Expect the gutter punks lounging outside Off the Record to double their efforts to get your spare change the next few weeks. Not only do the poor sods need to maintain their daily intake of five-dollar Jamba Juices, delectable pastries from the Coffee Bean and premium-grade OxyContin, but now they gotta worry about affording the unheard-of $25 tickets to see seminal punk band The Exploited at Wabash Hall in North Park on Sept. 19.
I love "Sex and Violence" as much as the next guy, and though I can't tell you who the hell the "SPG" is, I'd fuck 'em. True Exploited fans would also have you fuck religion, mods, the system and the U.S.A., per song titles. Yet in light of this current display of greed, I'd have to add "Fuck Washed-Up So-Called Punk Bands Who Take Lessons on Setting Ticket Prices from Don Henley" to The Exploited's canon.
When the price of the show was announced, more than a few local music enthusiasts screamed for the blood of one JJAy Brawley, the self-styled music promoter who booked the now-defunct Club Xanth and Skateboard Heaven. Brawley has brought a rash of stellar late-'70s/early-'80s British punk bands (i.e. The Subhumans, 999, Slaughter and the Dogs, etc.) through town over the last several months.
Among other complaints, San Diego punk fans charge Brawley with inflating ticket prices for personal gain, as if he fancies himself some big-time rock promoter. While such seedy conduct is expected in the world of mainstream rock 'n' roll, it is tantamount to heresy in the world of punk. To his credit, Brawley was extremely forthcoming and honest when I grilled him about The Exploited show and some of his other productions.
Brawley says he is not at liberty to divulge The Exploited's guarantee, but did say "it's expensive, and the most amount of money I have ever had to guarantee a band." He also listed a long list of expenses ranging from sound system and hall rental to parking lot attendants and, of course, promoter profit.
"The expenses of the show demand the price and the price was set by the booking agent of the headlining band," Brawley explained. "I do believe he was trying to keep the ticket price the same at all the shows in every city. The price was calculated after adding the expenses and agreed-upon profit margins. The booking agent pretty much decided how much he would allow me to make on this show."
Brawley says he pays himself $10 an hour and by show time will have invested 120 hours.
Ticket prices are indeed in line with the band's appearances in Orange County and Los Angeles, though some other national dates linger closer to $15. Yet The Galaxy Theater and The Key Club are legitimate venues, not merely rental halls, and as such have a higher overhead. In a word, while some might expect a $25 tag at a place like 4th and B, it seems out of line at an underground hall show.
Some will no doubt suck it up and slap down the cash to see The Exploited. Others refuse, be it out of principal or personal disdain for Brawley's productions. Some resent the fact he had an exclusive booking agreement with Skateboard Heaven, and some refuse to pay $10 for bills arguably no bigger or better than free shows at Scolari's, The Muse or any number of venues a stone's throw from Wabash.
Whether the blame lies on a promoter with questionable street cred or money-grubbing British punks, one thing is certain: the real Exploited at Wabash Hall will be the music fans.
Sex is cheap, open heart surgery ain't
The "Sex, Brats and Rock 'n' Roll" tour by '77-style street punk revivalists Cheap Sex came to an abrupt end Friday, July 25, when the band was involved in a serious accident outside Harrisburg, Penn. According to singer Mike Virus, the trailer behind their tour van collided with an empty pick-up truck, which was loaded with cinder blocks and parked on the side of the freeway unattended. The van spun out of control and was hit by a semi. The ruthless mothertrucker didn't stop, even after the collision.
Two of the band's members suffered minor injuries, but guitarist Johnny O was seriously hurt when one of the cinder blocks flew into the van and hit his chest, tearing his aorta. He was in critical condition and in intensive care for several days, but his condition has since stabilized and, says bassist Derek Dolls, he's recovering nicely.
Upon hearing the news, several members of the San Diego music community mobilized to set up a benefit show in the near future to help cover the cost of medical bills and the band's equipment, which was destroyed in the accident.
The band released their first full-length album, Launch Off to War, on July 7 and is next scheduled to play locally at the aforementioned Exploited show. Brawley says he talked to Virus last week and the band is confident they will make the date.
We're glad to hear they're doing better and wish them a speedy recovery. Benefit plans are still up in the air-we'll keep you posted. Wait a minute, idea forming... hmmm... opening for The Exploited, D.I.Y, badly-needed benefit, supporting local music, big-time rock promoter fee, take 120 and carry the zero...
Shake, rattle and assume the lotus position
News of irony's death has yet to reach the world of rock 'n' roll, at least not local singer-songwriters-cum-yogis Steve Poltz and Anya Marina.
The duo, both students at Bikram's Yoga College of India in La Jolla, held a special performance there last Saturday. For $15, fans were admitted into the show and received a voucher for a free class. They likely got their money's worth, as the price of admission included free beer and wine and, as Marina describes it, one of Poltz's more interesting performances.
"Steve did yoga while performing a cover of TLC's Waterfalls. It was frightening and not necessarily performed as Bikram would've intended," she explained, saying nothing of how T-Boz, Chilli and the late Left Eye would feel.
"Steve is really into Bikram and has transformed himself into quite a rock-hard rocker," Marina said. "I am a slacker yogi, going only once or twice a week lately."