Butterfield Hall (one of the dorms in the Brody dormitory complex) with me since he was interested in movie/video production.

At some point we started suggesting some skits that we could do for the show, which was at the time called the "Minority Derelict Wrestling Show II".  Yes, it was the successor to the original Minority Derelict Wrestling Show - which one of my roommates from the previous year was apparently involved with, although he only always told me that he was "going to the studio" (and I had never asked him what that meant) ...

Later that fall in 1980 and Winter 1981, we recruited a few more people from our dorm to participate, some lasted for quite a while (such as Tim K., Tim R. and the B. brothers) while others only one or several episodes (I remember a Julie, Jarl, etec).

Eventually Stacey & Robin lost interest (or perhaps our material was better than theirs?), we started transitioning the show to be called "Syntax" (but called it "MDWSII / Syntax" for a while).  The exact reason for the name Syntax escapes me at the moment, but I do remember that an orange was involved at the time...

The show was basically a poor-man's "Saturday Night Live" or "Friday's"; we had ideas and no budget (but we got to use the Studio for 2 hours for free each week and could rent out portable betamax video equipment on weekends).   We ended up having some regular segments such as "Roy & Virg", "News Update", "Cinetax", as well as musical interludes which ranged from live or studio band performances to simple shots of New Wave album covers with music in the background.

We did a variety of skits in and around Lansing, as well videotape (mostly punk) rock bands in various live settings (such as Bunches Cafe, Lansing Civic Players Hall, basements, even on top of a barn once, etc).  The biggest act I was able to tape was in 1983 when the Circle Jerks played at the Union Center (see the ticket stub on the main page).   I videotaped bands not just for our "Syntax" show, but also for the "Hardcore" show that Vickie S. ran.   We also had a couple a live show in the studio with the Crucif*cks, a show which aroused the attention of the Cable Commissioner due to the use of too many "f-words".  He wanted to see a copy of the tape of the show to review; we said it was a live show, and that we had "equipment malfunctions" that night, so sorry, but no tape....   Luckily the malfunction cleared up much later (hmm... ?!) and the tape is now available and has been transferred to DVD (see the main page near the bottom, it is DVD#14).

After 1983 and into early 1984 I was only sporadically involved with the show which had been taken over mostly by the B. brothers and a couple of other guys; unfortunately I do not have much footage from those days .... (maybe JB can unearth some tapes?).

The various bands whose muzak has been transferred to DVD's are available on the home page of this website.   I have taken the various betamax & VHS tapes which have our MDWS II & Syntax show episdoes and have transferred them to DVD.  Should anyone be interested in them, I've listed them below and can send them for a reasonable price that covers my cost to duplicate and mail them...; so no real profit involved here...).

Here's a couple of the few surviving photo stills that I took during the show:

In a bind !

The Reverend Max Lust

Usually our "Syntax News Update" segment was chaired by "Sid Vissage" (a take-off on Sid Vicious), but here you can see that Roy & Virg have taken over the set!



Syntax Episodes

Below is a listing of the MDWS II / Syntax episodes that I have on my personal tapes (beta & VHS) and that I have copied to DVD (in some cases, previous tape glitches have been cleaned up as well).  The listing shows the original broadcast dates (if known) for the show, as well as the episodes and the contents (my comments and 2¢ worth added where appropriate):



1) MDWS II / Syntax     (Broadcast dates:  Nov. 1980 to Jan. 1981)  


  • The Nozones (a band originally from Midland, featuring Jon Stauffer, Scott Fagersten and Steve Shelley)
  • Ludy's Lowdown with Glen Berkenheimer
  • MDWS II intro
  • Cecil Mackey House Tour (parody of Cecil Mackey, dean of Michigan State University at the time)
  • Ludy's Lowdown with Brian J. Airman
  • Study A Broad
  • Excited about the show
  • Hanging from Trees
  • Balcony with Albin
  • Resort sales
  • Hippy Intro



2) MDWS II / Syntax     (Broadcast Dates: Febr. - Mar. 1981)  

  • Hippy Stooges Intro
  • Face/Counterface: Ugly People
  • Venus
  • Precious
  • Bon Jour jumping
  • Hippy Buzz talk
  • Rock Around the Clock / At the Hop / Splish Splash  (ahh, the typical dormitory party at Butterfield Hall)
  • Hall Run
  • Roy & Virg: Ice Fishing
  • Roy & Virg: Miss Wide Mouth Bass
  • Ludy's Lowdown
  • Cold Turkey
  • Roy & Virg: 1st show (country bumpkins talk about stuff)
  • American Tap Water Association
  • Islamic Power Hour
  • Tom Quain - DJ
  • Alexanders Solgen
  • Roy & Virg: Tomato Soup
  • The Show sucks
  • Pat Clark:  Money movie (Pat Clark was one of the producers of the original Minority Derelict Wrestling Show)



3) MDWS II / Syntax     (Broadcast Dates:  Mar. - Jun. 1981)   

