April 20, 1991
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.