The fanzine “We Got Power” documented southern California’s burgeoning hardcore scene inthe early ’80s after punk had fizzled out. The photographers/writers of the ‘zine have turned it into a coffee table book of the same title, available from Bazillion Points Publishing.
Below are 22 photos taken by the authors of the ‘zine, published now for the first time.
Punk mom with injured son and daughter—the family that stage dives together stays together.
Mike Ness, Social Distortion, playing the kitchen of Meg and Becca’s apartment, Silver Lake, 1982. He had stitches in his mouth from some sort of fight accident.
Vox Pop, Cathay de Grande, January 20, 1982.
Mike Roth in the Punk Shack during demolition, 1982.
Mike Roth at We Got Power headquarters—Dave Markey’s bedroom—1982. Mike became a Calvin Klein model after being stolen from We Got Power by fashion photographer Bruce Weber.
The Minutemen, house party, Hollywood, 1982. Mike Watt playing Earl Liberty’s bass. The hepcat in the glasses to the left of Watt is Spot, producer of all the early SST records by Black Flag, Hüsker Dü, the Minutemen, Meat Puppets, and many others. The blonde woman is Janet Housden from Red Cross, the guy in the checkerboard jacket is David Markey, the guy behind Watt with the Aunt Jemima bandanna and raised fist is Henry Rollins, and the heavy-lidded fellow with glasses on the right is celebrated Black Flag roadie Davo Claassen. Earl Liberty looks on at far right.
Milo Aukerman and the Descendents, Glen E. Friedman with his camera visible in audience. 1982
The Minutemen, Grandia Room, Hollywood, CA, 1982. Most of the few people in the crowd played in other SST bands. At left is Earl Liberty from Saccharine Trust, center is Henry Rollins, and at right (in trucker hat) is Chuck Dukowski from Black Flag.
Photographer Jordan in his porkpie hat at the Punk Shack, Santa Monica. Jordan wrote PRESS on the back of a business card and stuck it in the brim of his hat like a character out of a 1940s movie. He used this to scam his way into shows in Hollywood. He would stare dead seriously at the person in the ticket booth: “I’m Jordan from We Got Power fanzine, and I’m here to review the show tonight. I need entrance plus one. Thank you very much!”
Marlon Whitfield in leather cap and Joe Baiza in fedora, Mari Castelli caught somewhere in the middle, Santa Barbara.
Left to Right, Greg Ginn, Henry Rollins, and Chuck Dukowski of Black Flag, SST Phelan office, on Phelan St. in Redondo Beach.
Youth of America Unite! The rear of the Punk Shack during demolition. Local anti-punk surfers crossed out our Black Flag graffiti as part of an ongoing war. A year or two later, these same culprits would cut their long surfer hair and don Suicidal Tendencies shirts.
Fresh ink on Henry Rollins, the birth of an icon, 1984.
Onetime Sin 34 guitarist Bob Bitchen, sporting a clean punk haircut, shows off a photo of himself in longer-locked days.
The Go-Go’s, the Whisky A Go Go, January 1, 1981.
Red Cross playing an upstairs bedroom at a Hollywood house party.
Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies with skanker on his shoulders. The youngest kid behind him is Junior.
According to photographer Jordan Schwartz, “the black-light posters identify this space immediately as Bob’s Place in Watts. You risked your life by going there, but that was where the gigs were happening in 1982 and 1983. The last show there was raided by some locals who were clearly miffed that suburban white punks had taken over their dance hall. They raided the gig, mugging punks for their cameras. A girl was raped in the bathroom. That was the end of Bob’s Place.”
Janet Housden, the newly rechristened Redd Kross, Dancing Waters, July 30, 1982.
Jello Biafra as the president of the United States in Lovedolls Superstar, occupying an empty office adjacent to SST/Global, 1985.
Dez Cadena checking out the Minutemen at the Grandia Room, 1982. Oftentimes, nobody was going to see these bands except their friends in other bands. The Minutemen didn’t really have a crowd until Double Nickels on the Dime in 1984.
Snickers from the Simpletones and the Stain gets the last dance, Dancing Waters, 1982.