  • March 10, 1981
    • Hippy Stooges intro
    • Bonjour, Rock Around the clock
    • Roy & Virg: Ice Fishing
    • Abdulin fire (or how to set fire to your dorm room floor in the name of religion)
    • Monkey man
    • Face / Counterface
    • Auto Race
    • Graveyard  
    • Car appeal
  • April 7, 1981
    • German intro (ach Du Lieber, eine Einführung auf Deutsch!)
    • Maniac by the pond (1st sighting of the orange)
    • Orson Welles
    • Airplane, future
    • Mayonaisse
    • Roy & Virg: Regular Americans
    • Milton cemetary
    • Mr. Bill Goes to MSU movie (just like the Mr. Bill show from Saturday Night Live!; I've uploaded this to YouTube at www.youtube.com/pcelias60 )
    • Roy & Virg:  Miss Widemouth Bass (this was Robin)
    • Monkey
  • April 21, 1981
    • Fags talk
    • German intro
    • Producers talk
    • Guys discuss the floor (aftermath of the burnt floor)
    • Splish splash
    • Roy & Virg: Big flag
    • Amateur film
    • Pete's countdown / ZLS
    • Ring fight
    • Weirdos in trees
    • Sinbad
    • German nonsense
    • Alex Solgen
    • Hippy Buzz talk
    • Syntax burn (burn, baby, burn...)
  • June 2, 1981
    • Arab intro
    • Brodyfest (...the annual excuse to get drunk at the Brody dormitory complex)
    • Par Wars 8mm film (Star Wars with golf balls)
    • Krishna
    • Mick Jagger
    • Mouth & mustard
    • Roy & Virg: Commercial
    • Liebchen?



4) SYNTAX     (Broadcast dates:  May & Dec. 1981)  

  • May 5, 1981
    • German intro
    • Maniac by the pond
    • Slash intro
    • Chinese wrestling
    • Roy & Virg: Punk movie
    • Rothchild commercial
    • Lonely?
    • Magritte
    • AM E. Lansing
    • Study A Broad
    • Street interview
    • Shaving
    • Common Sense
    • Odd Show Dear?
    • Show appeal
    • Resort preview
  • May 19, 1981
    • French intro
    • Mouth
    • Gay disco wrestling
    • Slash Larrow interview
    • Reverend Max Lust
    • Nadir
    • Roy & Virg: DNR
  • December 1, 1981
    • Orange intro
    • City of trees
    • News Update with Sid Vissage & Ron McD.
    • Dumpster world
    • Roy & Virg: Hip DJ
    • Car troubles
    • City of trees
    • Albums
    • Andy Ruiny: Fast Food (Andy Rooney spoof)
    • Credits



5) SYNTAX     (Broadcast dates:  Jan. 1982) 

  • January 12, 1982
    • Figures on a Beach (a New Wave / Techno band)
    • Album covers
    • Hitler
    • Cut-out animation
    • Figures on a Beach
    • London 8mm movies
    • Figures on a Beach
    • Picture credits
    • Promo
  • January 19, 1982
    • News Update
    • Sharkey's machine
    • Roy & Virg: Pancakes at Home
    • Syntax Crew chairs
  • January 28, 1982
    • (bits for live show)
    • On the road with Roy & Virg
    • Cinetax: Apocalypse
    • 60 seconds with Andy Ruiny
    • Rev. Max Lust magazine ad
    • News Update with Tim R. & Jarl
    • Roy & Virge: Miss Bass kidnap
    • Jump'in with J.B.



6) SYNTAX     (Broadcast Date: Live, Jan. 1982)  

Live Show

  • Live with Albin & Tim
  • News Update with Sid Visage & Tom Quain, Ted Kurtz & White Mass phenomenon
  • Sinetax: Whose life is it anyway?
  • Roy & Virg:  Happy b-day Virg
  • Punk pickles
  • Dance Lesson #14
  • End Credits (photos)
  • From Meccas with Love
  • The Wrong Show with Tim, Tim & Albin
  • Graveyard skit



7) SYNTAX     (Broadcast dates:  Feb. 1982)   

  • February 2, 1982
    • Roy & Virg Live show
    • Cinetax: Apocalypse Now and Then
    • 60 seconds with Andy Ruiny
    • Reverend Max Lust magazine ads
  • February 9, 1982
    • New Update
    • Cinetax: Whose life is it anyway
    • Album covers
    • Beautiful world
    • Punk pickles
    • Dance Lesson #14
    • CH on Super8
    • Andy Ruiny: Prank calls
  • February 23, 1982
    • Phone call
    • Turning Japanese
    • Intro & Album covers
    • News Update
    • Roy G. Biv Show: Miss Bass
    • 60 seconds with Andy Ruiny
    • Enola Gay
    • American University of Abbreviation (AUA)
    • Rev. Max Lust: Thought for the Day
    • Vinnie Rake: Thought for the Day
    • Euro Gardens credits



 8) SYNTAX     (Broadcast dates: Apr. - May, 1982   

  • April 6, 1982
    • Live News Update with Tim
    • AUA
    • No eating allowed
    • Move Live News
  • April 13, 1982
    • Save MSU Telethon
    • Syntax Promo
  • April 20, 1982
    • Intro
    • Richard Prior
    • Virg: Hippy apartment
    • Album covers
    • Bandana skit (or what happens when you pull the bandana off a person's head)
    • Q&A for T&A
    • L-7 at Bunches (a punk band from Detroit featuring lead singer Larissa something-or-other)
    • Andy Ruiny bumper stickers
    • Ending Credits
  • May 25, 1982
    • Roy & Virg: Take over the News Update (see photo above!)
    • Something nice
    • More Live show
    • Words from the wisest of the wise
    • Syntax Breath
    • Public hair
    • Dr. Saul Psych
    • Clean up the Set!


