April 7, 1984
Part five of a five-part series that I am doing this week on local L.A. bands in the ‘80s that were opening acts on some big gigs at my favorite venue as a kid – Perkin’s Palace in Pasadena California.
Witch was another credible metal act from Los Angeles. Formed in 1982, they had instant street cred thanks to their drummer, Punky Peru, who was great friends with Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee and was also asked to join W.A.S.P. At some shows, Punky would slice and punch his face until it was dripping blood – compare that to Blackie Lawless who was still drinking fake blood from a skull.
Not only did Witch have a loose canon for a drummer, but their singer, Peter Wabitt, was also a bit of a madman on stage. Wabitt’s vocals were dark, eerie and powerful. Another aspect that I thought was really cool about Witch’s live show was their guitarist, Ronny Too. I love Flying V Guitars, they just look so metal, and Ronny would always bust them out.
Witch played some big gigs in their career, headlining over such local majors as Slayer and Lizzy Bordon. But this show at Perkin’s Palace proved to be a huge show for Witch. Witch was direct support for the debut performance of Ron Keel’s Keel, following the breakup of Steeler. Ron Keel was the hottest unsigned name in Metal in L.A. at the time and needless to say, there was a lot of hype on this show and it was packed to the rim.
Witch was just about to release their EP, The Hex Is On, and the Los Angeles rock radio station, KLOS, had just premiered a few of their songs, including the show-stopper, Damnation, on The Local Music Show a few nights before the show. KLOS had also premiered a few of Ron Keel’s new solo songs – the L.A. Metal Community was thirsty to hear more from all of the bands on the bill.
I remember looking up at the balcony that night and seeing hands, arms and bodies hanging over the edge. It was definitely an oversold show. Here is one for the fans: this show at Perkin’s Palace was produced by DeeDee Lewis, who would later marry Ron Keel…kinda’ cool how things work out sometimes.
Photographed with my trusty, smuggled in Canon AE-1 and a cheap, no name 70mm-210mm lens. Shot on Kodak negative film.