Punk Rock Changed Our Lives: A Contest of Wiles.


The revolution succeeded.  Punk rock set out to blatantly broadcast anyone with a voice full of something to say. The bands came down from the pedestal and got sloppy with their fans, and the fans ran home to start their own bands, and we are living happily ever after because of it.

My favorite flavor during the glorious revolutionary days of the late eighties was Minutemen. Mike Watt toiled forward to form fIREHOSE from the ashes, and the top photograph is visual evidence with ed fROMOHIO sporting one of our shirts. Margaret Griffis was there, that night at Churchills in Miami. Today, however, we have video.


That is correct, Tim Irwin’s righteous documentary “We Jam Econo” is now available on iTunes. You don’t even need to get up from your chair. Click that link in the first sentence, or use this keen little button right here:

The Story of the Minutemen

Of course accessibility is only the first step in the punk rock revolution still ragin’ full-on in the eyes and ears of human kind. Then, you must participate.

Thanks to the lovely Jessica at New Video, you get to do just that – with a contest. Here at Full Body Transplant we are proud to announce that the winner of this month’s Pioneer-o-thon will receive a code good for one free download of “We Jam Econo”. The movie shreds the senses, puts you in the passenger’s seat with Watt for the birth of SST records, and soothes the soul with an acoustic Corona.  You don’t want to miss it.

How do you win? Simple.  Tell us a true story about a time you Did It Yourself. When did you create instead of consume? When did you get right up in the face of your greatest rock hero and slap the sweat from the hand? When did you make your messy little mark on history, the way no one else ever could?

Punk rock is not just about music, and “We Jam Econo” is evidence. Watt talks about the way it works in every waking moment of a life. It’s an eye-set. A perspective. We want to hear yours.

Tell us about the best punk show you ever saw. Tell us about the best clothes you ever wore. Tell us about writing your own song, inventing your own method, telling your own story. Tell us about a time you beat someone in a game of Vs. System by using a card that no one else would be caught dead running. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just tell us how you did things yourself.

In three weeks we will choose a winner. Post your story in the comments, or send an email to: fullbodytransplant@dadeschools.net

In the meantime, we will tell our own punk rock war tales here in the comment section between each contest entry. Tell us your version, and jump for the chance to win the free download of “We Jam Econo” from iTunes. The revolution succeeded, and the party is on.


(That’s obviously Meat Puppets, wearing the best shirt I ever painted. Story to follow in the comments…)


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20 responses to “Punk Rock Changed Our Lives: A Contest of Wiles.

  1. So the Meat Puppets were coming back to Miami in late 1988, and we were painting shirts by hand in response. It worked every time… create outrageous shirts, find the band before the show, say hey and ask them to trade shirts.

    That way we got to watch the show with our heroes wearing our art.

    Margaret Griffis was there for the evidence:

    meat puppets 1988

    I remember trading away the three shirts I had in my hands, and the one in the photograph was on my body, and I wanted one of their tour shirts, and I offered the shirt off my back, and Curt said “That one is AVAILABLE?” He couldn’t believe it.

    I have so many stories to tell from those days. Damn, I have been blessed by a wicked rich life.

    Now you. Tell us a time you made your mark, no matter where, no matter when.

  2. Eva

    It was one of the last times to see the Ramones in their full glory-but the Ramones were always in Dallas. So other bands, who came through less often, always took attention.

    That night I left the Ramones show to see the Rollins Band (I’m sure Henry himself would tell me I’m a dumbfuck for that). Within a year, Joey died, and wtf? Why see the Ramones after that?

    So half a dozen half-shows, but never a full concert. The last time I had the chance, I was wearing Boy London-a dress with eyelet tags up the front and zipper sleeves, with white BOY LONDON black logo label tights.

    I’ve encountered many rock legends, and never smacked any one-I’ve never been that kinda girl. But missing Joey when I did so of my own idiocy will piss me off forever…

  3. Thanks Eva. Good times, even if they were only half shows! Dallas must have been smokin’ during those days.

    Once Henry Rollins was in town (1987) for a poetry reading in the local record store before the Black Flag gig. We are down here in Miami, so he was wet and rank from the summer heat. I had propped up one of my paintings on the stacks to make sure he would see it and as he walked past me I was beaming with pride.

