No Alternative

No Alternative

Johnny Genocide: I started playing the Mab when I was 16. My first show there was an audition during an afternoon sound check. My bandmates were so nervous that they drank themselves into passing out. I ended up getting onstage with three guys I didn’t know, who felt sorry for me. They got up there and said, “Just start yelling into the microphone and move around like Iggy.” That’s what I did. Those guys were the members of the Dead Boys. Dirk stood there and screamed at me for five minutes straight, telling me I was the least talented human being on the face of the earth. As if he had heard every human on the planet sing. As his bouncers were throwing me out the front door, he came up and told me to get a band together, and I could do the Tuesday night opening slot.

Max Volume: China Wagon in Sacramento, a Chinese restaurant with no special facilities for punk rock. We were on the bill. No Alternative, Naked Lady Wrestlers. You can just imagine what it was like, people trying to eat their Chinese dinner with Johnny Genocide blaring in their ear.

Johnny Genocide: The band self-destructed because of my love affair with myself. Jeff and Greg did everything to keep the band together, but in the end, I alienated the band and ended up on the downward drug spiral. I had no money and no place to go. When I hit bottom, I found salvation in education. I got bored and decided to go back to college.

I was working at a cabinet shop at Hunters Point and there was an illegal fireworks factory in the basement. The complex blew up. I ended up with 3rd degree burns on 35% of my body, two broken legs, broken back, and three fingers blown down to the bone. I had to learn how to walk and play guitar all over again. I spent about a year in rehab, and a year in a wheelchair. Not a great two years of my life.

As long as kids are willing to start bands and learn their instruments as they go along, punk will never end. With the advent of computer software for recording and studio technology that allows professional quality recording with a home PC, the DYI punk spirit gets a bit blurred. However, I really don’t think it ever ended, just transformed a bit. It’s all simple rock and roll. They called it rockabilly in the 1950s for example. Thankfully there is still punk because the majority of kids today are rehashing fashion and music that was created by someone else decades ago.

I still cannot believe that our music appeals to the youngsters. It’s amazing, they’re all 15 and 16 years old. It’s really cool. The kids have sophisticated tastes in music. Look at their myspace page music categories, you’ll see old blues artists, old country singers. They give me some faith regarding the future of music.

I definitely feel my age sometimes. It’s hard to believe that it’s been thirty years. Hey, I’ve become the old dude at the clubs I used to make fun of.

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