9) SYNTAX     (Broadcast dates: May - Jun. 1982)    

  • May 18, 1982
    • Andy Ruiny: Live
    • News Update
    • Dr Saul Psych: Stages of Death
    • The Wrong Show & Tim sings
  • June 29, 1982
    • Intro
    • Figures on a Beach Live #1
    • News Update
    • Phone booth: Diamond rings
    • Figures on a Beach Live #2 (with Peter's Super8 footage of a hitchhiker)
    • CH on Super8 (stop motion & other Super8 film footage from Switzerland)
    • Phone Booth: Ain't that a shame
    • Ending credits
    • Words from the wisest of the wise
    • Phone booth:  Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
    • From Mecca with love
    • Ending credits
  • Syntax Islamic Power Hour
    • Live Islamic Power Hour
    • News Update
    • More Islamic power hour
    • Cinetax: Request for Fire
    • Yet More Islamic Power Hour
    • Arabic TA
    • The Last of Islamic Power Hour


10) SYNTAX     (Broadcast dates:  Sep. 1982 - Fall 1983)  

  • September 1982 segments:
    • Narcolepsy (yawn, this skit makes me fall asleep... get it?  That's a joke son...)
    • News Update
    • Cinetax: Big Brick Thing
    • On Hidden Camera
    • Kick-fence with gun
    • Phone booth
    • Archery lesson #14
    • Actualities
    • Take it to another room
    • Mr. Nice
  • October 1982 segments:
    • Hard hat music
    • Strohs Nervosa
    • Flying Tigers (Rockabilly band featuring Jan James, taped at Dooley's Bar - alas no more...)
    • News Update
    • Rod Luv & Hung Lo
    • Professional BS
    • Mrs. Spondo (... is it a boy or a girl?) 
    • Queen of Hearts Deoderant
    • Rock Update
    • Flying Tigers
    • Cinetax:  Halloween IV
    • The Confession
    • Dr. Saul Psych
  • Fall 1983 segments:
    • Tiskel & Egburt
    • Towering Burno
    • Mr. T's in DC Cabba
    • The Tennis Court
    • Candid Camera
    • Chef Roy RD
    • Hang 10
    • Gay Taster's Choice
    • Dirty Larry
    • Pulsar 6000
    • Musical mikestands
    • Believe it or don't
    • Talk Back TV
    • Road Kill Q&A
    • Romancing the Stone
    • Road Kill
    • The tapes of wrath



11) SYNTAX     (Broadcast dates: 1982 to 1983)    

  • Various segments from 1982 to 1983
    • Knife intro
    • Cinatax: Unordinary People
    • Commercial roulette
    • Whole-wheat Maxi-thins
    • Floor excercise
    • News Update & PointerCount
    • Ending credits


12) SYNTAX - Pete's Best     

  • Compilation of my favorite segments (mostly ones I produced by myself)
    • Pure Gas (old abandoned gas station on Pine River Road)
    • The Garden (the Dow Gardens)
    • Autobahn (...means freeway in German)
    • Tape Attack (revenge of the magnetic tape...)
    • Moon of the (Circle) Jerks (big-time punk rock comes to MSU)
    • Floor Excercise (b&w gymnastics footage with sarcastic commentators)
    • Driving Around (good thing the parents never got to see this footage!)
    • The Confession (good thing I don't smoke no more...)
    • Enola Gay
    • The Bandana Skit (or what happens when you pull the bandana off someone's head....


All 12 of the above Syntax shows, plus a bonus episode (#13 below) for only $ 99.00 + postage


13) SYNTAX - Live Show  

The infamous live show featuring members of the band "The Crucif*cks" (Doc Dart and his cousin & Scott Fagersten), along with Mary (girlfriend of Scott, the bass guitarist) and Gloria ("Glo") Branzei, as well as the regular Syntax cast members Albin, Peter & Tim.   This tape was rumored to not exist due to "technical malfunctions" (it was after all a live show) when the Cable Commissioner requested to review it due excessive use of foul language (both spoken and on-screen).  30 minutes with studio performances by the band.   See Punk DVD# 14 on the main page.

Want some punk rock or new wave to go with this?   If yes, select some muzak DVD's from the main page.

All prices include shipping within the USA; DVD's are in USA NTSC television format and are not region encoded.   Sorry, can't ship these outside the USA.

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