Back When Anchorage was Cool

Believe it or not — and these days, many people likely wouldn’t — Anchorage used to have a pretty active underground scene. I spent many, many years as part of it, both as a spectator and as a participant, and it went a long way to shaping the person I am today. I’ve got a lot of fond memories of those times.

Yesterday in my post about Symphony #2 for Dot Matrix Printers, I mentioned Anchorage industrial/noise band Fsunjibleableje (eff-sun-jib-lee-ah-ble-juh). Phil asked if I had any .mp3s of their work, and unfortunately, I don’t — to my knowledge, they never recorded anything. I was prompted to do a quick Google search of their name to see what I could find.

There weren’t a lot of results (though, amusingly enough, the third result was for my old DJ Wüdi propaganda page), but one of the results I got sent me on a long, fun trip down memory lane. Back in October 2000, the Anchorage Press (Anchorage’s version of Seattle’s Stranger or Seattle Weekly) published a retrospective of the Anchorage scene by Josh Medsker — [The Decline of Northern Civilization].

The article is a great look back at the rise and fall of the punk/band scene in Anchorage. Josh is a year older than I am and discovered the scene a bit earlier than I did, so the first few paragraphs are good historical information, but aside from knowing many of the names, I wasn’t around for much of the early events. By the time Josh gets to the early ’90’s, though, I had started to get out of the house and explore the world around me.

Another venue that opened in 1990 was the Ragin’ Cage, a dive across Spenard from the Fly-By-Night Club. The sound at the Ragin’ Cage was bad, and the decor was non-existent, except for the neon paint splattered on the black concrete floor, and dilapidated couches in the corners.

The Cage — home to regular shows by Hessian (featuring lead singer Brock Lindow) and Ted “Theo” Spitler of Heavy Season — quickly became infamous for it’s violent patrons. The owners eventually put a chain link fence up around the stage to protect bands from their audience.

Ragin’ Cage became a hang-out for skinheads. Vox Populli, a local underground publication, started out as a straight-up punk ‘zine before gradually turning into a platform for editor Mark Watson’s white-power views, and a rallying cry for Anchorage skinheads.

“There have never been many SHARP skins (Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice) in this town,” said Jennifer Morris, who was host of “Amber Waves of Ska” on KRUA. “It’s mostly been nazis.”

I never made it into the Cage, though I went by it a couple of times. Unfortunately (well, possibly fortunately), every time I drove by, there were fights going on just outside the front door — often skinheads pounding some person that had ticked them off in one way or another — and I and my friends always decided we’d go somewhere else for the night. The skinhead clientele of the Cage was so well known of around town that I heard more people refer to the club as the “Racist Cage” than by its proper name.

As for the skinheads…I’ve had a few run-ins with them, which I’ll probably go into more detail about in a separate post later on. Briefly, though, I was fortunate enough to meet a couple very intelligent, well-spoken skinheads that I had some very interesting conversations with, and I was unfortunate enough to be threatened (though not beaten) by a group of them, so my experiences ran to either extreme. I ended up with a slight fascination with the subculture, though, and while I’ve never invested a lot of time or research into that particular scene, I’ll often keep an eye out for movies that explore that side of the underground culture (John Singleton’s Higher Learning, Russell Crowe’s early film Romper Stomper, and American History X are all worth watching).

The above-quoted Jen Morris, by the way, was a friend of mine at Bartlett High School. A few years older than me, I got to know her while on tech crew for the theater department there, and kept up with her off and on over the years before I left town. I also had quite the crush on her for a while, though I certainly never told her that (though, me being the oh-so-subtle type I was back then, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she knew).

The article soon turns to the Anchorage warehouse scene, which dominated the underground scene for quite a few years, usually in spaces run by Trey Wolf and Rex Ray. Amusingly enough, the very show that I mentioned in my post yesterday — Fsun’s car demolition performance — is mentioned, along with another performance I attended which culminated in Trey’s crucifixion on a cross made up of circuit boards.

One early FSUN show at Spatula City sticks out in Wolf’s mind. The band took an abandoned car off the street, and they and the audience members took turns wailing on it with saws and hammers.

…at one show, Wolf suspended himself by halibut hooks through his hands to a cross made of old computer parts. With Wolf dangling above the crowd, the rest of the band created a violent soundscape behind him using electronics and found metal objects.

