A.C. Thompson: The List was so out there. You always had to get The List. It was a 5×8 sheet that listed “funk, punk, thrash, ska” shows for the coming month.
Ben Sizemore: Now it’s online, but back then it was “Dude, gimme The List!”
Andy Asp: It was amazing, his foresight. To hear about other venues somewhere in Davis or Benicia. Nobody had computers then. He actually would print out the list and photocopy them, then deliver them for free. He did a real service in connecting those people. He brought the internet out on the street.
A.C. Thompson: Steve, the List Guy, would be out there — rotund and bald — handing it out. He’d have it in a big, burlap satchel and he’d hand them out to people. That was important currency.
Jeffrey Bischoff: Most bands loved him ‘cause he was at every show and he worked hard at it.
Ben Sizemore: If your band had a show, you want to make sure it was in The List. Besides putting flyers up on Telegraph. If you got into The List, you know it was going to actually get put in someone’s hand.
Aaron Cometbus: Steve List became a more recognizable part of the scene than any of the bands.
A.C. Thompson: You’d be like, “Wow, that’s the old dude who hangs out. Either that’s really cool, or that’s kind of creepy.”
Ben Sizemore: I have this myth in my head that he’s this sort of crazy Vietnam vet guy. I don’t know if that’s true. He’s the nicest guy in the world.
Steve List: Some people have been reading it for ten or 15 years. It’s kinda fun. It’s a good hobby, a good service. It’s a lot of work and time. I probably spend about eight to ten hours a week on it.
Davey Havok: I remember sitting there looking at The List, and just being like, “Fuck. Skinny Puppy is playing with Godflesh right now at the Warfield, and I’m 15 and can’t drive. And no one will take me, and it’s a school night, and my parents will fucking kill me. And the Damned are coming? Oh my god, the Damned are coming, and they’re playing the Kennel Club. And I can’t go, even if I could get there, because it’s 21 and over!”
Regina Deloria: When we first laid eyes on this piece of paper we about crapped our pants.
Steve List: I grew up in El Sobrante, I didn’t get much into punk until maybe the late ‘80s, when I went to Gilman and Primus was playing, and from then on I was hooked.
I started the list in 1990. I was probably 37. A lot older than the typical punk rocker. I saw different zines around. Aaron Elliot was doing Cometbus. So I just sat down and started makin’ a list on my computer. I emailed it out to a few friends, and it just grew from there.
There was a lot of people on Unix operating system. I had my account on UC Berkeley’s computer, and I got complaints because when I was emailing out the list, it actually slowed down the campus computer system.
Andy Asp: Steve was the first guy that ever told me about the internet. And I was like, whatever, dude. At that time the internet to me was like a cyclotron. It was like something at Lawrence Livermore Lab.
Steve List: I’d email the computer version, and I’d also cram all that information on a double-sided sheet of paper. It was always one sheet.
A.C. Thompson: It had tiny, tiny type.
Steve List: I’d print 1,500 copies a week at Punks With Presses, leave a stack at Gilman, and then pass them out. It was kind of fun. You got mobbed sometimes.
Bands find out about The List and email me, and I’ll put ’em on it. I don’t care what the show is. As long as they’re close to funk/punk/thrash/ska/hardcore.
Alternative or independent bands, nobody pays attention to ’em too much. If I list their name in there, at least they’ve got their name in print someplace. A lot of people say thanks, or get me into shows for free. Gilman years ago actually voted so I’d get on the guest list for free, until they revoke it.
From Gilman alone I’ve probably got over a thousand flyers stashed away in binders. About once a year, they have like a Historical Day at Gilman and I bring those in with copy machines. A lot of people want copies of the first show they went to.
Aaron Cometbus: In the early ‘90s punks just couldn’t keep still. They were traveling everywhere. Hopping trains, flying planes, building boats. It was like a fever. Or a contest to see who could come up with a plan that most defied common sense. Ride bikes across the desert without water? Cool!
Jux [from Punks with Presses] won hands down by deciding to enter the Balkans on foot, right at the moment there was a war breaking out on every front. He walked right into an approaching army. The soldiers thought he was a foreign spy. His story didn’t make any sense. In his pocket, they found a copy of The List. There were dates and acronyms and words the soldiers couldn’t decode — apparently military maneuvers!
They were about to shoot him on the spot when a higher-up with a better understanding of English intervened, and told Jux to just get the fuck out of the country. He was pretty freaked out by the whole thing, but just glad it was over. Then waiting for him at the airport when he landed were two men in suits and sunglasses, curious about what he’d been doing in the middle of a war zone. CIA. And the whole interrogation process began again.
Steve List: In the East Bay, it’s common to have ten all-ages shows goin’ on a Friday night or Saturday night. There’s a lot of spaces happening. Gilman, Hazmat Warehouse, West Oakland Pine Street, there’s 12th Street or 21 Grand. The Stork Club and the Uptown. The East Bay Rats’ Clubhouse, they do shows about once a month.
I got a little over 1,600 people that subscribe to it directly. I don’t print it up anymore at all. The last ones I printed were four-point type, and it was pretty hard to read.
# # #