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80s Fresno Punk Scene History
Steve Daniels-Drums-Harsh Reality and Circus Bogus.
I don’t want to exaggerate, it wasn’t some sort of punk rock paradise. But for some, 80s Fresno punk was a once in a lifetime convergence of people and events. There were suddenly new opportunities to play gigs, record, put out a fanzine or start up a record label. And with the support of a dependable audience and the camaraderie of other bands it was, looking back kind of magical. It was happening all over the world. Punk bands from near and far came by to play our DIY, all-ages hall shows in Fresno. There was fan mail, interviews, mail order sales and even fan adulation: things that every musician wants.
I have to admit, some of it was just timing. We just happened to be there during a spontaneous expansion of a rock sub-genre, a grass-roots reaction to big-time rocknroll. But there were some people in the music biz that watched as we built the punk scene out of nothing that periodically declared punk dead. But, we continued on year after year putting on shows and they continued to deny our existence. But by the mid-90’s, after they saw how effective our system was they began to mimic us: All-ages hall shows, a regular rotation of acts both local and national, flyering and the DIY ethic. Even the major labels got into it with labels, distribution and promotion made to look just like an independent.
Our music was louder, faster and shorter. We had a clear goal and headed directly to it. The Hardcore '84 Fresno Compilation and the bands on it illustrate that punk ethic. No matter if you didn’t have good gear or didn’t know how to play well. We just did it and hoped that someone would come up with something entertaining. And some did come up with some fantastic entertainment! We learned truths like listening to those payola pop stars on commercial rock radio would never light the way. And we found out that there was actually a much bigger and more rewarding audience outside of arena rock or the bar-band scene. It was a great ride and it's fun to peer into our punk rock past from time to time.
Dale Stewart email@example.com