I truly think that I have Rex, Trey, and Fsun to thank for my fascination with early industrial, “noise” and experimental bands like Einstürzende Neubauten. While even at that age I’d never been much of one for the pop scene, and had started searching out some of the lesser-known, darker, “alternative” bands (ranging from Violent Femmes to The Cure to Shriekback, Bauhaus, and many, many others), here was something so bizarre, so unstructured, so primal, and totally unlike anything I’d heard before that it blew me away.

Nineteen-ninety-two was also the year the rave scene broke in Anchorage. DJ Fuzzy Wuzzy began spinning techno at Sharky’s on Fifth Avenue, and DJ Drewcifer was spinning grooves from Bauhaus, Ministry and Throbbing Gristle at the Mirage in Spenard.

Both the Mirage and Sharkey’s were all-ages, non-alcoholic clubs. I hit the Mirage from time to time, but I practically lived at Sharkey’s during the time it was open. Originally a top-40/hip-hop club, word started to spread around town that the owners of Sharkey’s were considering opening their basement to the alternative scene. I, along with many other of the kids in town, started dropping by on random weekend nights asking about the rumors, and was always given a “We’re thinking about it…” response — until one weekend, another door was open. I went in, sparing only a quick glance at the upstairs, headed down the stairs, around a corner…and found my home from that night until the club closed.

In some ways, there wasn’t really much to Sharkey’s. The owners had done little to nothing to prepare the basement for use outside of clearing it out and installing a DJ booth and speakers. There was one main room with the dance floor (that had a concrete support pillar smack-dab in the middle of the floor) and space around the side for standing and watching, and two smaller rooms towards the back with a small selection of ratty couches and counter space for kicking back and hanging out. Over time, people brought in paints and decorated the walls, the floor, and the entire space, and as it was all unplanned and uncontrolled by the owners, the decor tended to change from week to week as new paintings went up, stayed for a while, and then were covered by the next round of artistic outpouring.

Steve Kessler, who I’d gone to high school with, got his start as DJ Fuzzy Wuzzy at Sharkey’s. He was one of two or three regular DJs there (unfortunately, I don’t remember the others), and eventually went on to form a promotion company that kept the Anchorage rave scene going well into the early 2000’s (though my fondest memories of that particular scene all stem from its first few years in the late 1990’s, before ‘raves’ started becoming reported as the latest evil to befall the youth of today).

I’d be at Sharkey’s every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday night, hanging out with friends, dancing, and at that time, going a long way towards exploring who I was outside of the manufactured “trying to please everyone” anti-personality that I’d been saddled with for many, if not most, of my younger years. Eventually, of course, Sharkey’s closed down, but it will always be one of the clubs that I have the fondest memories of.

[1992] was also the year KRUA 88.1 came on the air. KRUA was born a few years earlier as KMPS, a campus-only radio station, but on Valentine’s Day KRUA went FM.

Another watershed event in my life. Suddenly, there was a station in town playing music that I liked, not just the pablum of top-40! I was a constant listener of KRUA for years, from the day they went FM on. At one point, one of the shows was asking for dedications. Being terminally single at that point, and not particularly happy about it, I called up and dedicated Depeche Mode‘s ‘Somebody‘ “to all the single people in Anchorage.” Years later, while talking with a friend, I found out that not only did they remember that show, but they still had a tape of the show itself, and I got to hear my dedication going out all over again.

In the fall of 1992, in a small art gallery next to Spatula City, several blocks away from the old Wherehouse, a group of artists and scenesters gathered, forming the core group that would dominate Anchorage for most of the coming decade. The B.A.U. (Business As Usual) Gallery was run by Brian MacMillan, a transplant from Boston known to most as just “BMac.”

While I never got to know BMac well, he and I ran into each other many, many times over the years, either at shows, or through work. As I’d been working evening/night shifts in copy shops for much of this time (first Kinko’s, then a local shop called TimeFrame), I was quite used to helping run of flyers for shows or articles for ‘zines, and along with Rex, BMac was one of the constant (and more successful) ‘zine publishers in town.

