Aug 13, 2009

By the time I got to Tucson in 1988, UPS stickers were all over town. Close to the shipping company’s logo, it had something off, something viral about it that told you it had to be a band. Some people talked about big shows they had in the glory days. Usual talk. That’s one of the great things about punk rock, in the do-it-yourself realm—every town can have their own golden era. With pissed-off youth in every neighborhood, your town probably had rad bands in the ‘80s screaming about what we all felt pent up about. UPS was Tucson’s at that time. This 25th anniversary DVD documents a couple of great shows. Their sound was solid ‘80s fast punk, making a living under thirty seconds, growing from Tesco Vee-ish snotty punk to more harsh speedy hardcore, always extremely catchy. Half the band looked like they belonged in GBH (mohawks and studded leather), the other half straight outta D.I. skate rock, and a metalhead guitarist (long hair, no shirt), summed it up—misfits coming together. Awesome. One show is in the University of Arizona’s “Cellar” in the student union, a basic stage and room that was more for stand-up comedy troupes with its brick wall. The next day the school newspaper cried riot with furniture being pushed outta the way for mosh pits (a better term then). The footage looks like VHS, making it even more lurid fun to watch. The other show on the DVD is of a downtown, outside freaks show, with the public pretending it was Halloween, basically. The footage is in better shape and from a public access crew. The package includes some booklets and a great CD with eighty-five songs! Music from five CDs, some unreleased. Punk’s not dead. –Speedway Randy (Disillusion Music, www.uselesspiecesofshit.com)