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:
We also had a bunch of other bands come through the Lansing area during that time (1981 - 1984), such as:
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!
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.
DVD#2: (Time: 2:05 hrs)
DVD#3: (Time: 2:50 hrs)
DVD#4: (Time: 23 min)
DVD#5: (Time: 60 min)
DVD#6: (Time: 48 min)
The Crucif*cks compilation with performances from:
DVD#7: (Time: 60 min)