Eventually various monetary problems forced the various warehouses into obscurity, and things moved into other venues. Various coffee joints sprung up around town catering to the alternative scene, with the two most known likely being The Java Joint and Mea Culpa. Given the strong punk contingent of the scene, however, things at the coffeehouses didn’t always go over spectacularly well…

Some bands had a few things to say about Mea Culpa, however. “It was kind of yuppie to us,” says singer Sam Calhoun. One night, at the end of a sweaty, rockin’ set, Calhoun and members of her band, Phillipino Haircut, purposely threw up on stage and in the bathroom. They were kicked out of Mea Culpa indefinitely. “We actually tried to projectile vomit on stage,” Calhoun recalls. “It was just [us] being young and being punk.”

That’s a show I missed. I think I’m okay with that, though. ;)

Of course, all of this has been for the all-ages set, either at warehouses where there wasn’t much in the way of rules, or non-alcoholic clubs. The over-21 set had had a good thing going for quite a few years with the Underground bar, which became something of a local legend among those of us not quite old enough to get in. Unfortunately, the Underground died a fairly quick and very sad death after one of its regular patrons, Duane Monson of local band Broke, accidentally knocked over the beer of another patron — who proceeded to pull out a knife and stab and kill Monson. I turned 21 just a couple months after this event, and was able to get into the Underground before it closed on my birthday, but it was obvious that the bar wouldn’t be open for much longer, as there were only eight or ten other people in the bar (including all on-duty staff) the entire night.

However, the Underground did have one last blowout show before they shut the doors that I was lucky enough to attend — twice even, as they had a 21-and over show on Friday night, and then an all-ages show Saturday evening — when the Washington-based Black Happy came through town. Great show, great music, and the place was packed, giving me probably my only taste of what the Underground must have been like in its heyday.

Nature abhors a vacuum, though, and soon, another club opened for the band scene that would also play a big part in my life for the next few years: Gig’s Music Theatre.

Gigs was owned and run by Mike Sidon, Scott Emery, and later Mark Romick. Gigs, along with the Java Joint and the UAA Pub, were pillars in the local music scene for the next several years, though Gigs intended to be more mainstream than it turned out to be. “It kind of gravitated toward being a punk rock place,” says Emery.

Gigs thrived at first, with shows from the sloppy, classic punk band Phillipino Haircut, the hardcore Beefadelphia, Hopscotch, 36 Crazyfists, the ska/punk band McSpic, the unclassifiable, insanely loud Contour Chair, the rap-rockin’ Freedom ’49, and the punk trio Liquid Bandade.

My brother Kevin was one of the members of Beefadelphia (named after a Denny’s menu item). My Beefadelphia paintingBeefadelphia’s logo was a stylized man wearing a fez, which at one point was turned into a painting by band member Aaron Morgan. The painting was given to Gig’s and hung in the office for years. When Gig’s finally closed down and we were emptying the place out, I was able to get ahold of the painting, and it’s been hanging on my wall ever since then. Not long before I left Anchorage, Aaron came by my apartment and saw the painting. Laughing, as he’d not realized that I’d ended up with it, he whipped out a Sharpie and signed it for me on the spot.

Gig’s, of course, along with the Lost Abbey, was where I spent the majority of my years DJing for the Anchorage scene. Each night, we’d generally open around 8pm, I’d play music for a while, then we’d have one to three bands playing with me providing between-set music, then I’d DJ until we closed down (generally around 3am or whenever we ran out of customers, whichever came first).

By 1997 and 1998, though, the scene finally seemed to be on its last legs. Many of the bands had split up, moved out of state, or both. Gig’s closed, and there were few other places providing spaces for bands to play. The rise of the hip-hop scene was in full swing in Anchorage, and I, along with many other friends, came to the sad conclusion that the “glory years” had finally passed us by.

I bided my time in town for the next few years, catching the occasional show here and there, but eventually decided that it was time to find something else, and in the summer of 2001, I joined the ever present exodus out of Anchorage.

Still, with as little interest as I have in living there again, I have many, many fond memories of my years there. Lots of good people, friends, bands, parties, and shows.

Sometimes it can be a lot of fun to go wandering down memory lane.

Published by Michael Hanscom

Enthusiastic ambivert. Geeky, liberal, friendly, curious, feminist ally; trying to be a good person. (he/him)

144 replies on “Back When Anchorage was Cool”

  1. Ay I want to put up our own website.. I can get server space at work, no prob.. So just need a domain name for the site…??

