Thursday, August 2, 2012

Gold-medal-winning stage dives

Iconic stage diver with Wasted Youth sticker. (Ed Colver photo)
By Andy

As the 2012 Olympic Games roll on in London, today we'll take a look at Gold-medal stage dives in punk-rock history.

Some require finesse, guts or just the right amount of booze to nail it.

I launched into a pair of stage dives in my formative Hollywood punk days in the early 1980s: Once at a Red Cross show at the Whisky A Go Go (I grazed someone's arm and fell flat on my back, ouch!) and another while 999 played at Florentine Gardens (I was caught this time, and crowd surfed while someone tried to pull one of my shoes off).

About a decade ago, I achieved a mini-dive off the small stage at the Crocodile in Seattle at a Chixdiggit gig --- that one wasn't so impressive as I landed on my feet and was told by a security guy to leave the room (I knew it was one of the band's last songs, so that's why I went for it).

So here's our top 5:

Wasted Youth sticker guy

This iconic shot (above) caught this dude in full-on glory at a Stiff Little Fingers, DOA, Adolescents gig at Perkins Palace in Pasadena on July 4, 1981. I'm in the crowd somewhere, maybe off to the side since I was a bit reticent to get up too close to the raging pit in those days. This picture appears on the back cover of Wasted Youth's "Reagan's In" LP.

HR and the Bad Brains. (SST Records promo photo)

HR of the Bad Brains was revered for his backflips, but it's clear that the man could stage dive like a mo-fo, as well. This shot is from the "I Against I" promo poster, one of which I bought from Eugene Robinson of Oxbow/Whipping Boy at his Palo Alto shop in the late 1980s. At a Roxy show in Hollywood, HR dove right on top of me -- now confident to grace the front row -- and I helped catch him and send him back on stage to finish the song.

DYS -- diver top center. (Bruce Rhodes photo)

Yes, that's singer Dave Smalley on the left and Andy Strachan on guitar in the original lineup of Boston's DYS (Department of Youth Services). Just who the masked man flying through the air in the center is.... who knows? This is from the the back of the band's "Brotherhood" LP. I never saw the band live, but Strachan played some DYS songs on my Sears guitar when he visited my Redondo Beach home while on tour with SSD in 1983.

Black Flag with Dez singing. (LA Times photo)

Black Flag
This awesome pic and stage dive is from an LA Times story on the Black Flag, Adolescents, DOA, Minutemen massive gig in the summer of 1981 at the Santa Monica Civic. I was standing on stage far left with my brother, just behind Flag's Chuck Dukowski (you can't see us in the pic, but we were loving every second of that experience.) One of my earliest and favorite gigs ever.

Iggy! (Tom Copi/Getty Images)

Iggy and the Stooges

OK, I don't have a personal story to go along with this one, but it's just too good to pass up. It's not even a stage dive, but who cares? Iggy doing the Jesus walking-on-water thing in Cincinnati in 1970, the peanut-butter-smearing incident ... all that good stuff. As the band played "TV Eye," this gig was broadcast on the tube. So cool to look at.

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