    He patted his armpit to release more stench and said “Oh yeah? Smell THIS.”


  4. fegs66

    I rememember in ’87 going to see Sonic Youth at the “Mardis Gras” (A very Small 200 ish people venue in Nottingham UK) . It was on the “Sister” tour and the support band was “Firehose” I’d never heard of them, but had it on good authority from a friend of mine that they were well worth a look! Off we went to the “mardis gras” it wasn’t that busy and we even paid on the door (imagine that nowadays!). I wedged myself somewhere in the middle but before the band came on I kept having my view obscured by the rather tall guy in front (bearing in mind i’m 6ft tall this doesn’t happen very often). Eventually I gave up and stood at the side of the tall guy to get a better view, “firehose” came on and they were amazing, I turned round and the “tall guy” asked me what I thought of them, I cant remember my exact answer as it was so long ago, but it was at this point I got a good look at the “tall guy” and realised I was speaking to Thurston Moore!

  5. Oh man fegs, that is sublime. Mad props.

    That tour was so intense, and it was our first meeting with Mike Watt. Get this.

    Bill was sitting backstage after fIREHOSE had played, before Sonic Youth went on. Watt’s bass was leaning against the wall right next to him. It was plastered with stickers and scribbles, but Bill had no pen. He pulled out his pocket knife.

    “Watt!”, Bill cried, pointing to the guitar with the knife.

    “Hell yes!”, Watt agreed to the carving.

    We carved our AFM logo in Watt’s bass, and got to see it on the back of the next fIREHOSE album cover.

    Still gives me chills.

  6. I remember going to Brooklyn my first year of college to see a pop-punk show, I’d just started going down there after being introduced to a dude who ran awesome DIY all-ages shows there in a Temple.

    Anyway, Sugarcult were supposed to play. Yes, that band Sugarcult, the “Stuck In Amerca” band who were on MTV for like 5 minutes. The show wore on and on, I hung out with a few people I hadn’t seen in ages and randomly run into there, and soon (it was a Sunday night) the guys running the whole thing apparently realized our alloted time in the basement of this Jewish temple in Brooklyn was almost up, as some sort of lightning-fast games of Bingo or some shit like that was supposed to go down. Let me tell you, those old ladies were hardcore.

    Sugarcult still weren’t there, for some reason. Everything from “they heard it was too late” to “they apparently got stranded in Staten Island” was floating through the crowd, until someone got up on stage and said “OK, here’s the plan guys…”

    We had to leave. But, if we were willing to wait, there was a chance that the show could finish, because Sugarcult were on their way, having gotten lost in New Jersey trying to find an exit off the turnpike into New York. The show would be going on apparently on the lawn of the Temple.

    The scene; A quiet neighborhood in Brooklyn, a couple hundred annoying punk kids milling about. A van and trailer roar up to the curb and some guys in skinny ties hop out and start unloading. Before I knew it, this band who were on TV, apparently a major label, and had even managed to score a coveted position on a major motion picture soundtrack (“National Lampoon’s Van Wilder”…don’t ask how I know that), were set up on a patch of grass with some stolen carpets and a generator thrown down, starting up a set.

    I will declare my love of bands like Fugazi, Lifetime, HWM, and Latterman anywhere and any time, but seeing this super-poppy and super-“sellout” band (or whatever the kids say) have no problem playing one of my most memorable shows on a lawn in Brooklyn with no qualms or complaining, it was incredible. The neighbors came out and watched, I actually sang along, someone jumped off a front porch into the crowd, and even when the cops showed up, they let the band finish their (admittedly short) set.

    Sugarcult came back to NY a month or so later to play an actual venue, and when they mentioned the incident between songs I laughed because I remembered it, and when I talked to them after the show they laughed when I told them it was the best show I’d ever seen.