    Cam just kidding

  2. Oh..
    sorry ’bout that Oberkrautfuhrer Von Liverworst

    Wild Bill was Sids “brother” but not “blood brother”

    you know I think I knew that at one time…

    you will have to pardon me,
    I did a whole bunch of drugs and got kicked in the head a lot. :)

    My memory is a little rusty


  3. Cam,
    whatever you do dont have the word “Exhumed” in the title

    Though the irony doesn’t escape me….

    Thanks Mike for the use of your comment thread
    I guess there are other old folks out there after all

    Human Thumb
    I found this Canadian band I could of sworn you were in
    but your still in Austin

    I guess everybody has a twin.

  4. Cam,

    hey, let’s build it and see if anybody comes. I vote for “”. The reason for the exact spelling is as follows. Once upon a time, 1414.5 Karluk Street was actually a “warehouse” for a candy distributor. Then in the hippie era (Cafe Wha, the Who etc.) it became the “wherehouse”. Then, in 1984, the year of a mega-Halloween party with Orwell’s novel as the theme, it became the “werehaus” to take in to both the macabre (werewolf etc) and the totalitarian (Eastern Germany, haus) thereby getting two big horrors under one roof. The name then fit the punk scene with its relish for shock value and anti-authoritarian expression.

  5. Yes Marty, I too have googled ‘MikeBelyea’ and know of that canadian imposter! I just wish his band would play in Austin, so when he shows his ID at the clubs, he finds his status as “currently banned”!!

  6. Woooowww…

    Hey, guys. This is Amber of the ska show. Nice to see that some of the Watcons are still alive; there have been so many rumors about their demise. Well, I don’t think anyone ever killed off Mark, but Dan was either hit by a truck or fell off a crabbing boat. Or shanked. I don’t remember how Ralph “died.” i do notice that he hasn’t posted, though…

    It’s very cool to see some of the things and people here that I’d completely forgotten about. I’m still in town, Anchorage has changed a lot.

    Do you guys remember Tony Gallela? I talk to him sometimes. He was in San Fran for a long time and now he’s east of that, I don’t remember where.

    What ever happened to Sid? I’m talking about the tall, skinny Sid who used to live in the apartments at 15th and Cordova…

  7. Sid I versuchte zu email Sie aber es Schlags zurück…, bin ich es tuend falsch?

    Ha ha Mike

    had some good show’s eh?

    I just… I mean “the Pessimist”
    I mean C’mon
    thats damn near identity theft.


    it is
    ne webdesign savvy’s here, let me know and I’ll email the goods to access the site..Should be typable in address bar inna couple of days.


  9. hey happy veterans day sid,,,marty,, doug??
    werehaus is a good name eh?? be sure and put epwr in the search string…
    hey jen/amber,, yeah its me mark watson,,,i heard you do a radion show in anchorage now?? amber waves or something like that?? how are you?? me and jenny got married about 3 years ago,after a 17 year courtship,,,, have two chilluns but i think you knew that,,,
    hey cam make sure theres a scratch and sniff section i can post on or at least a photo section..nice you have bandwidth access at work…
    Amber dan is in denmark now a citizen last i hear married some danish chick,, dont hear from him much,,,
    i heard ralph was dead from bikers once but then heard lots different,,i thnk people like to think of us as dead ,,cant imagine why he he….???
    soo far the only casualty is floyd,,,,R.I.P.

  10. Well, you still haven’t discounted or confirmed Ralph’s untimely end.

    Yep, I did ska on the radio for about four years, I think, mostly on KRUA, then I switched over to “commercial pablum” and managed to get ska on KWHL while it was an alternative station and ska was The Thing. That lasted more about a year and a half, to my best estimation.

    I actually became a full-time rock dj and put 11 year in professional radio, then I decided to grow up and get a real job (aided in part by the fact that they moved me onto the local rap station without my consent). I assist a mortgage loan officer now. I still do a shift or two every week at KWHL just because it’s fun.

    Let me tell you, going to KWHL after being raised on “our music” was really strange. They couldn’t understand why I didn’t already know the complete Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith catalogs. Now, if they’d asked me about the Specials or Dead Kennedys, that would have been different.

  11. Don’t know what happened to the Flag shirt I think Evan had it last but who knows?

    Thanks Mark I spent Veterans day working a double shift
    (and playing on the computer on and off)

    Nice huh?
    had to rebuild the X-axis guide rail on a Water Jet
    The Master rail went out
    didn’t have to rebuild the slave

    Praise all the Jesus’s!!

