The Sound of Music

Larry Livermore just posted this photo of him rocking out at this San Francisco rock club — the Sound of Music — at a 7 Seconds show in 1981 (that’s Lar’ in the upper right-hand corner with the studded black leather jacket rocking out). It’s hard to describe the Sound of Music. It was one of the funkiest, grubbiest clubs in the pantheon of live rock music back then. It was located smack dab in the middle of the dirtiest and most dangerous streets of the Tenderloin district in San Francisco. It made funky punk rock clubs like the Mabuhay and CBGBs look high-class and elegant by comparison. It was like the bottom of the food chain for aspiring rock bands. Where virtually anybody who could xerox off a couple fliers to advertise their gig could get up on “stage” (which was about 2 feet off the ground) and do a show.

I only have one Sound of Music story (aside from on the weekdays when the trannies took over the club and would pull out knives on people who fucked with them — you had to be pretty tough to be a guy dressed up as a woman on the streets of the Tenderloin back then). This friend of mine — Neil Anderthol — (everyone had cool punk rock names back then) played in this obscure art/damage band called the Geeks back in 1982 (later Neil formed Polkacide — a punk/polka band but that’s another story). And he invited me to their crucial Geeks gig at the Sound of Music.

It’s hard to describe the Geeks “music.” It was about 10 people onstage with various instruments — guitar, bass, drums, saxophone, trombones, trumpets, God knows what else. All playing at the same time. At top volume. Every amp pushed up to 11. This cacaphony of white noise. This almost unbearable LOUD DISCORDANT sound. Within 5 minutes they had cleared everybody out of the club. That’s how awful the sound was (I supposed you could call it “music” on some level but it was more like this overload of feedback). The only person left in the club (aside me) was the guy running the soundboard. And he was only there because he was paid to be there and had to be there. He’s a captive audience (literally). And he’s cursing at the band under his breath — the Geeks — the whole time for inflicting this horrible noise on him.

Ha ha. I suppose it’s “art.”

Anyways, it was another magic moment in my life. Going out clubbing at the Sound of Music in the heart of the Tenderloin in 1982.

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