The Pukes

The Pukes were one of the great Marin punk bands from the early 1980’s. There is very little online information about them, but someone on Youtube has just posted their demo tape:

Headed by lead singer Ricky Paul – who would vomit on demand while performing – The Pukes regularly played at the original Sleeping Lady Cafe in Fairfax, CA, as well as at the Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco, and at many underground warehouse shows and parties in and around Marin County.

Ricky committed suicide in 1984 while attending the San Francisco Art Institute. His death affected all of us young Marin punks very deeply. It was, in fact, the first time that I myself had ever experienced the loss of a friend, and it was to have a permanent effect on me. I still often think about – and miss – Ricky to this very day. He was a sensitive, friendly and very smart guy.

I have a lot of warm, hilarious memories about Ricky. There was one time when I gave him a ride home from the College of Marin and, upon dropping him off, he attacked my car with a dead tree branch that he had found lying somewhere nearby. As I tried to speed away, he jumped in front of my car, bounced off the hood and rolled off into the street, coming to rest immobile on his back. I thought I had killed him, but when I ran to his aid, Ricky jumped up, laughing. He threw his arms around me and thanked me for the ride.

My wife remembers the first time she met Ricky. She was waiting at the bus stop when he came walking by. Upon seeing a fellow punk, Ricky greeted her, shouting “Hey! Punk rock!” He then sat down and offered to share his lunch with her: a tuna fish sandwich that he had carried to school.

A friend who knew Ricky, but had never seen him perform, attended a show at the Sleeping Lady Cafe one night. This friend was unprepared for the vomit launch that occurred about halfway through the set. He turned white and fled the club, later telling me that he would never be able to look at Ricky the same way again.

The Pukes continued on after the loss of Ricky, with Walter taking over as lead singer. Walter was a unique character, hilarious in a way different from Ricky. He fronted the “New” Pukes for quite some time, playing lots of shows with Sacripolitical in Marin and in San Francisco.

A memorial gathering took place in honor of Ricky at the Sleeping Lady Cafe after his death. Sacripolitical played, and just about every punk in Marin attended. People shared memories, tears and grief. For some of us who had personal grudges against one another, this was an opportunity to come together, forget old feuds, and affirm our solidarity in Ricky’s memory. We all loved him.

The Pukes @ College of Marin. 1983? Ricky Paul on the microphone.

Free Music Download

SacricaseI have posted the 1993 Sacripolitcal EP Peace: Under Our Supervision as a free download on bandcamp.  There is talk of a band reunion, so now is the time to acquaint yourself with this wonderful musical nihilism!

You’ll also find a short bio of Sacripolitical at Screams From the Gutter.

Sacripolitical

In the 1980’s, my friends and I had a punk rock band called Sacripolitical. The name was supposed to be a reference to our attitude toward politics. Just as a person who is sacrilegious is irreverent toward the sacred, we played songs, like “Peace: Under our Supervision,” and “Napalm Baby,” that were politically irreverent. The image that the band portrayed was, on the one hand, a sort of ironic, right-wing parody; not unlike what Stephen Colbert plays around with on his talk show today (but with punk rock style). On the other hand, we also developed and explored philosophical themes in songs like “The Meaning of Life,” and “Nihilist Void.”

We were together for the better part of the decade, playing at parties, underground shows in warehouses, in barns, and on the bill with other bands like UXB, The Pukes, Fang, Frightwig, and Camper Van Beethoven. We made a lot of friends, a lot of enemies and had a lot of fun. Some shows ended in philosophical conversation; some of them ended in near riots!

I’m reminded of this period because a friend of mine just sent me a link to a podcast of a radio show on which we were interviewed sometime in the early 1980’s. Maximum Rock and Roll started out as a punk fanzine and soon also became a regular radio broadcast that featured punk rock bands from all over the world. Sacripolitical was featured on a program that is now posted online at:

http://mrnrpodcast.blogspot.com/2009/11/maximum-rock-n-roll-198.html

When our band was still together, it was not uncommon for people to hear the name “Sacripolitical” and ask “What does that mean?” I remembered this when I saw this podcast posting, as the band’s name is misspelled “Sacra Political.”