    I assume they painted over the Monument?
    I was last in Anchorage in 99 but didn’t play with other’s.
    did the whole camping thing plus showed the kids off to the grand parents

    then couldn’t wait to get the hell out of town

    funny thing that.

  12. Anchorage is still cool, you just have to be one of the cool people and know where and when to go, and then there is this issue of acting your age and conforming to the man. True I have not been in Anchorage for many years but all cities have an underground just have to find it. This is that tall skinny SID, still alive and well here in the southern swamps of Lousiana. A web site with photos great idea very interesting in learning other peoples memories of events as Marty said our memories are asque and even blank, I have been told many things i am suppost to have done but have no memory what so ever, so lets keep that history coming and spread this around. And to all you kids, drink and do drugs, but if you are a drunk or drug addict then stop and get help or you will not remember a thing either, or end up in prison, or dead.
    And for those old folks like me go to local shows, liston to the local collage station and pick a band you like and PAY for some studio time and help these kids out they need it. With this war going on a great emotion base is here now for some really good music, seek it out and support it and help it grow. Again hello to all and if you want to contact SID, e-mail mohawk mark as he posted his address and knows how to get ahold of me and I am never home as I travel all the time for work.
    As far as Anchorage history, 1984, anchorage, met the exumed and skake death. Cool people many beer parties and punk rock was a hard thing to do at the time in Anchorage. The red necks and rockers would chase me and through shit at me as I walked down the street, as you all remember. The cops were cool, I was pulled over many times in my 1975 chevy blazer or 1975 blue monty carlo packed with underage boys and girls and beer and the cops just let us go. Now at the time I was 28 years old and now I would be doing jail time for the same stunt. That is why anchorage was cool the cops let us do our stupid shit and they busted the real bad people. Bon fires at the tracks, huge beer parties, no way could you do this now with the post 911 I am scared of my shadow situation. The whole bush thing is going to spiril out of control be ready in one year for the start of the next prez race as this one will be one to see and be a part of if you dare.
    I am ranting, later, keep the faith.
    Sid the kid Vicious (the skinny one with many tattoos)

  13. Hey Mark,

    i missed your post earlier about the VW. I was just helping you get ready for your driver’s license. remember? Trying to point out 1 car length for each 10 mph, especially if your following a wall. Also, if you must drink and drive, do so only INSIDE your living room. I hope you strictly followed this advice over the years. The reason, i suspect, you don’t do stuff like that anymore is that you dont have a car IN your living room, right? And by the way, to be clear on this – DONT drink and drive if a car IS your living room.

  14. Seems like a few people out there had a some good times back then…
    Hey, Greg, I still like “Wherehouse” best cause I actually ran into people in Anchorage during those times and they would asked ,”So Where is this House”?
    “Geologically speaking” of course. Hey, It’s “sideburn” Mike and his witticism’s…
    Mike, I still get kick out of that time when you sent me my fan mail on our way to Manhattan….Also I think you should have stayed in the City when you came up for a short visit in1992? Hey, on a musical note, I’m playing with this guitarist as a duo and we are crazy, chaotic, loud, intense, but tight. Kind of like the Flat Duo Jets times ten. or like SevenDust but more heavy. So maybe we can get down your way and play a show together? Or you can come up here to the Big Applet?
    We are recording in December in Manhattan at Fun City/Wharton Tiers.

    Hi Cam.

    Anybody else out there playing?

    Well stay loose.

    Does anybody like the band the “Strokes” I know you do Greg….
    What bands do people listen too these?????????

    -Andy Malm

  15. Marty — you’re a Webley fan? Very cool — I’ve been a fan of his for the last few years, and have hit every one of the major fall (“deathday”) and spring (“resurrection”) shows for the past four years or so.

  16. Jason is awesome Mike!

    I was at Bumbershoot in 99 or 2000 cant remember exactly
    we went to see Children of the Revolution who we like

    Meanwhile I was bored and found I was more interested in the food booths then the lousy collection of musicians with the same tired puppets playing the same tired Doors songs
    (I think spoonman was there as well I remember wishing I had a big spoon to hit him on the head with)

    when I this guy playing the accordion sounding like Tom Wait’s or something but before I could get closer “Event Staff” chased him away yelling at him to leave
    then I saw him playing about an hour later at another spot his case was full of money and he had a large crowd
    I was able to get a copy of Viage before he got chased off again
    I listened to that CD everyday for like months
    so I had to get the rest of his stuff after that

    we are going to this years “resurrection”
    we should say howdy.

