A History of Sacripolitical: First Performances: 1983 – 1984

sc0004d237Sacripolitcal’s first public performance was in December 1983 at the original Sleeping Lady Cafe in Fairfax, CA. Taking the stage were John Marmysz (AKA Johnny Miserable; AKA Sarge), Matt Schmidtt (AKA Matt Shit), and Rob Underwood. Playing to a dumbfounded audience of hippies, punks, and petty criminals, this performance featured Rob pounding on overturned plastic pickle barrels with a pair of wooden spoons. Matt strummed away frantically on an unamplified guitar while John improvised lyrics, which were yelled directly into the faces of individual onlookers.

This was to mark year 1 in the calendar of a new era. Ever since that groundbreaking evening, Sacrapoliticians around the world have come to celebrate this event by raising their middle fingers to the heavens at exactly 9:33 pm on December 9th each year, yelling the words, “May the world never be the same!” at the top of their lungs.

After their initial public appearance, Rob was replaced by Sam Golden, who owned a real set of drums. Craig Stahl also joined, contributing his talents on bass. Together, the newly constituted group wrote a set of original songs and honed their performance skills at practice sessions and parties. They established the Cabbage Patch as their hideout: a garage in suburban San Rafael where friends, hangers on, and other aspiring Sacripoliticians congregated to witness the band’s efforts and to argue about issues of philosophical importance. Sam and Craig would continue to be members of Sacripoltical for the next few years, helping to build the band’s repertoire and contributing to the creation of some of their most popular songs, such as “Peace: Under Our Supervision” (the title of which was suggested by Jason DeCelle), “INC,” “Meaning of Life,” “Napalm Baby,” “Butt Plug,” “Machismo!,” and “Sick Fact: The Ballad of Bernhard Goetz.”

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Ricky Paul singing for The Pukes on the steps of College of Marin. Brooke Johnson on bass.

The occasion for Sacripoltical’s second public performance was a solemn one. Ricky Paul, lead singer of the legendary Marin punk band The Pukes, committed suicide in 1984, and as part of his memorial gathering, Sacripolitical again performed, along with other bands, at the Sleeping Lady Cafe. Despite the tragic circumstances of the gathering, friendships were reaffirmed and a renewed commitment to carrying on the Marin punk rock tradition was established. In the years to come, Sacripolitical would frequently perform on the same bill as the reconstituted “New” Pukes (with Walter as their lead singer); and indeed two musicians from the “New” Pukes (Eric Mead and Brooke Johnson) would, at different points in time, lend their musical talents to the Sacripolitical shenanigans.

NEXT: The Media Blitz: 1985 – 1988

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