JUNK RECORDS' SHOWCASE OF SLEAZE
By Bob Calhoun (HITLIST MAGAZINE)
JUNK RECORDS CMJ SHOWCASE With The Dragons, Texas Terri + the Stiff Ones,B-Movie Rats, Street Walkin' Cheetahs, Hellbenders
Sat 9/16/2000 at The Fillmore, SF
Texas Terri, with her bright red-orange hair, cuts a menacing figure as she writhed and screamed on stage at the venerable Fillmore in San Francisco.Backed by her band, The Stiff Ones, she unleashed a barrage of punk nastiness on her audience. Her voice was filled with gravel and venom. She ripped off her shirt to reveal her nipples were covered by electrical tape making her look like a freaked out hostage, but she was the one in control and the grand old ballroom was her captive. This venue was once the epicenter of psychedelic musical rebellion in the late 60's when hippies could still be angry and not just obsessed with granola, sprouts and new age mumbo jumbo. Where loud, screaming guitars were once synonymous with the name Fillmore, today the rock and roll rabble rousing brought on by the Junk Records showcase featuring such unabashed acts as Texas Terri, The Dragons, The B-Movie Rats, and the Street Walkin' Cheetahs, seemed in stark contrast to what the place has become. Like the radicals that used to ingest drugs, experiment with free love and crank up the echoplex, the ageing concert hall has mellowed and sold out with age. The old hippies now live in Marin and make 6 figure salaries and The Fillmore is part of a gigantic conglomerate that overcharges for tickets, smashes all spontaneity by running shows on a tight schedule and prefers safe acts like Tom Petty or Sheryl Crow. The musical mayhem brought on by the assembly of trash rockers on September 16, 2000 was a strychnine laced acid flashback to the kind of ruckus that put the Fillmore on the map in the first place.
The crowd seemed small in contrast to the expanse of the dance floor but they were loud and ready to rock. Sure, this show may have been a little misbooked with The Dragons forced to headline such a big hall, but the city of San Francisco has been hell bent to turn all of its mid-sized venues into office space. One can only wonder how crazed this event would have been had it been held in the tighter confines of the recently kaput Cocodrie or Transmission Theater. Both clubs have recently been converted into dot com cubicles. But hell, The Dragons rocked, Texas Terri rocked, the Rats rocked and the Street Walkin' Cheetahs can't help but tear it up no matter what the circumstances.
San Diego's The Dragons attacked their set with unrestrained energy. They were headliners damn it, and they acted like it. Their new album "Rock Like Fuck" combines punk intensity with pop edged old school rock and roll and that's what they gave their loyal fans that night. When the punk movement started 70's, it dragged rock back into the gutter by returning it to its simpler and trashier roots. That is what the Junk Records roster delivers in spades. Sure, punker purists might cringe at the Motley Crue/LA glam influences that all of these bands display, but to everyone else it's all in the attitude baby. Every band that took the stage at the Fillmore that night had the swagger and rebellious nature that make both hard rock and punk rock meaningful.
Moments of sheer, unadulterated insanity broke out as the show went on. An underaged girl in a catholic school skirt grabbed Texas Terri and kissed her feverishly not wanting to let go. Lou Carus, the business suit wearing impresario behind the Junk records empire of sleaze watched this unrestrained display of human sexuality with a devilish grin on his bespectacled face. It was moments like this that made running an indie record label all worth it despite the disappointing gate. Sure, Carus wants to rake in the dough and promote his bands to an ever-expanding audience, but he is also in the business of accelerating our society's moral breakdown and he delights in this role. Finally, even Terri had enough of this spontaneous make out session and security pried the Britney Spears wannabe away. "You rock, you fucking rock. I love you." The young redhead in ponytails, arms outstretched towards Terri, pleaded as she was carried off towards the door. It was this kind of spontaneous human combustion that transformed the Fillmore from just another concert hall into an American icon all of those years ago. For a brief moment, the guitar crunch of Junk Records brought it all back. That's the way I want my rock and roll.