08.18.2011 04:23 PM

Tales from my nasty past

From Sam Sutherland’s much-anticipated Canadian punk book, I surmise:

“With increasing local media attention, word-of-mouth gigs regularly draw hundreds of kids. Bars that had previously ignored punk begin to take notice. The first Calgary one to offer punk a home is on the main floor of the rundown Calgarian Hotel that caters to the local King’s Crew Motorcycle Club and First Nations population. It’s a dive somehow eking out an existence on a seedy block of an otherwise upper-class town. Located downtown on Seventh Street S.E., hard-drinking punks of the Calgary Hotel have the run of the bar’s back room for whatever riotous noise they want to make, so long as they bring their own PA, and patrons at the front don’t get too freaked out by the influx of underage, short-haired military-looking goons.

“Our first show, this little guy comes up and stares at us for a song, and we just keep playing,” says Kinsella. “Finally he walks away, and our manager walks up to us and says, ‘Do you know who that was? That was the head of the King’s Crew.’ Apparently some of the bikers were pissed that we had taken over their bar. And he was deciding if we were going to live or not.”

7 Comments

  1. W the K - No, not Warren says:

    You’re lucky your fingers are still alive to play another day.

  2. Iris Mclean says:

    And a nasty Calgary turf war was narrowly avoided!
    The King’s Crew boss must have gazed at WK’s innocent eyes and sweet smile.
    I remember assholes like that in Winnipeg in the ’70s.
    A little chit-chat in the parking-lot usually defused the problem, with the asshole calling a cab.

  3. frmr disgruntled Con, now Happy Lib says:

    Mr. Kinsella, ever play the Smilin Buddha Cabaret on Hastings St in Vancouver?……I believe it served much the same purpose as the Calgary Hotel for Vancouver’s punk scene…..

    Hard to believe my father said it was actually quite the swanky joint in the forties……Its neon sign was a fixture on Hastings St for years, and this fine example of neon art was saved and restored by the band 54-40 I believe….

  4. Raymond says:

    Awesome story.

  5. Raymond says:

    Brief, but awesome story.

  6. The Doctor says:

    Warren, thanks for the memories re: the Calgarian. I had friends in a garage/punk band at the time, who played some gigs there. We found that drinking really heavily helped us relax and fit in with the unique demographic there. The crowd was often more entertaining to watch than the bands. My favourite incident was when some guy passed out while urinating (standing up and resting his head against the bathroom wall) — then, while passed out, he managed to accidentally urinate on the guy beside him — which of course resulted in, er, hostilities.

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