Half Life were the Pittsburgh punk band in the late ’80s. The first time I saw them was in 1986 when they came to play in State College. This photo is from the second or third time they played at Findley Hall at Penn State where there was a series of excellent DIY-booked shows with some rad bands that I’m thrilled to have had the chance to see as a young punk (like the Descendents, COC, Life Sentence, and Dr. Know, to name a few).
But Half Life were more than just a cool band I got to see. Pittsburgh, while a few hours away from where I lived, became the go-to place for shows for me and my friends. Pittsburgh became the punk scene that I connected with most. Every few weeks or months we would make a road trip to see some great shows (DRI, U.K. Subs, Broken Bones, Warzone, Social Distortion, and on and on), and we had friend living there so we could make a weekend of it.
Half Life were one of the bands that would play many of the shows and so I had a chance to see them often. They were a favorite. Half Life totally fit into the U.K. punk scene that I was obsessed with. They were very much of the “punks and skins united” time while also having a classic American hardcore style. Half Life also had a dirge and grind quality mixed with a bit of the Samhain vibe. I love Half Life and I recommend their Under the Knife 7” and Never Give In 12” LP. The Pittsburgh punk scene was (and still is) awesome! And my heart is still firmly rooted in Pittsburgh and with the Pittsburgh Punx!