  17. hey andy,, i remember you very night at greg seals stomped my ass at pool lost like 15 bucks,,i wanna rematch,ha…
    im diggin “clutch “these days..lately though last few years i been diggin up all the old punk rock stuff i hadnt heard in years..funny some of it i liked i cant stand today.. some of it i hated i really like??brings back lots of memories tho…

  18. Anyone heard of “Jon Wayne” He’s great.
    I still love a good game of eight ball Minnesota Fats style.

  19. Jon Wayne played here a couple years ago. The odd thing was they had a huge tour bus, yet their tour was like 4 shows and they could’nt have been making much money.
    No-go-diggy-die mb

  20. That’s exactly how it should have been. Money!! who needs money???
    Mike, so what do ya think? to play or not to play that is the dilema. Texas funeral’s suck. I’v been listening to Schooly D lately been awhile I still like it.

  21. Well Michael Hanscom, I sure you’ll be relieved to find out that we won’t be camping out in your living room too much longer. Andy and Mike, and who ever, there’s some beds available for flopping over here and if things get too crowded, I’ve got some space on the floor

  22. Wow…I just stumbled upon this blog and this post…what memories!

    I’m Linda, a member of the band “Sky is Blu” back in the late 80’s early 90’s. In order to allow myself the ability to play music as much as possible, I kinda created a bunch of music-oriented jobs for myself and tried to piece together an income.

    One of those came as a result of walking into a brand new coffee house on Spenard called “Java Joint.” I convinced the owners, Lenny and Alec, that they needed me to book nightly music and put together a monthly entertainment calendar for them. I also convinced them to pay me for it.

    Thus my roll expanded from musician to an “insider” into the entire Anchorage local music scene. That was a great 2 1/2 years!

    I remember TS Scream’s music (and Scott’s incredible alcohol consumption) – I remember being blown away by the Disastronauts (especially their singer) and being absolutely sure that they were going to be famous. (That’s before I learned that most bands self-destruct right when it looks like they might take the next step…Sky Is Blu was no exception.) I remember Sad Happy at The Underground…god they were good. I remember Dylan and Mea Culpa introducing the entire “Internet Cafe” concept to Anchorage. I remember organizing a fund-raising “Anchorage Women’s Music Festival” (which had as many musicians and vendors as it did patrons) and watching BMac in a dress dance around the campfire with his girlfriend…it felt perfectly normal at the time.

    It was nice to have been there.

    I moved on to working for the gov’t full-time and a side job running sound at Blues Central and working backstage on the first 4 “Blues on the Green” concerts before I “retired” from the music scene after having my daughter.

    It’s so weird now to see commercials with Dylan “Mea Culpa” Buchholdt in his present roll as a personal injury lawyer. It’s even weirder to watch my transition into a soccer mom.

    Perhaps it’s indicative of the changes in Anchorage to realize that both Java Joint and Mea Culpa ended up as Pawn Shops.

    I need to write a book.

  23. hey, is this site still up? hangin out in montreal quebec. hoppin’ freight west then back up to AK….later

  24. I remember the Watson brothers…Ralph used to hang out with my brother Chris (Chris X)… Amber, well we were friends until she ran off with my boyfriend to SF… Bill Rasey was my brother. I dated Heath. Man, I remember some crazy nights at the Cage… some skinhead broke my sisters arm and nose in the pit… Kicked some girls ass for hittin on Billy… I left AK for good after Billy died, like someone else said “it’s a great place to be from”

  25. What a great site! Thanks for bringing back some memories. I played drums w/ Skate Death in 1984 for a while including Carpenters Hall opening for Suicidal. Got hooked up with Mike because we went to Dimond. Hey Mike, I agree – Bad Wizard is good to go! I also played with the P-Skeletons before they were the P-Skeletons with David and Jason because they went to Dimond as well. Before they were the Skeletons it was called the modern pause. Still have some of those tapes…Hope everyone is doing good…


  26. hey. this is april. i lived in anchorage from about 1992 to 1997, when i left for seattle with my son. only been back a few times to visit. went to a lot of the places you mention and wondering if anyone i know is still around, possibly in the seattle area?

