During the apogee of bell bottom jeans, then burgeoning guerrilla photographer Ed Arnaud
waxes nostalgic about how he managed to snap such killer shots, usually without the band’s permission. “I used to sneak my camera into shows in knee-high tube socks under big bells. I only had a 50mm lens at the time.” You could see a wobble in Arnaud’s strut as he passed through the entrance doors. Duping the bouncers—this before invasive full-body pat-down procedure became de rigeur.
From local punks Civil Death to punk icons Black Flag, photographer Ed Arnaud presents Lake of Fire: Tucson Punk in the 1980s
. A photographic event on Saturday, Jan. 12, 6 to10 p.m. at Wooden Tooth Records.
“Wooden Tooth describes my show as Tucson punk in the '80s.” Arnaud expands, “To be more specific, it’s photos of punk and underground bands that played in Tucson during the early ‘80s.” And, what Arnaud presents in his retrospective is only a glimpse into the richness of the scene. “There were so many great bands that came through Tucson then. Sometimes two or three shows in a week.” Most of which were low in attendance. “Drawing 10 to 50 people.”
Here is a sneak peak into rarefied air.
"The Vandals at the Unitarian Universalist Church on 22nd St. in Tucson, 1984. During the show lead singer Stevo Jensen used a funnel to ingest enough beer to immediately regurgitate it on stage. Pictured is Jan Nils Ackermann on guitar and Stevo Jensen on vocals. The spiky hair belonged to Lenny Mental who was also in attendance."
"Tucson’s own Conflict (US) playing at Nino’s on 1st Ave., Feb. 27th, 1984. Conflict (US) was one of the very few female fronted hardcore punk bands. Karen Allman (Karen Nurse) formed the band in 1981 with drummer Nick Johnoff. Nick worked so hard to build the punk scene almost single-handedly and booked almost all the touring hardcore shows back then. Ironically, I think this was Conflict’s very last show."
"The Circle Jerks at the Stumble Inn on Park Ave., March 4, 1984. My hot shoe mounted flash was knocked off my camera fairly quickly by stage divers when the show started. The Stumble Inn had railing in front of the stage which people used to launch off of. Pictured is Keith Morris on vocals, Greg Hetson on guitar and in the back, Chuck Biscuits on drums."
"Civil Death at The Backstage on 4th Ave., May 13, 1983. Civil Death was a Tucson band formed by singer Lenny Mental, drummer Nick Johnoff and guitarist Zach Hitner. My friend Paul Young, who has since passed away, joined in late 1983 on guitar. Paul used to let me get on his shoulders during shows to take photographs above the crowd. Pictured is Paul Young on guitar, Johnny Glue on bass, Lenny Mental on vocals, Nick Johnoff on drums and Zach Hitner on guitar."
"Black Flag at The Backstage on 4th Ave., May 13, 1983. I got on stage next to Greg Ginn soon after they started playing because I knew taking photos in front of the stage would have been difficult with the crowd movement. Luckily no one kicked me off stage."