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By Brian Brannon

Reprinted from:
"Fucked Up + Photocopied: Instant art of the Punk Rock Movement"
by Bryan Ray Turcotte & Christopher T. Miller Ginko Press Inc.,
5768 Paradise Dr., Suite J, Corte Madera, CA 94925

Flyers were a key ingredient of my early adolescent aesthetic. While some people might have walked into my room when I was fourteen or so and saw cheap xeroxed wallpaper, what I saw was fine art. Memories of a hundred bands. Gigs. Bouncers. Emotion. Friends. Clubs. Riots. Chicks.

Somehow the key moments of every show I had seen or had wanted to see were all captured in the names, dates, drawings and photographs printed on the artwork on my walls. Some of the early JFA flyers were even more special because they were drawn by my best buddy, crazy Sean Merli.

Me and Sean and his older brother Eric went way back. We all kind of got into punk together even though their parents were Mormons and strictly forbade anything of the kind.

One day I got the call to skate over to the Merli residence and dig through their garbage because their mom had just thrown out all their good records. The first Clash album. The Pistols live at Winterland. The Flyboys. B-52s. Devo.

It only took me a few minutes to get over there and rescue the booty, but sitting in a black dumpster in the baking Arizona summer sun for even that long caused some serious vinyl warpage. But I took the records home, set my needle on extra heavy and everything worked out fine.

Except for the Flyboys. It took us the longest time to figure out that their record played at 45 and not 33 rpms. Here we thought the guy had the coolest deep voice ever even though the music was kind of slow and plodding. Then when we turned it up nobody could believe those guys were playing that fast.

Anyway, getting back to the flyer deal: See, being some of the first punkers at Saguaro high school in Scottsdale, Arizona, and freshmen to boot, me and Sean got more than a little hassled by some of the jockier tough guys, not to mention the rockers, preppies, shit-kickers and pretty-boys. But it was the jocks we hated the most. Me, Sean and Eric kind of had a dream band going, the Deceased. Our motto was, "The Deceased don't care."

So one day I decided to get some spray paint and some stencils and write on the back of a t-shirt in four-inch high letters, "JOCKS SUCK." On the front I took a marker and scribbled, "The Deceased don't care."

It was chilly the next morning so I wore a jacket to school which covered up my message when I first showed up. But then I thought, "What kind of man am I? What's the use of doing something if you're not going to follow through?" So even before first period, off came the jacket.

I drew immediate stares. Everywhere I walked people stopped and pointed. It was on.

It didn't take long for the jocks to organize (for the jocks). By third period they gathered in roving packs which I casually avoided contact with. But fifth period was lunch and by then the whole school knew about the controversial assertion of the little punky freshman.

When I walked down the courtyard towards the lunch area two groups of jocks and prepsters closed in behind me with more joining in as I walked past. I walked on.

The snack bar was packed and I took my place at the back of the line.

I was immediately surrounded by vicious, carnivorous, athletic types out to pound my brains in. I don't remember what happened next, but I think someone said something and I probably said something back. Then someone grabbed me from behind and yanked on my collar. Then someone else pushed me. Then someone grabbed the bottom of my shirt. And so did someone else. My shirt became the rope in a game of anarchy tug-of-war while random blows were being simultaneously being delivered to my head and mid-section.

They ruckus finally subsided when the shirt was ripped completely off my back. All that remained was an over-sized collar hanging asymetrically around my neck.

Next they marched me over to the benches where one grabbed me behind my back and held my arms. The next thing I knew the whole football team was lining up to smash my face in.

Time for some fast thinkin'.

One of the biggest and ugliest dudes (and that's pretty ugly) was standing at the head of the line. He stepped up and delivered a jab to my stomach. I was ready for it and it didn't even hurt. But boy did I act like it did.

I fell to the ground coughing and gasping and spasming. I acted like that one punch darn near killed me. I hammed it up so good that they actually split because they were going to get in trouble. A wussy move I know, but what other choice did I have?

I wore my jacket shirtless to my next class and then ditched the rest of the day because I figured they'd still want to kill me after school if they saw that I was alive and well.

Things were tense for quite a while after that but eventually they quieted down. Hell, nowadays if you look around, most of the jocks are punkers, or at least think they are anyways.

When I look back at those early times, when being a punker meant everybody from cops to parents to schoolmates and teachers all hated you, one of the things that sums up that whole saga of my life best is a flyer for an early JFA/TSOL show at Madison Square Gardens in Phoenix. It has a drawing my buddy Sean made of a punker puppet about to kick ass on a couple of unsuspecting jocker puppets. Artistic justice.