In 1983, I was a sophomore in high school and I went to the Jockey Club for a Negative Approach show. Going there the first time, being a kid who couldn’t even drive, I saw bands that to me were like seeing the Stones or The Beatles or The Who or Pink Floyd. To have access to that was pretty phenomenal. Even then you knew that something like this wasn’t going to happen again.
There were a lot of big shows. Seeing The Ramones at a place like that was just mind-blowing. One of the greatest shows was The Cramps [in 1986]. I remember [the singer] Lux Interior took the mic stand and pounded a hole in the ceiling. This asbestos tile was falling on him and he had drenched himself in cheap red wine so it just stuck to him. Of course, he [later] died of cancer, but it was a hell of a show, I’ll tell you that.
The first time I went down there, I’m sitting in line—this little, pale, red-haired sophomore. They have to know I’m not 21. And I get up there and they say, Alright, Negative Approach tonight, five dollars. I need to see ID. I just froze. I get out my wallet, even though I don’t have an ID, and for some reason I pull out my Radio Shack Battery Club card and hand it to them. They say, Alright, looks good, enjoy the show. If the cops come, the door’s in the back. More than one time the cops came in and everyone just walked out. We went to our cars, sat there for 45 minutes, and then walked back in. —Darren Blase, Co-owner, Shake It Records
Illustration by Kathryn Rathke
Originally published in the October 2011 issue.