By Brian Brannon
Reprinted from:Flyers were a key ingredient of my early adolescent aesthetic. While some
people might have walked into my room when I was fourteen or so and saw cheap
xeroxed wallpaper, what I saw was fine art. Memories of a hundred bands. Gigs.
Bouncers. Emotion. Friends. Clubs. Riots. Chicks.
"Fucked Up + Photocopied: Instant art of
the Punk Rock Movement"
by Bryan Ray Turcotte & Christopher T.
Miller Ginko Press Inc.,
5768 Paradise Dr., Suite J, Corte Madera, CA
Somehow the key moments of every show I had seen or had wanted to see were
all captured in the names, dates, drawings and photographs printed on the
artwork on my walls. Some of the early JFA flyers were even more special because
they were drawn by my best buddy, crazy Sean Merli.
Me and Sean and his older brother Eric went way back. We all kind of got into
punk together even though their parents were Mormons and strictly forbade
anything of the kind.
One day I got the call to skate over to the Merli residence and dig through
their garbage because their mom had just thrown out all their good records. The
first Clash album. The Pistols live at Winterland. The Flyboys. B-52s. Devo.
It only took me a few minutes to get over there and rescue the booty, but
sitting in a black dumpster in the baking Arizona summer sun for even that long
caused some serious vinyl warpage. But I took the records home, set my needle on
extra heavy and everything worked out fine.
Except for the Flyboys. It took us the longest time to figure out that their
record played at 45 and not 33 rpms. Here we thought the guy had the coolest
deep voice ever even though the music was kind of slow and plodding. Then when
we turned it up nobody could believe those guys were playing that fast.
Anyway, getting back to the flyer deal: See, being some of the first punkers
at Saguaro high school in Scottsdale, Arizona, and freshmen to boot, me and Sean
got more than a little hassled by some of the jockier tough guys, not to mention
the rockers, preppies, shit-kickers and pretty-boys. But it was the jocks we
hated the most. Me, Sean and Eric kind of had a dream band going, the Deceased.
Our motto was, "The Deceased don't care."
So one day I decided to get some spray paint and some stencils and write on
the back of a t-shirt in four-inch high letters, "JOCKS SUCK." On the front I
took a marker and scribbled, "The Deceased don't care."
It was chilly the next morning so I wore a jacket to school which covered up
my message when I first showed up. But then I thought, "What kind of man am I?
What's the use of doing something if you're not going to follow through?" So
even before first period, off came the jacket.
I drew immediate stares. Everywhere I walked people stopped and pointed. It
It didn't take long for the jocks to organize (for the jocks). By third
period they gathered in roving packs which I casually avoided contact with. But
fifth period was lunch and by then the whole school knew about the controversial
assertion of the little punky freshman.
When I walked down the courtyard towards the lunch area two groups of jocks
and prepsters closed in behind me with more joining in as I walked past. I
The snack bar was packed and I took my place at the back of the line.
I was immediately surrounded by vicious, carnivorous, athletic types out to
pound my brains in. I don't remember what happened next, but I think someone
said something and I probably said something back. Then someone grabbed me from
behind and yanked on my collar. Then someone else pushed me. Then someone
grabbed the bottom of my shirt. And so did someone else. My shirt became the
rope in a game of anarchy tug-of-war while random blows were being
simultaneously being delivered to my head and mid-section.
They ruckus finally subsided when the shirt was ripped completely off my
back. All that remained was an over-sized collar hanging asymetrically around my
Next they marched me over to the benches where one grabbed me behind my back
and held my arms. The next thing I knew the whole football team was lining up to
smash my face in.
Time for some fast thinkin'.
One of the biggest and ugliest dudes (and that's pretty ugly) was standing at
the head of the line. He stepped up and delivered a jab to my stomach. I was
ready for it and it didn't even hurt. But boy did I act like it did.
I fell to the ground coughing and gasping and spasming. I acted like that one
punch darn near killed me. I hammed it up so good that they actually split
because they were going to get in trouble. A wussy move I know, but what other
choice did I have?
I wore my jacket shirtless to my next class and then ditched the rest of the
day because I figured they'd still want to kill me after school if they saw that
I was alive and well.
Things were tense for quite a while after that but eventually they quieted
down. Hell, nowadays if you look around, most of the jocks are punkers, or at
least think they are anyways.
When I look back at those early times, when being a punker meant everybody
from cops to parents to schoolmates and teachers all hated you, one of the
things that sums up that whole saga of my life best is a flyer for an early
JFA/TSOL show at Madison Square Gardens in Phoenix. It has a drawing my buddy
Sean made of a punker puppet about to kick ass on a couple of unsuspecting
jocker puppets. Artistic justice.