Grindcrusher…I mean, Gangbanger Tour

Napalm Death
April 20, 1991
Grincrusher Tour
Country Club : Reseda, Ca

I didn’t plan on this, but yesterday’s post on Godflesh and The Grindcrusher Tour had to be THE most popular post thus far. I was asked by a number of loyal readers to talk a bit more about the set by co-headliner’s Napalm Death that evening. I guess many of you have heard the rumors…so here is the truth. And away we go…

For some reason, besides all the “Death Metal Latinos,” Napalm Death seemed to attract a handful of the most violent gangs in Los Angeles. It made sense to me when the Venice gangs would show up at the D.R.I. gigs…but Napalm Death? They are from Birmingham, England…what does England have to do with the gangs in L.A.? I still have not figured that one out.

Anyways, as the openers burned through their sets, the gang-bangers would walk around in a slo-mo, kind of crazed style…almost like an animal as it stalks its prey. As Napalm’s set got closer, you could feel the tension in the room rise, and the crazed looks of the gang-bangers got crazier and crazier. Just before Napalm Death hit the stage, a few dozen more gangsters entered the venue. I have no idea how or where they came from, but the room was filled with blue and red bandanas and gangster-plaid shirts.

As soon as Napalm’s fury began, so did the gang’s. Violent and bloody fights were breaking out everywhere. My roommate was in the balcony watching the fights from above – he couldn’t believe his eyes. There was nothing that the club security could do – the violence was way to extreme and it was in every corner of the room. They had no choice but to frantically call the police, otherwise it was not just gang members who were going to get hurt.

Just before the police stormed the venue, a huge pile-up broke out on the floor – right in the middle of the mosh-pits. Yes, unbelievably, the mosh pits continued, even during the gang violence – amazing! Almost in unison, all the gangsters jumped off of the pile and stood in a circle. The circle quickly opened and out came a slow, stumbling man. He was shirtless and dripping wet with sweat. People began pointing fingers at the man and jaws began to drop. Then I saw it. The man’s stomach was sliced wide open – the only thing holding his belly together was his hand. His innards began to poke out of the gaping, bloody wound – he shoved them back in with his left hand. I had never seen anything like it. Then, to make things even more unbelievable, he started jumping up and down and then he started running around the club and “high-fiveing” people with his right hand as he held his guts in with his left hand. Perhaps he was smoking some of that Angel Dust that was going around that night.

The bloodied man ran straight out one of the emergency exit doors that lead to the outside parking lot. Dozens of people followed right behind him. As soon as Napalm finished their set a song or two later, I ran out the same door to see what was going on (yes, I kept snapping photos until they were done). I saw a crowd of people fighting to get past the police. Cops were everywhere, police helicopters, everything. I fought my way through the crowd and got up to the front. I was distracted because I saw my good friend Melissa freaking out, screaming at the cops. I couldn’t figure out why she was so upset – she didn’t know this gang-banger. Then I saw what was upsetting her. The police had her car taped off with yellow “do not cross” tape. And there he was, dead – sprawled out on the hood of Melissa’s Mazda RX7.

I am not sure what you heard, but I know most of you Grindcore fans heard something about this amazing show. This is what happened – straight from an eyewitness. That show had to be THE craziest show I have ever attended. Little did I know that in just a few minutes, I too, would be bloody and sliced up – for that story read yesterday’s post, Grindcrusher…I mean, Grindcutter Tour.

Photographed at the casting call for the movie Colors with my Canon F1 and a cheap, no name 28mm-80mm f5.6 lens. Shot on Kodak Ektachrome film.

11 Responses to “Grindcrusher…I mean, Gangbanger Tour”

  1. That is bloody crazy man!Absoloutely crazy,if it weren’t for your blog and I know who you are and what you do-I wouldn’t believe it,seriously!
    But let me ask you,even after seeing the man dead-you had the balls to go back in???

  2. Lexicon Devil Says:

    You have got to post some pictures of the chaos! I saw this tour but in Virginia Beach, and it was brutal but NOTHING close to the LA show. I mean the usual circle pits and stagediving, that’s about it.

  3. anthrax420 Says:

    jesus christ. that’s like the same kinda shit that happened at suicidal tendencies concerts in L.A. that’s why they got banned. that must of been traumatizing. i love napalm death though.

  4. Da Thirst Says:

    I drove down from the Santa Barbara area to see the show, and interviewed ND’s Shane and Mick Harris in the parking lot for the college radio station. My buddy and I were pretty taken aback by the level of violence, and level of gangsterism at the show. Fortunately I had split the bridge of my nose open seeing a band the night before, so no life & death-mosh for me. I think this may have been one of the first shows that Napalm played with Jesse Pintado (Terrorizer) in the band, which is why all the Latinos were going nuts. Sarcastic and Sadistic Intent, both Latino-grindcore bands, opened the show as well as Nocturnus. The pit on stage got so big that Napalm had to abandon the stage one by one, until it was just the drummer on his riser playing with a circle pit moshing around him!! Then they announced that Barney had pneumonia They said he was laying down, and that they would come out again after Godflesh and do a second set.

    We watched a couple long droning Godflesh songs (which I actually really like) and decided it was going to go on too long–if we waited for the 2nd Napalm Set we would end up driving back at 4 a.m. So we walk out to the parking lot and the dude who got stabbed in the stomach is laying against a wall, holding his bleeding stomach, encouraging his friends to “go get those motherfuckers!” That may have been the craziest thing I have ever witnessed at a show.

    • Thanks for your recount of that night. I have had a few people tell me that the violence and gang activity that I talk about at this gig is all in my head. You’re story gels with mine to a “T.” It was a show like not other. Thanks for reading!

  5. holy shit! them gangsters. i had seen NAPALM DEATH for the 1st time in 1992 w/OBITUARY and DISMEMBER back in the czech republic. amazing show. no stabbing.

  6. WE NEED MORE PICS!

  7. scheissdrek Says:

    I saw the tour

  8. scheissdrek Says:

    I mean I saw the tour in a little club called the Rock Fabrik in Augsburg Germany. It was the exact opposite. There were maybe 100 people there. I kept slamming sideways into this dude, and that was as violent as it got. Most everybody was just standing there. Maybe they were so blown away by the show they were paralyzed. A couple of years later I saw Deicide with Cancer in San Diego at the Soma. I was in the balcony there. The whole floor was one big pit. I wondered about the dudes walking real slow like intimidating everyone.

  9. i was there ….like most shows back then there was always violence going down at gigs and back yard gigs nothing new just like any other show back then…..i saw a kid in a white t-shirt with blood on it as he was holding his stomach but i believe that was during godflesh i had my eye on the show mostly as i was used to all kinds of stuff always going down at these shows …also 2 of the members of Napalm Death are from Los Angeles…you should post these pictures you are talking about.-…also the security was the weak part a percentage of the blame has to be put on them and the people running the show that night i had even gone to show where the police would walk in at the country club just to look around there were even times where under cover cops outside would act like they were pissing next to you so they can bust you for urinating in public.

  10. I was at this show and you are definitely not exaggerating. This violence was very common at L.A. Death Metal shows. After going to hundreds of these shows I began to question why I was putting myself in potentially dangerous situations just to see a band play live. I finally decided to quit going to shows.

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