    To this day I’ve never seen anything like that at any of the shows I’ve been too, and I’ve been to a lot. It was one of those moments where I stopped feeling old and jaded and realized the power of the kind of music that I’d put my heart and soul into. I’ve had other similar moments like that since then but being out on that patch of grass on a warm Sunday night in Brooklyn, nothing will ever really top that.

    • Holy christ on a cracker. The Temple. That’s hilarious– I used to go to that place every Saturday night, practically, when I was in high school. Thanks for that. We saw so many interesting bands over the years there– Yidcore, Autopilot Off, The Nerve… it was actually a fairly decent gathering area. It’s a shame it’s a co-op now.

  7. Fabulous memory. Thanks.

    Only got to see Fugazi once, but I remember Ian stopping the show on a dime to do some crowd control.

    “If you’re gonna fight..” he screamed into the pit, “… we aren’t going to play.”


  8. fegs66

    Brilliant, I remember Mike’s bass very well, absolutely covered in stickers and boy could he play it ! Happy Days indeed.



    JUST DID FUN FEST IN AUSTIN TEXAS. I GOT TO SIT IN ON DRUMS WITH THE BOUNCING SOULS, KEVIN SECONDS FROM 7 SECONDS DOING I’M GOING TO STAY YOUNG TIL I DIE. i don’t know if that’s the correct title..i was there working for bad brains.guitar tech’n..cro mags ripped it..bouncing souls are always great live.. wanna big up rival schools…
    ran into to joeY from D.O.A…ian mckaye and henry rollins in dc at a bad brains show,..we’re all connected thru someone in punk rock.

    the ultimate click.

    big ups to austin texas and crew for put’n on that fest..i’ll be there next year fer sure..


  10. Yep. Watt sent this link to his whole mailing list.

    The party has gone worldwide.


  11. In 1988, I believe, Firehose came to Baton Rouge, and performed PE’s “Sophisticated Bitch”, among many other tracks. Not too long after that, Rollins Band performed at Leo’s Rockin’ Roller Rink, and instead of an opening act, they played the first Public Enemy CD. Punk and rap were officially married.

    Twenty years later, and I’m somewhat known as a nerd rapper with a punk/metal attitude, and I broke a new genre of music internationally. Gotta love that.

  12. If you guys want to see something really twisted, check out the fusion of Watt and superhero trading card games:


    Sick stuff.

  13. I met John and Kevin in the Winter 1977. In ’78 we formed the Urinals and by Thanksgiving weekend we recorded our first EP with Vitus Matare running the four track reel-to-reel. No one would touch our recordings so we formed our own record company – Happy Squid Records. We pooled our money and had 1oo records pressed up. Sold them at gigs and store to store on consignment.

    When they sold out, we did the same thing with our next EP and the next. Changed our name to 100 Flowers, released two more EPs and an album, all on Happy Squid. We didn’t need anything fancy – two chords and we had a song.

    We fed off the punk scene and all the great bands we saw and played with including D.Boon, Watt & Hurley, the Last, Black Flag, Meat Puppets, the Bags plus too many others to mention. We couldn’t have made it work without them. Special shout out to the “Fourth Urinal” – Vitus M.

  14. Sean

    I loved everyones stories, they are so telling of a time that was, and is, so special to me and one that continues on very strongly.
    Mine is about promoting a Nation of Ulysses show in Fargo, ND. I was under eighteen and my friend who was promoting shows had left town. So the reigns were left in my hands. As a minor I had to promote a punk show, rent a venue, rent a sound system, and try to keep it all under control so it wouldn’t get shut down.
    N.O.U. and friends had stolen a box of m-80’s and showed up for the show very tired. Still one of the best punk shows I have ever seen, godheadSilo was throwing m-80’s at N.O.U. while they were playing the Elk’s lodge and the 500+ kids went ape shit!
    Every band got paid, and well. I took nothing but what it cost me to put it on and to pay two “security” people that I picked out $20 a piece and $14 for flyers. and this was all financed by a friend stealing his aunt’s cash card. and he never went to jail, for that.

  15. Here’s a true moment of inspiration that comes direct from Mr. Watt himself. Back in’92, I was 20, going to Art school at San Jose State, and finding myself in new bloom artistically…. I had always loved music, and dancing, and could “feel” the sway of the rhythm, but I never picked an instrument.

