Cracking open the Dangerhouse singles box distributed by Frontier Records is like opening a can of kickass right in your face. The raw, explosive sound of first-generation L.A. punk is loaded with art, rebellion, and fun. And what a mixture of styles: Way-out noise from the Weirdos, dug-up roots from X, leftist muckraking from The Dils, straight-up punk from Avengers, the conflicted sounds of The Bags, art damage from Black Randy, rock that doesn’t suck from The Alley Cats… And who was in the Eyes, Bags, and Deadbeats again?
So when I heard that Frontier’s Lisa Fancher was setting up a concert with many of the Dangerhouse bands, I bought a ticket right away. And upon discovering that a friend of mine was handling press for the show at the Echoplex, how could I not send her some questions about it? Check out Lisa’s answers and see you at The Echoplex on Sunday, November 9 when The Weirdos, Avengers, Deadbeats, Rhino 39, and Alley Cats are gonna rip it up.
Can you tell me about the connection between Frontier Records and Dangerhouse?
I’ve known David and Pat ever since they brought Dangerhouse singles into the Bomp! Store circa ’77 or ’78. Actually I knew David from The Screamers, too. After the Me Want Breakfast comp, I thought all the Dangerhouse material should be out officially. Let’s just say it was a hellish process!
What instigated this awesome concert?
Michael Stock and I literally started talking about it the night of the Frontier show. We were high on how well it did and several tumblers of victory Jameson. The Frontier show was a nightmare of logistics and bands jockeying for the best spot. The Dangerhouse show has been painless, which I find terrifying.
Your Frontier show with the Adolescents, T.S.O.L., The Middle Class, the Avengers, etc., was amazing and there is some crossover between the two lineups and label rosters. I like to think punk was kinda like that back in the day with lots of incestuous but awesome mixing of families. Am I way off?
Well… Not many of the Dangerhouse bands crossed over into the hardcore years. Most broke up in the very early ’80s. There was some mixing of my earliest bands, though–yes!
I love how Frontier has been selling rad music nonstop, from punk to hardcore to Paisley Underground to pop. Do you think that confuses a lot of music fans who can be Nazis when it comes to styles of music?
Yes, and not necessarily in a good way. Punks hate everything that isn’t Frontier punk and they’re really missing out on the genius of Thin White Rope. One day maybe the twain shall meet!
I also love how you never stopped selling your old titles–the first Adolescents and Suicidal Tendencies records, for starters–and keep them out there and priced for the people. Do you have a philosophy behind that or that just how you do it?
All the records mean a lot to me and I insist on keeping them all in print because I think kids will always dig them. Some are only in print as MP3s as there’s little demand for physical product. I need to revive more titles in vinyl, but haven’t been able to keep everything available due to the economy crash. I’m still here, though!
The Burger crossovers are cool, too. How did that happen?
I think Danny Benair said I should approach them to do our cassettes. I did and they’ve been doing it ever since… Great guys but they need a vacation!
Our mutual pal Adam told me that you came really close to releasing Jawbreaker. Got a story behind that?
Ugh, I can’t even talk about it–too painful. I begged them to let me put out Unfun when it was clear that label wasn’t treating them right… I loved JB so much, I was a stalker! I think I had a shot before Adam re-released them on Blackball but I wasn’t officially offered them. I think it’s great they control their own masters but Adam knows that if he gets bored, I’m just waiting in the wings!
How awesome is your essay in the new GEF book? I wish you’d do more writing because I’m sure there are way more stories… At the very least there should be an oral history of Frontier. Yes? No?
Glad you liked it, that was really a struggle… It’s sooo hard to remember stuff that happened 34 years ago. Glen has a great memory and totally busted me for fudging on dates. I even forgot he did his first LP cover for Frontier! Whoops. Writing I can nail in my sleep; I just need a memory transplant.
But yes, someone else needs to tackle my memoirs!
So is a second Frontier Records fest going to happen with The Three O’Clock, Red Cross, and Circle Jerks or what?
I’m gonna say no but Michael and I are nuts, so you never know! Liz from the Echo and I are gonna work on a new record swap meet, though. Stay tuned for news on that one!
Visit Frontier Records to stalk Lisa and get the goods and then visit Ticketfly for tickets to the show on Sunday, November 9. Unless, of course, you’re cheap like me and go to the Echo box office on a no-fee Friday to get yours for 20 bucks flat!