Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Fried Green was a band from Henderson, NV. Henderson seemed like it was a million miles away from my world back then but the last two decades have seen the behemoth of sin city swallered up every last patch of dirt from Mount Charleston all the way to Boulder City joining it all together as one big blast furnace of asphalt and interconnected pavement. Eventually you won’t be able to see desert anymore within the valley as strip malls and housing complexes fill in the rest of the empty spaces. Which is bullshit or progress depending on who you ask. From what I understand it’s been spilling outside of the valley for the last few years as well. But in the late 80’s Henderson was pretty far away. Nick’s Supper Club was the main attraction for the area if KVVU TV5 could be trusted.
I met Shiloh the lead singer of Fried Green through a funny set of circumstances. It stems from a D.I. show I went to at the Elks Lodge in downtown Vegas by Cashman Field. I think 5150 opened up for D.I.? Anyway I had a jean jacket back then which I bleached and dyed bright red. And my hair, which I had a bunch of back then, was permanently unkempt. No style at all just totally mussed up like I just got done having sex. When in fact I rarely got to have sex as much as I’d wanted.
I always enjoyed watching the crowd at a punk show. To this day I’m still surprised how few people turn around to scan the crowd. In my experience it’s usually the case where the bands suck so the only real entertainment is the crowd. The bands certainly didn’t suck that night but I still found myself unplugging from passive observer mode as I turned around near the front of the stage to survey the “scene” who were all super well dressed punk rockers for 1988 or whenever it was. Then I saw her.
God knows what her name was. She was the most adorable punk chick I’d ever seen up to that point. I wanna say her name was Michelle but that’s a plain Jane name for such a duded up punk seductress. It doesn’t fit the mythology I’ve built up in my memories of that moment but her name is lost to time. She smiled briefly and looked away only to lock eyes with me again. She smiled again and continued to hold my gaze. I motioned for her to go near the open door at the side of the stage. She nodded and met me just outside the door facing Owens Avenue.
It was a tender moment I had nearly forgotten about over all this time. I was sweaty from the stifling heat and the night air was nice and cool as we leaned against the wall still within earshot of “Hang Ten In East Berlin.” We flirted with each other briefly. Exchanged numbers. Made a promise to meet again. To varying degrees I’ve seen it happen several times in my life. A feeling like it could be love. And then something unexpected stepped in to make it fly away into my own fantasy world.
She was from Henderson so while we never met again in person we talked on the phone at length two or three times. In between calls I learned that she was seeing this guy Shiloh also from Hendo. I heard through the always unreliable grapevine that they had been a couple for a while and that he was the jealous overprotective type which lead me to build up in my mind that we were serious rivals for her affection.
I tried reaching her again by phone but my calls were never returned. I heard later that she rolled her truck and was seriously injured. I never saw or heard from her again. But I held on to the idea that Shiloh was now gunning for me.
After the scene collapsed following the break up of F.S.P., 5150, and Atomic Gods there was a vacuum created wherein the last remaining hangers on from the old guard and the random new faces that started going to shows were looking for a new focus, a new band, a new… fucking anything. In this silence Henderson rose to prominence in terms of accessible all ages shows. Don’t get me wrong, the desert gigs were still happening. But the onslaught of the racist nazi skinhead subculture within our subculture made desert shows more violent. Less and less people were willing to go out in the middle of nowhere when you could potentially get the shit kicked out of you. Vegas, always the city that refuses to acknowledge the existence of underage people made it even harder to produce a viable all ages venue and so one of the only alternatives sprouted in Henderson. The Henderson Elks Lodge strangely enough.
I saw a bunch of shows there during this time frame. Many of them unmemorable. Even though we all desperately wanted to believe. I could run down a list of shows that happened there but there just wasn’t much to the music at that time. And the lack of unity within the scene itself made for a lackluster experience time and again. But it was something and so we returned to that venue time and again. More new faces flooded the scene. And eventually the scales tipped as they have with each new generation.
I don’t remember who I went to see play on this particular night but somehow I talked my parents into giving me a ride all the way to the Henderson Elks Lodge. Me and the folks were often at odds during that rebellious part of my life and so it came as a bit of a surprise that they would agree to get me out there. It was especially funny because I somehow snuck a full six pack of beer in my jacket as I sat next to my mom in the tiny mini truck we drove 25 miles from Linn Lane to Henderson.
I wanted to get there super early so I could chill in the desert outside of the Lodge and catch a buzz before the show. Plus if I got there early I wouldn’t have to share my beers with anyone like the selfish bastard I was. It was precious cargo for an 18 year old kid, and I’m not remembering how I got a hold of it now but I’ll assume I fished for beer outside of a seven-eleven eventually getting some adult to buy it for me.
So there I was at like 7pm broad daylight trying to choke down a six pack of Shaefer beer when this dude walks up and asks me if I’m going to the show. Back then it was unexpected to find people who were clued in and excited about the underground. Punk was still puke to the masses so if you chanced upon someone with a Rudimentary Peni symbol hand stenciled on their jacket you were stoked to meet another misfit castaway adrift in the “straight world” and bonds were immediately formed. We talked and I eventually offered up one of my shitty beers. It was only after we had cracked a brew that we exchanged names and I found out this guy was my supposed nemesis. Shiloh.
Obviously there was no animosity. He told me he wasn’t even dating her and he shared with me the unfortunate news of her accident. From there we became fast friends. The show that night I can’t clearly remember and something tells me it wasn’t because I was drunk off that piss beer. But I do remember hearing Shiloh talk up the band he was trying to form. It would be months before this band would play out, but I was inspired to know someone just like me could start a band and I was eager to offer up my support.
When I look back it sometimes surprises me how many shows I missed. I talk a lot of shit like I was clued in and present for this and that but there were so many things that appeared to be happening and so many cliques I wasn’t privy to that I missed more shows than I would have liked. And Fried Green was numbered among those shows. I was there for their debut but I know they played at least a few dozen more times for which I wasn’t present. I must have been trippin balls on the East Side playing R-Type at the Nellis arcade. Broke as usual.
Much thanks goes out to Rockin Chris Crud for sharing these tracks of Fried Green broadcasting from 91.5 KUNV on the Lunch With the PMRC Locals Only show. Over the years I’ve been friends and acquaintances with several of the dudes who were in Fried Green and over time they have all gone on to different bands or different projects. Listening to these guys on this broadcast is endearing and speaks volumes to the death of the old scene and the birth of something new. A change that’s happening even now as we march on towards irrelevancy.
This ain’t hardcore punk by any stretch of the imagination and they even admit that while being interviewed on the radio. I’m not sure what you’d call it but it is still a representation of the Vegas underground as it existed in that transitional time. It speaks more to the pop side musically and in some ways prefigures what would later be called grunge in a few years. That is if grunge was baked and dehydrated in the 110 degree heat drinking St. Ides in a ditch just off Boulder Highway.
Another gem of a time capsule from a much simpler time from a small town out in the desert South West. It sure seemed more complicated at the time. Shit if we only knew? Henderson…of course.
Download Fried Green presenting their new demo live on 91.5 KUNV below.
I got no date for the broadcast. If you think you know the date tell me and I'll add it here.