"It was a war of posters. Access to Xerox was a lot tougher back then, so you had bands silk-screening their posters 'cause everyone came out of art school. So instead of using blank paper, we'd buy 5-and-10-cent store coloring books, and silkscreen right over the coloring thing, and while color No. 1 was drying, we'd sprinkle glitter on it and we'd silkscreen it again and sometimes we'd rotate it 90 degrees so that letters would be out of register. It was so laborious making posters. Sometimes the band would be walking the streets and it would be freezing cold, and we'd all be arguing whether to put a poster on this corner or that corner because we only had 12 left. Then you'd come back and some other band would have put their poster like squarely centered over yours."
"The scene was mostly guys. In the late '60s and '70s, when women would go out to see a concert, they were basically dressed conservatively, long skirts and hippie tops. Now, all of a sudden, there were spikes and high heels and chains and it became maybe in a way more sexual. If you really look at it in those terms it was possibly ... degrading."
"All that violent shit--pogoing and people spitting. I remember the one guy from Suicide--I saw him one night, and this girl was up by the stage and he spit on her, I guess 'cause he was, I don't know, trying to interact. But you knew that girl was just humiliated, because she didn't deserve it. After she got spit on, she just kind of stood there for a minute. It was really kind of weird."
"It was all about The Hot Club. You just went there. There would always be a punk band on stage. It could be somebody from Philly, like Autistics or Sick Kids or something like that, or it could be like they weren't really punk at all. Kenn Kweder played those places. And the establishment didn't even know from punk, or what this new nutty stuff was. Once they had a concert on Penn's Landing and they booked Kweder there. And he got in an F-word contest with a tugboat over the Penn's Landing PA system. You could hear him for like a mile."
"We had this Hawaiian fusion room. It was really bizarre. The first band we played in there was the Dead Boys. And then we went from the Dead Boys to the Talking Heads. Nobody knew who they were back then. It wasn't like we were trying to make a ton of money. We just wanted to be able to eat, and do something interesting and artistic."
"My clubs were not punk clubs. You could have Ray Charles Monday night, Eurythmics Tuesday and so on throughout the week. David's club--The Hot Club--got to be pretty much known as a punk club. He had two or three giant acts play there: Elvis Costello, Talking Heads and The B-52's. A lot of local punk bands played there as well. There was another outlet that was a club like mine--but a little more conservative: the Bijou. They really didn't do punk, though. Grendel's Lair on South Street did on occasion--they were the first to get The Police."
"New Wave bands were completely different from each other, but the same people liked all of them. There were about 10 kids at Temple and 100 to 200 people in the Delaware Valley who knew about them."
"We had everybody and their brother at the Hot Club. I mean, I have a list of bands at home that played there. The B-52's were like a house band--they must have played there a dozen times."
"When I first started Star's, I was young and not really a part of the punk scene. I appreciated the music, but we'd have problems--security problems, random destruction. The funniest thing--it wasn't funny then, but it's hilarious now--I booked a band called the Cramps. The place was going crazy. The audience was just ripping the place apart. So it was time for their encore, and the audience started freaking out, breaking things, throwing shit all over the place--it was awful. I took it too personal, like someone was doing it to my house. We didn't have any real security, like clubs have now. So after the encore, I asked the band to take it easy because they were going so crazy out there. Somebody had put a giant hole in the wall. But they didn't care. They wanted to go back out for another encore. I said NO MORE. So the band goes out and says we gotta go. In unison, 200 punks starts chanting, 'STEVE STARR SUCKS! STEVE STARR SUCKS!' It was unbelievable. I was 20 years old and totally devastated."
PW's 2015 Gift Guide
Dinner with Luke Palladino