    That year, tragedy struck my family in the form of a car crash, involving my 17 -year-old sister. She rolled a convertible without a seat belt. After a Life-Flight emergency helicopter to Stanford Hospital, and 24 hours of being in a coma, her massive head trauma forced a grim prognosis. She was euthanized shortly after the hospital’s meeting with my family.

    After weeks as a shut-in, and not knowing how to deal with the grief, and make sense of her death, I got a call from my longtime martial arts instructor, who was a father figure to me. He urged me to go out and live my life again. He pointed out that I couldn’t change what had happened, and that my sister would never want me to withdraw.

    I saw his wisdom, and took my friends invitation to go see one of my favorite bands at the time, fIREHOSE, as they were playing in San Jose at the Cactus Club.

    I’ll never forget being in the back of the club, still in an emotionally weird way, when Mike Watt, in mid-song, brought it to a screeching halt. His interruption was to point out, in only a way he can, that if we were frustrated with the commercial nature of the stuff we heard on the radio, then we should stop bitching, and grab an instrument, and learn how to play, as they needed all the help they could get. Of course, the small crowd all roared, while I remained silent, with glassy eyes, and a slight smile… I was moved, to say the least.

    Two days later, I bought a cheap Taiwanese drumset, and have never looked back.

    Music was, from then on, my life. I have played in bands, and made my own music ever since… I owe that to Mike Watt, and the call-to-arms he gave to me.

    Years later, I was looking for live recordings of fIREHOSE on the net, and came across a taper who had Watt’s email. After hearing my story, he forwarded it to me, and I wrote to Watt of my story, and thanked him for effectively changing my life. His response was kind, and I still have a copy of the email.

    fIREHOSE will always have a spot in my heart and record collection. I love the movie, “We Jam Econo”, and especially resonate with the outtake featuring Ed fROMOHIO… the parallel of Mike Watt’s influence on our musical lives, was not lost on me.

    When Heavy stuff happens, most people either sink or swim. Sucked down by the past’s negatives, or buoyed by the promise of a positive future.

    Watt, thanks again… for the swimming lesson.



  16. Alan Wilkinson

    Not as good as some of the stuff on here, I suspect, but…

    For those of you who haven’t played “Marvel Trading Card Game” on PC: the “vs. Magneto” game is HARD. I must have been beaten five or six times by that f***er.

    Then, on the six or seventh game, I finally figured out how to use “Advanced Recon”. My highest drop into the lowest of his drops I could target, resulting in 10 breakthrough. 20-47 then became 40-47, giving me the spare life I needed to finally beat him and clear the level.

    There was also a certain amount of amusement on one of the Doom levels when the computer AI used Gamma Bomb to clear the board… with the end totals at 7 (me) to -5 (him). Um… yeah. 🙂

  17. Gamma Bomb is so punk rock it is not even funny.

    Great stuff, very entertaining. Thanks.

  18. This is in response to Cole’s story. I wrote Watt to say what wonderful things folks are saying and I told Mike about Cole’s story. At the end of his e mail to me, Watt added words to Cole, “Much respect to him.”

    Great Stories you all have posted.

  19. Shared Inspiration

    I grew up playing albums by punk pioneers (such as those mentioned above) on my lo-fi stereo and some how always felt a sense of reciprocation (or at least a sense of shared ideology or mutual feeling/thinking between myself and the song contents from the bands I listened to)

    When I was 15 years old back in the 80’s it felt like the lyrics that slid of the wax and reverberated off the walls of the my folks’ basement were right in line with where my head was at that moment.

    Reading these comments like the one above make me feel (now that I am in my gray-haired years) that there actually was a common ground. It is a real inspiration, to me, that musicians like Mike Watt pay respect to others not only by creating and offering such killer music but by maintaining their real-ness and generosity of DIY ethics.

    Thumb’s up that Mike gave respect; as he is also very deserving of such respect. I applaud each comment and all the artists who helped me feel like I was always with a true friend while their music played beside me.

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