  27. I lived downtown (Orange Door & Strathlorn) off & on in ’88 – ’89 and in Spenard (also off & on) in the early ’90s. Rumors of my death have also been greatly exaggerated, though rural Kansas can pack its own kinda wallop. I’d move back tomorrow if I could get my damaged brain around the logistics.

  28. I graduated from West Anchorage High in 1993. I remember Sharkys and Java Joint. Hell, the Space station where you can play video games right behind the $1 movie theater which was sticky with coke on the floor.

    THe drummer for the Disastronauts Rich Nurre and I formed a band called ‘Seismic’ where I played a 5 string electric bodyless Upright Bass as well as 4 string standard bass with about 5 FX pedals. The singer Katey for the D-Nauts as well as Rich are living in Seattle.

    The rave scene is something that shaped me and I remember those times some very well some not so well. Jesse Burgos a great guitar player which we wrote many songs in his apartment with occasional gigs at Java Joint and other small cafes.

    Anyhow, it was well put by someone on the board when they said, ‘Anchoarge is a great place to come FROM but maybe not move back to.’

    I now run multiple .com websites as a programmer and marketer.

    A wonderful thing about the internet is that it can transend time when I come across a message board like this… memories never lost if only we remember and many share with those in the same Time and Space.


  29. wow i remember f-sun. smashing tvs and using electric saws shooting sparks everywhere. out at the old spatula city. who could forget bands like grin and spawn, or places like the OLD underground (under the beef n sea) and of course talkeetna bluegrass festival. good vibes on the old ak daze….

  30. i was reflecting a bit more

    wasnt the “java-joint” located in the old “G&B Skate Shop”? right next door to the old original “db music” location? spenard is where the heart is… anyone remember the “oregon-house” crew? im going to do some random shout-outs:

    BMac – B.A.U.
    Michael Allen – promoter of good bands coming to anchorage
    Steve Wright – iller artistry
    Norman – O-house mastermind
    T.S. Scream
    Sonic Tractorhead
    The Drunk Poets
    Surreal Studios – recorded skate death i think and others
    The Downbeat – used to be the underground before it moved
    anyone remember “The Monkey Wharf”? :D
    what about the anchorage music-tv channel that only lasted for a short while called “Catch-22”?

    my rambling is finally over… :)

  31. also, i once ate a “love-burger” (i think it actually had twigs in it among other things) out of a vw bus sitting in the where-house (near the airfield) the morning after a fsun show. mmmmmm good :D

  32. It’s great that old friends can reminisce, but just because you moved away/got older/quit paying attention doesn’t mean the scene ceased to exist. It’s had a lot of ups and downs, but don’t think for a second that it started and ended with you.

  33. I agree with Shane in that the last time I was in Anchorage (May 2007) there was a lot going on. Many of the people from the old days are still active with new blood from more recent years making for an increase of local goings-on. In fact, I’d say Anchorage is on a new up-slope of the historically bell-curved music scene. As long as people don’t start competing with each other, things can only get better. It’s when people try to take control away from other people (who are just trying to help) that Anchorage’s insanity kills the scene again. I see a lot more community up there these days than in the past. Shit’s goin’ on!

    Heck, I’d almost say it’s exciting.

  34. wow hey matt whats up?
    whats up all? i sure do miss all those times ive read about and lived lol
    all those great bands , i got a chance to catch 36 crazyfist a yaer back here in nyc times square and hung with steve, brock and scotti gomez here in nyc ,twaz a trip let me tell ya..
    alaska is my heart, i got alot of great gigs just cuz i was from ak i tell everyone about the talent that exists there..
    anywayz if there is anyone here who knew me hit me up at my myspace , enyone from chinook elementry? mears?
    i dont care but i would luv to hear from anyone of yall..
    take it sleazy..
    alaskan 4 life in brooklyn
    luv to
    dnaughts,t.s scream luv to j.d/ crazyfist/hopscoth/seven/spun the whole music scene then and NOW!!1

  35. Have too admit, often wondered what happened to the old punks in Anchorage. Traveled around with Allen D. back in the late 80’s thought I saw tyger once in Seattle about 8 yrs ago but couldnt be sure. Lived with Dennet and April in Seattle for a summer But that was the end of any relationship from the old scene. Good to see most of u are still kicking. Been living in Salt Lake City for about 11 yrs now.

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