My first punk show in Tallahassee, FL. was at a place called SweetBay Studios. My memory tells me that it was perhaps 1985 and it was Husker Du, but i don't have an actual memory of seeing a band there. What i remember are two things: the Sex Pistols t shirt that i wore, purchased at a small, Indian run variety store at the Tallahassee Mall. I also remember Noah Seganush's Dad, who was what seemed to me to be 9 feet tall, and who pogo'ed and flopped his arms around over and over non stop to the music.
My second punk show in Tallahassee I do not even have a false memory of who the band was- i have no memory at all. What i do remember is that i was dropped off at CA Warehouse in my Mother's brown mini-van, I asked her to drop me off about a block from the venue. I had a Mohawk that was very wide, and blonde, and teased up high like a B-52 and i had no friends there. I didn't now anyone at all but i knew that i wanted to be there, sitting in a corner near a wall, and watching everything going on and trying to understand, get a grasp, and realizing that i might just have found my people.
The third punk show i ever saw didn't happen because of the cops there. It was a celebration at Tom Brown Park in Tallahassee, likely it was the 4th of July. There was live music and there were booths, games, and because it is the true South, there was "clogging". I was there, however to see a local punk band called "X-Band". I am not sure how many songs they managed to play there, in the middle of the afternoon on a make-shift pallet stage on the 4th of July at this family event in the park before the cops came over and simply unplugged them. I thought they were incredibly brave.
When i met my friend George Barker i was 16, and i was no longer living with my single Mother. I was in Tallahassee after a short time in Jacksonville, and I was living on various friend's floors after my Mother's therapist advised her that the stress of living with me and my developing idealization of suicide and self harm was bad for HER health. I had a new version of that Mohawk. I had gone to the mall and picked up these stick-on jewels meant for fingernails, and had stuck them to my shaved head. I constantly wore a brown suede 60's jacket with fringe that i thought was incredibly ironic. I called it my "Buckskin Bill" jacket after the children's show that i had loved as a kid. I was at CA Chapel, and i was underage drinking a beer from a bottle outside in clear view of anyone who would have cared. I was hanging out with my friend Will Ryan, who i had met at the North Florida Fair and who had worn a long trench coat and who had purple high tops and who i had literally walked up to and asked "Will you be my friend?".
I was feeling big, and drunk, and very punk rock and i smashed that beer bottle on the ground near the front of the club. Almost right away out came George, with his finger right in my face, telling me I should leave and not come back if i was going to pull shit like that, underage drinking and smashing things and there i stood, embarrassed and suddenly very uncool - i was a 16 year old child, who had no idea what she was doing at all.
Lesli Baker ( to be continued)